The NFL legal tampering period, when unrestricted free agents are able to discuss contracts with players who will be free agents on March 13, begins two weeks from Monday, and Mike Clay of ESPN was not kind in grading several position groups of the Seattle Seahawks in advance of free agency.
Here are his grades for the entire league as of Monday, February 18.
Per Clay’s grades, the Seahawks are tied for worst in the NFL at multiple position groups heading into free agency next month. Those groups include the trenches on both sides of the ball, as well as multiple position groups on defense. Specifically, his grades have the Seahawks last in the league, either all alone or tied at the following positions:
- Offensive line: six way tie for last with the Houston Texans, Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills,
- Edge rushers: five way tie for last with the Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders and New York Jets,
- Interior defensive line: three way tie for next to last with the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns (the Los Angeles Chargers are all alone in last place),
- Cornerback: tied for last place with the Oakland Radiers.
One of the keys to understanding Clay’s grades are that they do not include players who are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in March in their calculations. Thus, the last place cornerback group does not include Justin Coleman, nor does the edge rusher grade take into account Frank Clark.
Obviously Clark is likely to return, whether on a long term contract or on the franchise tag, however, with multiple important starters set to be free agents, the Hawks defense received his second lowest overall grade. That is in large part due to the fact that five of eleven starters are set to be free agents, including Clark, Coleman, K.J. Wright, Shemar Stephen, and Earl Thomas, and puts the team in 31st, just ahead of Oakland.
On the offensive side Clay’s rankings have the Hawks much better, where he gives the team high marks at quarterback and wide receiver, competent marks at running back and slightly below average at tight end. There is no doubt that grades of this kind could change drastically in the coming weeks, as players are retained and free agents added. However, as the roster looks right now, Clay grades the Seahawks pretty harshly at multiple positions.