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Seahawks have long list of potential free agents this offseason

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Divisional Round - Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks 2019 season came to a close Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, and today is the first full day of the offseason. It’s another offseason that is longer than the team would prefer, but that long void will be filled with questions for the roster from top to bottom. The team has a huge number of players about whom questions will be asked, and the time to look at all of the names that could soon be free agents has arrived.

Any list of offseason questions starts with those players who could be available as unrestricted free agents when the new league year starts in March. The unrestricted free agents for the Seahawks this offseason are:

Unrestricted Free Agents:

  • Jadeveon Clowney,
  • Ziggy Ansah,
  • Mychal Kendricks,
  • George Fant,
  • Germain Ifedi,
  • Mike Iupati,
  • Al Woods,
  • Quinton Jefferson,
  • Josh Gordon,
  • Jaron Brown,
  • Akeem King,
  • Jarran Reed,
  • Neiko Thorpe,
  • Dekoda Watson,
  • Geno Smith,
  • Luke Willson and
  • C.J. Prosise

Restricted Free Agents

Moving on to the restricted free agents on which the Seahawks will need to make decisions, they are:

  • Joey Hunt (6th round),
  • Branden Jackson (UDFA),
  • Jacob Hollister (UDFA) and
  • David Moore (7th round).

On restricted free agents, teams have to decide whether to extend a player a RFA tender. If a team decides to extend a RFA tender to a player, it must then designate which of three levels of tender to give the player. The three levels, and the accompanying salaries for the 2020 season as projected by OverTheCap.com are:

  • First round tender: $4.667M
  • Second round tender: $3.278M
  • Original round tender: $2.144M

If another team signs one of the Seahawks four RFAs to an offer sheet, the Seahawks would then have a week to decide whether they would like to match the contract of the offer sheet, or let the player leave. If a player to whom a second round tender is extended signs with another team and their original team does not match, the signing team sends its first or second round pick to the team from which the newly acquired player was signed.

If a player on an original round tender signs with a new team, then the new team would be required to send that player’s old team their draft pick in the 2020 draft that corresponds to the round in which the player was original drafted. Thus, say for example the team extends an original round tender to Joey Hunt, who then signs an offer sheet with another team. If the Seahawks failed to match the offer sheet Hunt had signed, then his new team would send the Hawks their sixth round pick in the 2020 draft.

This obviously leads to the question about what happens when a player who was originally undrafted is given an original round tender. Since no draft pick was used to acquire that player, no draft pick compensation is required to be sent by the player’s new team. Say for example the Hawks use an original round tender on Jackson and Hollister, and one of those two signs an offer sheet with another team. In such a situation Seattle would have the right of first refusal and could match the contract, but would not receive any sort of draft pick compensation if they chose not to match the contract. This is exactly what happened with Garry Gilliam following the 2016 season, when the Hawks declined to match the offer sheet Gilliam signed with the San Francisco 49ers.

The other players on the roster are either under contract for 2020 or are Exclusive Rights Free Agents, meaning they have no ability to negotiate with other teams. ERFAs basically have two options: play for whatever contract a team offers or go find a new job. As most jobs for people in their early to mid twenties don’t pay nearly what a spot on a 53 man roster in the NFL pays, the majority of players accept the minimum salary offers their teams present to them.

It’s a long offseason, and while the Combine will arrive before free agency, today marks nine weeks until the start of the legal tampering period on March 16. So, for fans looking forward to the time when Germain Ifedi will no longer be a member of the Seahawks, the countdown has begun.