It’s the third straight year one of the members of the Seattle's kicking battery has become an unrestricted free agent. Will the Seahawks hold on to one of the staples of the Pete Carroll era?
One of the staples of the rise of the Seahawks under Pete Carroll has been a consistent, and stable, kicking game.
The Seahawks have had the same kicking battery of punter/holder Jon Ryan, placekicker Steven Hauschka and snapper Clint Gresham since 2011.
But that could change this season as Ryan is an unrestricted free agent.
It’s the third straight year one of the members of the battery has been a UFA. Hauschka re-upped after the 2014 season and Gresham last year. We’ll see if the trend holds with Ryan.
Punter Jon Ryan
2015 salary: $1.5 million in what was the final season of a six-year, $9.1 million deal signed in 2010.
Role with Seahawks in 2015: The team’s starting punter and holder, Ryan averaged 45.7 yards per punt (16th in the NFL) as the Seahawks finished 29th in net punting at 37.9.
Free agent outlook: Ryan’s is another that will be an interesting case study in assessing a player’s market value. Ryan, 34, has been as consistent as any punter in the NFL the last eight years or so and has been better for the Seahawks than his raw numbers might suggest, often asked to punt directionally on short fields instead of just booming away. He is also the team’s all-time leader in just about every significant punting category, including yards per punt (44.8), long punt (77) and total attempts and punting yards. In other words, Ryan has become synonymous with punting in Seattle (not to mention the occasional pass).
But everybody is also always looking to go cheap where they can. And Ryan made it clear at the end of the season that he would have to do what was best for his long-term future.
There is not a huge list of free agent punters available (one of whom is Bryan Anger of Jacksonville, who was taken five spots in he 2012 draft ahead of Russell Wilson.) That also means not a ton of teams need a punter (the market for specialists always being more limited than that of other players).
Recall that the Seahawks got new deals done with Hauschka and Greshman about a week or so after the free agent signing period began, once they had taken care of a few other higher-priced items. That might be a scenario that develops again this year.
If not, the Seahawks may have to look to the draft or some of the other free agents available.