It should be an interesting couple of weeks for the Seattle Seahawks as free agency begins and bidding wars commence. Much of the initial attention will obviously be focused on Michael Bennett and Golden Tate, as those two players represent the highest priorities for the Seahawks.
Leading up to to free agency, there has been the usual rhetoric. Both players have indicated an interest in returning, but there have been the typical cagey statements about keeping options open. Bennett in particular has stated that the ‘Hawks won’t be getting a hometown discount. These statements are to be expected, as they are part of the negotiating process.
Tate has suggested that the Seahawks have not been overly aggressive in communicating with him, but we have not yet reached a point where this lack of dialogue has led to hard feelings. Again, these types of statements are expected. Both sides are going to employ somewhat of a “hard to get” strategy.
If I were a betting man (which I am not), I would venture to guess that Bennett leaves and Tate stays. I don’t have concrete evidence for this prognostication, but the market may dictate this particular outcome.
Bennett won’t leave because the Seahawks make a bad offer. It seems reasonable to assume that the Seahawks want Bennett to return and will make a fair offer of compensation. For Bennett, the decision may come down to simple dollar amounts. Building through the draft is obviously more ideal from a financial standpoint, but there are always going to be teams that want to improve more quickly through free agency. In addition, there are usually teams that are willing to overpay in order to get what they want. Bennett may get offered a financial package that he cannot refuse. At 28, this is probably his best opportunity to maximize his earnings.
Tate is similar, but he is also a little younger. He doesn’t necessarily have the numbers to convince teams that he is a true “No.1″ receiver, whatever that means. Tate isn’t a “big” target, nor does he have blazing speed. However, he is a gritty receiver that is willing to take risks and make big plays. In the end, the Seahawks may retain Tate so that Russell Wilson has another target to go with a (hopefully healthy) Percy Harvin. Sidney Rice is not coming back unless he returns on an inexpensive, short-term deal. Therefore, the Seahawks may pay a bit more to retain Tate.
Again, this will be an interesting week. Ideally it would be nice to retain both players, but that may be out of Seattle’s control. In the National Football League, money talks.