Per the always excellent Brian McIntyre, some of the Seahawks' UDFA signing bonus info is now in, and unsurprisingly (to me, anyway), WR Lavasei Tuinei tops the list with a $15,000 piece of the pie. After Tuinei, it's notable that WR Jermaine Kearse got $8,500, DB Deshawn Shead got $8,000K, T John Opperud $7,500K, and Carson Wiggs got $5,000. Are these bonuses a big deal? Maybe, maybe not. I think the Tuinei signing bonus of $15,000 says a whole lot - you may remember last year that the Seahawks gave the biggest chunk of their $75,000 allotment to Doug Baldwin and we all know what happened there.
Last year, as a refresher, the highest Sehawks UDFA signing bonuses went to Doug Baldwin ($17.5K), Jeron Johnson ($15K) and Pierre Allen ($10K). Ricardo Lockette got $4.5K to sign. These four players are all still on the Seahawks' roster - Jeron Johnson beat out 5th round draft pick Mark Legree, you'll remember, and Baldwin quickly became the Seahawks leading receiver. Lockette has a good shot to make the team this year again, and Pierre Allen has potential as well. The new CBA stipulates all UDFAs get 3-year contracts with a per-team cap of $75K in signing bonuses and in 2011, Seattle spent $42.5K of that on the three top players. This year, it was less skewed, with $44,000 going to the top-five players.
I said earlier, in my UDFA reports, that I 'have an inkling' that Lavasier Tuinei will push for a roster spot as a big slot, joker type WR/TE tweener, and his ability to possibly play outside as a backup to Mike Williams, Kris Durham, and Sidney Rice gives him some versatility. His catch radius is redonkulous - 34.5" arms and an 81" wingspan - and his soft hands and penchant to score touchdowns (10TD in 2011) make him a natural fit in this offense. This bonus information just makes me more intrigued, though he still faces a pretty tough battle to make the roster. The WR corps is pretty wide open at the moment and if he doesn't have a good training camp and preseason, he might be forgotten.
The Kearse and Shead bonus numbers aren't all the surprising - I have very high hopes for Shead, as I spelled out in my UDFA reports, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Kearse try to assume that "Ben Obomanu" jack-of-all-trades role if he has a shot at the roster. The Opperud signing bonus sticks out to me as surprising, so that just makes him one player to keep a closer eye on in camp. The Wiggs $5K signing bonus makes sense, as he was probably one of only a few draftable kickers that didn't find a team in the first seven rounds.