March 16th is the official day where NFL free agency signings will happen. Although deals will be getting made on March 14th in the legal tampering period. With March 8th being the franchise tag deadline as well. Time for teams is rapidly running down, and Seattle has major decisions to make this offseason.
Looking at starters and rotational players that had significant playing time, Seattle has key pieces they must decide on. In the article, the focus will be on unrestricted free agents. Meaning Seattle has no control, and the players are free to negotiate with other teams on March 14th.
When signing a player back the team must ask is this, would we find greater value with the money or the player?
Seattle’s cap space is the eighth most in the NFL at just about $36 million. The caveat though is money needs to be put aside for draft picks, injuries, RFA, etc. Being critical of their free agents is a necessity, as resigning players will quickly dry up the cap space and leave little room for free agents to sign.
D.J. Reed – Cornerback
Would Not Re-sign
For back-to-back seasons Seattle will most likely get bid out at cornerback. When Shaquill Griffin left to the Jaguars it was a subtraction to Seattle’s defense. Long term, however, the value of Shaquill’s made him the 12th highest-paid corner. Sometimes it’s better to let a player walk if they can’t perform up to a lofty contract. Being only 25 years of age, versatility to play inside and outside corners. Reed’s market could climb to $10 million-plus a year.
Age is the number that makes a team overspend. There is only a handful of young corners hitting the market, two young corners J.C Jackson and Carlton Davis may even be franchised. Reed may be in line for the perfect market positioning being a young corner in a thin veteran-filled position group.
As much as it may hurt for him to leave, he has had health problems; the reason Seattle was able to grab him on waivers. I’d love Reed back at the right price. But Someone will pay a young corner with his stats a premium contract. Even if there are better players in the same position.
Sidney Jones – Cornerback
In May Jones will turn 26 years of age and has started half a season for Seattle. If Reed were to go, Seattle would be left with Ugo Amadi, and coming off injury both Tre Brown and Marquise Blair. Jones provides good depth at a cheap cost. Jones’ value should be at about $2 million and has started for Seattle.
Jones has had his injury problems in the past. Only played 30 games in the past three seasons. But the cost is worth having a younger corner that has been with Seattle. Allowing depth while finding value in free agency or the draft.
Rasheem Green – Edge
Green could be another fool’s gold player for reaching career highs on a contract year to maximize their market. However, Green may not have reached his peak being only 24-year-old with 6.5 sacks this past season. Being a rotational player until his final year in 2021, Green’s number may not be convincing to have a huge market in free agency. His run defense and lack of pass pressures may lower interest from other teams.
Though in his full-season starting he did reach a career-high in sacks. Also new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt is very high on Green. Hurtt was defensive line coach for all of Green’s career. With a new defensive scheme on the way focusing on the front seven is Hurtt’s goal this offseason to rush the passer. Green may be a better scheme fit in 3-4 style, while just finding himself in the NFL. Players in their mid-20s are when they reach their prime. And at about $4 million a year, Green may be a steal value-wise.
Al Woods – Defensive Tackle
Would Re-sign him
Woods could have had a great season based on taking a year off and coming back fresh. Though turning 35 and not having a pass-rushing upside, the market for Woods will be limited. He would be cheap and be a great rotational piece to stuff the run. If for a couple of million dollars he repeats his performance in the 2021 season, it would be another great value move.
Quandre Diggs – Safety
Would Re-sign Him/Would Franchise Tag Him
Arguably the most valuable Seahawks player on defense is Quandre Diggs. Since coming to Seattle, Diggs in the secondary has been that game-changing playmaker Seattle hasn’t had since the Legion of Boom. The Seahawks struggled with turnovers on defense, so much so Pete Carroll is shifting his offseason focus on getting more turnovers on defense. In 38 games for Seattle Diggs nabbed 13 interceptions.
When it comes to Diggs’ injury, Pete Caroll at the combined in Indianapolis commented that Quandre should be good to go by training camp. The team appears to be high on Diggs and believes in his recovery. If Seattle wanted their money on defense to perform Diggs is the obvious pick still in his prime. If Seattle can pay $36 million for three years, their safeties can secure the defense if they can address the line.
If a deal couldn’t be met using the tag is viable for a player like Diggs. The tag for safety is slated for $13 million. Seattle has only ever used the tag twice in the Pete Carroll/ John Schneider era. Diggs is a must keep a guy for the locker room, as well as a playmaker on defense.
What he does best is what the team wants to do next year is taking the ball away.
Keep Cap In Mind
I believe that Diggs or Reed is the decision the Seahawks will be faced with offseason. Both play in the secondary, but Seattle has had better luck developing and acquiring cornerback than safeties. And the NFL looks at safety as less valuable than cornerback. If both get similar contracts, Seattle should take the biggest difference-maker.
If all these numbers are accurate that would be over half the cap just to re-sign these four of five defensive players. Seattle will focus on re-signing their own and not signing the top free agents. Keep close on Seattle’s offseason, there will be a lot of shuffling players. Some key names will not be re-signed, and some may even be cap casualties.