Here is a recap of five key Seahawks takeaways from the NFL League Meetings.
The NFL League Meetings have come and gone. Next on the league’s seemingly never-ending schedule is the draft, which is April 30-May 2, though at some point before that will also come the unveiling of the 2015 schedule (no set date for that yet that I have seen but it is expected to come sometime in mid-to-late-April).
The three days of the league meetings, and all of the various press availabilities, can lead to a dizzying array of information.
So I thought I would break out five key takeaways involving the Seahawks:
1. Expect Russell Wilson’s contract extension talks to get serious now: There’s been a lot of chatter about Wilson and his pending extension, but so far, not a lot of apparent action. What became clear from Seattle GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll is that they had sort of a timeline for what they wanted to get done in the offseason — get through free agency, prepare for the draft, etc. — and that the time for the talks with Wilson to get serious is nearing. As we’ve pointed out, the Seahawks have typically done their extensions in late April-early May. Given the potentially historic nature of the Wilson contract, it could take longer. But the key takeaway from the Seahawks at the meetings involving the Wilson contract is that they feel everything remains on schedule. Also, don’t expect Wilson’s contract to be fully guaranteed, as has been discussed. That isn’t anything the Seahawks said. But it’s just not thought that’s something that is realistic to happen.
2, Michael Bennett may indeed be a little miffed about his contract, but it probably doesn’t matter much: While the Seahawks said Michael Bennett hasn’t communicated to them that he is unhappy with his contract, that doesn’t necessarily mean he isn’t just a little. Lots of players grumble a bit about their deals, and there are indications Bennett may be in that group at the moment. But it doesn’t necessarily mean muchof anything. Bennett has three years left on his contract and had his $6 million base salary for 2015 guaranteed as of five days after the end of the season. And the team won’t renegotiate with three years left. So ultimately, while there may be a little smoke here, there isn’t much fire.
3. The Seahawks feel better about their center position than their fans might: While the Seahawks are still in the running for some free agent OLs, notably the still-unsigned Stefen Wisniewski, nothing indicates the team feels it is a really urgent matter to add a veteran center as they seek a replacement for Max Unger. They have 11 picks in the draft and can address it there, and the team feels good about what it has returning — Patrick Lewis, Steve Schilling (who it sounds like will likely re-sign soon) and Drew Nowak, a practice squad guy last year who is listed at guard but who can also play center and who the team considers as a legitimate part of the mix. The same can be said at left guard, where the team seems comfortable with the idea of Alvin Bailey as the starter. Again, that’s a lot of draft picks Seattle has so there will be some additions. But
4. The Seahawks may still have a decision to make on Brandon Mebane: Schneider, when asked Monday whether he expects Mebane back in 2015, said that’s the hope but that “we are going to continue to work through the off-season here. As of right now, yes.’’ Obviously, that can be read as the team leaving the door open to still be considering options with Mebane, including restructuring his contract or releasing him. The issue is that Mebane is due to make $5.5 million in 2015, the last year of his contract, considered a pretty high number for a run-stuffing tackle. I’m not sure it’s accurate to read it that the signing of Ahtyba Rubin was done to find a replacement for Mebane. All indications are they’d like to keep Mebane. But it may have to come at the right price, one that may still be TBD.
5. All the injury info sounds status quo: Seattle’s injury situation sounds like this — the team expects everyone to be ready for the start of the season with the exceptions of WR Paul Richardson and CB Jeremy Lane, who each have 9-10-month rehabs after having had ACL surgery. ACL rehabs pretty much are what they are — can’t really rush those. Lane and Richardson each had surgery after the season — Richardson earlier than Lane since he was injured in the Carolina playoff game. As such, Richardson is about a month or so ahead of Lane. It’ll be no surprise if each begins the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list — at this point, the surprise would be if they weren’t on that list when camp begins. But Carroll said again Wednesday he expects Earl Thomas to be ready for the start of the season, and he indicated Tharold Simon will, as well. And no one else appears to have an issue that would threaten their availability for the beginning of the season (with the obvious caveat that there is always the chance of a setback or something else happening).