I know the season is just starting, but I am pondering the decisions that need to be made once the season is over. Obviously, how players perform in terms of on the field production and health will factor into these decisions. Still, the contracts tell the story in a big way. Strong stable teams may only add one FA and their draft class (see PIT and GBP in 2011) while re-signing one or two of their own big free agents. We are moving toward that direction, but I still think we are going to be active in FA in 2012, at least in low to low-moderate levels.
2012 FA Decisions
I think if Marshawn Lynch is average, they will re-sign him to a modest deal. If the Super Bowl window is 2014- by then Leon will be 32 and Justin Forsett and Lynch will be 28. Those are some old RBs and I doubt Leon will be playing by then, at least not on this current contract.
If you keep Marshawn then you probably want to swap out a soon to be 26 year old Forsett for a fresh 22 year old out of college. Again, look for the Seahawks to pursue a RB late in the 2012 draft.
The biggest decision will be on whether to re-sign Red Bryant. The problem with Red is that he is only a 2-down player and he should not be paid the big money of a traditional pass rushing Defensive End. If we can keep him for $3-4M per year than I say do it. I can't see him commanding $5M type Brandon Mebane money on the open market.
The Seahawks want to stop the run and put the opponent into 3rd and obvious passing situations where they bring in 2 "Leos" and a nickel/bandit package. It allows players with "unique qualities" to function in their element of strength- but if you catch the Seahawks in the wrong personnel it's exploitable.
Other decisions will be Clinton McDonald and whichever interior pass rusher the Seahawks settle on (was Landon Cohen for a week or so). Perhaps one stays and one goes. They will likely both go! We will see if they flash in 2011. If not, expect them to go to someone else in FA and perhaps the draft for a backup NT and backup 3-tech/situational interior pass rush. Al Woods is locked up through 2013.
Raheem Brock is 33 yrs old. I think he can have a 8-9 sack year but won't be around by the time the Seahawks enter any possible Super Bowl Window. We need another young pass rusher in either Free Agency or Round 2 of the 2012 draft in my opinion. This is probably Brock's last year in Seattle. Could be a hell of a two year run though.
I think a lot will depend on how Leroy Hill and David Hawthorne play. Pete has leverage with Malcolm Smith and KJ Wright. I can see one being back and one staying- but let's see how they play. Hill is on a $1m "prove it" one year deal and Heater is on a $1.7m one year deal.
Aaron Curry's cap number will drop in 2012 to around the $5-6M range. If he plays well in 2011 they may keep him- but I highly doubt it. His cap $ in 2011 is $10.8m. Yikes!
Most of that is because of a $5M bonus that was agreed upon his 2009 signing. You could cut him and sign another SAM for $2m per year and sign a Free Agent pass rusher for $8m per year in 2012 (That's what I would do if opportunity arises.)
Yes, I would draft a pass rusher, keep Clemons, and sign a big-time free-agent pass rusher if possible.
Marcus Trufant will either be cut in 2012 or asked to restructure as he will make $7.2M and a cap $ north of $8M. That's not going to happen with this regime. Either Sherman or Thurmond end up taking over or they may go after a FA cornerback like a Terrell Thomas.
He just tore his ACL- but is 6 feet tall and has a history with Carroll at USC. He is a pretty good corner in my estimation. With needs at QB and pass rusher- I don't think a round 3 or round 4 cornerback is going to be better than Terrell Thomas unless his injury does not heal correctly. Then again, if Trufant restructured one time, he will restructure again- so if he has a good year they could keep him and perhaps pay him $3-4M per year.
All the starters are pretty well locked up. Decisions will have to be made on the backups: Tyler Polumbus, Paul McQuistan and Breno Giacomini (who may not be a backup!). I don't think there will be a big market for any of these three players- so these really are not big decisions. If Breno flashes you could play Carpenter at LG, Gallery at RG and Moffitt ends up being an interior backup (which is fine).
No real decisions here unless you want to re-sign Dominique Byrd, which should be easy to do.
No real decisions here unless Kam is just horrible- which I doubt. Jeron Johnson is a backup and Atari Bigby could be re-signed on future 1-year rolling deals. He is on a 1 year deal, but at 30 years old this regime, (and I suspect the NFL) will never give him a long contract for the rest of his days.
Probably Charlie Whitehurst's last year in Seattle. If he plays in 2011 and flashes- perhaps they re-sign him and cut Tarvaris Jackson. Either way- the regime better draft a QB in Rd1 to replace either Charlie or Tarvaris.