According to the NFL Network, the Green Bay Packers are poised to sign TE Jimmy Graham to a three-year contract at undisclosed terms, while the Washington Redskins will sign wide receiver Paul Richardson to a five-year, $40 million contract. The offers to the free agents will be signed when the new league year begins Wednesday, taking away two receivers coming off productive seasons with the Seahawks.
Graham led the NFL in red zone touchdown catches last year with 10, but was considered too pricey for the Seahawks, who paid Graham at $10 million the past season, especially given Seattle’s numerous free agents, lack of salary cap space and Graham’s historic lack of consistency. With eight, he had the NFL’s second-most drops.
Still, Graham was the top free agent tight end available, ranked No. 21 on NFL.com’s Top 101 free agents of 2018. The Packers are apparently so enamored with him that they have released nine-year veteran WR Jordy Nelson to free up the necessary cap space.
Graham caught 170 passes for 2,048 yards and 18 touchdowns in his three years in Seattle. He came over in 2015 in a trade from New Orleans, which acquired C Max Unger in the swap.
Graham was said to be negotiating for a return to the Saints, but his decision to go to Green Bay means the Saints are likely in the market for Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the former Washington Huskies star in whom the Seahawks have interest.
Green Bay’s release of Nelson, 32, immediately set off speculation that the Seahawks would pursue Nelson, who had 1,257 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns in 2016, but dropped to 482 yards and six TDs lin 15 games last year in the absence of injured QB Aaron Rodgers.
To sign Nelson, the Seahawks would likely compete with NFC West rival San Francisco, Super Bowl runner-up New England and the Dallas Cowboys. Nelson made $9.2 million the past season.
Richardson, 25, played his first four seasons in Seattle after the Seahawks selected him in the second round of the 2014 draft. The six-foot receiver had his best year in 2017, catching 44 passes for 793 yards and six touchdowns.
He served as Wilson’s best deep option, averaging 16 yards per catch. That pretty much guaranteed Richardson priced himself out of Seattle since the Seahawks enter the free agency signing period Wednesday with limited salary cap room.
Bradley MacDougald agrees to return; Coleman tendered
The Seahawks have agreed to terms with safety Bradley McDougald on a three-year deal reportedly worth $13.95 million. MacDougald started nine games last season, primarily in place of the injured SS Kam Chancellor when McDougald made $1.8 million on a one-year contract.
With Chancellor’s career still in jeopardy due to a severe neck injury, MacDougald’s signing was a priority for Seattle, whose secondary remains in transition after the departures of Richard Sherman (to NFC rival San Francisco) and Jeremy Lane.
MacDougald will sign Wednesday with the start of the new league year.
The Seahawks Monday made an offer of a second-round tender to restricted free agent CB Justin Coleman. That means if accepted, he’ll play for $2.9 million, but if he gets a better offer by an April 20 deadline, the Seahawks will get a second-round draft choice. Coleman was the primary nickel corner after his acquisition from New England for a seventh-round pick and was a pleasant surprise, twice returning interceptions for touchdowns.
The Seahawks have also released CB DeShawn Shead, making him an unrestricted free agent. Shead played in the final two games last season after recovering from a torn ACL. The Seahawks reportedly told Shead that they would like to re-sign him. Shead’s agent, Cameron Foster, said Shead has an interest in doing so.
SEAHAWKS FREE AGENT TRACKER
Unrestricted free agents signed
Unrestricted free agents retained
|Date||Player||Pos.||’17 AAV||New Deal|
|Mar 14||B. McDougald||S||$1.8M||3 years, $13.95M|
Unrestricted free agents lost
|Date||Player||Pos.||’17 AAV||New Deal|
|Mar 14||Jimmy Graham||TE||$10M||TBA|
|Mar 14||Paul Richardson||WR||$1.7M||4 years, $40M|
Remaining unrestricted free agents
|—–||Luke Joeckel||LG||8M||Missed 5 games with injuries|
|—–||Eddie Lacy||RB||4.25M||Bust: 179 yards, 0 TDs|
|—–||S. Richardson||DT||3.6M||Hot commodity after solid year in SEA|
|—–||Luke Willson||TE||1.8M||Value jumps if Graham leaves|
|—–||Michael Wilhoite||LB||1.55M||Best beard on team|
|—–||DeShawn Shead||CB||1.2M||Hurt most of ’17, likely to return|
|—–||Blair Walsh||K||1.1M||Eight FG misses|
|—–||Marcus Smith||DE||990K||A serviceable backup|
|—–||Oday Aboushi||RG||975K||Played 8 games before injury|
|—–||Matt Tobin||LT||862K||Played sparingly|
|—–||Terence Garvin||LB||855K||Solid special teamer|
|—–||Austin Davis||QB||855K||Played two snaps, but a veteran|
|—–||Byron Maxwell||CB||755K||Played well in spurts|
Restricted free agents
|—–||Dewey McDonald||LB||690K||Spent most of year on IR|
|—–||Dion Jordan||DE||640K||5 games in ’17, impressive pass rusher|
|—–||Justin Coleman||CB||615K||Received 2nd-round tender from Seahawks|
|—–||Thomas Rawls||RB||615K||Injured for most of 2017 season|
|—–||Mike Davis||RB||615K||Led Seattle RBs with 240 rush yards|