Five thoughts on Aaron Curry's departure

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
8:05
PM ET
Five thoughts on Aaron Curry's departure from the Seattle Seahawks via trade to the Oakland Raiders, pending NFL approval:
  • Writing on wall: Curry wasn't going to remain with the team past this season. Seattle had already reached agreement with him to shorten his contract so it ended after the 2012 season. The arrangement made it easier for the team to part with Curry. By accepting the new deal, Curry essentially said he was eager to get a fresh start elsewhere and willing to help make that happen.
  • Contractual complexities: Curry's contract contained enough guaranteed money to complicate efforts to trade him. For that reason, I expected Curry to remain with the team this season. The Seahawks and Raiders will need approval from the NFL office to make this trade official. Finding a way to make the contract amenable to all parties was presumably a complicated process. That explains why neither team has announced a trade agreement (update: Oakland has confirmed an agreement in principle). Nothing is official, but neither are there signs the deal will fall apart.
  • Eager to unload him: Seattle couldn't resist getting value for Curry even though depth at linebacker is a concern. Key backup Matt McCoy's placement on injured reserve diminished the team's options at the position. Malcolm Smith's expected return from a hamstring injury will help, but if the team had valued Curry's contributions at all, keeping him for the remainder of the season would have made sense from a depth standpoint. Leroy Hill has had injury problems in the past. David Hawthorne's knee bothered him earlier in the season.
  • Rookie replacement: Rookie K.J. Wright's playing time will increase. Wright had already replaced Curry in the starting lineup on the strong side, but Curry was getting snaps.
  • Curry's future: Curry stands a better chance for success elsewhere. Multiple teammates said they thought Curry struggled with the pressure associated with his status as the fourth player chosen in the 2009 draft. The feeling was that Curry could become a solid strong-side linebacker. That was never seen as good enough for a player drafted so early. Defensive end Red Bryant: "I can’t speak to how he feels, but just being one of his teammates, I don’t feel like he was probably as ready as he could have been. He's the fourth pick, gets $34 million guaranteed, you're the first linebacker taken in a class of Clay Matthews, Brian Orakpo, Brian Cushing. I think he went before [Mark] Sanchez and [Josh] Freeman. To who much is given, much is expected. I just [wish] him well."

The chart shows snap counts by week for Seattle linebackers, as provided by Hank Gargiulo of ESPN Stats & Information.

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