Seahawks general manager John Schneider has often taken a conservative approach to free agency, taking what he's given financially and instead opting for creativity in the trade market. But with a restrictive salary cap situation, hardly any assets to trade, several key starters heading to free agency, and a frustrated star quarterback following a disastrous playoff appearance this past January, he's been forced to think outside the box.
Despite all of the above working against him, he's somehow managed to make the Seahawks one of the most active teams in free agency—not just in terms of quantity, but quality as well. To name a few: They upgraded a major need along their offensive line with the trade for guard Gabe Jackson; they avoided a running back by committee scenario by retaining Chris Carson; and they were aggressive in building the deepest pass-rushing unit they've had in years with the arrival of Kerry Hyder Jr. and return of Benson Mayowa and Carlos Dunlap.
Knowing what their situation was heading into free agency two weeks ago, this has been quite the impressive feat by Schneider and company. How they got to this point and created these opportunities has required some crafty cap maneuvering through the use of voidable years. It's also demanded some sacrifice, with the Seahawks most recently parting ways with their most polished defensive tackle, Jarran Reed, in order to free up nearly $9 million in salary cap space.
Still, they've gotten a lot done—perhaps more than most expected. And they haven't had to endure many significant losses other than Reed and cornerback Shaquill Griffin. While both of their departures certainly sting, the Seahawks have come out of the past two weeks relatively unscathed, all things considered. There's still work to be done, however.
With the draft a month away, a few questions remain for Seattle as the third week of free agency commences. Here are a handful I've come up with.
Is a K.J. Wright reunion still on the table?
Despite coming off one of the best seasons of his storied career, 11-year linebacker K.J. Wright remains a free agent. Set to play at the age of 32 this season and with little to offer as a pass-rusher, Wright, unfortunately, hasn't seen the market develop as he had hoped. Given the Seahawks still have an opening at strong-side linebacker, a reunion could be possible.
Near the start of free agency, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported both sides were in 'serious talks' on a new deal, but nothing has come of that as of yet. With former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn now serving in the same role in Dallas, Wright has recently mentioned the Cowboys as one of his desired destinations. But if I had to guess - and this is pure speculation - I think the Seahawks find a way to bring him back to the Pacific Northwest at this point.
Where is the Russell Wilson restructure?
Theoretically, the Seahawks could put the rest of their financial worries to bed by converting quarterback Russell Wilson's base salary to a signing bonus. This would free up roughly $12 million in immediate cap relief and is not something Wilson could block, but the fact they've chosen to cut one of their better defensive players, Reed, instead of doing this indicates this won't be a route they'll take.
It's especially curious given the recent drama between the organization and Wilson's camp. This potential base salary conversion would, essentially, push money out over the next few years and inflate his future cap hits. On paper, doing this with someone considered to be the face of your franchise shouldn't be much of a problem. But the fact this relatively no-brainer of a decision hasn't been made yet could suggest they want to keep Wilson's cap hits where they're at. Why?
They've had no problem taking out their proverbial credit card with some of their most recent signings, so why not here? Perhaps it's because they wish to keep the option of trading him next offseason open and not complicate the process even further. It could also mean nothing, but their actions - contrasted to the lack of any form of restructure - are suspicious, to say the least.
What's the plan at receiver?
The Seahawks have acquired one pass-catcher and lost four this offseason. While they appear solidified at tight end with the addition of Gerald Everett, their receiving corps itself could use some depth behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, especially following the departure of starting slot receiver David Moore. Freddie Swain looks set to take over that role at this time, but the rest of their rostered options are currently on reserve/future contracts and offer little-to-no NFL game experience.
Of the limited number of experienced wideouts on the open market right now, former Seahawks receiver Golden Tate may make the most sense for them. Wilson also continues to reportedly campaign for Antonio Brown. On the back-end, perhaps they could look at a potential reclamation project with Jaguars free agent Dede Westbrook. Ultimately, it's starting to feel like we may not get clarity here until the draft or even into the summer.
Are the Seahawks done at center, at least until the draft?
Since before free agency, I've speculated the Seahawks would have to choose to address one of their interior offensive line needs over the other in free agency. I've always been of the belief that if they filled one in March, they would fill the other in the draft next month. That appears to still be on the table with Seattle trading for their answer at left guard in Jackson, leaving the center position up for debate.
The Seahawks, of course, re-signed Ethan Pocic and tendered Kyle Fuller to give themselves a bit of insurance at the spot. The Pocic deal has seemingly convinced some that the team is now done adding at center, with Pocic retaining his starting job. But as I detailed shortly after his return was reported, it does not guarantee him anything, nor inhibit the Seahawks from adding some competition at the position. There aren't many remaining options left in free agency, however. They haven't been reported to be involved in the market of Chiefs free agent Austin Reiter, but have shown interest in veteran backup Brett Jones. Like at receiver, all signs are pointing towards the draft unless something changes on the Reiter front.