First of all, let me say, I'm a Seahawks fan through and through. Have been since they came into the league. But I'm also a fan of the NFL and as such, I just have to appreciate good players and good football moves, no matter what team they play for or what team made the good moves. That said, I've been looking around at what other teams have done in the off season and I must admit, I like what some teams have done.
The team I was the most impressed with was the Oakland Raiders. First of all, they had a crazy amount of cap space going into Free Agency and have been highly criticized for how they spent it. It's said they spent too much on too many old players. Well. I don't have a problem with that. When you look at it closely, other than WR James Jones (3 years) and OT Austin Howard (5 years), all the signings have been for only 1 or 2 years. This means they shouldn't be tied down to a tough cap situation. That's always a good thing when trying to build a solid team. Adding quality veterans short term not only fills holes short term, but they act directly or indirectly as mentors to the younger players. In some ways it's almost like having extra coaches.
Secondly, they were criticized for the players they didn't resign, most notably, OT Jared Veldheer. I also have no problem with that. Any rebuilding team will have a 3 to 5 year plan and will know exactly the type of player they want at each position. The Raiders got to watch every minute of every practice and every game of these players, so who else could rate their value to the team better than the Oakland staff?
Next, I thought Oakland had a very good draft. It's hard to argue with them drafting OLB Khalil Mack. He should be a good one for years to come as long as he doesn't pull an Aaron Currie. Time alone will tell if QB Derek Carr can become a quality pro Quarterback, but he does have a good arm and the demeanor of a QB. If Matt Schaub can hold down the fort for a year or two,the Raiders just might have themselves a Quarterback.
After that, they just went big. OG Gabe Jackson at 336 lbs and DT Justin Ellis at 334 lbs are just plain big men and yes, they do have some talent. Next, both Keith McGill at 6'3" and Travis Carrie at 6'0" have good size for CB's and neither has to be rushed on to the field. They should have a year or two to learn the game at the NFL level. Lastly, and one of my favorites, SS Jonathan Dowling. Keep an eye on this kid. He's 6'3" and a play maker. He just needs to mature as a person. We tend to want to pin"'bad boy" labels on college kids that screw up, but really they are not only learning football at that age, they should be learning how to be better people.
Does this make them Super Bowl contenders? No. As a football fan, I just like what they've done and believe they are headed in the right direction.
I also liked what Minnesota and Arizona (blah) did this off season and maybe I'll get into them at another time. For now I'll stop here, but I would enjoy hearing from other Seahawk fans and some of the teams they think have had a good off season. Who knows, maybe one day, far into the future, one of them will be able to challenge the Seahawks on the field.