T.J. Lang told a Detroit radio station Monday he was "99 percent sure'' he was signing with the Seahawks on Saturday before the Lions countered on Sunday with the offer he ultimately accepted.
The circumstances surrounding the decision on Sunday of free agent guard T.J. Lang to sign with the Detroit Lions instead of the Seahawks became clearer on Monday.
Lang told a Detroit radio station Monday that he was “99 percent sure” he was signing with the Seahawks after leaving a visit with Seattle on Saturday but that the Lions then countered with the offer that he quickly accepted on Sunday morning.
And according to ESPN’s John Clayton there was a significant difference in those offers — Clayton reported that Seattle’s offer stopped at $8 million per year while Lang ended up getting $9.5 million per year from the Lions ($28.5 million over three years with $19 million guaranteed).
So the assumption would be that each team had about $8 million per year on the table as of Saturday with the Lions then upping the ante Sunday.
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Of course, Lang, who grew up in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, also had a well-stated desire to stay home (as did his wife, who is also from the Detroit area) and it’s possible he was looking for any reason to ultimately sign with the Lions.
But it also sounds as if the Lions gave him $1.5 million more reasons per year to stay and that he hopped on that offer quickly to sign Sunday morning, less than about 18 hours or so after he had left Seattle.
It also seems clear the Seahawks had a salary “threshold’’ — to use general manager John Schneider’s word last week at the NFL Combine — that they didn’t want to cross, even if $8 million a year represents the most the Seahawks have ever offered an outside free agent since Schneider became the GM in 2010 (an amount that also indicates the urgency the team feels to try to upgrade the line).
Fans anxious for Seattle to beef up the line may be wondering why the Seahawks wouldn’t just do what it took to get Lang under any circumstance, but maybe it’s possible they know that home was likely to win out anyway.
It also doesn’t really seem accurate to compare that Seattle gave Luke Joeckel $8 million and didn’t want to go above that number for Lang. The key there is that Joeckel received just a one-year deal, which mitigates the long-term risk of his signing, allowing the Seahawks to move on after next season if it doesn’t work out.
All of which is a good illustration of how much Schneider and the Seahawks are continuing to take a long-range view and not seeing this as a team with a window closing.
While there was much attention paid to Schneider’s comment at the Combine about being aggressive, Schneider also said that any spending this year comes in the contest that “we have to look out for not just 2017, but 2018 and 2019’’ and “we have models and we have to stay within those models.’’
So what now for adding to the offensive line?
As noted in earlier posts, expect the Seahawks to still try to sign one more, if not two more, veteran offensive linemen as they try to add experience to a young group.
But the pickings are slim now — the highest-rated offensive linemen left available on NFL.com’s list of the top 100 free agents is New York Jets’ center Nick Mangold at No. 66, who as a center wouldn’t appear to be an option for Seattle. Next on the list is Ryan Clady, also last year with the Jets, at No. 75. Clady, though, comes with an extensive list of injuries and will be 31 next season.
The name of another veteran tackle was added to the list of free agents Monday when the Chargers cut King Dunlap. But Dunlap likewise comes with injury issues (he has played just 19 games the past two seasons and had a knee injury at the end of 2016), turns 32 next September and has an unresolved legal issue after recently violating a protective order filed by a girlfriend which could put him at risk of facing an NFL suspension next season. Dunlap was expendable after the Chargers signed former Seahawk Russell Okung to take over as the team’s new left tackle.
There’s also one-time Seahawk Breno Giacomini. But he also is 32 and coming off of back surgery.
In other words, any signing at this point comes with lots of risk and few guarantees.
But figure Seattle to keep trying.
Another name to watch is guard/center Brian Schwenke, who played the last four seasons with the Titans.