A sampling of national-media reaction regarding Bruce Irvin and the Seahawks' free-agent needs.
NFL free agency begins on Wednesday and like all teams, the Seahawks have questions about their own free agents and offseason priorities.
As Bob Condotta points out, linebacker Bruce Irvin and left tackle Russell Okung are the two Seahawks likely to draw the most interest on the free-agent market. But there’ll be plenty more intrigue beyond those two players as the offseason goes into full swing, and the national media had plenty to say about it. Below is a sampling:
Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback said the Falcons are expected to be busy in free agency, which would benefit Irvin:
“As for teams bound to be very aggressive in the early days of the market, league people expect Jacksonville, Oakland and Atlanta to be very aggressive beginning Wednesday afternoon. One target for Atlanta could be Bruce Irvin of the Seahawks. Jacksonville needs a corner, and former Ram Janoris Jenkins could be a fit there. Oakland should sign Weddle, but the Raiders don’t always do the smart thing.”
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ESPN.com’s Sheil Kapadia broke down the Seahawks’ offseason priorities on defense:
“Two of the Seahawks’ four starters — defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Ahtyba Rubin — are unrestricted free agents. Neither player gained a lot of notoriety during the 2015 season, but both were critical to the team’s stout run defense, which limited opponents to 3.6 YPC. Given that Mebane and Rubin are primarily two-down players, it will be interesting to see what kind of market develops for their services. If one or both sign elsewhere, look for the Seahawks to add a defensive tackle or two. The method here in previous years has been to find veterans who can serve as cost-effective, short-term fill-ins, and that could continue once again this time around.”
Nate Davis of USA Today listed his top 16 free agent of 2016, placing Okung at No. 13:
“He never developed into the next Walter Jones – an unfair comparison by definition – and required shoulder surgery after dislocating it in the playoffs. Still, solid left tackles will always find work in the NFL.”
NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling fueled the speculation about Irvin going to Atlanta, or Jacksonville:
“Amid trade rumors connecting Bruce Irvin to Atlanta, the pass rusher was quoted last offseason as saying he wanted to follow former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to the Falcons in 2016. If that remains the case, here’s Irvin’s chance to team with Vic Beasley for a much-needed speedy edge rushing duo in Quinn’s defense. The Falcons might have competition in the form of another former Seattle coordinator, Jacksonville’s Gus Bradley.”
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com wrote about every NFC team’s offseason priorities, including the Seahawks:
“Perhaps the toughest team of the decade needs to get tougher up front on both sides of the ball. Seattle has two offensive line starters (tackle Russell Okung and guard J.R. Sweezy) headed for free agency, and question marks remain on the roster. GM John Schneider has not been able to find consistent blocking for Russell Wilson, and Seattle has to be concerned about the running game, with only Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael returning. Nose tackle Brandon Mebane may finally be done stopping runs for Seattle’s defense, while fellow starter Ahtyba Rubin is also headed for the open market.”
USA Today’s Davis also posted another mock draft over the weekend, saying the Seahawks should go for defense in the first round:
“26. Seattle Seahawks – Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville: He’s disruptive and versatile and fills a gap for a team that will need to reload the middle of its D-line. The O-line will have to be rebuilt in subsequent rounds.”
And finally, with Peyton Manning officially retiring this week, Yahoo Sports put together a photo gallery of the highs and lows of his career. Seahawks fans can probably guess one of his lows.