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What will the Seahawks do with Joey Hunt in 2020?

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks season came to a screeching halt during the divisional round of the playoffs against the Green Bay Packers, and now it’s time for the team to make several decisions during the offseason. In particular, the Hawks have four Restricted Free Agents on which they need to make decisions, including:

  • Jacob Hollister,
  • Joey Hunt,
  • David Moore and
  • Branden Jackson

Wednesday I took a stab at the situation regarding Hollister, and today we’ll consider Joey Hunt.

For those who might not have read the piece on Hollister, the way the RFA system works can be somewhat confusing, so I’ll lay it out here. First, for each RFA, the team will need to decide whether or not to extend a RFA tender. If they decide not to extend a tender, then the player becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent (to head off the question, non-tendered RFAs who become UFAs do not count towards comp pick calculations).

If the team decides to extend a tender offer to a RFA, there are three different levels of tender offer that can be extended: First Round tender, Second Round tender or Original Round tender. Each tender comes with a salary determined by formula and specified by the league. While the exact tender amounts for RFAs for the 2020 season have yet to be announced, OverTheCap.com has historically been very close on the tender amounts, and their current projections are as follows:

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

The way the tenders work is that they are an offer for a one-year contract at the specified amount. If another team wishes to sign an RFA to a contract once free agency starts in March, they are required to give up a draft pick corresponding to the round of tender placed on the player. So, for example, if a player is given a second round tender and another team signs the player to an offer sheet, the new team must then send its second round pick to the player’s prior team. Now, in the middle of all of that, the player’s former team has the right of first refusal and can opt to match the contract given to the player in lieu of accepting the draft pick.

In the case of an Original Round tender, the draft pick the new team would be required to give up is the same as the draft pick originally used to select the player when they came out of college. In Hunt’s situation, since he originally drafted in the sixth round, if an Original Round tender is used and another team signs him to an offer sheet, it would require his new team to send Seattle their sixth round pick, should the Hawks decide not to exercise their right of first refusal.

In Hunt’s situation, the first round tender is far more than would be necessary to secure his services, so that can be eliminated. That leaves the original round tender and the second round tender to consider. The team might opt to use the second round tender on Hunt, just as they did with George Fant this past offseason, however, Fant’s situation is a little different since he was undrafted and had logged more snaps in his career while also possessing measurables that project out to a starting caliber tackle. Hunt, on the other hand, is considered undersized and not only went unclaimed when waived in 2017, he spent twelve weeks on the practice squad without another team poaching him. That might make a second round tender more than is necessary to make sure he is on the roster in 2020.

That leaves the original round tender, which would seem to make sense. In spite of the fact that Hunt started ten games in 2019 including the postseason, during his time as a starter he was graded by PFF as one of the worst starting centers in the league. That would seem to make any market for his services lukewarm, and the majority of teams seem unlikely to give up their sixth round pick in exchange for an undersized center who was near the bottom of the league in terms of pressure allowed from Week 8 on.

Thus, assuming the team decides to tender Hunt, it seems likely to be an Original Round tender that is extended to him. That likely secures his services for 2020, and brings him back to the team for training camp in order to compete at center, where the team could open the season with a different starter for the first time since 2016.

Poll

How should the Seahawks handle Restricted Free Agent Joey Hunt?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    First Round tender - $4.667M
    (19 votes)
  • 4%
    Second Round tender - $3.278M
    (65 votes)
  • 52%
    Original Round tender - $2.144M
    (795 votes)
  • 41%
    Non-tender (becomes UFA)
    (631 votes)
1510 votes total Vote Now