A month into NFL free agency fans of the Seattle Seahawks are still waiting for news on defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney, however, this week the team has provided news on other free agents. Monday the team announced it had resigned Neiko Thorpe. Then on Tuesday reports emerged that the team had rescinded the exclusive rights free agent tender of Malik Turner and had also agreed to terms on a contract that would see Mike Iupati return for the 2020 season.
Part of the reason for the flurry of activity this week has been the fact that the team’s offseason workout program is set to begin next Monday.
Now, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has team facilities closed across the country, but that does not mean that offseason programs are cancelled. Instead, it only means that the offseason program will be virtual in nature.
The part of the offseason program which is slated to begin for the Seahawks on Monday is the strength and conditioning portion, as there are no traditional practices held in the first few weeks of the offseason program. Monday would mark the start of Phase I, which is described in Article 21, Section 2(c)(i) of the CBA as follows:
Phase One. Phase One shall consist of the first two weeks of the Club’s offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Section 5 of this Article, Phase One activities shall be limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. During Phase One, only full-time or part-time strength and conditioning coaches, who have no other coaching responsibilities with the Club, shall be allowed on the field; no other coaches shall be allowed on the field or to otherwise participate in or observe activities. No footballs shall be permitted to be used (only “dead ball” activities), except that (1) quarterbacks may elect to throw to receivers provided they are not covered by any other player; (2) kickers, punters, PAT/field goal holders, and long snappers may use footballs on the field for kicking, punting, snapping or holding without the involvement of any other players; (3) returners may field punts and kickoffs provided they are not covered by any other player; (4) JUGGS machines may be used for pass catching, punt returns, and kickoff returns. Players cannot wear helmets during Phase One, except that players using JUGGS machines may wear helmets for safety purposes if the player so desires. During all three phases of a Club’s offseason workout program, participating players may meet with members of the Club’s Player Engagement staff and may attend NFL/NFLPA jointly-sponsored educational sessions.
Basically, Monday marks the start of strength and conditioning and individual skill drills in the offseason program, and the team has traditionally signed players it wanted with the team for the upcoming season prior to the start of Phase I of the offseason program. That includes the exclusive rights free agents and the restricted free agents who were given tenders heading into free agency. Also of note on the restricted free agents who were tendered contracts, Friday, April 17 is the final day for those players to sign an offer sheet with another team. Any of the RFAs that have not signed an offer sheet with another team before 4 PM New York Time Friday see their ability to negotiate with another team terminated, and the Seahawks have traditionally signed their RFAs on the eve of the start of Phase I of the offseason.
Thus, while it’s already been a fairly busy week for the Seahawks during one of the slower periods of the offseason, this is traditionally a fairly busy week for the Seattle front office. Don’t be surprised if the rest of the week is busy with news as well as the team may look to round out the veteran portion of its roster with any players who remain unsigned around the league and are available for what might prove to be a bargain contract.