Seattle's Bruce Irvin told BlackSportsOnline.com that he's going to be "in Atlanta next season.''
Seattle linebacker Bruce Irvin said Wednesday night while attending the Atlanta Hawks game that he plans to play for the Falcons in 2016.
Irvin, who grew up in Atlanta, told BlackSportsOnLine.com that “I’m going to be in Atlanta next season. I’m ready.”
And when asked if he would return to Seattle, he said: “Atlanta is where I want to be. Believe that.”
Irvin, of course, may well have his choice of where he wants to play following the 2015 season as the Seahawks did not pick up an option for the 2016 season that would have paid him almost $7.8 million — something that has obviously not gone over well with Irvin.
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Seattle coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider said instead that they hoped to sign Irvin to a contract, one that would likely be for more years but at less money per year.
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But if the two sides do not reach a deal then Irvin would be a free agent.
Publicly stating that Atlanta is where he would go, though, is an interesting strategy — free agents usually like the idea of drumming up interest among a lot of teams and going to the highest bidder.
Irvin unquestionably is miffed at the Seahawks, given the Tweets he sent out after it became known the team would not pick up his option such as: “Faced way tougher adversity getting outta them streets coming up! That’s s— is nothing! F— THAT OPTION!”
Maybe Irvin is just letting off some steam and having some fun — he was at an Atlanta event, and as the Tweet above shows, he’s not afraid to say pretty much whatever.
Or maybe Irvin, the team’s first-round pick in 2012, won’t re-sign with the Seahawks regardless of what they offer because he’s mad about the option. Or maybe he’s already gotten a sense that the Seahawks won’t give him an offer he wants to consider.
It’s worth remembering he’s under contract for Seattle for the 2015 season, the final season of his initial four-year deal. The Seahawks were given the option to add the extension due to a clause allowing teams to add a fifth year to the deals of first-round picks.
Seattle declined the option in large part due to wanting work out a deal that would allow for a softer salary cap number in 2016, with the Seahawks also facing the challenge of extending Russell Wilson’s contract, as well as middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, both of which would likely add significant hits to the cap beginning in 2016.
Irvin could hold out or something like that in the hopes of forcing a trade to Atlanta — which is not only his hometown but also now coached by former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Otherwise, he’s a Seahawk in 2015. Beyond that, though, obviously is in question, and was before Irvin said what he did last night.
Seattle has added some bodies to play some of the roles Irvin does with the team, which has changed over time — recall that the team envisioned him mostly as a pass-rushing end when drafted. Irvin has instead developed sort of a hybrid role as a strongside linebacker on run downs and a pass rusher on passing downs. Kevin Pierre-Louis could be a future answer at strongside linebacker, and the team is also looking at Eric Pinkins now at that spot. As for rushers, Seattle took Frank Clark with its first pick in the 2015 draft and has some other young players in the fold it wants to develop as rushers (sixth-round pick Obum Gwacham appears quite the project, but he’s a new body at that spot, as well).
But Irvin’s continued statements on this topic — via interviews or Twitter — definitely could create an interesting dynamic for the 2015 season.