UPDATE: Steve Hutchinson has reportedly signed a three-year deal with the Titans. No Seahawks reunion.
Well, it appears the Mario Williams to Seattle train has sailed. He will sign with Buffalo, and as Albert Breer reports, "Mario Williams deal particulars: 6 years, $96 million (with potential to reach $100 million), $50 million guaranteed." Frankly, though it would have been awesome to get Mario here, that's a pretty scary contract and I'm not sure I could see Seattle ponying up that kind of money.
That said, John Schneider said this in an interview with Brock and Salk a few weeks ago, when asked about making a major free agent signing that was ostensibly referring to Williams. Schneider responded:
"If you feel like you're acquiring enough depth on your team, and this is purely philosophical, I don't know if people around the league would feel this way, but I feel like if you have enough depth and you have enough youth, you can do the Reggie White thing. That's where Ron Wolf was. "Ok, I've got a young quarterback", they had like $24 million in the bank, they gave him, like $17 million of it, ok?
Now, guess what, you've got a brand new two-story pro shop, all the alums start coming back, I mean, it was a big deal. Now, Keith Jackson wants to play for you, now Santana Dotsen wants to play for you. Things start snowballing after that. But, also, we weren't in a position back then where if he didn't' come, we weren't going to be able to compete. Now, was he able to help us compete much faster? Sure. But, we were able to keep drafting behind him, and then we did some good stuff.
Now, on the flip side, the year we drafted Koren Robinson and Steve Hutchinson here, Green Bay had drafted Jamal Reynolds from Florida State with the tenth pick in the Draft. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila had been a rookie free agent, and he ended up outperforming Jammal. But, it took like two years - Jamal wasn't working out, so the Packers felt like they had to go out and sign Joe Johnson, so now you go out and you take a huge risk on a 32-year old defensive lineman, and you give him $9 million dollars a year, and then all of a sudden Kabeer goes out and has 14.5 sacks.
Now, he's a restricted free agent. So, now you gotta pay Kabeer. Then, once Kabeer got paid, he wasn't quite as productive, because we said "hey, you gotta be an every down player." It wasn't his fault, but he was more of a situational rusher, but we said 'now you've got to be an every down player' so it was like this huge snowball effect, and it really effected our defensive line and it really set us back. We had a couple seasons where we went 4-12, 6-10. So, you just have to be really careful, and I learned a great lesson there."
Translation? Fuck if I know, but it does insinuate that JS would be ok with making a big play for a free agent and give him a big chunk of cap space given the right circumstances. Are the Seahawks in that spot? That's the giant question, but, naturally, he sees both sides of the coin when it comes to giving older vets too much money and how it can snowball on you. So, in that respect it's pretty interesting commentary by Schneider. Regardless, Mario is off the table, for good or bad, so we must focus in on what else is out there.
The Hawks have re-signed RB Marshawn Lynch, RT Breno Giacomini, DE Red Bryant, G/T Paul McQuistan, LB Heath Farwell, and have released LG Robert Gallery and CB Marcus Trufant. They had LG Steve Hutchinson out to the VMAC last night and they're hosting Matt Flynn, TE Visanthe Shiancoe, and DT/DE Jason Jones today. I'm really hoping they don't let Jones leave.
Further, Clayton revealed on the Calabro show last night that he was on the phone with Atlanta LB Curtis Lofton's agent yesterday when he got a call from John Schneider. Pretty interesting if the Seahawks make a run at Lofton - a former 2nd rounder out of Oklahoma that's 6'0, 240, and only 25 years old. He's one of the premiere middle linebackers on the market, along with Stephen Tulloch. Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy tweeted the other day that Lofton had signed with the Eagles but then apparently retracted that. It's unclear what's going on with Lofton, as is pretty common with most free agents at the moment.
John Carlson signed a big contract with the Vikings yesterday, and still no word on LB Leroy Hill, FB Michael Robinson, RB Justin Forsett, DL Anthony Hargrove, S Atari Bigby, DE Raheem Brock, LB Matt McCoy, LB David Vobora, DE Jimmy Wilkerson, QB Charlie Whitehurst, or restricted free agents DB Roy Lewis, DT Clinton McDonald, or CB Kennard Cox.
So far, I can't say I'm disappointed with any of the big-ticket re-signings. Marshawn Lynch and Red Bryant - as Davis has broken down, Lynch here, Bryant here, have fair-market but team-friendly contracts that can be dumped in several years if injury or declining performance become an issue. I'm glad we didn't pay Carlson $25M like the Vikings have, and I'm not overly worried about losing Robert Gallery and his big cap hit for this year. I saw Davis tweet last night that after all the moves the Hawks have made - Lynch, Red, McQuistan, and dropping Gallery/Trufant, they probably have something like $25M in cap space. Pretty impressive. Thank you, John J. Idzik.
The rest of the West:
The Rams have signed CB Cortland Finnegan so we now get to look forward to playing him twice a year. They're hosting Eric Winston, from what I hear, and otherwise have been quiet. The 49ers have added a few controversial players that will hopefully ruin their locker room continuity (I kid, I kid.... kinda) - WR Randy Moss and CB Perrish Cox.
Anyway - talk about it below!