Seahawks Insider

Receivers room is packed full

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on May 13, 2014 at 1:37 am with 48 Comments »
May 13, 2014 10:26 am

It’s getting crowded on the sidewalk.

After fighting off the label of being a “pedestrian” group last season, the Seahawks’ wide receivers room is filling up.

The Seahawks took two wide receivers in last week’s draft. Speedy Paul Richardson was the Seahawks’ first pick of the draft with the 45th overall pick in the second round. Seattle selected rangy Alabama wide receiver Kevin Norwood in the fourth round.

Golden Tate signed with the Detroit Lions in the offseason, so the Seahawks had a void there. Tate led them in receptions and receiving yards last season.

So, the group labeled “pedestrian” last season by ESPN analyst and Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter, is being bolstered.

Restricted free agent Doug Baldwin was offered a second-round tender by the Seahawks in the offseason. He is yet to sign it. Baldwin has two options, at this point. Sign the tender which would pay him $2.187 million for the 2014 season and continue to negotiate, or holdout until he gets a better deal.

The latter seems unlikely. Baldwin has been participating in voluntary workouts with the Seahawks since they started in April.

The Seahawks also signed Sidney Rice in the offseason to a one-year deal. Rice is coming off ACL surgery and should be ready to participate in camp.

The two new guys grouped with Baldwin, Rice, Jermaine Kearse, Ricardo Lockette, Bryan Walters, Phil Bates, Percy Harvin and Chris Matthews produces multiple battles at wide receiver.

“It’s pretty dang stiff,” general manager John Schneider said of competition at the position.

The Seahawks have 12 wide receivers on their current roster. Six wide receivers caught passes last season.

Harvin, who also has been in Seattle for voluntary workouts, is expected to carry the load this season. He was coming off hip surgery last season and played in just one regular-season game. He’s the team’s highest-paid player by a wide margin.

Baldwin and Kearse had large impacts last season, particularly Baldwin. Lockette was a bit player. Bates was on the practice squad. Walters bounced between the practice squad and active roster. Matthews, a 6-foot-5, 218-pound offseason signing, was the Canadian Football League’s in 2012 before being hurt most of 2013.

Though, they all have experience on Richardson and Norwood.

Richardson has been described by Schneider as a combination of the DeSean Jackson, Baldwin and former Green Bay Packer Donald Driver. As the club’s top pick in the draft, he’ll stick.

Norwood will have a more difficult road. His numbers out of Alabama were muted (a career-high 38 catches last season) by the Crimson Tide’s run-first offensive focus — sound familiar? — but he was lauded for his work in the air and clutch. In fact, Norwood, who finished his Master’s Degree at Alabama, is nicknamed, “Mr. Clutch.”

“He was such a reliable guy for them,” Schneider said. “Third down. Big, big games. You could watch him two or three years ago playing against the Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu, now with the Arizona Cardinals), and the guy just had his hands full. I think that really stood out to me.”

Norwood — like Richardson — is going to have to prove himself anew against the league’s best secondary. Cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas talk only slightly less trash in practice to receivers than they do in games.

“There’s nothing Earl and Richard are more excited about than getting some new meat,” Carroll said.

Leave a comment Comments → 48
  1. Macabrevity says:

    Here’s what I’d like to see next season…

    Harvin – taking up a roster spot and not on IR
    Baldwin – leading the team in receptions
    Kearse – leading the team in TD receptions
    Rice – 50+ catches many of those in clutch situations
    Richardson – electrifying returns and a couple of deep balls
    Lockette – knocking peoples heads off on coverage teams, and a few deep balls caught

    Norwood and the rest have their work cut out for them in this group. The only weak spots I can see would be either beating out Lockette on ST, or Rice just never getting back to his old self.

    Will we carry more than 6? I doubt it, but there should be room on the D-squad for someone.

  2. joeradio says:

    Good list Mac…the only one I’d like to see replaced is Rocket with Chris Matthews. I understand Channel 83’s impact on special teams but I’d give the slight edge to 6’5″ based on more opportunities in the offense than the few plays on special teams. Norwood is also pretty intriguing.

    GO HAWKS!

  3. pabuwal says:

    Lockette also gets open and catches passes in limited opportunities.

  4. montanamike2 says:

    Joeradio i want Matthews too, 217? I’m 5-11 and a hair under 200 without being fat. Lockette was a good special teamer and made a few catches, but is that enough to lose a future contributor? I say let them battle in camp and if there’s a special player that needs to be stashed, so be it.

  5. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Lockette will also turn 28 in 10 days and has already been cut more than once.

    Although I like his special teams play (except for the bonehead personal foul in the Super bowl) Lockette will have to knock it out of the ball park in training camp & pre season to make the team, and have more than just the occasional great catch (like the one he had in the Super Bowl) to make the team imo.

  6. Screensmoke says:

    I want the best players-we will find out

  7. SaigonSun says:

    Norwood is NOT going to make it to the PS. Can’t stash him. It’s 53 ,or he’ll be snatched by someone else.

  8. HawkfaninMT says:

    First off, I feel like Sidney is going to start out on the PUP list. I realize he is ready to rock now, but why take the risk? Putting him on the PUP will give him an extra 10-12 weeks(OTAs, Preseason, and start of regular season) to heal up, and it will give an opportunity for another guy to play. How nice will it be to have a healthy and rested Sid Rice for the last half of the season infused into an offense that is hopefully already humming along?

    So I think it shakes out:
    Locks: Harvin, Baldwin, Kearse, Richardson
    Likely 2 of 3: Norwood, Matthews, Lockette
    PS/Out: Bates, Walters
    PUP:Rice

  9. PHXHawk says:

    I would dump Lockette for his choice of friends and activities during the off-season.

  10. Lockette, Bates, Walters should be worrying the most then Rice – Norwood. Every year we are surprised by someone who gets cut and someone who makes it the the PS. IF Norwood doesn’t show well in the Pre-season he could very well make it through to the PS.

    ya just never knwo

  11. Well some WR and/OR DB will be kept specifically for ST – many like to ignore that fact and base decisions only on position play but we have all seen guys make the team over the years by a guy who played a specific position better but wasn’t steallar on ST.

    Lane first made the team by being a solid ST guy and earned himself some extra time to stick around and become a better DB. Lockette goes the same. not a stellar WR – but found a way to contribute and make a difference for the team.

    Obamanu stuck around for a few extra years for the same reason.

    Who will that be this year? could it be Norwood? Maybe Lockette stays – what about Therold Simon?

  12. vichawkfan says:

    Norwood probably reminds a lot of us if that Harper kid last year. Let’s see if he comes in with less of a sense of entitlement.

  13. jboard1 says:

    Lockette was intriguing to me 2 or 3 years ago. Not anymore. Especially since he chooses to hang out with dumbo Kaepernick. That alone is enough to make me not care about him. Dude is 28 and still hasn’t figured it out.

  14. Southendzone says:

    Lockette never really showed anything but speed his first couple stints with us. Last year he excelled on special teams and seemed to me to show a different level as receiver.

    Like all his experience finally caught up with him and he was starting to understand how to play the position. He will put up a tough competition for a spot.

  15. chuck_easton says:

    I’m still sticking with my 6 WR’s. Rice, Baldwin, Kearse, Harvin, and Richardson.

    My very uneducated guess is we will see Rice and Baldwin the starting outside WR’s and Harvin will be in the slot. I see Richardson and Kearse fighting for the 4th/5th WR spots and I have Norwood replacing Lockette on ST and as the 6th WR for this season.

    People on here do not give Rice enough credit. If he’s healthy he’s a starter. At least for this season.

  16. while looking for the 2014 OTA dates I ran across a preliminary roster analysis.

    http://www.fieldgulls.com/nfl-off-season-2014

  17. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I think Rice is very valuable to the team when healthy.
    He has a different skill set that no other WR on the team has.

  18. jawpeace says:

    xcman, remember last year at the beginning of the season a WR named Stephens made the team by catching a few bombs from T. Jack. The guy played ZERO special teams and made the opening roster. Yes he had short leash and was cut after dropping two bombs during the first few games. Point is he made the team with no special teams contributation. So one can not deduce that special teams is the deciding factor. It does help significantly and if Stephens was playing good on special teams, then they might have over looked his drops.

  19. Macabrevity says:

    I like the idea of Rice starting on the PUP if it works out that way, could give us extra time to make a decision.

  20. thursday says:

    Norwood does not strike me as an entitlement guy at ALL if you look at his background. I think he works hard to get a spot here.

  21. Norwood and Harper are nothing alike in terms of their games. Their only similarity is they were drafted in the 4th rounds.

  22. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Why do I think of Tate when I see the word entitlement?

  23. banosser says:

    Norwood is very RW-like.. a pros pro… He will arrive and compete at the top of his game right from the get go.. Kearse had better step it up

  24. Chuck you say 6 WR’s but only list 5 guys. – who is your 6th?

    Jaw – still doesn’t disprove my point – never claimed it was the ONLY basis but A basis for evaluation. there are guys EVERY year who get kept for ST – my speculation was who will that be this year?!?!?

  25. ljarllrajl says:

    Since Rice has been here he has always missed practice, and worn the red jersey in training camp/preseason. I don’t think he makes the team if that is the case this off season. All the other receivers play special teams. Syd is now the old guy, with health concerns, who is on the bubble. I can’t recall a guy like that making Pete Carroll’s team these last 4 years.

  26. I agree Rice is on the bubble but until he gets beat out We will see – the 2 rooks and the canadian guy are going to have to step up!! if they want to make the roster.

    I still think only Harvin – Baldwin – Kearse are locks

  27. FleaFlicker says:

    Sydney Rice trade in late August to Cleveland for a 2nd round pick. Let’s go Schneider, make it so!

    That would leave
    Harvin
    Baldwin
    Kearse
    Richardson
    Norwood
    Lockette or Matthews

    Sydney’s value was being able to haul in some crazy difficult catches at critical times. But with Richardson’s speed and Mr. Clutch’s hands, I think we would still be upgraded without Sydney.

    #18 just has too much injury history and potential to go down again when we need him most. Go with the youth and the cheap contracts…

    But I wouldn’t be surprised if Doug ends up getting paid in Cleveland either. They have such a glaring need for a quality WR.

  28. I think there are 5 locks- Rice, Harvin, Kearse, Baldwin, and Richardson; but as noted Rice starting season on PUP list possible.

    But if healthy starting WRs will be the same as supposed to be last year- Harvin and Rice, with Baldwin and Kearse the rest of the regular 4-wideout set.

    I think Richardson is the punt returner while Harvin returns kicks. Richardson will also get his moments to run fly patterns just like Johnson did last yr, the difference being that Richardson will catch and make the most of his opportunities.

  29. I forgot to mention the 6th spot- I’m guessin it will be Norwood since he would be snapped up before making it to practice team.

    My 1st thought is Lockette has passed back and forth to PT, but not with ST and SB exposure would continue to do so. Thus I think if any of Harvin/Rice/Baldwin/Kearse/Richardson/Norwood are hurt may be the one we add.

    The others are no-names from which we add any that pass thru to the PT.

  30. banosser says:

    You might be able to get a 6th for Rice… but probably not..

  31. seaturkeys says:

    How does Rice have trade value when he was a free agent not long ago?

  32. doubledink says:

    a trade for Rice is extremely unlikely.

  33. I anticipate keeping Harvin/Rice/Kearse/Baldwin/Lockette and that we’d add another WR from the draft, when Tate was exposed in FA. Harvin/Rice are the starters that didn’t get to be so last yr. Tate/Balwin stepped up while Kearse took advantage of new opportunities given. It didn’t hurt Kearse that RW had him as a favorite trusted target.

    I was not disappointed Tate left of the 4 and not because he was the most expensive outside Harvin after Rice was reduced. I believe if given equal opportunities Kearse would become a better WR than Tate by yr end. So to me Tate only takes away opportunities from what will be a better wr by yr end.

    Except for void at punt returner, I was not that sad to see Tate go. Like Rice and Kearse at wr over Tate. Richardson at PR to me gives the kind of game breaking speed that Harvin does as a KR.

  34. Rice and Carpenter have the same trade value – a 7th rounder conditional on making the Pro Bowl.

  35. When analyzing WR fits don’t forget to factor in cost and continuity.

    The rookies have the benefit of being inexpensive and signed for the next 3 or 4 years.

    Rice is signed for one more year, albeit at a reasonable salary. To stay on the roster he needs to ‘win’ one of the top 3 or 4 spots. Or start the year on the PUP list and come back as a boost halfway through the year. He is not going to make the team (active roster) if he’s still working his way back from injury.

    Kearse is signed for 2 more years, 1 at his minimum rookie rate and another as a restricted free agent. He also performs, plays special teams, and is the epitome of Pete’s ‘always compete’ mantra. He’s a lock.

    Harvin is a lock. Signed multiple years, trading/releasing him would be a huge cap hit.

    Baldwin is signed for one year, 2 mil. He’s similar to Kearse in performance, competing, can play special teams (although more of a PR and less of a gunner type). He’s too valuable to cut, but I suppose it’s possible he gets traded if they can’t sign him to a long term contract.

    Richardson is a near-lock based on his draft position, skill set, continuity and cost of his rookie contract.

    Norwood probably makes the team assuming he competes and plays special teams.

    Again, continuity and cost matter for the last few WR roster spots. Having a guy for multiple years at a cheap rate is going to be better than having a guy for one year at a more expensive rate.

  36. ChrisHolmes says:

    I don’t see Rice as a lock. Not at all. 31 other teams passed on him in FA. Only the Jets were interested.

    The 5th and 6th WR spots are going to come down to special teams contributions. Rice doesn’t play special teams.

    I see it this way:

    1. Harvin
    2. Baldwin – if he signs his tender
    3. Kearse
    4. Richardson
    5. Norwood
    6. Lockette.

    I don’t think Rice makes the roster by the time training camp is over. We have other guys who are younger, less injury prone, and who will play special teams. I think Kearse’s size and growing ability are a valid replacement for Rice’s contributions, and Kearse can adn will play special teams.

    According to some charting, Kearse played on 34% of special teams plays last year. (Baldwin played on 25%). That’s pretty good value when your WR’s can contribute that way. I’d expect some of that load to transition to the two rookies now, and Lockette, if he makes the roster.

    I think signing Rice was simply a hedge bet against not getting a WR in the draft. But we got two. He’s expendable now. And his injury history just doesn’t help his situation.

    Now, if Baldwin doesn’t sign his tender, then I think Rice will make the team.

    I think the FO did two smart things with the WR’s they drafted:

    1) Richardson gives them some protection against Harvin getting injured again. He’s not the same as Harvin, but with his speed and ability, he can do some of the same things. The preference will be to get him on the field at the same time as Percey in certain situations, and force defenses to defend the entire field. As with all rookie WR’s, I don’t actually expect him to contribute too much this year, aside from some special teams play. But if he can get into the game in specific situations that take advantage of his speed and skill set, he could make an impact.

    2) Norwood seems like backup plan if Baldwin stalls/holds-out. Seems like a similar player to me; hard work-ethic, does everything right, dependable, runs good routes, gets open, etc. Baldwin’s tender is only for one year as well, which makes me think that the team really wants to see how these two rookie WR’s shake out. If Norwood evolves into something special, Baldwin would be seen as expendable next year.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love me some Angry Doug Baldwin, but with Russell Wilson’s impending contract coming next year, this team is going to have to find talent and shave money elsewhere. If a couple of rookie WR’s give them the talent for cheap, it would make sense to move on from vets like Rice and Baldwin.

    At any rate, I’m excited about the stable of receivers, and the fact that Bevell likes to go 4 and 5-wide from the shotgun. He’ll find ways to put various combinations of guys on the field and force defenses to account for every quadrant… Should be a fun season.

  37. freedom_X says:

    I don’t see why people think Richardson has return ability. As far as I know, Richardson returned 1 punt for 4 yards in his entire career @Colorado.

    Rice has zero trade value. Why not ask for 2 #1 picks? It’s just as likely as getting a 2nd rounder.

  38. banosser says:

    Richardson has said he will be given a shot a returning punts..

  39. Southendzone says:

    Schneider said the same on KJR yesterday morning.

  40. Icepilot says:

    I think that Rice plays as long as he’s healthy, as neither age or conditioning is an issue. He’s proven both the skill and the clutch ability. With both Harvin and Richardson being slightly more vulnerable to injury, having a few talented extras makes a lot of sense.

  41. freedom_X says:

    I would not say Harvin and Richardson are more prone to injury than Sidney Rice. If Sidney Rice can’t practice 100% (no skipped practices, no absences to fly to Switzerland for platlet treatments) from the beginning of camp, put him on the PUP as already mentioned and have him around as an injury replacement mid-season.

  42. wallinator says:

    The TNT’s own Todd Milles is On the Double with The Double S Xpress http://www.double-s-xpress.com/shows.html

  43. juliusvrooder says:

    Lockette lost me when he missed the bus to the Miami game. We can find a non-idiotic gunner.
    I am intrigued by the Canadians size. I believe syd is a legit starter, and clutch. PUP list is a great spot for him.
    Trade-bait to Cleveland is a cool idea, since they eternally suck, have the need, and we will be at 32 again next year. How about we trade Lockette there instead?

  44. SRVHawk says:

    I see Baldwin, Harvin, Kearse and Richardson being the locks. Kearse really played well last year and is their best WR on special teams. Yes, better than Lockette IMO. Hard to imagine that a 2nd rounder, Richardson, doesn’t make the squad.

    I’d handicap Rice and Norwood or Lockette as the 5th and 6th. Depends on what they see from Norwood on special teams and how they feel about his potential. The 6th WR will be inactive anyways.

    I’m not sure that many people here realize that placing Rice on the PUP means that he CANNOT practice or play in preseason. He can simply train and attend meetings. Not sure how you see if he is ready by doing that. And I think his contract would be guaranteed if they place him on PUP.

  45. EzraMelech says:

    @freedom_X

    Richardson might not have “returned punts” on this college team. However, lots of college players do more once they get to the pro’s. All you have to do is look at a little bit of tape on Richardson and you can “easily” see how he could be good as a punt returner.

    He’s fast, makes quick cuts, and makes LOTS of defenders miss in the open field. He blows by defenders often. All things you want to see in punt/kickoff returner. Is he a “LOCK”? No of course not. But it’s something I’m absolutely positive the team will at the very least look at and try him out at.

    His skill set lends himself to it naturally. That is why “I believe” many of us are saying he’ll be punt returner IMHO anyway… I of course can’t read other bloggers minds.

    My2CentsWorth

  46. freedom_X says:

    Certainly management must see something in Richardson to suggest giving him a try at punt returner, but that’s not a common skill. Being able to field the ball cleanly while also staying aware of the coverage team bearing down on him, in all conditions, is not easy.

    And then he has to have good judgement, knowing what he can do and what he can’t do. And he has to have ball security. I always thought Golden Tate should have been returning punts since he was a rookie, but I think Carroll had reservations about Tate’s judgement and preferred Len Washington (who was very fine as a punt returner as well.) No need to risk it if he had a safer and nearly as capable option.

    Kick returner is much easier to fill than punt returner. Many teams will end up playing a slower, less explosive player (even a possession receiver type) at punt returner because the more explosive, fast guys aren’t dependable enough and can’t handle the position.

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0