Friday, March 7, 2014
Seahawks make important moves Friday
By Terry Blount
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have said repeatedly that they want to keep this Super Bowl-winning team together as much as possible.
They took a few steps toward proving it on Friday with their three restricted free agents.
Seattle re-signed back-up safety Jeron Johnson and back-up offensive linemen Lemuel Jeanpierre to one-year deals. The team also tagged receiver Doug Baldwin with a second-round tender, proving they plan to do all they can to keep him.
The Seahawks will get a second-round pick if Baldwin leaves (assuming Seattle doesn't match the offer) or pay him $2.2 million if he doesn't get a higher offer. It's still a bargain considering how much Baldwin contributed in 2013.
He caught 50 passes in the regular season, including five touchdown catches, and had 13 receptions in the three playoff games. But Baldwin also was Russell Wilson's go-to guy in key third-down situations, consistently making the tough catch to keep drives alive.
Some people might incorrectly read into Baldwin's tender tag that the Seahawks don't intend to re-sign free-agent receiver Golden Tate. Seattle released receiver Sidney Rice, freeing up over $7 million in cap space, with the thought of using some of that money to keep Tate.
Seattle also released defensive end Red Bryant to free up cap money to try to re-sign defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who will be one of the most sought-after free agents this year. It won't be easy. Bennett could command as much as $8 million a year over four or five years.
More moves could be on the way with the possible release of defensive end Chris Clemons and tight end Zach Miller, who could be asked to restructure his contract.
But the point is the Seahawks aren't just sitting back and hoping for the best. Tough decisions remain, but as always, Schneider and Carroll are being proactive with moves to try to keep as much of the Super-Bowl squad together as they can.