Seahawks Insider

Hawthorne on a holding pattern

Post by Eric Williams on March 21, 2012 at 11:23 am with 55 Comments »
March 21, 2012 11:23 am
Seahawks linebacker David Hawthorne (Joe Barrentine/TNT)

Things could be going better for Seattle Seahawks free agent David Hawthorne. As Anwar Richardson of reports, the TCU product was headed to Detroit for a visit with the Lions on Tuesday.

Problem is, Detroit re-signed middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch to a five-year deal while Hawthorne was still on the plane, meaning his trip to Motown was for not, and he had to turnaround and get on a plane headed for home the next morning.

Believe me when I say you don’t want to have to fly to Detroit just to get a free bag of peanuts and watch Inception for the 15th time while sitting in an uncomfortable middle seat.

Seattle Seahawks linebacker David Hawthorne (DOUG PENSINGER/GETTY IMAGES).

But Hawthorne’s bad road trip highlights a fact in this year’s free agency, a soft linebacker market with a lot of guys of similar ability available and teams unwilling to pony up for their services.

Philadelphia’s trade for Houston’s DeMeco Ryans is a prime example. The Eagles pretty much gave up just a fourth rounder for a Pro Bowl linebacker – the same compensation the Jets gave up for quarterback Tim Tebow.

Seattle gave up a third rounder for Charlie Whitehurst two years ago.

Add to that the fact that this year’s draft is considered deep at linebacker, along with the idea that the linebacker position is undervalued because teams believe they can find plug-and-play guys like K.J. Wright for a reduced price later in the draft, and you understand why Hawthorne has yet to sign a deal two weeks into free agency.

Here’s a couple things Hawthorne’s camp likely is considering as they seek a fair deal in free agency.

Carolina’s Jon Beason set the bar high for middle linebackers last year by signing a six-year, $51.338 million deal, including $25 million guaranteed.

Hawthorne’s numbers compare favorably to Beason’s, although the University of Miami product was a first-round pick and is a three-time Pro Bowler.

D’Qwell Jackson inking a five-year, $42.5 million deal to stay in Cleveland before free agency also adds fuel to Hawthorne’s belief of where his value should be on the market. And Jackson is two years older than Hawthorne, and missed the entire 2010 season with a torn pectoral muscle.

Hawthorne’s proved durable and played hurt, missing one game the last three years and limping through last season with a sprained knee.

Hawthorne is one of the most prepared players on defense. He’s proved versatile, starting 16 games at weak side outside linebacker in 2010.

According to Brian McIntyre of Football Outsiders, Hawthorne played 315 of Seattle’s 363 snaps in nickel situations, and eight out of 10 in Bandit. Hawthorne played in 89.9 percent of Seattle’s defensive snaps last year, and that includes missing the opening game at San Francisco.

Also, Hawthorne’s one of the team leaders and has outplayed his contract.

While leading the team in tackles the past three seasons, Hawthorne’s earned just $2.6 million in total compensation in his four years in Seattle.

He’s seen Seattle re-sign players like Red Bryant, Marshawn Lynch and Breno Giacomini. And this will likely be his biggest deal as a pro, so it’s fair to say Hawthorne’s looking for a little payback for being a good soldier in Seattle.

But the Seahawks are looking at Hawthorne’s value in terms of what he can do for them moving forward.

Seattle has some leverage because they can play K.J. Wright at middle linebacker at a much reduced salary compared to what Hawthorne will command. And Wright likely would be the middle linebacker in nickel situations moving forward.

And the Seahawks also have this year’s deep pool of talent at linebacker to use as leverage in Hawthorne’s contract negotiations.

Denver linebacker Joe Mays’ contract might be the one Seattle points to when looking for Hawthorne’s value. Mays signed a three-year, $12 million deal to stay with the Broncos, $4 million of which was guaranteed in the first year of the contract.

NFL free agency
Leave a comment Comments → 55
  1. seahawk44 says:

    Adam Caplan reports that Giants DE Dave Tollefson is scheduled to visit the Seahawks on Thursday!/caplannfl/status/182522646347530241

  2. seahawk44 says:

    He had 5 sacks last season in very limited playing time.

  3. chrisj122 says:

    I would like to get the Heater back at the right price.
    Undersized – maybe
    soon to be injury prone – perhaps
    regardless he has been the most consistent LB for the Hawks in recent years.

  4. Dukeshire says:

    Soon to be injury prone? Impossible to know. To date, there is no evidence to suggest that.

    Nice write up Eric, and I agree.

  5. JazBadAzz says:

    Well I understand how he feels but I have stated that he has hit his ceiling, and there is no need to over pay for him with a draft like this coming up. Good luck David, you should have held out last year buddy.

    3yr 12mil sounds about right with 4mil upfront, maybe up to 6mil…yeah I would give him 6… and 16mil for 3yrs

  6. seahawk44 says:

    Hawthorne is a warrior. He will most likely have better seasons going forward. Due to playing hurt last season, a lot of fans feel like he is going to be forever gimpy, which is a risk for a big $ contract. I hope he is brought back at a fair price for him and the Seahawks.

  7. princeaden says:

    I hope Hawthorne comes back. He is a solid player on a strong Defense. he should be compensated fairly. IMO

  8. RDPoulsbo says:

    I’d like to have him come back if for no other reason than to help maintain continuity in the defense. Getting one new LB to start isn’t that big a deal, but starts to get worrisome when you have 2. Even so, they shouldn’t break the bank to make it happen. Hawthorne is the mold of a Ruskill player. A high effort guy who doesn’t have much room to grow. In this case, he’s a player who has done well, but you can’t expect much more.

  9. Dukeshire says:

    Even if he doesn’t develop any further, I’ll take his 100+ tackles he’s had each of the past 3 seasons, and his ability to play Mike or Will, and his knowledge of this particular scheme. I’ll take him just the way he is.

  10. princeaden says:

    Sign him up Coach !!

  11. I’m still jacked up from signing Flynn!

    Come on, Heater. Come back and join the fun!

  12. Sign Hill too.

  13. HawkfaninMT says:

    @RD: Do you think drafting Upshaw in the 1st, then hightower in the 2nd would hurt the conitinuity? Or them playing in college would keep it in sync?

  14. RDPoulsbo says:

    I don’t think the Hawks should do that given how deep the LBs class is in the upcoming draft. There’s still other needs like DE that will need to be filled early while there will be LBs further down the draft board that will be good as well.

    Given the way things are going for Hawthorne, it’s sounding more likely he’ll return for a cheap contract that allows him to start. Listening to Schneider on 710 yesterday, it sure sounded like he wanted to address LB needs in the draft though.

  15. HeinieHunter says:

    If the price is right, I’d like both Hill and Heater back. Thatway, if we draft a linebacker he can be worked into the lineup without immediate pressure to perform in the much faster NFL game. If Heater has injuries we would have ample back up.
    Just a thought.

  16. seahawk44 says:

    I always thought this guy was a very good player. Work him out and see if he can help the cause for a season or 2.

  17. I had a dream that they traded their #12 pick and moved back and picked up another pick and used that pick to trade for Dwight Freeney and then still used their mid-1st round pick on Whitney Mercilus and all the people were talking about how Seattle had such a great draft.

  18. Tatupu was the face of this defense, if not franchise for a period of time, and Hawthorne stepped right in, and replaced him. He should be resigned.

  19. SandpointHawk says:

    I agree sign Heater…
    Side note : I had a dream about a Sea Gal and now my wife won’t talk to me….

  20. chrisj122 says:

    It is impossible to know if Hawthorne will be hit with the so called injury bug or if he have an injury free season. I think a lot of fans are little cautious when it comes to undersized players (think Tatupu). The Ruskell MO undersized with high motor but are not durable. I’m not saying Hawthorne falls into this catagory but it is in the back of most everyones mind.

    Having said all that, as I stated earlier, I would like to see him come back because he has been the most solid, consistent LB in recent years.

  21. Sandpoint: Always a good idea to keep those ones to yourself. :P

    Yeah, I agree. Bring Heater back. Such a hard working dude, you want to see players like him get payed. But selfishly, I’d like to see the ‘Hawks use the leverage they have and use those extra resources to bring in other players.

  22. chrisj122 says:

    Yes, Tatupu was the face of the franchise. For about 3 days, from the time Hasselbeck signed with Tenn. until Tatupu was asked to rework his contract. Lol……

  23. Its well documented that Hawthorne has injury issues. He had to sit out most practices last season to save his knee so he could play on Sunday. That’s known.

    He’s a 100 tackle-a-year player, so if teams thought he could stay healthy then I think he would have been signed by now. Since Detroit already signed their LB, it looks at this point like the Seahawks might end up re-signing Hawthorne at a bargain.

    Schneider has been showing great patience in negotiations. He knows how to avoid overpaying.

  24. Dukeshire says:

    Knee issues? Has he had issues other than his sprained knee last year (that didn’t require surgery)?

  25. Well Duke, Heater only missed a couple games but he was held out from a lot of practices last season. He injured his knee in September, rehabbed it a injured it again in December. So I don’t know what to call that other than an injury issue. Let’s hope he might be clear of that now but it also may be a reason he’s not signed yet. Good luck to him, but lots of LBs have short careers.

  26. Dukeshire says:

    Stevos – I understand that. But the way you phrased it, “injury issues”, makes it sound as though it’s a chronic problem. He began to practice toward the end of the season and in fact, lost the knee brace altogether, at the end. He missed two games in ’08 and 1 game last year. Pretty durable.

  27. JazBadAzz says:

    Just saw path to the draft with Donte Hightower…Grown Man ready to rumble! Wish there was a way to get him. If we are talking Kuechly at 12 then x that and pick Hightower! #trustme

  28. JazBadAzz says:

    Duke he does have injury issues but he played through it, how long can he continue to nurse it and still give 100% on sunday?

  29. Dukeshire says:

    All players nurse injuries throughout the season.I just believe more is being made about his “injuries” (knee) than there is evidence to support. But maybe I’m wrong.

  30. JazBadAzz says:

    Duke if you can find the last game against the 9er’s, watch that, you will see what I’m talking about.

  31. bird_spit says:

    Id take heater back with an appropriate contract. If he is healed up, heater is a tackle machine. Hill, if he has his head on straight, and is willing to play for a one year that keeps him hungry, would be a plus.

    The issue with having both of these guys is that we need some stud tacklers on special teams. Send these guys out there on ST, they’ll be injury prone. We need a pack of hungry rookies to develop into a real special teams group.

    I say, sign just one, and hopefully heater..

    Heater limped down the field because he had a massive brace on his knee.. I assume he was scoped, and is ready to go.

  32. Dukeshire says:

    Honestly, I’m not sure what you mean. I’m not suggesting he didn’t play dinged up and at less than 100% most of last season. He did. But there’s no evidence, considering his history, that his knee is a chronic issue. That is: it didn’t require surgery. I’m not saying that I’m 100% right, here. But there seems to be a lot of conclusion jumping here without much to support it.

  33. If some of you saw a player playing hurt (even if you didn’t know it), you’d talk about what a loser they are (Tatupu on TWO bum knees in ’10).

    If he didn’t play through something that he could have, you’d call him a baby/loser that we don’t need anymore (I’ve seen players get turned on).

    Which one is it? Is Heater a loser b/c he toughed it out or is he a warrior b/c he cared more for the team and playing than his long-term health?

    From an organizational standpoint, I understand that you only play a player what the deserve moving forward. However, if the knee of Heater is fine moving forward, I’d love to have him.

  34. chuck_easton says:

    I love what the team is doing here.

    They have a price they think Heater is worth and they’ve told him.

    He thinks he can do better so they have told him to go out and try and get what he thinks he’s worth. So far the team is right because nobody else is offering him what he thinks he’s worth either.

    Heater will come back and it will be at Seattle’s price, not his.

  35. ryanryan says:

    i feel for the guy – he absolutely played above his contract and didn’t complain or hold out. now the market is flooded via FA and the draft, not to mention that the hawks were lucky enough to hit it big with a rookie 4th rounder.

    i feel like the fo will take care of him though, they have given NO indication that they will not sign their guys that earn their paychecks…they will also allow them to go out there and test the waters so that when they sign they do not feel lowballed by them, its brilliant. js and pc know what they are doing, i’ve been clamoring for lb moves since the flynn signing and have forgotten that js/pc know what the hell they’re doing.

    that is all

  36. ryanryan says:

    didn’t see your post chuck, i was typing mine…we agree

  37. RDPoulsbo says:

    Seahawks just signed OL Frank Omiyal:

    Looks like they’re starting to fill in depth.

  38. JazBadAzz says:

    Earl Thomas tweeted that he loves the moves our FO is making!
    Also, he stays up at night thinking how he can take over the league!

    I’m loviing this guy, going to rock #29 this year for sure.

    Nice pick up on that OL. I love the methodical way they are putting this together! Championship on the horizone!

  39. Omiyale is a nice versatile veteran pickup for the OL.

    I hope Heater comes back too(healthy of course). I wonder what they offered him. Guessing it’s not much higher than $3 million per season and given their preference it’s a 2 or 3 year deal.

    Hill signing a non guaranteed one year deal would be fine too at last years rate.

  40. GeorgiaHawk says:

    “Just saw path to the draft with Donte Hightower…Grown Man ready to rumble! Wish there was a way to get him. If we are talking Kuechly at 12 then x that and pick Hightower! #trustme”

    Sorry JazBadAzz I don’t trust you!

    We don’t need another Curry here! I don’t care how hard Hightower( stupid name) can hit, we need a player in the first round that will be hall of fame material. And that is Kuechly or DeCastro!

  41. freedom_X says:

    To be fair to the front office – Hawthorne was originally an undrafted free agent, making even less money. You may recall that the current regime gave Hawthorne a 1-year extension and $350K guaranteed, so they gave him some addtional reward for his expectation-exceeding service.

    Nothing that illustrates one’s value better than being available on the open market. Again it appears the front office has come pretty close to gauging a player’s market value.

  42. HawkfaninMT says:

    Hightower in the 2nd FTW! … ALthough I like Kendricks more

  43. Dukeshire says:

    Jaz – I’m with you: love Thomas.

  44. JazBadAzz says:

    Georgiahawk- don’t trust me, I will remember what you said! :)
    Honestly who said anything about Curry? I base my evaluations on players about what I see and not what I hear or read…the guy led the best defense in college! Coached by Saban and played against future pros everyday and dominated! Go watch the tape if you think I’m lying?

    Thanks Duke and HawkfaninMT!

  45. ET is probably happiest about the QB position – like the rest of us!

  46. IMO, letting Hawthorne walk is a mistake, & I would also like to see Hill stay at least 1 more year.

  47. HeinieHunter says:

    Is anyone a special teams freak? Probably way to early to have an opinion with rosters open, but I’d really like to see Seattle become a power in that segment of the game. Any thoughts?

  48. Eric, the idiom is “for naught,” not “for naught.” /gogo WA public education!

    Well said freedom_x, the FA is doing it well when it comes to valuing FA’s.

    I’d love to see both Upshaw and Hightower in Seattle. Well coached talent, they’ll be starters in the NFL with a chance to be great I think. I do watch a lot of Bama football though, so I may be biased.

  49. Eric, the idiom is “for naught,” not “for not.” /gogo WA public education!

    Well said freedom_x, the FA is doing it well when it comes to valuing FA’s.

    I’d love to see both Upshaw and Hightower in Seattle. Well coached talent, they’ll be starters in the NFL with a chance to be great I think. I do watch a lot of Bama football though, so I may be biased.

  50. Damn you no edit button. /gogo self important d-baggery.

  51. goDawgsWA says:

    I may be in the vast minority but if DeCastro is there at twelve pick him. Or would love to see the trade back to say Browns 22 they’ll want Floyd and maybe get there 2nd rd pick and get Castro there; not alot of need for gaurd around but most likely not there, so much value, or Mercilus, then Higtower and possiblely Polk or the kid from SD state, or maybe the lb/de from marshall.

  52. nighthawk2 says:

    Well, who wants to sign your starting middle linebacker and outside linebacker when you can bring in a stellar tackle that Tom Cable used to coach half a dozen years and at least two teams ago? And now I read we’re bringing in Kregg Lumpkin for a visit (a move that is sure to strike fear in the hearts of defensive co-ordinators everywhere).

    Donta Hightower will not be there at our pick in the 2nd round. But pass that mirror with the lines on it over here. I need some to celebrate that season saving free agent signing we made yesterday.

  53. nighthawk2 says:

    “I may be in the vast minority but if DeCastro is there at twelve pick him.”

    Amen bro. I am completely on board with that. In fact, that’s the way my lastest mock draft has it. So let it be written, so let it be done.

  54. Nighthawk, I highly doubt Cable or anyone at Seahawks HQ thinks Ayodele is a season-saving pickup (youre comment was funny as hell though). He’s just versatile, veteran depth. Hell, he may not even make the team, but he’s worth bringing in to kick the tires.

    They obviously arent willing to overspend for Hill or Hawthorne, and they may intend to go in another direction–Carrol did say they wanted to get faster at LB. I think at least one of the two is gone, and their replacement will be found in the draft.

    DeCastro is fine by me. I sure as hell dont wanna see McQuistan starting at LG while we wait for Carpenter to heal.

  55. winterhawk says:

    I agree with most of you. I’d like to see Hawthorne back. Maybe 3-4 mil per year, thats kinda going rate, but he did play and play well for a really cheap price the last couple years. You can’t reward him with higher salary(more then he’s worth)and take a salary cap hit, but Hawks should reward his past effort. Maybe a nice signing bonus for a thanks. Still think that we need a solid A level speed rusher for the outside.I don’t really like linebackers plugged in to do that.Thats not what they trained for.I like Perry but not worth the 12th pick money.I do like the idea of trading down. He’d be there in the mid to late 20’s I think, and them maybe pick up another mid to late 2nd or 3rd with the swap or both. Maybe a 2nd and a 5th. we’re out a 5th aren’t we. I tell ya, watch out for the Rams. They got a boat load of picks for their #2.Somebody tell me, why did we just give away a 4th pick(Curry) for a 7th rounder? and why didn’t we at least trade Tatupu for a 7th, or at least 50 bucks. We seem to have GIVEN away some talent the last couple of years. I don’t see that as good business to just give away accets.

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