The Seahawks haven't been afraid to pay a premium for wide receivers.
They would have to pay one if they made a strong push for the Broncos' Brandon Marshall, as ESPN's Adam Schefter suggested they might. Unlike some past investments in the position -- Koren Robinson and Deion Branch come to mind -- this one could work out.
But there's more than one way to make this happen for Seattle or any other team with interest in Marshall.
For the Seahawks, working out a trade with the Broncos would make the most sense because it would allow for flexible terms. The Seahawks could send, say, the sixth overall choice to Denver for Marshall and, say, a third-round choice (or whatever terms the teams agreed upon).
Signing Marshall to a straight offer sheet would not make sense for Seattle, in my view, because the Broncos would get Seattle's first-round choice, sixth overall, in return. That price might be too high.
The collective bargaining agreement spells out the rigidity of offer-sheet terms:
"The Restricted Free Agent's Prior Club shall receive from the New Club the Draft Choice Compensation, if any, specified in Section 2 above of this Article. Any Club that does not have available, in the upcoming Draft, the selection choice or choices (its own or better choices in the applicable rounds) needed to provide Draft Choice Compensation in the event of a timely First Refusal Exercise Notice may not sign an Offer Sheet in such circumstances."
The Broncos' decision to tender Marshall to first-round value in restricted free agency marked a starting point, not a final declaration of his value. Everyone knows Denver would like to trade him after a couple of tumultuous seasons.
Marshall comes with baggage. Seattle has an advantage over some other potential suitors in that offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates coached Marshall in Denver. Any team trading a pick or picks to Denver for the right to invest millions in Marshall should know how Marshall would fit. The risk could be too great otherwise.
The Seahawks would know what they were getting. I'm not sure how many other teams would be willing to give up what it takes to land Marshall. Seattle doesn't need to make this move, but if the team could make it on favorable terms, Marshall could become an important building block.
One concern for Seattle, I think, is that the team does not have a third-round choice. Trading away too much 2010 draft capital for Marshall could set back the team too much in other areas.