The manic, hyped chaos of NBA superstar and Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard’s free agent status got me thinking: what if Kawhi was a Seattle Seahawk?
NBA free agency is different to the NFL. The Monday WojBomb frenzy was exhilarating and the the overall approach, of teams having to sell themselves to players, is far more wholesome.
NFL players have a terrible labor agreement and the players union should consider sitting out all of 2021, at a minimum. https://t.co/eMrbhujKbb— John Fraley (@johndavidfraley) July 1, 2019
But the festivities are yet to end. The Kawhi Leonard scenes are dominating, with news reporters telling us Kawhi is a private guy while we view live helicopter footage of his plane’s arrival in Toronto.
If the 6ft 7 Leonard played football — he played DB and WR in high school and is the cousin of former WR Stevie Johnson — he would make a frightening red-zone weapon for Russell Wilson to hit—while practicing load management of course. One would hope Seattle would have learned from the Jimmy Graham experiment and wouldn’t ask Leonard to in-line run block, instead splitting the big target out wide. (Little known fact: Antonio Gates once played basketball!) We’ve seen Leonard snag basketballs one-handed, so Wilson-lofted footballs should be no problem. As our own Mookie Alexander said:
“His hands are so huge he’d have to be a massive red zone threat.”
As a stalk or arc blocker, attacking guys in the run game from the slot, Leonard might have more success. Mookie got creative again:
“But he powers through bigger guys so well. Got to fancy him seeking contact and bulldozing people in the open field,” - Mookie Alexander
The only concern, yes only concern, would be upsetting quarterback Russell Wilson. The Claw’s Big Hands might upset the lockerroom chemistry, with Wilson’s dustbin lids potentially dwarfed. Leonard would also be forced by the NFL to change his number from #2. The highly realistic dream appears to be dead, even if the Space Needle makes the CN Tower look like some Legoland imitation.
Leonard’s situation does gives us an opportunity to look at the best Seattle Free Agent signings in franchise history, though.
- Chad Brown, Linebacker, 1997-2004
- Ricky Watters, Running Back, 1998-2001
- Robbie Tobeck, Center, 2000-2006
- John Randle, Defensive Tackle, 2001-2003
- Julian Peterson, EDGE/OLB, 2006-2008
- Patrick Kerney, Defensive End, 2007-2009
- Michael Bennett, anywhere on the defensive line, 2013-2017
- Cliff Avril, defensive end, 2013-2017
What a fun list.
There’s an argument to be had over whether Brown is even a top-three linebacker in franchise history now, but an All-Pro and Pro Bowl in 1998 plus Pro-Bowl in 1999 made his first two seasons a resounding success.
Watters felt like the first Free Agent not to use Seattle as leverage in Free Agency. His high-stepping style was fun, but you feel his receiving ability would be better used in the present day.
Tobeck was a vital cog in Mike Holmgren’s precision attack. Laterally gifted and able to quickly reach the second level, Tobeck’s sole 2005 Pro Bowl invitation was richly deserved.
Randle, with the interior rusher path led by Cortez Kennedy, was still effective in the Pacific Northwest after leaving Minnesota—including a 11.5-sack, Pro Bowl 2001 season.
Peterson was a crafty EDGE whose ability to rush and cover might have been better for the Hybrid future of the game. 10 sacks, 1 interception in 2006 and 9.5 sacks, 2 interceptions in 2007 were big reasons for him reaching the Pro Bowl in his first three years in Seattle.
Kerney did not disappoint in (mostly) terrible years of Seahawks football, including his remarkable 2007 NFC Defensive Player of the Year, 14.5-sack campaign.
Bennett re-joined the Seahawks after they cut him in 2009. Typically, he’s now playing for the coach who has long lauded him, Bill Belichick; you know he’s gonna reach another Super Bowl.
Avril joining at the same time as Bennett made the 2013 pass rush obscenely deep, with the pair not even listed as starters. When he got concussed in Super Bowl 49, the rush disintegrated.
The Bennett and Avril combination rivals the rest of the NFL for best free agency signings ever. It was daylight robbery from John Schneider; a Madden Franchise Mode-style heist. (Bennett 1 year, $5 million; Avril 2 years, $15 million) Kawhi Leonard is looking at signing for nearly $200 million.
Did a great Seattle Seahawks Free Agency signing get left off the list? Comment down below!