CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 23: Running back Montario Hardesty #31 of the Cleveland Browns runs by defensive end Red Bryant #79 of the Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
UPDATED: The Seahawks will not use their franchise tag or transition tag this season, which means Red Bryant and John Carlson both hit the open market.
Today is the last day that teams can slap the Franchise Tag/Transition Tag on a player before they hit the open market as an official unrestricted or restricted free agent. Seattle's fifteen unrestricted free agents, after today, will be - Atari Bigby, Raheem Brock, Red Bryant, John Carlson, Heath Farwell, Justin Forsett, Anthony Hargrove, David Hawthorne, Leroy Hill, Matt McCoy, Paul McQuistan, Michael Robinson, David Vobora, Charlie Whitehurst, Jimmy Wilkerson. Their three restricted free agents include Mike Gibson, Steven Hauscka, and Roy Lewis.
Per PFW, the Hawks would really like to retain Atari Bigby - "We hear the odds are strong that Seahawks UFA S Atari Bigby will re-sign with the team and continue to play a very valuable role as both a key reserve on the field and a solid mentor for the younger players off the field. "They like him a lot, the way he handles that nickel safety role like (Giants and former Seahawks S) Deon Grant," said one team source of the ex-Packer. "I don't see him being paid as a starter elsewhere."
Now, PFW has a bit of a questionable track record when it comes to Seattle, particularly with their whole John Schneider/Pete Carroll feud talk last season that was by all other accounts, -both in media and from insiders-, fabricated, but this Bigby rumor is believable. At least for training camp and the beginning of the year, Atari could play a key role in mentoring this young secondary. Jeron Johnson, Chris Maragos, Ron Parker, Byron Maxwell, and Philip Adams make up the depth behind Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas if Bigby is gone, so I could see the Hawks looking to hold on to Bigby for a little while longer.
I think for today, the biggest question is whether or not the Hawks will even use one of their tags. The obvious candidates are Red Bryant and John Carlson, with a less likely option now becoming Michael Robinson. I am inclined to believe that's about it, though I might be missing an obvious candidate. If Red were to be franchised, it would cost the Seahawks approximately $10-$11 million; $8-$9 million for a transition tag. For John Carlson? About $5.5 million for a franchise tag, $4.5 for a transition tag. (Numbers per Brian McIntyre). As the tag pertains to Michael Robinson, he'd be included in the running back group so he'd cost $7-$8 million, so I highly doubt they would tag him.
My personal preference would be that the Hawks do not use their franchise tag at all, particularly on Red Bryant. We'll know today what the team decides to do.