Seahawks Put Three Players on the Trade Block: What it Means

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 24: Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 24: Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse /

The Seahawks have three players on the trade block. Are the Seahawks serious this time? Will these players simply be cut? What can they expect in return if any or all of these players are traded?

The Seahawks put wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, running back Alex Collins, and cornerback Jeremy Lane on the trade block this week, and have begun gauging interest around the league.

After all the drama surrounding cornerback Richard Sherman this offseason, I understand the shrugs and wondering if General Manager John Schneider will actually make a deal. But he seems serious this time, and moving on from these players makes sense to some degree.

Why would the Seahawks trade Kearse?

Because, after a horrible 2016 season, Kearse appears buried on the depth chart behind several younger, cheaper receivers heading into 2017. Doug Baldwin is the unquestioned number-one receiver of this bunch, and he’s being paid like it. But behind him are Tyler Lockett, who won a starting role in the offense last season over the slumping Kearse, rookie Amara Darboh, and a healthy Paul Richardson. Preseason star Kasen Williams and rookie David Moore could also potentially win roster spots. /

The Seahawks gave the 2012 undrafted free agent Kearse out of Washington a three-year contract extension before 2016 worth $13.5 million. After this season, his annual salary will jump from $2.2 million this year to $5 million in 2018. If his struggles continue, his production simply won’t justify his salary.

The Cleveland Browns have already expressed interest in Kearse. We’ll see what kind of compensation Schneider can wring out of the cash and draft pick-rich Browns for the hero of the 2014 NFC Championship game.

Why Lane? Why Now?

Lane has a similar contract situation to Kearse. If they move on from the cornerback now, they’ll save $11.25 million in cap room in 2018 and 2019. Lane signed an extension back in February that gave him $4 million in guaranteed money this year, which could make him difficult to move.

Even with 2016 starter DeShawn Shead headed to the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, the Seahawks still have depth at corner. Behind Richard Sherman, a fierce battle for the second starter’s position has been raging throughout Training Camp and Preseason.

Seattle signed veteran free agent Tramaine Brock to play nickel corner, Lane’s primary position last year, and head coach Pete Carroll and his staff seem pleased with rookie Shaquill Griffin so far, who played well in his Preseason start in Week 1. Griffin has been a strong contender for the starter’s spot all Training Camp, and Lane on the block means the Seahawks are comfortable rolling with the rookie.

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The Seahawks also still have relatively unproven cornerbacks in Neiko Thorpe and Deandre Elliot to go along with free agent safety Bradley McDougald to compete for playing time in the Legion of Boom.

As for Collins…

The poor guy will likely get cut by the Seahawks or traded for peanuts. Collins flashed some competency in limited action last year, but he never took control of the backfield when given an opportunity in 2016. In spite of all the turnover in Seattle’s backfield last year, Collins never established himself as a viable option.

Then the Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy and drafted Chris Carson, who seems to have eked out a roster spot with his impressive play this Preseason. Toss in a healthy Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise (who reportedly was healthy enough to play in last night’s Preseason game against the Raiders), and you have a tough road to make the roster, let alone see meaningful action at this point.

Next: The Most Interesting Seahawks in 2017: Richard Sherman

Since the Seahawks let it leak that Collins, Kearse, and Lane are all on the trade block, whoever isn’t traded will likely be cut when rosters shrink to 53 players on Saturday. May they all find success, just not against Seattle.

Schneider and company will of course be looking for draft picks they can use next year. They may also be looking for defensive line depth after losing rookie defensive tackle Malik McDowell for several weeks. Perhaps they can put together a deal for the Jets star DT Sheldon Richardson.