The NFL free agency period officially opens at 1 PM on Thursday and I wanted to make a fresh post for all the news and rumors right here. There’s been a ton of action already this week, with way more stories coming out early Thursday morning, so I wanted to make a fresh post. The first “Seahawks, NFL rumors” post can be found here, including all the moves by the San Francisco 49ers so far.
What’s going on Thursday:
Luke Joeckel, OT/OG (signed)
The Seahawks first move of free agency, they signed Joeckel to a one-year deal to compete at either tackle or guard, though his contract value of “up to $8 million” suggest they expect him to start; Seattle wasn’t set to pay their entire starting o-line $8 million before this move. The obvious play here is that Joeckel will be given a shot to win the left tackle job and if that doesn’t work out, will be tried at right tackle, and if not that, then probably left guard to replace Mark Glowinski. This is a pretty good deal for the Seahawks because it’s only one year and it’s incentive-laden, while adding a guy who four years ago was considered a great prospect.
T.J. Lang, OG (rumored)
Rumor has it that Seattle isn’t stopping at Joeckel, but also pursuing a premier guard in Lang. Rated as one of the best guards in football last year for the Green Bay Packers, Lang has primarily played on the right side. On Thursday, guards of Lang’s caliber were signing from about $8 million per season to that of Kevin Zeitler, who got $12 million a year from the Browns. I can’t imagine the Seahawks spending $10 or so million per year on a guard but it’s always possible the front office is willing to change some of their philosophies. Lang is currently in Detroit visiting with the Lions, so he may not even be available by day’s end.
Eddie Lacy, RB (rumored)
Latavius Murray, RB (rumored)
Jamaal Charles, RB (rumored)
Seattle had a bunch of running backs last season due to injuries and they still plan to roll with Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise as plan A and B, but they’re going to need a more reliable plan C. Not that any of these three are super reliable, but perhaps moreso than relying on options through the draft like they did last year. They are rumored to have visits setup with all three backs listed above.
Lacy has weight issues but is a pretty good back when in shape and healthy. He rushed for over 1,100 yards in each of his first two seasons and scored 20 touchdowns in that time for the Packers. Murray is someone I highlighted in my preview of the Raiders free agents as a back the Seahawks would really like, but I thought he’d be out of their price range. They are going to find out if that’s true or not, I guess. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2015 and scored 12 touchdowns in 2016.
Seattle apparently has interest in Charles and he feels the same, according to Ian Rapoport. It sounds like he will be taking a visit with the Seahawks.
#Seahawks & RB Jamaal Charles have mutual interest, sources say, & a visit is expected when Charles begins taking them. A potential new home— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
Charles has played in just eight games over the last two seasons and is 30, so I can’t imagine he would cost much. He’d give the offense a third option to complement Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise, plus a veteran presence in the locker room. He is good friends with Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. Charles scored an NFL-high 19 touchdowns in 2013, including 70 receptions and 1,980 total yards.
Russell Okung, OT, Broncos to Chargers
If you think the deal for Joeckel was bad because he’s a bad guard/tackle who could make up to $8 million next season (if he makes $8 million, it’s probably a good sign), tell me what you think of the Chargers giving Okung a four-year, $53 million deal. It’s “only” $13.25 million guaranteed but he’s getting a $13.25 million APY and Okung just had the first healthy season of his career. Also, Denver had a bad offensive line last year, and Okung was mostly just seen as adequate, nothing special. I prefer the one-year move on Joeckel.
Steven Hauschka, K, Bills
Hauschka will be signing with the Buffalo Bills, putting to rest the idea that he might actually return to Seattle and compete with Blair Walsh for the kicking job. The team seemed pretty perturbed with his low trajectory kicks and made no bones about the fact that they wanted to go in a new direction.
Former Seahawks' K Steve Hauschka expected to sign in Buffalo if no snags in final negotiations, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2017
Connor Barwin, LB (released)
The Philadelphia Eagles have released Barwin. That’s the only news and there are no rumors to connect him to Seattle, but I wanted to add him here because I’ve been saying for awhile that I think Barwin could be an excellent fit in the Seahawks defense. It’s just a matter of how much he will cost. He had 14.5 sacks in 2014, but just 12 over the last two seasons. The linebacker/pass rusher is 30.
Terrell McClain, DL, Cowboys to Redskins
The Seahawks had rumored interest in McClain but he’s heading to Washington on a four-year, $21 million deal.
Ronald Leary, G, Cowboys to Broncos
Another guard off the market, Leary is getting $35 million over four years with $20 million guaranteed. Leary is an above-average starting guard, maybe even a good guard, but he’s not a premier guard and he’s never proven much without playing beside three All-Pro offensive line talents. Don’t over-estimate how good he is. Yet he’s getting $8.75 million per year to play guard. Seattle is not paying anyone $8 million to play guard, and this is for an above-average starter. Kevin Zeitler should be asking for at least $9.5 million now. Even a replacement level starter at this point seems like he’d cost $3 million per year. All signs point to the Seahawks sticking with most of their offensive line from a year ago.
Ben Ijalana, OT, Jets (re-signed)
The Jets re-signed Ijalana for two years and $11 million. He made 13 starts for them after a career in which he had torn his ACL, missed a lot of time with injuries, went from the Colts to New York before finally having a healthy season. This is the market for a player like Ijalana with 13 career starts: $5.5 million APY. The Seahawks have to look at that now and see that a risky choice as a starting tackle is $5.5 million APY. Consider that two years ago Doug Free signed a contract with the Cowboys (after six seasons as a starter and being very good) that had an APY of $5 million.
Kevin Zeitler, OG, Bengals to Browns
Schefter is reporting that Cleveland will make Zeitler the highest-paid guard in NFL history. They also extended Bitonio for a hefty sum. The Browns may have the highest-paid offensive line in the NFL now. It puts the market so far above what Seattle wants to pay for o-lineman that it’s laughable.
Other NFC West Teams
The LA Rams are losing Britt to Cleveland on a four-year, $32.5 million deal. The 28-year-old receiver had his first 1,000-yard season in 2016, a long road back from the 2011 season when Britt was pegged as a breakout player who ended up tearing his ACL and MCL after only three games that year.
Once finalized with Browns, Britt's expected terms: 4 years, $32.5m, $17m gtd.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 9, 2017
The Rams will be down a receiver for now, but will have a new premier left tackle.
Andrew Whitworth, LT, Bengals to Rams
Los Angeles is signing Whitworth to a three-year deal. Cincinnati’s elite left tackle will be getting $12 million per season, per Rapoport. It’s a considerable deal for Whitworth but reasonable given that he’s 35. A lot of fans in Seattle wanted the Seahawks to make this move, but they aren’t in the habit of paying offensive linemen anything close to that type of money, whether it’s right or wrong. It’s just a little tougher to see him come into the same division.
#Rams deal for Andrew Whitworth: 3 years, $36M w $15M guar, including $2.5M guar in Year 2. Deal pays more $13M in Year 1 and $24.5M over 2— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
Robert Woods, WR, Bills to Rams
The Rams are losing Britt but adding Woods, a 24-year-old who went to USC and was Buffalo’s second round pick in 2013. Woods had 51 catches for 613 yards and one touchdown last season. He’s signing a five-year, $39 million deal.
Torrey Smith, WR, 49ers to Eagles
The former 49ers receiver has signed a three-year, $15 million contract in Philadelphia.
Calais Campbell, DL,
NOT to Jaguars? To Jaguars
Seemed like solid news on Wednesday that Campbell was going to Jacksonville, but James Palmer tweeted on Thursday that the Broncos are still in the mix and Campbell has not made a decision yet. Eventually Campbell accepted a four-year, $60 million deal to go to the Jags.
Antonio Bethea, S, 49ers to Cardinals
With the loss of Tony Jefferson to Baltimore, Arizona has signed Bethea to a three-year deal. The 49ers released Bethea on Wednesday.
Around the NFL:
Brock Osweiler, QB, traded to Browns along with second round pick
“The Dumpoff.” What I felt was one of the worst free agent signings of all-time last year by the Houston Texans has now resulted in them having to spend a second round pick just to dump him to the Browns. Cleveland gave nothing in return for Osweiler, other than swapping a comp fourth rounder for a comp sixth rounder, but the Texans save $16 million in cash and $10 million against the cap in the move. ESPN is also reporting that the Browns have no intention of keeping Osweiler, they just wanted the pick and they have plenty of space to absorb the hit. They are also supposedly fielding offers for Osweiler now and could get even more picks.
Kevin Zeitler, G, Bengals to Browns
J.C. Tretter, C, Packers to Browns
Kenny Britt, WR, Rams to Browns
Cleveland gave Zeitler a monster $60 million deal to switch AFC North allegiances. Their offensive line is now Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, Tretter, Zeitler, and a competition on the right between Shon Coleman and some others. They also claimed center Marcus Martin off waivers from the 49ers. The Browns are definitely “going for it” and if they draft Myles Garrett first overall in April, I would expect them to try and use those additional picks they have to move up from 12 for one of the top two QB prospects — Mitchell Trubisky or Deshaun Watson. Fun times in Cleveland.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears to Eagles
Jeffery opted to sign a one-year, $14 million “prove it” deal with the Eagles. He wasn’t very productive the last two seasons, pushing through some injuries, but as Carson Wentz’ top target in Philly, in Doug Pederson’s offense, he expects to cash in big in 2018. He probably would too, with the rising cap, looking for a record WR contract if he can stay healthy.
A.J. Bouye, CB, Texans to Jaguars
Barry Church, S, Cowboys to Jaguars
In addition to Campbell, Jacksonville has added Bouye to be their number one corner and Church as their new strong safety. It’s a significant upgrade to a suddenly talented defense.
Micah Hyde, S/CB, Packers to Bills
Solid pickup for Buffalo.
Larry Warford, G, Lions to Saints
The guard signed a deal with New Orleans.
Chance Warmack, G, Titans to Eagles
Another failed former top pick, Warmack signed a one-year deal with Philly.
Matt Kalil, OT, Vikings to Panthers
Carolina oddly signed Kalil to a five-year, $55 million contract with $25 million guaranteed. I would think other details have to emerge, as Kalil has not been good for a long while. It puts him on the same line as his brother Ryan, who plays center for the Panthers.
Jay Cutler, QB (released)
The Bears are releasing Cutler. He could potentially go to the 49ers, I suppose, but that’s not being hinted at. Jets and Texans are mentioned.
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys (?)
Dallas is apparently leaning towards trading Romo rather than releasing him, like earlier reported. The Texans and Broncos are the only reported suitors.
Stephon Gilmore, CB, Bills to Patriots
Bill Belichick isn’t afraid to throw around some money, taking Gilmore away from Buffalo and bringing him to New England on a huge five-year contract apparently worth $14 million per season. That’s as much as Tom Brady.
The expected price tag for free agent CB Stephon Gilmore for the #Patriots is slated to eclipse $14M per year, I’m told. Hefty but worth it— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
It’s a little surprising because Gilmore has had a very inconsistent career and the Patriots don’t usually seem to be in the habit of signing players to long-term deals (they signed Darrelle Revis in 2014 but only one what was essentially a one-year contract), but apparently he fits exactly what Belichick looks for in a corner. Gilmore is 26 and had five interceptions last season. New England will likely be moving on from corner Logan Ryan now. There’s also a report that they could trade Malcolm Butler to the Saints for Brandin Cooks.
The New England Patriots are considering trading Malcolm Butler to the New Orleans Saints for Brandin Cooks per sources— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 9, 2017
Nick Perry, LB, Packers
Green Bay is apparently retaining Perry, who had 11 sacks last season. He signed a one-year, $5 million “prove it” deal with the Packers last year.
The #Packers are bringing back pass-rusher Nick Perry, source said. Locking up a key priority.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins to Bucs
A move that’s been expected, Jackson is joining Jameis Winston and Mike Evans in Tampa Bay. It should give them an even more explosive offense next season and the Buccaneers are a real threat in the NFC South, if not the NFC as a whole.
Mike Glennon, QB, Bucs to Bears
It’s looking very likely that the expected signing of Glennon by Chicago for around $15 million/season is happening. The Bears could have kept Jay Cutler for the same amount of money but must prefer the potential upside of Glennon as opposed to the known commodity of Cutler. The fact that Glennon has proven very little in the NFL is probably why that won’t preclude them from drafting a QB if they’ve fallen in love with one. Glennon is either a solution or a veteran they don’t mind throwing into the flames.
When Mike Glennon’s deal is finalized with #Bears, it’s expected to be 3 years for an average of $14.5M, source says. Will still draft a QB— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
Ted Ginn, WR, Panthers to Saints
Ginn is heading to New Orleans to give Drew Brees another target and return some kicks. Given Brandin Cooks’ desire for more targets, this would seem to ensure he’s traded soon. Reports are that it will happen before the end of the day.
Joel Bitonio, G, Browns
Cleveland signed Bitonio to a six-year, $51 million extension. The guard (who Rob Staton heavily advocated for as a Seahawks draft pick in 2014 but they traded down for Paul Richardson instead) will be making $8.5 million a year despite missing 17 games over the last two years. Bitonio is a top end guard but that’s a huge price tag for a young, injury prone, guard. It only keeps driving up the price for offensive linemen, especially decent ones.
Brandon Williams, DT, Ravens
Re-signed with Baltimore, five years, $54 million.
The Seattle Seahawks are estimated to have $25.9 million in cap space, per OvertheCap.com. That’s good news but even better is that they don’t have a ton of priorities for re-signing their own free agents. The biggest names there are Luke Willson, Mike Morgan, Tony McDaniel, Neiko Thorpe, Kelcie McCray, and Steve Hauschka. They could also lose Garry Gilliam, a restricted free agent who was given an original round tender. A team could sign Gilliam and the Seahawks would have a chance to match it. If they don’t, they receive nothing in return.
Keep up with the news on our social media as well:
Tony Jefferson, S, Cardinals to Ravens
Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins to 49ers
Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Ravens to 49ers
Marquise Goodwin, WR, Bills to 49ers
Brian Hoyer, QB, Bears to 49ers
Malcolm Smith, LB, Raiders to 49ers
Chandler Jones, LB/DE, huge five-year contract to remain with Cardinals
Ricky Wagner, RT, Ravens to Lions
Kenny Stills, WR, remains with Dolphins
Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers to Ravens
Dwayne Allen, TE, traded from Colts to Patriots
Barry Church, S, Cowboys to Jaguars
Elvis Dumervil, DE/OLB, released by Ravens
Tony Romo, QB, expected to be released by Cowboys on Thursday
Tyrod Taylor, QB, remaining in Buffalo