Jermaine Kearse talked in a radio interview about he and the Seahawks needing to see 'eye-to-eye' to get a deal done, and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga was reported as visiting on Sunday.
When it was announced Thursday night that receiver Jermaine Kearse had re-signed with the Seattle Seahawks, one of the first questions was what had changed from the thought that he was almost certainly heading elsewhere.
Recall that an ESPN report the week before the free agency period began said Kearse had already decided he wouldn’t return to Seattle and was looking forward to a new home.
In an interview Friday with ESPN 710 Seattle, Kearse didn’t exactly give a lot of specifics on how his trajectory made such an apparent sudden turn.
But Kearse didn’t deny that there was a time when he thought he was going to be playing next somewhere other than Seattle.
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“Yeah there was a point where that thought did come to my mind,’’ Kearse said. “There was a point in time when we weren’t seeing eye-to-eye. But we just had to stay patient and just continue to work through the process and I just tried to enjoy the process as much as I could and not stress about the whole situation and we were able to work it out and I’m happy we were able to work a deal out.’’
In fact, in the radio interview Friday, Kearse several times made mention of he and the organization not seeing “eye-to-eye’’ and each side needing “patience’’ to work it out.
The deal Kearse got was ultimately a pretty good one — three years for $13.5 million total with $6.3 million guaranteed. That’s the fourth-most guaranteed money for any free agent receiver this year, according to Spotrac.com. It’s also basically double the $2.3 million he played for in 2015 on a one-year tender as a restricted free agent.
Kearse’s cap numbers are $2.6 million in 2016, $4.0 million in 2017 and $6.8 million in 2018, meaning that in a lot of ways this looks like a two-year contract with the Seahawks likely again having a decision on their hands and Kearse likely again in a prove-it mode in 2017. Such backloading of cap hits is common throughout the NFL, and has been an especially effective way for the Seahawks to keep some of their key players in the fold in the present with cap flexibility in the future.
Kearse’s per-year average is more than Doug Baldwin’s, who signed a three-year extension in 2014 that paid him $13 million total ($4.33 million a year) though with a higher guaranteed than Kearse, at $8 million.
It had already been considered likely that the Seahawks will work out an extension or new deal with Baldwin before the start of the 2016 season, though almost certainly after this period of free agency.
As for Kearse, 26, he gets to stay with his hometown team and also try to prove worthy of the new deal.
In the interview, Kearse made reference to how he knows there is a perception that he tends to save his best play for the biggest moments, and wants to show he can play at that level more consistently.
“I’m just trying to take it to the next level,’’ he said. “A lot of people feel like I only perform in the playoffs. But I just try to perform when I get the opportunities and that’s kind of my motto, to make the most of each opportunity.’’
If the name sounds familiar it should as Siliva was the player the Seahawks got from Denver in 2013 in a trade for offensive lineman John Moffitt. Siliga never played in a regular season game for Seattle, released before the first game in a year when the team would go on to win the Super Bowl with an exceptionally deep defensive line. The Seahawks did re-sign him to the practice squad when the 2013 season but later released him and he was was then signed by the Patriots to their active roster in September of 2013 and has been there since, playing in 22 games with 13 starts for the Patriots the last three seasons. He also saw regular time in the playoffs, including making four tackles in the Super Bowl win over the Seahawks.
The Patriots, though, did not tender an offer to the 6-2, 325-pound Utah grad making him an unrestricted free agent.
The Seahawks are looking for some inexpensive players to fill in the depth up front after the loss of Brandon Mebane and Siliga would be a familiar face who might fit that bill well.