Time for some more Seahawks mailbag questions.
A: As for the first question, I’m sure the Seahawks will look at any number of players from the now-defunct Alliance of American Football after it folded this week, as all teams will. You mentioned Moore, a defensive end who was with Seattle for a little while in 2016, with half-a-sack and seven tackles in four games before suffering a foot injury and then becoming a free agent.
He actually had another tryout with the Seahawks in 2017 and two in 2018, so he’s been on Seattle’s radar for a while. There were a few former Seattle draft picks in the league, as well, such as tackle Terry Poole and defensive back Eric Pinkins. So there’s a lot of guys the Seahawks are familiar with who are now available. I’d imagine someone at some point who had AAF experience lands with the Seahawks.
But it’s worth remembering almost everybody in the league has been on an NFL roster before, and most of them have been with several teams. So it’s not like there were a lot of fresh, young unknowns in that league.
Also worth keeping in mind is that for any AAF player who was in the NFL just picks up where they left off in terms of their NFL accrued seasons tally. Moore, for instance, has five accrued NFL seasons so he’d have to be paid at least $805,000 this season, the minimum for a player with 4-6 seasons in the league. That’s part of why a lot of those guys were available to play in the AAF — NFL teams would often rather fill out their roster with younger, cheaper players than mid-level vets who already have a pretty significant track record.
But as the next few months unfold, I’m imagine Seattle will add a few players who had some time in the AAF.
A: The latest on Malik McDowell is that he worked out for the Cowboys last month after he was waived by the Seahawks. That’s all detailed in this story here. He has not signed with Dallas and there have been no further reports on if he has been cleared medically. If he is not cleared by anyone medically to play then he will not be playing this season, or any season, simple as that.
Of course, now it’s easy to say it was a bad pick. But Seattle had no way to know what would happen when he was selected. Life is messy and imperfect and all that.
But in terms of his football future, the Seahawks do not think he can safely play again. If they thought he could then they would have kept him and tried. But they don’t think that. Maybe another team will. But as coach Pete Carroll said at the league meetings, the Seahawks would find it surprising if that happens.
A: Before? I wouldn’t think so. The Seahawks already have a lot going on the next few weeks with Russell Wilson’s contract situation and preparing for the draft.
The key date to watch for Clark is July 15 — that’s the deadline when teams can no longer sign players who have gotten a franchise tag to a long-term deal. After that date, players can only sign the tag and be under contract for one year with no more negotiations allowed until after the season.
If they got Clark done by the draft it would obviously ease the speculation about his future that will loom until he signs something. And until he signs something, it won’t be a surprise if Clark stays away from the voluntary portion of the team’s offseason training program, which begins April 15.
But Clark didn’t attend the voluntary workouts last year, either, and no one seemed to mind much and it didn’t impact his play any. So I don’t think that’s a huge motivating factor to get a contract done.
A: Interestingly enough, they just saw both players this week at UW’s Pro Day. Kikaha worked out Monday at the Dempsey Center, hoping to show the assembled scouts that he’s healthy enough to get another shot after having not played last season after he was waived by the Saints in the cutdown to 53-man rosters.
Kikaha had a workout with the Seahawks last October but did not sign with Seattle then, so the team is well aware of him.
But signing two other defensive ends this week — Cassius Marsh and Nate Orchard — might for now fill up the number of free agent veterans they need at that spot until after the draft and they get a sense of what they have gotten there.
Shelton was also at Pro Day, simply watching, back in town after becoming a free agent in March when his New England contract elapsed.
Teams, though, are being slower than ever to sign the second wave of unrestricted free agents due to not wanting to impact their comp picks.
Seattle is on track to get the maximum four comp picks in 2020 and it appears they’d like to keep those.
Shelton, since he was an unrestricted free agent, could count against the formula. Many teams appear to be waiting until after the May 7 date when UFA signings no longer factor into the formula to really hit the second wave of free agents, and Shelton may be in the group that will have to wait things out to get the best offer.
He’d seem a good fit for what Seattle needs — more depth to compete at defensive tackle.
Seattle has five players on its roster it lists as tackles – Jarran Reed, Poona Ford, Quinton Jefferson, Jamie Meder and Nazair Jones (but Carroll said in his end-of-season press conference the plan is to use Jones mostly as a five-technique end).
Seattle has typically kept four true tackles and then usually another hybrid end/tackle, which is basically what Jefferson is.
But there is always room for more.
A: The reference is to a story detailing what Carroll said at the league meetings about the secondary.
I didn’t really take it the way the questioner asked, though, as Carroll saying there could be a rotation.
We did see Seattle do a little bit more mixing and matching in the secondary last year, such as the role they had for Akeem King against Kansas City and using some dime packages.
But that’s different than just rotating guys around.
I don’t really see them doing that much.
I think they’d like to settle on two primary safeties and Carroll’s allusion to having a trio is that those two starters will come from those three players.
And basically, what it means is that McDougald is going to start at either free or strong — he has extensive experience doing both — with either Hill or Thompson starting at the other spot. In essence, Hill and Thompson will be competing to start alongside McDougald, though doing so by not necessarily competing directly against each other — since they play slightly different roles. What Seattle will be looking for instead is simply to see which is the best duo — McDougald at free and Hill at strong, or Thompson at free and McDougald at strong.
Seattle, though, does a lot of interchanging its safeties — it was not unsual to see McDougald drop deep and Thomas come up close to the line of scrimmage when those two played together. And that’s where seeing which is the best duo comes in, because they’ll be looking for which two play the best together as much as which guy would be best at each spot since they’ll ask them all to play some at both spots.
Here is what Carroll said in detail about the safety position: “I’m encouraged about the spot. Delano (Hill) did a really nice job late in the season, he really came on. We chose him with the thought that he’s an extraordinary athlete, really fast, he’s big and strong, we thought he was the best tackler in the draft. In transitioning to the spot, all of a sudden he just popped last year, past the midway point, late in the season he just looked like he really embraced the position, the challenges, the questions, all that kind of stuff. So that’s a big positive. Bradley (McDougald) is a terrific football player. Bradley was working through some stuff last year, so he wasn’t as healthy as he would liked to have been. He’s feeling great now, and we’re hoping he’ll be back in great shape. Then T2 (Tedric Thompson) was a terrific performer for us. Remember how well he competing through camp, he made such a big impression. We know he’s a good player, he’s a smart kid. So it’s a good trio, at least. We’re in good shape right there.”