Wednesday marked the passing of the period when free agents could factor into the formula for compensatory picks. What picks could Seattle recoup? Also, could Kasen Williams be an alternative at wide receiver? Beat writer Bob Condotta opens the mailbag to answer your questions.
The Seahawks mailbag is back open and in service — as always, you can send questions via Twitter to @bcondotta or via email to email@example.com (or if you have a complaint about something, send those to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Anyway, on to a couple of questions sent via e-mail.
Q: Hey, Bob, I know you give a lot of answers on Twitter, and unfortunately I don’t have one. There’s a lot of contradiction around what comp picks the Seahawks should see for next year. Could you clarify what comps Seattle should see? Doesn’t necessarily have to be exact rounds but just general information such as Sheldon Richardson 3/4, etc.
A: This question is especially relevant since Wednesday marked the passing of the period when free agents could factor into the formula for compensatory picks.
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In fact, on Wednesday the NFL released a list of free agents who until Wednesday would have counted as part of the comp pick formula who no longer will.
Former Seahawks who remain unsigned and who will no longer will factor into the formula are offensive linemen Oday Aboushi and Luke Joeckel, running back Eddie Lacy, kicker Blair Walsh and linebacker Michael Wilhoite. Don’t be surprised to see some of those players now sign elsewhere.
As a reminder, teams are awarded compensatory draft picks for suffering what is judged to be a net loss in signings of unrestricted free agents. The formula is somewhat complicated and if you want a full accounting of it, here you go via OvertheCap.com. But essentially, if you lose more UFAs then you sign, then you may be eligible to get one of the 32 compensatory picks the NFL will award next spring for the 2019 NFL draft.
The bad news for the Seahawks is that according to OvertheCap.com – which has become the leading authority on this due to a solid track record of being proven right in its estimates — Seattle is not projected to get any comp picks in 2019.
While Seattle did lose big-name free agents such as Jimmy Graham and Sheldon and Paul Richardson, the Seahawks also signed the likes of Ed Dickson, Jaron Brown and Barkevious Mingo, who cancelled out the losses.
OTC.com writer Nick Korte offered a good assessment of Seattle’s philosophy on this, stating: “This year, it seems clear that John Schneider is taking an educated gamble that the CFAs he signed will be worth more than the 4th round comp picks he could have otherwise received via the Seahawks’ usual modus operandi in free agency.’’
Indeed, as Korte and others have written, the assumption going into free agency was that Seattle would come out of it with a few comp picks, due to what was expected all along to be the likely losses of Graham and Sheldon and Paul Richardson.
But the Seahawks proved to be in more of a win-now mode than many might have guessed.
Also, as Korte writes, the comp pick formula includes a provision that if players are cut from their team’s roster before week 10 then they will not factor in. As he details, Seattle has a few signed UDFAs who could easily be cut noting specifically cornerback Dontae Johnson, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker and defensive tackles Tom Johnson, and Shamar Stephen.
I actually had Dontae Johnson not making the roster in my recent 53-man projection, giving the last cornerback spot to rookie Tre Flowers, and Stephen could be at risk if a rookie such as Poona Ford can make it, instead.
So, the final accounting is not yet done. But at the moment, Seattle is not in line to get any comp picks, and a few things will have to happen for that to change.
Q: Hello sir, I am a Seattle Seahawks fan, and have been since I was born. I read something of the Seahawks have even looked at bringing in Kasen Williams for a look again? I know a couple years ago, or at least seems like it, he was fighting for a spot on the roster, and supposedly (read should have) had a spot after the spring he put up, but alas they cut him. I see he is a free agent again, and seeing the Hawks could use a little help in the receiving corps, he would be a great pickup. Is there any talk from the hawks about possibly bringing him in? I’d much rather see him than Brandon Marshall.
A: The interest from fans in Williams is obvious due to his local ties — he played at Skyline High and UW — and what he did in the preseason last year, when he led the Seahawks with nine receptions for 257 yards, compelling the likes of Richard Sherman to take to Twitter to extol his accomplishments.
Williams, recall, was waived by Seattle in the cutdown to 53 before the start of the regular season last year and then claimed by Cleveland.
He then played in seven games for the Browns with nine receptions on 18 targets for 84 yards before being waived. He went unclaimed on waivers and then re-signed with Cleveland’s practice squad, where he spent the rest of the season.
He re-signed with the Browns following the season only to then be waived by Cleveland again on April 30.
Williams again went unclaimed on waivers and at the moment is a free agent.
As the question above illustrates, that has led to the obvious question of whether the Seahawks have plans to re-sign him.
At the moment, the answer appears to be no.
Seattle has made a few different moves at receiver since then, including signing former Husky Damore’ea Stringfellow on Monday after he took part in rookie mini-camp as a tryout player, and on Wednesday it was reported they are bringing in veteran Brandon Marshall for a visit.
True, Williams is almost literally just right down the road, so if the Seahawks want to bring him in they know where to find him.
But Seattle may have moved on after having had Williams on the roster in some form or another for most of the 2015 and 2016 seasons and then all of the offseason and training camp in 2017.
One of the reasons Williams didn’t make the cut in 2017 is that the team kept Tanner McEvoy as the final receiver, instead, due largely to the key roles he played on many special teams (in fact, McEvoy’s 264 special teams snaps last season were the third-most of anyone on the team, according to ProFootballReference.com).
And while Williams did put up some big numbers in the preseason a year ago, those looking for clues for why Seattle may not have been quite as enamored by what he did as some fans might have been were well-advised to study the game-by-game breakdown.
Williams feasted on rookie backups in games one and four of the preseason — the two games when starters play the least amount of snaps — recording six of his receptions and 176 yards in those two contests against the Chargers and Raiders.
In games two and three Williams had just three receptions for 32 yards, including just one for four yards in game three against the Chiefs, the game when starters play the most and also when teams do just a little bit of gameplanning as a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
Williams’ tenure in Cleveland also likely didn’t do much to make Seattle regret its decision to waive him. True, the Browns are a mess and all that. But Williams did get some chances there, starting two games and playing 133 snaps, including 39 in his final game against the Texans when he didn’t get a pass thrown his way.
None of this, by the way, is meant to be negative toward Williams, who did nothing but earn praise from the Seahawks for the way he handled his time there — everyone involved was hoping for the storybook ending of a local kid overcoming a pretty significant bump in the road to make it with his hometown team — but instead to try to explain why things appears to stand where they do.
The NFL, it hardly needs restating, is a cutthroat, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately-and-what-can-you-do-for-me-now league. Maybe Williams will get another chance with the Seahawks. But for now, the team appears to be looking elsewhere.