Free agency is about to start.
Next Monday, March 7th signals the beginning of the NFL's free agency legal tampering period, and the real deal gets started on March 9th at 1pm Pacific time. The Seahawks aren't likely to be super active in outside free agency from a big-money perspective -- they will more likely look to re-sign some of their own free agents, I would guess -- but they may dabble a little bit, and they'll certainly get involved in negotiations with a few.
Taking a look down NFL.com's Top 99 free agents list, there are more than a few names that are certainly interesting to me as potential Seahawks targets. Let's go down the list and point out a few.
7. Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills defensive end: It's hard to pass up Williams' name. He's been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL for the last decade and while he's 31 and his numbers were way down last year, you can't ignore what he's done over the years (he was All Pro in 2014). Will the Seahawks have enough money to pursue Williams on the open market? Probably not. But, imagine putting him on a line with Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, which would give him a lot of one-on-one opportunities in pass rushing situations. After watching what the Broncos did in the Super Bowl with their multiple pass rush, you know there's going to be a lot of teams intrigued with adding Williams.
19. Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns center: Already talked about him today. An All Pro level center that has been remarkably healthy throughout his career. Going to demand a lot of money, but a very good player at a position of need for Seattle. Experience in the zone blocking scheme.
24. George Iloka, Cincinnati Bengals safety: If there's anyone that actually comes close to matching Kam Chancellor's skill-set, it's Illoka. I imagine he'll fetch a lot of money on the open market but with the relationship between the Seahawks and Chancellor still up in the air right now, Seattle could be looking to replace him sooner than later. I don't think Kelcie McCray is necessarily a true "replacement" for Kam.
25. Chris Long, Los Angeles Rams defensive end: Has battled injuries the last two years and production has dipped terribly. In a rotational role as a pass rusher though, he could be very interesting.
26. Nick Fairley, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle: Another situational interior pass rusher. Kind of in the Clinton McDonald/Jordan Hill mold.
29. Alex Boone, San Francisco 49ers guard: Tough, nasty interior lineman. Tons of experience in the NFC West. Would replace J.R. Sweezy if Sweezy gets a lot of money on the open market.
35. Ian Williams, San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle: An option is Ahtyba Rubin or Brandon Mebane leaves in free agency. Versatile and stout.
36. Kelvin Beachum, Pittsburgh Steelers tackle: Tore his ACL in October so he's an injury red flag, but was a high-quality starting left tackle for the Steelers prior to the injury. Is still just 26. For what it's worth, Russell Okung came in at #17 on this list.
37. Walter Thurmond, Philadelphia Eagles safety: It's a little surprising to see Thurmond this high on the list but as has been the case with his entire career, talent isn't the big question mark -- it's whether or not he can stay healthy. He's a guy that can play safety for Seattle in theory, but would have value as a corner and nickelback. A reunion here in Seattle would be pretty cool.
38. Mitchell Schwartz, Cleveland Browns tackle: Another solid starter-level tackle on the open market. Played in a zone blocking scheme so that's a good fit. Started on the right side so if a move for Garry Gilliam to the left were in the works, he could be a real option.
39. Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers tight end: Speed at the tight end position. I'm guessing that Seattle won't sink any more money into this spot, but if they do, I would guess that Green would be their top target.
42. Casey Hayward, Green Bay Packers cornerback: Very versatile defensive back that can play outside or inside. I don't know if Seattle would do the outside free agency thing at this spot after the Cary Williams disaster last year, but Hayward is a talented guy.
43. Aldon Smith, Oakland Raiders pass rusher: Suspended until November (and may not be back at all next year) but stayed out of trouble last year with the Raiders. Is a supremely talented pass rusher and pass rushers are highly in demand. Would not surprise me if the Seahawks kick the tires here and see if they can work out a contingency-based contract.
52. Mark Barron, Los Angeles Rams linebacker: Made a nice comeback after being a bust in Tampa Bay, making the switch to linebacker in St. Louis. He just seems like the type of player that Pete Carroll could find a role for. Not sure what type of market he'll have, but if he's cheapish, would be fun to see him as an in-the-box safety or weak-side linebacker type for Seattle.
53. Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver: I love Anquan Boldin. His numbers dipped this past year with crappy quarterback play but he's still one of the toughest and savviest receivers in the NFL. Would love to see him in Seattle, but doubt the Seahawks would use much money at that spot right now.
58. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins running back: This is market-based, and if Morris gets little or no market, I could see the Seahawks showing interest. Tons of experience in the zone blocking scheme. Tough, reliable, and hard nosed. Everyone loves him. Can't catch for shit but could give Thomas Rawls some spells on early downs.
59. Brandon Brooks, Houston Texans guard: Another guy with a lot of experience in the zone blocking scheme. Started all but four games of the Texans last three seasons. Just 26.
61. Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver: Big, physical. Probably a good Jermaine Kearse comp.
66. Jahri Evans, New Orleans Saints guard: I don't know if he'd fit in Seattle's system at this point but he protected another short quarterback for a long time and Seattle needs a guy or two that can pass protect in the inside.
69. Junior Galette, Washington Redskins pass rusher: Galette served a two-game suspension for a domestic abuse incident so he may not be on the Seahawks radar at all, but he is a talented pass rusher when healthy. He's looking for a one-year prove it deal and if the health thing checks out (he's coming off a torn achilles) he might be an interesting target.
71. William Hayes, Los Angeles Rams defensive end: Has always been an underrated defensive end and plays with fire and toughness. Will probably end up back with the Rams but he's a guy to keep an eye on. He's a weirdo that doesn't believe in dinosaurs but believes in mermaids so his out-there personality type probably fit right in with Michael Bennett and the Seahawks.
72. Dwight Freeney, Arizona Cardinals pass rusher: Was productive for the Cardinals down the stretch. I want Seattle to upgrade their pass rush depth so getting a situational guy like Freeney would be a-ok in my book.
77. Nick Perry, Green Bay Packers pass rusher: Played for Pete Carroll for a few years so the Seahawks will have unique information on him as a player. The market for Perry will be interesting to monitor. He was obviously a freak of nature type athlete coming out but never really turned into the pass-rushing talent that the Packers hoped for.
83. Stefen Wisniewski, Jacksonville Jaguars center: The Seahawks pursued him a little bit last year but he ultimately signed in Jacksonville. I wonder if after the debacle at center last year that maybe Seattle will loosen up the purse strings? Will be interesting to see.
85. Zach Brown, Tennessee Titans linebacker: Speed, speed, speed.
90. Brian Quick, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver: Physical talent, physical talent, physical talent. Has been injured a lot but still has upside.
Who are the most interesting to you on this list, and who did I leave off that should've been included?