With the lockout ending soon (irrational optimism here) I figure it's time to start profiling some free agents that could come into the fray for the Hawks. Though I doubt the Hawks will make a huge splash in free agency with regards to 'big-name' players, I think they will sign quite a few under the radar specialist type guys to bolster depth and to compete for starting jobs. I sort of expect at least one big name to be chased, or possibly two, so I'll highlight a few guys I think could make sense, and then I'll try and point out a few second or third tier guys I am looking for.
To start out though I just wanted to just make a list of some guys that I think could be real options. Down the line I'll look at certain players in more detail but let me know if you like someone I haven't listed and I'll add it to the list.
Tier 1: Number 1 receivers that will immediately upgrade your offense.
Sidney Rice, Minnesota: Not sure what the rules will be concerning accrued years, restricted free agents, and tenders, but if Sidney Rice becomes an unrestricted free agent he's worth pursuing.
Vincent Jackson, San Diego: Same deal as Rice; if unrestricted going into 2011, make a play. I could really see the Hawks going after Jackson after allegedly courting him during the offseason last year.
Randy Moss, Tennessee: Will not be back in Tennessee. Can stretch the field. Can be dominant when he wants to be. If he were happy in Seattle, he could be a boon and people would absolutely love him. If he got unhappy, he'd be annoying.
Tier 2: Guys that could come in and contribute on day one. Hot/cold type guys with some potential:
Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville: Here's another guy that when keyed in, is a dominant receiver. Unfortunately has the habit of disappearinga lot of the time. Though inconsistent, he's got talent and would be a weapon in an offense that gets him the ball.
Malcolm Floyd, San Diego: A lot of potential but hot and cold production. Playing as the number 1 receiver on San Diego's offense in 2010, he would waffle between huge production and complete disappearance from game to game. Injury prone a bit. Could be worth a look as a deep threat because he's tall, long limbed and fast. Averaged almost 20 yards a catch.
Tier 3: Guys I could see them bringing in but would have to really compete for playing time:
Hank Baskett, Minnesota: Looks the part at 6'4, 220 but lacks great hands or separation ability. Familiar with Darrell Bevell so could come into play.
Brad Smith, NY Jets: Versatile. Compete. Wildcat. Probably not.
Tier 1: Guys that could come in and start day one.
Marcel Reece, Oakland: Versatile, big; great weapon on passes out of the backfield. Getting more accomplished in run blocking. I like Reece, in my mind would make the most sense for the Hawks but to be honest I'm harboring a bit of a mancrush so I could be biased here. I know Tom Cable liked him in Oakland and got him more involved in the offense as the year went on.
Le'Ron McClain, Baltimore: Versatile, big; could play fullback or committee with Marshawn Lynch at RB. Runs like a Mack truck and could rival Lynch in going 'beastmode'. Would likely be used as a fullback most of the time but could do goal-line stuff as well at 6'0, 260; something he excels in. Still young, only 26 with limited wear on the tires in the last two seasons. Might make the most sense for the Hawks behind only Reese.
Vonta Leach, Houston: All-Pro fullback for the Texans and lead blocked for Arian Foster in 2010 - which means: He's Really Good At Run Blocking. He didn't have a carry in the last two seasons but can catch balls out of the backfield. Might be a tad on the expensive side due to his All-Pro tag.
Tier 2: Guys that will contribute but would have to share playing time:
Kevin Smith, Detroit: Carried the load more or less in Detroit until he tore his knee up. Could have more in the tank and is still young enough (24) to warrant consideration.
John Kuhn, Green Bay: Lunch pail guy that could play fullback if need be. Less upside than the guys I listed above but a solid, dependable player. History with John Schneider.
Tim Hightower, Arizona: Arizona drafted another running back and a fullback. Hightower appears to be done there. Is a pretty decent power runner and would be good depth behind Lynch if he were to get hurt.
Tier 1: Presumed Starter:
Robert Gallery, Oakland: We've talked about it for months. If he were to be signed, he'd be the presumptive starting left guard and finish out the o-line makeover.
Davin Joseph, Tampa Bay: A young (key phrase that's most applicable to the Seahawks), quality offensive guard. Excels in run blocking and is dependable in pass pro. Sounds good to me - consider me on the Joseph train over an older, injury prone guy that you'd expect to get two years at most out of in Gallery.
Marshal Yanda, Baltimore: Versatile, talented player that can be used at both tackle and guard. Baltimore is going to try hard to re-sign him so he'd be expensive. But he's young and skilled so could be a target.
Tier 2: Compete compete compete for that LG spot or backup the presumed starters.
Khalif Barnes, Oakland: A versatile linemen that's versed in the ZBS and is a Tom Cable favorite. Wouldn't be surprised to see him end up in Seattle but I'm not 100% sure he'd win a starting job. Could be quality depth at worst though.
Evan Mathis, Cincinnati: At 29, he'd be the old man on the line, but he's been used lightly in his career thus far. Apparently he's flashed starting caliber skills in the playing time he's had so he could be on their radar. He is an above average run blocker that could come relatively cheap.
Tier 1: Starter quality:
Bo Scaife, Tennessee: After getting the 'franchise' tag the prior two seasons rather than a long term contract, things are not peachy keen between Scaife and the Titans front office. He's a pass catching threat at tight end and could compete for playing time if signed.