With what appears to be a brief lull in the transactional action for the Seahawks, time to get to a few questions via Twitter.
A: This is an interesting topic that I know has been debated heavily by some in Seahawks Twitter/social media land. To briefly recap, the Seahawks signed Myers in March to a four-year deal worth up to $15.5 million to try to halt the merry-go-round at the kicking spot that has existed since 2016, Stephen Hauschka’s final season. Myers didn’t come cheaply — at $3.862 million per season, Myers has the 10th-highest average salary per year of any NFL kicker, according to OvertheCap.com.
The commitment in years and dollars was in contrast to how Seattle handled the position the past two seasons.
Seattle signed Blair Walsh to a one-year deal in 2017, and we know how that turned out. Then last year, Seattle signed both Myers and then Sebastian Janikowski, ultimately opting for the more experienced foot in Janikowski, who also had been given $600,000 in guarantees (Myers didn’t have any in 2018 but has $5.5 million in his new deal).
Janikowski made three last-play winners — exactly what Walsh had not been able to do in 2017, otherwise their numbers were pretty similar — so his tenure was hardly a total loss. But it was also always destined to be short-lived, and after battling a few more injuries last season, Janikowski recently announced he is retiring at the age of 41, with Seattle never giving consideration to bringing him back in 2019.
After being waived by Seattle, Myers went on to have the best season of his career with the Jets, and at age 28, he appears right smack in the prime of his career.
But if all that serves as a good reason for the contract Seattle gave Myers, the question is whether last season was an outlier that he won’t be able to replicate consistently. As more than a few observers have pointed out, NFL history is rife with kickers who are really good one season, maybe not so good the next. Many often compare NFL kickers to baseball closers — there are a few who defy the trends and are consistently good, but many also are prone to wide variances in performance from year to year, which is why teams often exercise a lot of caution before making a big investment.
Interestingly, it’s believing in that thought that basically led to Seattle being where it is now.
Hauschka turned in basically the best sustained stretch for any Seattle kicker during his Seahawks tenure from 2011-16 — he made 88.83% of his field goals in that time, the best in team history.
When he hit free agency following the 2016 season, with Seattle knowing he might command a hefty salary, the Seahawks decided to move on.
Seattle basically decided that maybe Hauschka was due for a little regression and wasn’t going to be worth the almost $3 million a year over three seasons he got from the Bills, especially with the Seahawks much tighter against the salary cap at that time then they are now.
So should Seattle have tried to just go on the-cheap-again for a kicker and hope the third time would be the charm?
A couple of things factored in to Seattle being willing to invest more heavily now.
One is the cap space the team has now compared to then — according to OvertheCap.com, Seattle currently has the second-most cap space for any team in the NFL for 2020 at $77.6 million.
The Seahawks also got to know Myers during the nine or so months he was on the roster last season, so they at least have some added info on who they are getting while Myers also won’t have any adjustment period. They also knew he wasn’t one they would be able to get as cheaply as what they’d had the last two seasons.
Also, the hope is that Myers has a good season, and if so, you’d just want to re-sign him again next year, anyway, if he had agreed to a one-year deal or something, so why not do it now?
And while Myers’ contract is for four years, Seattle can get out of it after year two without too much real pain — the dead money hits the final two years are $2 million and $1 million, each more than you’d want for that position, but again, given the team’s long-range cap situation, nothing that’s going to hamstring them, really.
Sure, there’s a risk, as there was when they let Hauschka go the first time around.
But the Seahawks have never been afraid of taking a few of those.
A: On Kearse, nope. And at the moment, and even despite the release of Doug Baldwin, Seattle appears to have a pretty competitive receiver group on its roster. That’s different from saying proven — there’s a lot of youth on Seattle’s roster that still has to show it can produce.
But I think being willing to rely on youth and see what happens is where the Seahawks are right now in this phase of the franchise under Pete Carroll and John Schneider.
Tyler Lockett — the one really sure thing Seattle has on its roster as a receiver — and DK Metcalf are locks, and Jaron Brown, David Moore and Gary Jennings would seem like pretty good bets to make the 53, as well. That might leave everybody else (John Ursua, Keenan Reynolds, Amara Darboh at the top of the list) fighting for a final spot, if Seattle were to keep six.
And the question would be, with the Seahawks at the stage of things that they are now, would it make sense to sign a veteran to take away reps — and maybe even a roster spot — from a younger player (Kearse is 29)?
Depending on how things evolve in camp – injuries also a big X factor — Seattle will undoubtedly keep its options open and add bodies if needed. But my hunch is for now Seattle is fairly set there heading into camp.
As for which rookie stood out, Metcalf was by far the most obvious. Rookie minicamps are tailor-made for receivers to shine, so performances by rookies in these camps always need to be kept in perspective. But he showed everything the team was hoping for physically, and to hear Carroll tell it, he showed more than they might have expected in terms of route running and the nuances of playing receiver.
Another who specifically caught my eye was linebacker Cody Barton, who played middle linebacker throughout and appears to have a chance to be the first linebacker Seattle has drafted since Bobby Wagner in 2012 who could become a legitimate, significant contributor at that position right off the bat.
A: Quarterback is such a visible and important position that it’s natural to be intrigued by everyone who is playing that position (and Seattle made an interesting move this week to add former second-round pick Geno Smith).
The backup is always the proverbial “one snap away’’ from having to play, and going from a seeming non-entity to suddenly as important as any player on the field.
So it makes sense to pay a lot of attention to it.
But especially when a team has a starting situation like Seattle does — a QB considered among the best in the game and now making more than any player in NFL history — expectations for the backup have to always be kept somewhat in check.
It doesn’t make sense for Seattle to spend much financially on a backup given Wilson’s contract and durability — if he were to go down with a significant injury then the Seahawks would have to re-assess everything anyway.
Rookies are obviously cheaper and Seattle tried in 2018 to draft one late to groom (Alex McGough), but that didn’t really go to plan.
I think Seattle might have been open to do that again this year but didn’t really see anyone they really liked when it would have made sense to give that a shot. But maybe next year.
A: No. And I think after the flurry of activity over the last week, when Seattle signed Ziggy Ansah and Al Woods to add to the defensive line as well as four other free agents at other positions, the Seahawks may be content for now to see what they have over the three weeks of organized team activities (OTAs) — which start next week — and then make other moves, if needed.
I think the people they signed were the priorities – an obvious point, I realize — and others are “plan B’’ options, if needed.
Seattle typically keeps five players listed as defensive ends, and you could fill out what the team might view as a pretty competitive fivesome already out of the group of Ansah, L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Jacob Martin, Cassius Marsh, Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson.
Seattle will keep looking — and they obviously know all about Perry, who played for Carroll at USC and then visited in March — and will add if it sees fit. But my hunch is that there are no immediate signings at that spot on the horizon with the Seahawks content for now to get a good look at what they have.
A: Top three reasons: 1. Because someone has to; 2. Because I can; 3. Because the world demands it.