A sampling of national-media reaction as the Seahawks continue to navigate NFL free agency.
NFL free agency officially got underway on Wednesday (with a negotiating window for agents open two days before), and the Seahawks were in the headlines plenty over the course of the first few days.
Seattle was able to retain defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, cornerback Jeremy Lane, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and punter Jon Ryan. The Seahawks lost linebacker Bruce Irvin, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, guard J.R. Sweezy and offensive lineman Alvin Bailey.
Left tackle Russell Okung remains unsigned, though he continues to visit teams.
With all these moves, the national media had plenty to say about the Seahawks this week. Below is a sampling:
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Andy Benoit of Monday Morning Quarterback evaluated the contracts from the first few days of free agency and who’s still out there, including Okung:
“He and Donald Penn have not found homes because the teams with the most cap space coincidentally do not need a left tackle—and this year’s draft is pretty rich in tackles. Okung might be had at a bargain rate now. When he’s healthy, you can ask him to spar with defensive ends one-on-one for much of the game.”
Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks took stock of the early days of free agency, noting the boost the Raiders got by signing Bruce Irvin and others:
“The Raiders have added three significant upgrades in free agency, paying handsomely for guard-tackle Kalechi Osemele, cornerback Sean Smith and edge rusher Bruce Irvin—solid pieces of the puzzle for a young team that features cornerstones like quarterback Derek Carr, pass-rusher Khalil Mack and receiver Amari Cooper.”
Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com placed Okung No. 2 on his list of top unsigned free agents:
“Opinions vary on Okung’s skills, but it’s rare when an above-average left tackle younger than 30 gets to the open market. Okung is representing himself in negotiations, a decision that slowed down his tour. Postseason shoulder surgery also will give some teams pause, but he’ll be starting for someone at one of the game’s most important positions in 2016. He has visited the New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers.”
ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell has been grading every deal signed in free agency, including Kearse’s contract:
“After suggesting to anybody who might listen that he wasn’t going to give a hometown discount to stay with the Seahawks, Kearse came back to the Seahawks on a team-friendly deal. His three-year, $13.5 million contract has $6.3 million guaranteed in 2016 and nothing afterward, which means the Seahawks can retain financial flexibility and move on once Tyler Lockett is ready to step into the starting lineup on a permanent basis.”
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com named some winners and losers from the first week of free agency, including the Seahawks:
“The Colts and Dolphins were among the offseason champions last year. That’s why we wanted to send a little love to the teams that stayed quiet this week, taking care of their own players, looking for bargains and waiting for price tags to come down in the market: Fear not, Patriots, Seahawks, Packers, Colts and Ravens fans.”
CBSSports.com’s Pete Frisco handed out grades for teams in free agency so far, with the Seahawks getting a “C”:
“They suffered two big hits, losing guard J.R. Sweezy and linebacker Bruce Irvin. But both can be replaced, especially for a team that drafts well. They also lost defensive tackle Brandon Mebane. Bringing back receiver Jermaine Kearse, corner Jeremy Lane and defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin were good moves. They didn’t sign one player from another team.”
Greg A. Bedard of Sports Illustrated has also been grading free-agent deals as they happen, including Lane’s contract:
“Lane showed his value with how the secondary played after he was injured in the Super Bowl against the Patriots, until he returned late last season. A good, hard-nosed player, and I’m guessing Seattle got a good deal, which was reported by Ian Rapoport, considering the injuries.”
Joel Corry, a former agent writing for CBSSports.com, made 10 observations about free agency thus far, including Okung’s attempt at self representation:
“Unless Russell Okung can get the rare blockbuster free agent deal that happens after the first 72 hours of the signing period, he’s unlikely to start a trend among other players. Okung was at a disadvantage by representing himself, because he was unable to participate in the two-day negotiating period that began on March 7, two days before free agency started, when many agreements in principle were made.”
Sean Wagner-McGough of CBSSports.com wrote about the Raiders’ improved lot in life, with Irvin suddenly playing a key role:
“Irvin is doing is best to make sure the Raiders land another big-time player in free agency. Shortly after signing with the team, Irvin began recruiting ex-Chargers safety Eric Weddle on Twitter to join him in Oakland. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Weddle has offers from four teams and will respond on Monday. And if the Raiders land Weddle — look out.”