Every season the Seattle Seahawks play at least one game that I will totally forget within hours of it ending and then it is gone forever. For the 2016 season, that game was their 26-15 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in which I’m only guessing Carson Wentz was bad and Russell Wilson good. (Upon inspection: Oh this is the game that Wilson caught a touchdown and C.J. Prosise was healthy.)
The Eagles would’ve been the sham team of 2016 if the Minnesota Vikings didn’t exist, blowing a 3-0 start in which they lost nine of their last 13 games and progressively saw Wentz regress aggressively. But FootballOutsiders actually really liked what they saw from Philly and especially their defense in the first year under head coach Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. That being said, the Eagles have significant cap space issues, to the point where they are currently set to only be $9 million under the cap for 2017 and $5 million under the cap for 2018; yes, Philadelphia has even less money to spend a year from now than they do for this offseason.
That means that some big changes are coming, including the releasing of popular players, restructuring contracts, and not being able to retain everyone they want to retain. That includes one such player who I believe more and more every day will be the Seahawks next starting outside linebacker next to Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright, potentially giving them the best linebacker trio in football.
Impending Free Agents
Leodis McKelvin, CB (released)
The Eagles have cap issues and they set things off by releasing their most obvious cap casualty candidate in McKelvin. The veteran corner spent eight years in Buffalo with the Bills but lasted just one season in Philadelphia after playing in 13 games and recording two interceptions. McKelvin apparently has under 30” arms, which is just tiny by NFL standards. Not a player of interest for Seattle.
Bennie Logan, DT
Logan is definitely a free agent of note this year, with some suggesting that the Eagles should give him the franchise tag if they have to. That’s not going to happen for many reasons, most of all that they can’t afford to pay him like a top-five defensive tackle. His 30 reps on the bench at the combine in 2013 was nice, but his 27” vert and sub-9’ broad jump probably means he’s not explosive enough for the Seahawks. Better served to address defensive tackle in the draft in that case.
Others: LB Stephen Tulloch, CB Nolan Carroll, C/G Stefen Wisniewski, DE Bryan Braman, LB Najee Goode
Potential Cap Casualties
Connor Barwin, LB
Barwin checks the “Seahawks Boxes” in a lot of ways at the SAM linebacker position. He’s 6’4, 255 pounds, had a crazy 40.5” vertical jump at the combine, 10’8 broad jump, 4.66 40-yard dash, 21 reps on the bench, and even played tight end in college before a late switch to defensive end. After four up-and-down seasons with the Houston Texans, Barwin signed with the Eagles and blew up for 14.5 sacks in 2014. He’s simply not a fit for Jim Schwartz’s defense and he had just five sacks last season, but Barwin could be the bargain at OLB that Seattle needs. He’s almost certain to be traded or released and I think the Seahawks will be first in line to inquire on what it would take. He’s said he’d take a paycut to stay in Philly, but would he take one to play for a perennial playoff team with a clear road to a division title next season? I started eyeing Barwin for the Hawks back in December and as time goes on, it only makes more and more sense. Yes, he’s 30 ... making him younger than Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. Seattle didn’t move on from Chris Clemons until after he turned 32. They’re only looking for two seasons out of Barwin, anything else would be a bonus. This might be their splash play of the offseason: Acquiring Barwin. I’m all for it.
Jason Kelce, C
There’s also some talk that the Eagles could release left tackle Jason Peters to save some money, but I don’t think they’re going to do anything to jeopardize the protection of Carson Wentz unless a better plan to replace said players is already in place. Kelce and Peters probably both return.
Darren Sproles, RB
Ryan Mathews, RB
Another double-whammy, Philly probably has to release at least one of these two players and it’s likely going to be Mathews. I mean, for obvious reasons: Sproles is one of the funnest, most amazing players in the NFL and Mathews is ... average at best. Would be incredible to see Sproles in Seattle but that isn’t happening. They won’t be going near Mathews when he is released. Nothing much to see here.
More 2017 NFL Free Agent News: