Seattle Seahawks 2016 Free Agents: Stay or Go?


The Seattle Seahawks brain trust has a lot of decisions to make regarding the construct of the 2016 roster. They must first decide how to handle expiring contracts for several players, not to mention guys under contract but possibly unworthy of the salary cap space they take up.

Today we focus on Seattle’s Baskin Robins-like 31 free agent flavors, which are comprised of 17 Unrestricted Free Agents, 6 Restricted Free Agents, and 8 Exclusive Rights Free Agents. We look at each one individually and ultimately decide whether the player will “STAY or GO”.

*Ages are as of 12/31/16, when teams are gearing up for playoffs.


Russell Okung, OT, Age 28, 2015 Cap- $7.28M

We waste no time, starting with what may be the most difficult decision to make. Reasons to keep Okung include the positional importance of a franchise quarterback’s blindside protection, the fact that he has been your best offensive lineman for several years and is a guy you do not have to worry about at all off the field.

On the other hand, Okung hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough to play the entire season in ANY of his 6 years with the team, he most recently was beaten on more than one occasion in last week’s playoff game vs Carolina before leaving in the 2nd quarter with yet another shoulder injury, and the cap cost to re-sign him will be substantial. He is an ‘old’ 28 in terms of the toll football combat has taken on his body and his propensity to get injured is likely to be a continuing and worsening trend.

Before recent events I would have said re-signing Okung is a slam dunk top priority, primarily due to the lack of other quality linemen on the team. How could one of the league’s worst offensive lines afford to lose its best player and community pillar? But, there’s more to it. The injury history is a major red flag for the future and you wonder if the culmination of them has precipitated a dropoff in performance that will only worsen. That’s what the team has to decide. Can Okung be counted on to perform at the level befitting his expected cap charge, as set by the market, which places a premium on blindside tackles?

Verdict: STAY… but only at a cap charge that slots him in the upper middle tier of left tackle money (4 years at $7.5-8M per year). If the player demands more, the team has enough valid reasons to walk. I would prefer to keep Okung, but I’m playing hardball with him in this negotiation. Gut feeling is he will be offered more money elsewhere and leave. He is a proud and financially shrewd man, has a very clear idea of what he thinks his value is, and is not likely to accept less from Seattle.

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Brandon Mebane, DT, Age 31, 2015 Cap- $5.7M

Mebane’s 2015 season started out rather poorly but he seemed to get better as the year progressed, much like the team as a whole. Likely to find a soft market for a 30+ yr old D-tackle with little to no pass rushing chops, Mebane will be playing next year for significantly less money than he did in 2015. Whether it’s in Seattle is possibly dependent on which of he or Ahtyba Rubin is willing to play for less than the other. With both being UFA’s, I could see Seattle deciding to bring just one of them back, and only then on the team’s terms. If this is how it plays out, I think Rubin- by virtue of being a little younger- will have a livelier market than the Belly Roll. As a result…

Verdict: STAY on 1-yr, $2M deal.

Ahtyba Rubin, DT, Age 30, 2015 Cap- $2.6M

As discussed above, Seattle is probably not going to bring back both Mebane and Rubin and may not re-sign either. If they keep one, the Original Gangsta’s locker room presence and lack of other options makes it likely Mebane takes what the Seahawks offer. Like Kevin Williams last year, it’s easy to imagine Rubin getting a similar deal to 2015’s from a team with more cap space and a need for a pro like Big Tuba.

Verdict: GO

Jermaine Kearse, WR, Age 26, 2015 Cap- $2.356M

At the beginning of the year, the assumption was that Kearse would play out 2015 on the 2nd round RFA tender and then leave Seattle as a UFA because the targets and opportunities just weren’t there for the player to want to stay or the team to feel the need to retain his services. However, a funny thing happened along the way- Kearse made the very most of the opportunities afforded and capped the season off with a career day in the playoff game versus Carolina as the team’s furious 2nd half rally fell short.

In his exit radio interview with Brock and Salk the day after the final contest, Pete Carroll called Kearse “A terrific player” and stated his wish for players that have gotten them where they are now to come back. That list of players absolutely includes Kearse.

Possibly working in the team’s favor is that Kearse seems like a player that is far more valuable to Seattle than he may be to other teams. He is of course a UDFA out of Washington who isn’t going to blow by defensive backs and he isn’t a physical freak like some other receivers. He’s a guy that is appropriately utilized by THIS team and is probably not ‘the answer’ at WR for another squad. To me this is a high priority re-signing.

Verdict: STAY on 3-yr, $12.75M deal.

Bruce Irvin, OLB/DE, Age 29, 2015 Cap- $2.895M

This one will be fun to watch unfold. Irvin made news by recently stating he’d be willing to give the Seahawks a 3-5 million dollar discount on his next contract. That’s not 3-5 per year, mind you. That’s a total of 3-5 million of the contract amount. The feeling here is that it won’t be enough to keep him in Seattle. Because there are former Seahawk defensive coaches peppered throughout the league now in positions of influence, it is most likely that one of those teams with cash to burn will lure Irvin away with overflowing bags of currency and the promise of more snaps rushing the passer. If there’s any variable working in the Seahawks’ favor besides his love for his teammates, it’s that Irvin is at an advanced age for a player only 4 years into the league, but ultimately that won’t scare anybody away.

Verdict: GO

J.R. Sweezy, G, Age 27, 2015 Cap- $1.556M

This is a pretty controversial cat right here. On one side of the ledger you have Tom Cable, backed by many followers that take his word as gospel, who will look you right square in the eye and tell you Sweezy is one of the better guards in the entire league. The other side of the ledger includes people that believe their own eyes, and they see a player still struggling mightily on several occasions after 4 years, consistently allowing pressure to reign down on the franchise quarterback and not exactly destroying people on a lot of running plays.

Cable will obviously stump for keeping Sweezy. I wonder though if Pete has the same amount of confidence in his Assistant Head Coach nowadays, especially after seeing the O-Line materially impact the success of the team in a negative way.  It can be argued that it literally cost them a chance to win a championship this year. Has the team brass seen enough of Sweezy or is he one of the players Pete said he’d like to keep? Time will tell but it feels as though he has fallen out of favor and Mark Glowinski more than held his own in his one start at right guard. With Glowinski costing peanuts, the team certainly investing more draft capital and free agent dollars in the line this year and the free agent market likely to inflate Sweezy’s value due to a shortage of quality players at his position, the feeling is Seattle will make a cursory attempt at a lowball offer that is likely to be turned down and Sweezy will play elsewhere in 2016.

Verdict: GO

Jon Ryan, P, Age 35, 2015 Cap- $1.5M

Along with Mebane, Ryan is an Original Gangsta that Pete Carroll inherited from the previous regime. He has been a reliable special teamer, a tv maze conquerer, and a social media riot. Inevitably, however, the autumn winds have blown colder and harsher on Ryan’s career and he is coming off his worst statistical season with Seattle. It appears we have reached the end of the Jon Ryan Era. On the bright side, he won’t have to worry about Blitz getting inappropriate with his woman anymore.

Verdict: GO

Tarvaris Jackson, QB, Age 33, 2015 Cap- $1.5M

Seems like Tarvaris has had enough of the PNW. It was difficult to coax him back to Seattle for 2015 and he did well to hold off long enough to force the team to guarantee his latest 1-yr contract. It’s doubtful that happens again and it’s time to draft a backup in the later rounds to compete with 90-man roster QB Phillip Sims for the right to next act as an insurance policy for Russell Wilson.

Verdict: GO

Mike Morgan, OLB, Age 28, 2015 Cap- $1M

Has clung to the roster by way of special teams, but Morgan’s is a job that should be performed by a young player on a cheap contract. That’s why Special Teams coaches exist. It’s time for a young buck to take this job and add value as a better, faster backup at the linebacker position.

Verdict: GO

Fred Jackson, RB, Age 35, 2015 Cap- $900,000

Not sure there’s a more respected player in the league than Fred. He’s a self-made player who lasted into his mid-30’s at running back because he puts in the work and is the kind of guy everybody wants as a teammate. It was certainly disappointing but not unexpected to see the lack of speed or quickness on the field, but Jackson did exactly what the team wanted and is appreciated for it. I hope he signs a 1-day deal with Buffalo and retires in front of a throng of adoring and thankful Bills fans for his many years of work there.

Verdict: GO

Lem Jeanpierre, OL, Age 29, 2015 Cap- $745,000 (annual number, not actual)

The only way Jeanpierre was going to see a Seahawk uniform in 2015 was if the offensive line was either an unmitigated disaster or in such disarray that they needed somebody- anybody- with experience in it to come in and at least be available to try to plug a hole in the sinking ship. Well, guess what? Jeanpierre got that frantic phone call in October. Lord help us all if his phone rings again in 2016.

Verdict: GO

Chase Coffman, TE, Age 30, 2015 Cap- $745,000 (annual number, not actual)

Do you know why journeyman TE Chase Coffman is generally seen as a positive pickup for the team and may actually get a look in 2016? It’s because he isn’t Cooper Helfet. Anyone in a Seahawks uniform that wears a number ranging from 80 to 89 that isn’t Cooper Helfet is going to look great by comparison. Coffman has always been a fine pass catcher, in fairness. While I fully expect the team to invest a draft pick into a tight end to add to the pile, it wouldn’t hurt to let Coffman battle Helfet on the 90-man roster for the right to become an active player if the other tight ends get hurt.

Verdict: GO

Jeremy Lane, CB, Age 26, 2015 Cap- $691,279

The cornerback battle in 2016 will be very intriguing. The Seahawks have several of those tall, long-armed yet green as grass options to choose from in players like Seisay, Jean-Baptiste, Simon and Tye Smith. Marcus Burley is still around, battling for a nickel spot and DeShawn Shead held his own on the outside after taking over for Cary Williams opposite Sherm. Hopefully not lost in the shuffle is Jeremy Lane. After returning mid-season from the awful injuries sustained in SB 49, Lane immediately jumped in the fray and played as well as could have been expected. The Seahawks should absolutely make a strong effort to retain Lane, as he has exhibited abilities to cover receivers both on the outside and in the slot. He is a very valuable piece in the secondary and while it’s unfortunate for the player, the injuries will likely suppress his market value, making it easier for the Seahawks to re-sign him. They should and will take advantage of that opportunity.

Verdict: STAY on 1-yr, $1.75M contract

Will Tukuafu, FB, Age 32, 2015 Cap- $665,000

You gotta love Tuk. Pete sure does. He has defied the odds and been able to stick on the team, even after the cut to 53 players in 2015 meant the Seahawks would carry TWO fullbacks in a league where many teams carry none. Unfortunately he suffered a concussion this year and his line of work leaves him highly susceptible to more. At his age, the clock may be running out and I feel as though that would be a good thing. I want the man to live another 50 years or more in good health.

Verdict: GO

Demarcus Dobbs, DT, Age 29, 2015 Cap- $665,000

Another favorite of Pete. Dobbs works hard, isn’t afraid to get dirty and is your typical depth defensive lineman that you turn to in a time of need without worrying what kind of effort you’ll get from the player. With the D-line group in flux and several spots open for the taking, it wouldn’t shock me if Dobbs was offered a chance to again make the team. Preferably, however, his spot would be taken by a player with a higher ceiling.

Verdict: GO

Anthony McCoy, TE, Age 29, 2015 Cap- $660,000 (annual number, not actual)

Well look who we have here. Anthony McCoy SHOULD be the best blocking TE on this team and a legitimate reason for improvement along the offensive line extended. Instead, he has become a guy who probably can’t even navigate the aisles of a grocery store without suffering a severe leg injury. McCoy is like that hot girl that treats you like garbage and betrays your trust, only to come back into your line of sight a year down the road and captivate you all over again, for just long enough to get you hooked so that she can actually see you die inside when she again decides to take a pair of wire cutters to your heart. Never again, Anthony, and this time I mean it! I’m so serious right now!

Verdict: GO and never come back! I’m not kidding! Seriously! It’s over! Unless you promise to…

Bryce Brown, RB, Age 25, 2015 Cap- $660,000 (annual number, not actual)

Much like the Mebane/Rubin situation, the Seahawks may only want one of Bryce Brown or Christine Michael to return. If that’s the case, the nod goes to Michael- who showed more personal and professional maturity in the few weeks he was with the team again this season than he did the first couple years after being draft in the 2nd (ugh) round of 2013. He may have done enough to earn a chance to latch on elsewhere in 2016.

Verdict: GO


More from Emerald City Swagger


Restricted Free Agent tenders allow a team to exhibit a level of control over the player in free agency. Those that are tendered can still negotiate with other teams, but the original team could be compensated if the player is allowed to leave. Levels of compensation depend on the type of tender placed upon the player by the team. If the team chooses not to tender a RFA, the player becomes a UFA agent at the start of the free agent period, usually in March.

Ricardo Lockette, WR, Age 30, 2015 Cap- $685,000

All the best to Lockette in his recovery from the serious neck injury suffered in the game at Dallas. Hopefully he suffers no long-term pain from it.

Verdict: GO

Alvin Bailey, G/T, Age 25, 2015 Cap- $587,000

Bailey is an enigma. He made a positive immediate impression on the staff after coming in as a UDFA from Arkansas in 2013. Since then he has wavered between being a reliable backup at multiple positions to a very inconsistent player from play-to-play. He once made social media noise about the city that wasn’t flattering and may be itching to leave it. The choice here is to either tender Bailey at the lowest level or let him walk. It feels like he’s not ‘improving every day’ as the coaches require, so…

Verdict: GO

Christine Michael, RB, Age 26, 2015 Cap- $585,000 (annual number, not actual)

Michael has grown up a lot between draft day 2013 and today. He has proven himself to be a tantalizing talent that now has some maturity to pair with it. With Marshawn Lynch all but gone from the organization and Thomas Rawls rehabbing a serious ankle injury, a tender at the level of Right of First Refusal seems like a win for both parties in 2016.

Verdict: STAY on 1-yr lowest RFA tender, $1.651M (estimated per Joel Corry of

Nick Moody, LB, Age 26, 2015 Cap- $585,000 (annual number, not actual)

Moody is a special teams demon when healthy but is not a justifiable RFA tender. Maybe the team can re-sign him on the cheap to compete in 2016. There is actually room for depth LB’s in Seattle.

Verdict: GO

Patrick Lewis, C, Age 25, 2015 Cap- $585,000

I never understood why Lewis wasn’t given a better opportunity at the starting center job out of the gate in 2015. Thankfully the coaches came to their senses, though it was only after the year was half over. He may not be an All-Pro but he acquitted himself well late in 2014 and solidified things in 2015 after getting the starting gig. He may not be the future at center, but he is unquestionably the present.

Verdict: STAY on 1-yr 2nd round RFA tender, $2.521M (estimated)

Derrick Coleman, FB, Age 26, 2015 Cap- $585,000 (annual, not actual)

DC is a great story. He’s a guy that has persevered through life obstacles and came out a winner on the other side. He is also not worth a RFA tender salary but may be asked to come back on a vet minimum deal to compete once again for a spot as fullback/special teamer.

Verdict: GO


ERFA’s are the exclusive property of the team and are offered (and accept) minimum salary offers. Thus, it makes sense for Seattle to extend this offer to all 8 of their ERFA’s, as long as the team feels they are worth a spot on the initial 90-man roster for 2016. Since they are all familiar with the program, there is not much downside to bringing them all back in for another shot.

Deshawn Shead

Steven Terrell

A.J. Francis

Mohammed Seisay

Marcus Burley

Cooper Helfet

Eric Pinkins

Jesse Williams

Verdict: STAY

Next: Pete Carroll Made all the Right Calls Against Carolina

John Schneider and crew will be very busy between now and the start of the new league year making decisions not only on these free agents-to-be but also players under contract who may be either outplaying or not living up to their salary cap costs, and we’ll be here to keep Seahawk fans in the loop as the roster churns.

Let us know if you agree or disagree with the above assessments in the comments below!