An ESPN report Thursday stated that Seahawks free-agent-to-be Jermaine Kearses does not plan to return to Seattle and is looking forward to finding a new home to play for.
Seattle Seahawks free-agent-to-be Jermaine Kearse does not plan to re-sign with the Seahawks and is looking for a new home, according to a tweet Thursday from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Schefter wrote that Kearse “reiterated” that sentiment, though it’s unclear when an initial quote from Kearse saying he didn’t plan to be back was made.
Kearse is entering his fifth season in the NFL after making the Seattle roster in 2012 as an undrafted free agent out of Washington.
The native of Lakewood said after the season that “I grew up in the state of Washington. I would love to be here. But there are going to have to be some decisions that have to be made, and we’re just going to have to see when that time comes.”
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Kearse made $2.3 million on a one-year tender as a restricted free agent in 2015 and now hopes to cash in on what is perceived to be a not overly good or deep class of free agent receivers, as well as a not overly strong or deep class of receivers in the draft.
Pro Football Talk lists Kearse fifth among free agent receivers, a fairly consensus rating for Kearse and one that means he is sure to get some offers.
One could come from Atlanta, which on Wednesday released Roddy White and is known looking for some receivers and also is coached by former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
The Seahawks also may have let Kearse know that there is a number they won’t go past, and Kearse may know that he will get more than that from someone on the open market, hence the statement to ESPN.
Kearse is represented by Premier Sports, which also represents Pete Carroll, among others.
Kearse caught a career-high 49 passes last season along with a career-high five touchdowns, and also again was a regular of many of Seattle’s special teams.
Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett were Seattle’s other two starting receivers last season (with a three-receiver set the team’s primary offensive formation) and each will return in 2016. It is expected that the Seahawks could look to extend Baldwin’s contract, which runs through the 2016 season and pays an average of $4.3 million. He could look to get in the $6-7 million range.
The team also expects Paul Richardson to be healthy after he was held to one game in 2015. Former UW receivers Kevin Smith and Kasen Williams are also set to return.
Kearse became known in his Seattle career for making catches at key times in games, such as the winning touchdown in overtime of the 2015 NFC title game (pictured above) and a circus catch in the Super Bowl that got the Seahawks to within one yard of a repeat title.
Kearse finished his UW career as the second-leading receiver in school history with 180 catches and then signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent.