Over the past few days, we’ve gone through the Seattle Seahawks’ unrestricted free agents and restricted free agents, assessing who’s likely to be re-signed and who isn’t, and which tenders they may or may not receive from Seattle. Today we’ll wrap up Seahawks on expiring deals with the group of exclusive rights free agents.
Here’s how Over The Cap defined ERFAs in a 2013 post:
These are the players with 2 or less seasons in the league, a status reserved almost solely for undrafted rookie type players. Once tendered they can only negotiate with their former team. The tender offer is only a one year non-guaranteed contract at the minimum salary level so most teams would use the ERFA designation on players who were on the roster late in the prior year and signed to a 1 year deal. Usually these offers are signed as soon as they are made since nothing is gained by waiting.
These players aren’t really free agents in any sense, unless their team chooses not to tender them. Seeing as there is no guaranteed money on an ERFA tender, there is zero risk in tendering an exclusive rights free agent, especially with rosters ballooning back up to 90 players.
However, for the sake of clarity, let’s briefly go through Seattle’s exclusive rights free agents and their standing with the team.
There was a strange time, following Clint Gresham’s release, where the long snapper position caused a bit of turbulence for the Seahawks. Ott stabilized the position and hasn’t missed a game during his two seasons in Seattle. There’s no reason to expect Ott to hit unrestricted free agency.
After spending some time on the practice squad in 2018, Jackson proved his worth by playing inside and outside along the defensive line for the Seahawks. At times, he has proven to be a dependable rotational player, and at the low cost of an ERFA tender, will be back in camp with Seattle.
The Seahawks must do a better job of getting McKissic involved with the offense, health permitting, in 2019. Despite touching the ball just three times in 2018, McKissic’s return is a no-brainer.
When injuries hit the offensive line in 2018, Hunt, at times, was dressed on game day over Ethan Pocic. Whether that’s an endorsement of Hunt or an indictment of Pocic is anyone’s best guess. Hunt is familiar with the offense and at the very least, can stick with the team through camp as a second or third string center.
Signed during training camp, it appeared for a moment like Reed could actually snatch a roster spot as he continued to make plays in practice. Reed impressed enough to spend the season on the practice squad, and there’s no reason not to run it back in 2019.
Playing under the ERFA tender in 2019, Luani should provide Seattle with good value. He proved to be a valued special teamer in 2018 and if he makes the 53-man roster in 2019, will do so again at a tiny cost.
There should still be hope within the Seahawks organization that Moore can fulfill the role of a contested-catch receiver. Moore will be a bargain for Seattle in 2019.
At worst, Calitro was a core special teamer for the Seahawks in 2018. At best, he did the job of a stop-gap in the starting lineup while Mychal Kendricks and K.J. Wright battled injuries. Like Moore and Luani, Calitro can provide Seattle with value in 2019.
For a short while, it seemed as though Simmons may play D.J. Fluker out of a roster spot on the Seahawks in 2019. Injuries—perpetually the story with Simmons—ended his season, but he remains a highly fascinating project. Health permitting, Simmons could battle for a starting spot in 2019.
Signed as a UDFA following the 2018 NFL Draft, Mutcherson helped round out the numbers at safety in camp, while Maurice Alexander struggled to get healthy and Earl Thomas held out. He was placed on injured reserve during the cut from 90 players to 53, but if Seattle remains intrigued by his profile, he should be back in camp.
Similar to Mutcherson, Ali’ifua was in camp as Frank Clark and Dion Jordan missed time. A season-ending injury led to him spending the entire season on the Seahawks’ injured reserve. Defensive line will be a crowded group entering training camp, but Seattle can hang on to Ali’ifua until they need the roster spot.
While injuries were ravaging the linebacker corps, Ellerbee made the jump from practice squad to active roster and appeared in four games. At least one of Kendricks and Wright won’t be back in 2019, so Ellerbee should have a roster spot in camp.
The nature of the exclusive rights free agent tender gives the Seahawks a ton of freedom, able to hang on to a player until they need the roster spot elsewhere. It’s a tough spot for the player to be in, but it makes for easy decisions for Seattle. This group of young, intriguing (mostly) role players will help to fill out the 90-man roster the Seahawks will enter camp with.