GM: Using franchise tag unlikely
Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Thursday in Indianapolis that the team has no plans to place a franchise tag on one of its high-profile free agents, which include defensive lineman Michael Bennett, wide receiver Golden Tate and kicker Steven Hauschka.
"I don't anticipate us having to do that," Schneider said in an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle radio. "It's definitely a tool that you have in your back pocket, but at this point where we are with our unrestricted free agents, I don't anticipate us using it."
Schneider, however, hopes to re-sign each of those players, along with the majority of the other Seahawks free agents.
"Where we are right now is trying to keep this thing together as long as we possibly can," Schneider said. "I'm not looking forward to the tough decisions ahead us. You're affecting people's lives and people you've become very close with.
"But in order to be a consistent championship-caliber team, you have to draft well, be able make tough decisions and live with those decisions. We don't want to be a team that cruises in for a year and cruises out."
Some of those tough salary-cap decisions could include releasing a few veteran players like wide receiver Sidney Rice and defensive end Chris Clemons, each of whom are scheduled to make more than $9 million next season.
As for the free agents, Schneider specifically mentioned Tate as a player the team hopes to re-sign.
"It's a big priority," Schneider said. "Golden knows where we stand how much we love and how much we want him on this team."
Schneider also realizes the team has to look ahead to next year when cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas will be free agents, and quarterback Russell Wilson will be in position to renegotiate his contract.
"We're all about just putting different [salary-cap] models together," Schneider said on ESPN's "NFL Live." "We know the more success we have, the more we're going to have tough decisions to make."
Schneider also knows that the Seahawks are the flavor of the month, so to speak, after winning the Super Bowl, with other teams wanting to do things the Seahawks' way.
"People don't agree this, but we're not doing anything that's crazy," Schneider said. "We want big, fast receivers. We want big corners. We want pass rushers that jump off ball. So we don't really look at it like we're doing anything that's out of the ordinary. I don't think we're doing anything especially unique."
But Schneider said it's fun being at the NFL scouting combine as the Super Bowls champs.
"I'd be lying if I said wasn't pretty neat,'' he said. "This is huge part of our offseason every year, so being here having won [the Super Bowl] is pretty special."
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