Seahawks Insider

LB David Hawthorne signs with Saints

Post by Eric Williams on April 3, 2012 at 3:34 pm with 59 Comments »
April 3, 2012 3:47 pm

The Seattle Seahawks will be without the team’s leading tackler for the past three seasons.

The New Orleans Saints announced that David Hawthorne signed a five-year deal to join the team.

“He wanted to come back there,” Hawthorne’s agent Russel Hicks said. “He got his NFL start there, but unfortunately Seattle did not make him a priority to bring him back and New Orleans made it a priority to get him signed.

“Personally I just wish they would have made a better attempt to bring him back, but they didn’t. And David does, too.”

Talks between the Seahawks and Hawthorne intensified a week ago, but ultimately the two sides never got to the point where they agreed on financial terms or length of the contract, and Hawthorne went with the offer he had on the table from New Orleans.

Hicks said that New Orleans showed interest in Hawthorne at the opening of free agency, and still pursued Hawthorne even after the team signed Atlanta free agent linebacker Curtis Lofton.

Hawthorne is the third free agent linebacker signed by New Orleans this offseason, joining Lofton and Chris Chamberlain from St Louis.

It was expected that the Seahawks would go hard after Hawthorne after re-signing running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant, but the Seahawks never went after Hawthorne with the same fervor they pursued the first two.

Along with Bryant and Lynch, the Seahawks brought in free agents Matt Flynn and Jason Jones, hampering their ability to make a significant financial commitment to Hawthorne.

Hawthorne, who turns 27 in May, was considered one of Seattle’s team leaders on defense.

But the Seahawks also had some concerns about Hawthorne’s lingering injury issues after limping through the 2011 season with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee for most of the year.

With Hawthorne gone and K.J. Wright the only starting linebacker currently on the team’s roster, the Seahawks likely will look to bolster the position in the draft Seattle also could consider bringing back veteran linebacker Leroy Hill in free agency

NFL free agency
Leave a comment Comments → 59
  1. Well, if Keuchly isn’t there in the first, we’d better take kendricks in the second…

    This changes our options a bit.

  2. Wow. 5 year contract? Too bad the Seahawks didn’t re-sign him, but I’m not surprised the Seahawks wouldn’t give him a 5 year deal with all his knee trouble last year.

    This locks it. Round 1, pick 12: Luke Kuechly.

  3. Dukeshire says:

    Well, as I said in the previous thread, I’m sorry to see him go. He worked his ass off for this team, earned a starting spot after being an UDFA, and was the defenses most productive tackler for 3 straight seasons, at two different positions. I think this was a mistake for Seattle (of course, I haven’t seen the contract details yet) but I wish him the best.

    Hello Luke Kuechly at 12…?

  4. Sarcasticus says:

    I think it will be also be the BC product unless the thought is to move Wright to the middle and draft an OLB. Hightower would look good in the middle, but that is if the Seahawks move back some.

  5. grizindabox says:

    I think Kuechly is going to Carolina at pick #9

  6. Dukeshire says:

    As bad as Carolina’s run defense was last season, I’d be surprised if they passed on Poe or ever Brockers.

  7. I’ll be doing backflips across the Atlantic ocean and all the way across the american continent if we draft Kuechly, I’ve haven’t seen or heard anything about him that I haven’t liked. With that said, sad to see Hawthorne sign with Saints, as mentioned above it is understandable with that contract, but still, he was a great player of us hopefully he’ll run into us deep in the playoff at somepoint soon”

  8. raymaines says:

    Ya gotta think the brain trust has a secret plan, but I’m a little worried about the LB position. Can you play a 6-1 defense?

  9. grizindabox says:

    Duke, I think Poe will be a guy that drops. Brockers is the other guy I think Carolina might pick.

  10. I’ll miss Heater too, but it doesn’t pay to get attached to LBs these days. A few years and they’re out, it seems.

    If Kuechly cannot be drafted at 12, then Ingram from SC could be an interesting player at OLB, and also play down on the line. He could be a really interesting guy to have on D. And like Sarcasticus says, KJ could play MLB.

    Possibilities for this upcoming draft just get interestinger and interestinger.

  11. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    I think the personnel department and coaching staff have proven that there are capable defensive players that get lost in the late rounds and fall through the cracks in free agency. Considering where they found Hawthorne, I’m confident that it’ll be ok. I don’t think linebacker warrants a #12 pick when we’re missing a pass rusher, reliable receiving threat, shut down CB, franchise QB … or heck even a plan B for Lynch. The cleveland game is proof that we’re a sore back away from being inept offensively.

    Unless 22 year old Patrick Willis is available at 12, I sure hope we don’t draft linebacker in the 1st round.

  12. CHawkFanIn9erLand says:

    By the way. Heater, you did a great job with a great attitude. And for not very much money. My hat’s off to you. A sincere, heartfelt thanks for everything!

  13. This locks it. Round 1, pick 12: Luke Kuechly. – Stevos

    Ahh, yes, because you must replace all undrafted free agents immediately with first round picks. And pay them more. Sounds brilliant.

    Or we could replace Hawthorne with just about anybody for this system, hence not paying him.

  14. Carroll pretty much said right after the season that tbey were going to let Forsett, Hill and Hawthorne walk.

  15. The “Seahawks lose Hawthorne to Saints” thread vanished and has been reborn as this one. Hmmmmm.

    I’m sorry to see Hawthorne go. He was solid on the field and a total pro. Good luck amigo.

    As far as remaining FAs at ILB, neither of these guys fit the “youth and speed” movement by any means but the immortal London Fletcher (38 @ season’s start, 166 tackles) or E.J. Henderson (32, 110 tackles) remain on the market. Hopefully we don’t go into the draft feeling like we HAVE to take Kuechly if he’s available. Not that he wouldn’t be a good pick. Just don’t want to go in desperate.

  16. And I hope the Panthers don’t frac up the draft by taking Brockers. Leave him for us!

  17. “Carroll pretty much said right after the season that tbey were going to let Forsett, Hill and Hawthorne walk.”

    How do you mean?

    You figure Hill is good as gone too? Leaves us pretty thin, even if we do staff up with rookies, it’s nice to have some experience at LB.

  18. Dukeshire says:

    Carson – You think “anybody” can step in a perform at Heater’s level, that easily? Wrong.

    When exactly did Carroll say he was letting Forsett, Hill and Hawthorne walk? You may have thought that may happen, but Carroll has said, on many occasions, his priority was to re-sign their own players.

  19. “I don’t think linebacker warrants a #12 pick when we’re missing a pass rusher, reliable receiving threat, shut down CB, franchise QB … or heck even a plan B for Lynch. The cleveland game is proof that we’re a sore back away from being inept offensively.”

    Yeah, I agree with that sentiment in general. I’d put pass rusher, and playmaker on offense as a higher level need. We found Lofa in the 2nd round, maybe we can find his successor there too. Don’t think we need any CB’s though . .

  20. ryanryan says:

    me thinks leroy and his agent are two happy individuals tonight

  21. grizindabox says:

    pdway, I also think they must look pass rusher at #12 and come back with Kendrick or Wagner.

    Galena, no way the Hawks select Brockers

  22. ryanryan says:

    i’ve said before that they will most likely do with the lb/dl positions that they did with db’s last year…draft them early and often and hope they hit on a couple.

  23. HawkfaninMT says:

    Some names:

    Larry Grant RFA
    Kuelchy -1st (Too high IMO)
    Hightower (1st=reach-2nd=steal)
    Kendricks -2nd
    Wagner -2nd

    Zach Brown- 2nd
    Sean Spence -3rd
    Bruce Irvin -4th
    Danny Trevathan(Love him in the 4th-5th)

  24. During Carroll’s end of season conference he said:

    * Carroll again stood behind Jackson, commending him for playing through the pectoral injury, and stating that he will be the leader at the position heading into training camp, but that he will have to compete for the job.

    * In terms of the development of his team, Carroll said they need to get faster at linebacker, increase the pass rush both on the edge and in the interior, and add some playmakers on offense, including a receiver and a running back.

    * Carroll said that Ricardo Lockette will get an opportunity to compete for a receiver spot, one of several guys that will get a chance to compete or a job opposite Sidney Rice.

    Duke even went ahead and commented –

    “Very interesting comments about linebacker. My gut feeling is that they will not bring back Heater, for good or ill. I have nothing solid to base that on, and Carroll may in fact be talking about letting Hill walk and penciling in Smith at Weak Side. Wright seems to be the only safe one of the three, from where I sit. That will be very interesting situation to watch.”

    Bottom line folks is that Carroll has been very transparent with their offseason plans and they have not deviated one bit.

  25. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    i am pretty much suprised how many people want a LB in the first. the front office has shown an uncanny ability to find talent in later rounds more so on D and at DN/LB so i am not overly worried about that.
    that siad i am still sold on decastro or a DE first and foremost.

  26. Seahawks2620 says:

    I am not pressing for a MLB in the first, I just feel as if MLB is a much harder void to fill as a rookie. Aaron Curry was an OLB and he couldn’t fulfill that role at a high level. A lot of fans will acknowledge just how much Hawthorne has done for this team if we intend on plugging in “just anyone” at MLB. Not saying it needs to be in the first, but we do in fact need to do something, and can’t afford to wait until the fourth and on hoping that one pans out.

    As for Dont’a Hightower, I don’t think Hightower later in the first is a reach at all. He is was quite the commander on that potent Alabama D. At 12, yes a bit of a stretch, especially if Kuechly is still on the board.

  27. Dukeshire says:

    pabuwal – Even though my feeling was that they’d let him walk (and I was right) it was based only on a feeling. I acknowledged that there was nothing solid to go on. But I wouldn’t be so presumptuous to believe I knew with the certainty you have, that I knew Carroll was singling out Heater. You clearly have a better sense of what Carroll means, than I.

  28. grizindabox says:

    I just do not see DeCastro as the pick at #12

  29. Seattle’s loss is New Orlean’s gain. Sorry, Heater, would have liked you to stick around, but you certainly earned the right to the biggest paycheck you could get. Good luck.

  30. seahawk44 says:

    They could bring in one of the old free agent linebackers for a little veteran leadership and insurance in case the drafted rookies don’t immediately pan out.

    London Fletcher is OLD, but still productive and a leader.
    James Farrior, same thing, but he was a Steeler.
    Bradie James … seemed to slip last season.

    What do you think?

  31. Carroll also said during the same press conference:

    * Carroll said the development and play of young quarterbacks coming out of college, including Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton has changed his opinion on young quarterbacks having success right out of college.

    So in the draft, I would expect them to focus on LB, WR and RB and developmental QB.

  32. I really like Hawthorne, but you don’t get faster at Linebacker by resigning him, especially to a 5 year deal. If they are going to spend money at LB, I think they want to know that the guy has room to grow and improve, but the Heater is pretty much as good as he’s going to get. And he doesn’t have the speed that Carroll covets, so if you are particular about what you want, you probably shouldn’t spend the money and lock up a player for 5 years who doesn’t quite fit the mold, even if he is a good player. They want someone who fits their mold and has plenty of room to grow and improve.

    Wright looked good at MLB in the first game of last season when he subbed for the Heater…that was his first game as a rookie, too. He’s big, he’s faster than the Heater, and he’s got great instincts. I’d be willing to bet that they are planning on moving Wright to the Middle, possibly resign Hill, and draft one or two outside LBs somewhere in the first 4 rounds. This is a deep LB class, which means talented LBs will probably fall into the 2nd and 3rd rounds. If they end up drafting Kuechly at #12 (or Kendricks in the 2nd), they can keep Wright at Sam. If they go DE or OLB in the first, they can move Wright to the middle. They still have a lot of flexibility in this draft.

    Good luck in NO, Heater. We’ll miss you!

  33. SeahawkFan12 says:

    Did Heater see the new unis and sign with the Saints? LOL….Sorry to see him go, but I kinda felt like this might happen. Thanks for the great play, Heater!

  34. That’s too bad……. Really gonna miss the heater and his reliable productivity.

    I am with most of you in thinking we need to get two or three of LeRoy Hill, Larry Grant, Luke Kuluchy, Bobby Wagner or Mychal Kendricks.

    Of course, first round preference is still Whitney Merciless (DE).

  35. bayareahawkfan says:

    Apropos of nothing, I have a scary good feeling about this season. I don’t put stock into these things, but look at the following confluences:

    – 2012 season
    – 12th pick in the draft
    – 12th man reconfirmed as core to team w/new uniforms

    Well all of that AND we have a QB with tremendous upside, a demonstrated solid running identity, and a nasty defense which is only going to get meaner.

    Cannot wait for the draft!

  36. Malcolm Smith is going to surprise a bunch of you next year. He’s going to be flying around the ball and is going to be our Derrick Brooks. No, I’m not saying he’s going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer like Brooks, nor even a multi-time Pro Bowler, but I am saying he’s going to be a guy that flies around with his speed and becomes an asset to this defense. A pass rusher is still more of a priority than a LB, IMO.

  37. Dukeshire says:

    I like what I saw out of Smith in preseason at least, last year. Thing is, when he was at Will, and Wright was at Mike, they ran an under front, exclusively. I cannot wait to see how they approach the front 7 this season.

  38. ryanryan says:

    upon further investigation, seattle has BY FAR the best uniforms in the league…it took a few hours, but they have grown on me and i love them.

  39. Carson, you don’t get it. Drafting Luke Kuechly at 12 would not be a ‘replacement’ for Hawthorne. Kuechly would be a big upgrade in our LB corps, with or without Hawthorne next to him. He’s a guy some team will be lucky to get, maybe us.

    The only reason I could imagine us passing on Kuechly is if we had signed Hawthorne to a big fat contract. But that didn’t happen.

  40. pabuwal – that will be interesting to see, if they decide to draft a QB this year or not. If a guy they really love falls to them, sure I could see it. But it will give them a big problem if they draft a QB.

    Flynn is as yet unproven so TJack is still a lock to stay on the roster. So either they’ll have to cut Portis, who they say they want to develop, or they’ll have to put their 4th QB on practice squad, where they could lose him.

    So I would bet Schneider and Carroll talk each other out of drafting any QBs this year.

  41. seahawk44 says:

    Stevos …. I am with you on Kuechly. He could be the next Brian Urlacher, and I would hate to see him have an amazing career with another team. If he is there at #12 …..Draft him!

  42. Thanks Heater, good for you getting a 5 year deal. I know JS & PC were not going to put that deal on the table for you. Kuechly sounds like a good pick, but with so many people predicting that’s where they’re going, it’s almost certain that they will not do it. I think Hill on a one year deal would be a good insurance policy, but hopefully they have some late round LBs they are looking at.

  43. JoeinKirkland says:

    As much as I like the Heater, I am pleased to see management not overspending for a guy just because they have familarity with him. Growing up a 49er fan, they were never afraid to give up on a guy a year too early, because it is preferable to holding onto him a year too late.

    Especially at linebacker, which has such a short career lifespan because of all the collisions they are a part of, I vote for always going young. Let those young and hungry guys fly all over the field trying to earn the big paycheck and then replace them with other young and hungry guys. The only exception is if you have a guy like Ray Lewis, or Patrick Willis. If you are lucky enough to have one of them, ride ‘em until they can’t walk anymore.

  44. Yo Heater – hope you get all 5 of those years. Wishing you the best of health and appreciate all the hard work.

    I hope we don’t go LB in the first round again. Pete has proven he can coach up LB’s and knows exactly the types of qualities he’s looking for. He will find a couple later in the draft and they can compete with Malcom and Konz. Wouldn’t be surprised to see some good UFA’s as Seattle will be their best opportunity at a job this year. No worries at LB folks. Nothing to see here – move along.

  45. nidhighe says:

    Wright can play MLB. Should be some good OLBs in the 2nd round or later, so we can still focus on DE in the 1st. Hill may be re-signed at some point. So I’m not hugely concerned about the LB position at this point.

  46. Dukeshire says:

    I would be somewhat surprised I’d Wright is moved to the middle. He can play he position, of course. And well, too. But I believe his talent is best served on the outside. I think he has all pro potential there. His ability to shed blocks, his coverage, and his speed are a beautiful combination at Sam. I believe he has the ability to cover some of the more athletic TEs in the league, that present such a difficult matchup for most teams. That’s part of the reason I’m hoping they don’t move him to Mike, and find a capable solution there.

  47. GeorgiaHawk says:

    “Whether you like the new uniforms or not, the game doesn’t change. I’d rather have a winning record in sweatpants than a losing one in silk”.

    Doug Baldwin.

    I didn’t get to comment about our new uniforms until now, however two things. 1- I agree with what Baldwin say’s, ( just make this guy a team captain now FO! ), and 2- I am so glad the team has gotten away from the rotten meat blue look! Lol.

    Now I agree with Stevos about drafting Kuechly, and him being an upgrade over Heater, ( who I do really like), However I don’t think Kuechly will be there at 12, but I hope he is along with you know who.

  48. psoundpowerhouse says:

    yawn, … he was slow. Hey lets get a young big fast kid in rnd 2 or 3!

  49. If you look at what PC did traditionally on defense at USC, you will see the pattern with what is going on in Seattle. Big hitter in the secondary (Kam), D-line that is very stout against the run (yep), MLB’s that can cover sideline to sideline, and OLB’s that can get after the QB and deliver big hits. If Wright slides to the middle as projected, then we are two OLB’s with that skill set short of having the type of game-changing, dominating defense that PC envisions. I dig it.

  50. Anybody on this blog ever played linebacker?Maybe joeinkirkland!2 things it takes to play middle linebacker.a big heart and even bigger BALLS!an above average good solid backer is the easiest position to fill in the NFL ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU have KEN NORTON AS YOUR LINEBACKER COACH.heaters toast !good solid above average linebacker who the Seahawks obviously were ready to move on from! I get it.Boston college backer at 12 ! I don’t think so! maybe if that candy ass ruskell was still around !

  51. HeinieHunter says:

    I think NO is crazy giving Heater a five year contract. I don’t see his knees holding up that long. Glad he got some financial security as he’s a good guy, but glad its not from us. Best of luck to him.

  52. I don’t get why Mr Happy basically let Heater walk. We now HAVE TO draft LB & pray that at least 1 & quite possibly 2 rookie LB’s are ready to start.

  53. RDPoulsbo says:

    This year’s draft is very deep in LBs. It’s why the FA market at that position has been so soft. I’m really not that worried.

    The real question is why he’d sign there when it’s not likely he’ll even start. The Saints signed Curtis Lofton for 5 years/ $27.5 mil with $7.8 mil guaranteed last Sunday. That certainly rules Hawthorne out as starter in the middle.

  54. Say hello to trading down from #12 for an extra 3rd rounder, even better if it’s a 2nd rounder. Let some other team get greedy and desperate. Too much talent in round 2 and 3 to panic and take a LB at #12. Hasn’t Seattle learned that drafting a LB that high is risky at best? KJ is a stud (4th) and Curry is gone and was only worth a 7th. No brainer. TRADE DOWN.

  55. ryanryan says:

    interesting read on the hawthorne situation:

    source says seattle rescinded a 2 year deal tuesday afternoon…very interesting that they would pull it off the table.

  56. “I think NO is crazy giving Heater a five year contract. I don’t see his knees holding up that long.”

    Forget the length of the contract. What matters is the guaranteed money. It may not be that much. If the Seahawks rescinded a two-year offer, compelling Hawthorne to sign with the Saints, then the guaranteed money on that two-year offer must have been close to the guaranteed money on the Saints’ five-year contract (for Hawthorne to still have been on the fence).

    The Seahawks also rescinded an offer to Hasselbeck. Schneider’s playing hard ball, I suppose. “This is our best offer. If you don’t accept it by this date, we’re going to take it off the table.”

  57. Coach81 and JIRISH – True, True, and I really can’t disagree with you, even though I covet Kuechly. You’re right that drafting Kuechly at 12 seems unlikely. But I’ve coveted Kuechly since watching him play against FL State last year and imagining him in our D.

    He is what Pete Carroll covets in a LB – fast, sideline to sideline, instinctive, always on the ball. That said, you’re right that Carroll may refuse to go LB at 12 with so many other good athletes available.

  58. jchawks08 says:

    I won’t be so callous to say that I’m glad Heater is gone, but I’m glad we didn’t resign him. 27yo and body breaking down before our eyes. We don’t need that. Let’s keep up the infusion of young blood on this team. This is a cruel world and we can’t afford to be sentimental about these players any more. If we want to win anything that is.. I’d of never said that 5 years ago, but I’m sick of not winning a dang thing around here. Be it NFL, NCAA, MLB, NBA…oh wait, etc etc.

  59. Our time is coming my friend!our time is coming!

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