With rumors circling Wednesday regarding the interest of the Seattle Seahawks in veteran free agent running backs Devonta Freeman and Carlos Hyde, fans were not excited about the possibility of overpaying for experience with youngsters like DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer available. Whether the Seahawks and one of these running backs do indeed reach agreement on contract terms, with rumors being that each side is sticking to its contractual demands and not ready to budge at this point.
My understanding is Devonta Freeman wants $5 million on one year deal. #Seahawks offered $4 million and won't go any higher.— Corbin Smith (@CorbinSmithNFL) May 20, 2020
Meanwhile, Hyde reportedly turned down a two-year, $10M contract offer from the Houston Texans at some point, and many have postulated that he is still hoping to land a contract in the $5M per year range. Seattle adding either Hyde or Freeman on a one year, $5M contract would likely lead to offseason-long battles about whether the worst free agent contract the team gave out this seasons was to Hyde or Freeman or Greg Olsen or one of the other additions. In any case, regardless of how the remainder off the offseason plays out for the Seahawks, here’s a look at some of the worst offseason additions the team has made over the past decade.
2010: LenDale White
Having played for Pete Carroll at USC, White was supposed to be the big, powerful back that Carroll loves to use to wear down defenses. He was acquired in a trade with the Tennessee Titans that saw the Hawks and Titans swap a pair of picks each, with Seattle getting White and Kevin Vickerson in exchange for moving down seven spots in the fourth round and nine spots in the sixth round.
White is a good power back, and losing carries to Chris Johnson is no major failure. White needs to get his shape under control for more than five minutes to be effective and shouldn’t steal carries from Justin Forsett. However, Seattle spent almost nothing to grab White. Vickerson has good length, and could peak late. He just turned 27. This is all upside.
Unfortunately, White’s reunion with Carroll lasted all of 34 days, as a failed drug test and four game suspension led to his release on May 28.
2011: Robert Gallery
Gallery was given a three-year, $15M contract, but between the third round selection of John Moffitt and moving first round pick James Carpenter from tackle to guard, Gallery’s services were no longer needed after just a single season with Seattle.
2012: Matt Flynn
Yet another relatively big free agent addition, Flynn’s three-year, $20.5M contract was for one season less and $17.503M more than Russell Wilson’s four-year, $2,996,774 contract, but we all know how that story played out. However, at least Flynn has a sense of humor about how things worked out, as he tweeted the following after the Houston Texans signed Brock Osweiler to a four-year, $72M contract.
Wow I know I'm going to get killed for this and I don't have a lot of room to talk, but this latest QB contract is unbelievable........— Matt Flynn (@mflynn3) March 9, 2016
2013: Percy Harvin
If this exercise had been limited strictly to free agency, it would have been difficult to identify a “worst” free agent addition in 2013. The players added that year included Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Tony McDaniel and Antoine Winfield.
Now, fans will certainly argue that Harvin contributed to the Hawks lone Lombardi win in franchise history, leading the team in rushing in Super Bowl XLVIII, as well as slamming the dagger into the heart of any second half comeback hopes Denver Broncos fans might have rounded up during halftime.
However, in spite of his contributions in 2013, when the locker room situation became untenable and the team traded Harvin away, it made a significant impact on the team’s salary cap situation. In fact, Harvin carried a $7.2M dead money hit in 2015, which was just $80,000 short of matching the cap hit for Russell Okung at $7.28M that season. At the same time, that $7.2M is more than the $4.108M the other four starters on the line made that season combined, a number which includes the salaries of all three of Patrick Lewis, Lemuel Jeanpierre and Drew Nowak.
In short, Harvin contributed on the field, but when he left the mess he left wasn’t just in the locker room, it was in the salary cap as well.
2014: (Golden Tate)
Yes, Tate departed in free agency after the 2013 season, which is why his name is in brackets, indicating it’s a debit on the ledger not a credit. There was not a ton of additions to the roster coming off the Super Bowl win over the Broncos, with few free agents being signed and the lone trade the team made being for Terrelle Pryor. One could argue that Pryor was a bad addition, but coming at the cost of a seventh round pick, and not making the roster at the end of training camp is not that large of an investment.
2015: Cary Williams
Somebody is going to jump in here and point out that Jimmy Graham was a worse acquisition, or that I should have saved my accounting joke for the departure of Max Unger. However, Graham holds basically every tight end receiving record for the Seahawks after playing, a word used very loosely here, for the team for just three seasons. Yes, Graham was expensive, but he produced. Williams was expensive and, well, was benched for a former undrafted free agent and then eventually released.
2016: J’Marcus Webb
After years of dealing with injuries along the offensive line, the front off paid up for a history of health, with the Hawks gave Webb a two-year, $5.75M contract and $2.45M guaranteed. He started the first three games of the season at right guard as Germain Ifedi nursed his way back from a high ankle sprain suffered in training camp, and then promptly went to the bench. From that point forward he played just five offensive snaps and 30 special teams snaps before being released on November 22.
Interestingly, less than two months after his release from the Seahawks Webb was given a four game suspension for PEDs. Had the Hawks kept him through the time when he received the suspension, they would have had the right to both void any remaining guarantees in his contract as well as force Webb to pay back part of his signing bonus. However, because of his release, those weren’t options. Also, given that the NFL appeals process typically takes around 60 days, the fact that Webb was suspended two months after his release from Seattle could potentially indicate that, like White in 2010, Webb was released after being notified of the failed test.
2017: Take your pick Luke Joeckel, Eddie Lacy and Blair Walsh
Joeckel and Lacy are on the list for the minimal impact they had on the field while eating up $7,687,500 and $3,875,000 of the Seahawks cap, respectively. Meanwhile, Walsh earned just $1,100,000 in Seattle, but fans refuse to forget his three missed field goals against the Washington Redskins. Or the potential game-tying field goal attempt against the Atlanta Falcons that came up just short as time expired. Or the potential game winner against the Arizona Cardinals that sailed wide with just over thirty seconds left in Week 17.
2018: Ed Dickson
When Seattle signed Dickson they believed they were adding an athletic tight end who was a good pass blocker. What they got was an over-30 tight end with health issues that landed him on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start both the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Then to make matters worse, almost as soon as Dickson came off the PUP list in 2019, he was placed on injured reserve and never saw the field for the duration of the year. That means the Seahawks will have spent no less than $6.9M against the cap from 2018 through 2020 on Dickson, and in exchange for that money saw production of 12 catches for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
Further, if Dickson remains unsigned because whatever knee issue kept him off the field in 2019 continues to bother him and prevent him from passing a physical this season, the Hawks could be on the hook for a further $1.2M injury protection payment to him under Article 45 of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement.
2019: Ziggy Ansah
The Seahawks were looking for some spark in the pass rush department. Ziggy Ansah was looking for a get right season where he could allow his shoulder to recover fully from his December 2018 surgery.
Instead, the season was a bust. Ansah ended earning $8,531,250 from the Seahawks while making 18 tackles, and 2.5 sacks on just 338 defensive snaps.
As for which offseason addition will prove to be the worst for the Seahawks during the 2020 offseason could depend largely on how the Hawks decide to proceed at running back. Freeman or Hyde could be productive, or they could be an Eddie Lacy-like allocation of cap space.