With free agency and the draft in the rearview mirror and training camp just a couple of months away, we assess the Seattle Seahawks’ offseason moves.
Best move: Re-signing defensive end Michael Bennett, who was the best player on the defensive line last season. No one on the team plays harder than Bennett, who stayed for a four-year, $28.5 million deal. Comparatively speaking, it’s a steal, even with $16 million guaranteed. And getting big-money contact extensions done for free safety Earl Thomas ($40 million) and cornerback Richard Sherman ($57 million) sends a message to the team that players will be rewarded if they’re deserving. Getting tight end Zach Miller to agree to restructure his contract was also a good move.
Riskiest move: Letting wide receiver Golden Tate go to the Detroit Lions in free agency. Tate was a popular player with the 12s and was coming off an outstanding season. He developed into one of the best punt returners in the league. The Seahawks will be fortunate to find a replacement who comes close to what Tate did on punt returns, but they couldn’t keep Tate and Bennett and still have the cap space they needed to do extensions for Thomas and Sherman, along with looking ahead to the deal quarterback Russell Wilson will receive after this season. It’s also the reason the Seahawks had to release veteran defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, who both signed with Jacksonville. The Seahawks didn’t have any big-name free-agent signings from other teams, but they played it right in order to keep the players they wanted and needed to keep.
Most surprising move: Making a trade to acquire quarterback Terrelle Pryor from Oakland for a seventh-round draft choice. It’s not a need area for Seattle with Wilson and veteran backup Tarvaris Jackson, but Pryor is one of those rare athletes (6-foot-4, 235 pounds and runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash) the Seahawks love. They say he’s a QB for now, but don’t be surprised if they line him up elsewhere every now and then.
Receivers galore: After losing Tate, the Seahawks made sure they would have plenty of hard-nosed competition at wide receiver to replace him, and maybe end up with better depth of the position. Seattle has 12 receivers on the roster at the moment. They will likely keep six, and four of those spots are probably secure -- Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and second-round draft choice Paul Richardson of Colorado. That leaves two spots for eight guys, not counting the practice squad. Have at it, boys.