Following a 2017 season that fell short of expectations for many fans, the Seattle Seahawks entered the offseason with lots of questions regarding big name players. Would the team sign an extension with any of Jimmy Graham, Paul Richardson or Sheldon Richardson before the start of free agency, or would the team allow them to leave and likely earn compensatory picks in the 2019 draft in return.
Sure enough, nearly as soon as the free agency bell rang, Graham agreed to a contract with the Green Bay Packers, Paul Richardson signed with the Washington Redskins and a bit later Sheldon signed a deal with the Minnesota Vikings. However, in spite of these three players signing contracts with other teams, due to the way comp picks work, the Seahawks are unlikely to receive any for their losses.
The reason for this is that a team may only receive as many comp picks as the net number of free agents lost during the eligible period. This year that eligible period was March 14 through May 8, and during that time Seattle signed seven players while losing only five free agents. Thus, with a net gain of free agents, the Hawks would be ineligible to receive any comp picks.
Now, there is a chance, albeit extremely remote, that the team could cut all seven of the free agents signed, and that could potentially put them in line to receive as many as four comp picks in 2019. Don’t hold your breath, though. The Hawks appear to have specifically targeted certain players, such as Ed Dickson, DJ Fluker, Barkevious Mingo and Shamar Stephen to fill specific roles, and the probability of any of those names being released before final cuts seems remote.
What seems potentially more likely is the Hawks front office may wheel and deal leading up to final cuts, potentially adding draft capital in that manner. For example, the team currently has eight defensive tackles on its roster, and it traditionally only carries four or five into the season. Now it’s highly, highly unlikely that a team would trade for a recently signed UDFA such as Eddy Wilson or Poona Ford, however, if the Seahawks find themselves in a position where they decide to keep around the youngsters, they could potentially deal one of the free agents that was signed for a conditional late round draft pick.
Yes, it’s definitely unlikely that any team will surrender a fourth round draft pick for Stephen or Johnson, but a sixth or a seventh is not out of the question. So, they certainly won’t recoup all of the comp picks they decided to forego, but exactly how valuable are those comp picks. Here’s a list of all the players that the team has drafted in the fourth and seventh rounds since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in 2010, and I’m not really sure if there are even four names on that list I’d be dying to add to the roster.
K.J. Wright? Absolutely. Robert Turbin, J.R. Sweezy, Chris Carson or Malcolm Smith? Ehh...I might be inclined to take my chances with players who are known to not be superstars but somewhat competent at what they do.
Personally, I’m pretty happy to give up those comp picks just to not have to watch Jimmy Graham attempt to block.