When it comes to free agency, the Seahawks traditionally have been among the more bashful outfits in the NFL, leaning up against the gym wall at the dance before moving late and low (Ziggy Ansah).
Things held form Monday as the music started, the Seahawks making two smaller moves to secure two of their own, WR David Moore and TE Jacob Hollister.
Both were restricted free agents tendered offers that likely will keep them in Seattle in 2020.
The NFL Network said Hollister, a surprisingly noteworthy contributor in 2019 when injuries stymied the position, was given a second-round tender worth $3.2 million. That means if another team matched the offer, the Seahawks would get a second-round draft pick as compensation.
That’s considered unlikely, as is any offer to Moore, who will get $2.33 million after a seventh-round tender.
Acquired at the end of the April draft when the Patriots took Seattle’s seventh-round pick for him, Hollister had 41 catches for 349 yards and three touchdowns. He filled in after injuries to Will Dissly and Ed Dickson left the Seahawks low at a critical spot for the Seahawks offense.
Earlier in the off-season, the Seahawks signed 14-year vet TE Greg Olsen, cut by the Panthers, to a one-year, $7 million deal. Presuming Dissly continues good progress from his Achilles tendon surgery, that will give the Seahawks three tight ends under contract. Unrestricted free agent Luke Willson could also be re-signed.
In three seasons in Seattle including eight starts, Moore has 43 receptions for 746 yards and seven touchdowns.
The official start of free agency is Wednesday, preceded by a “legal tampering” period Monday and Tuesday when deals can be negotiated but not signed.
But in the run-up, the Seahawks’ chances of keeping their top free agent, DE Jadeveon Clowney, took a hit when news broke that the 49ers are set to trade star DT DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis for the Colts’ first-round draft choice, 13th overall.
The Colts are signing Buckner, 25, to to a five-year deal whose average annual value is reported to be $21 million, about the same as Dallas gave DeMarcus Lawrence a year ago. The speculation is that the number sets the salary standard that Clowney reportedly seeks to top.
Even though the Seahawks are more than $45 million under the salary cap, they may not want to commit so much to Clowney, 26, given his injury history and his curious lack of sack numbers.
Buckner has missed only one game in four years since leaving Oregon, and had a big role in a defense that helped San Francisco get to the Super Bowl. Over the past two years, he has 19½ sacks, 26 tackles for a loss and five fumble recoveries.
To get Clowney to accept his trade from Houston to Seattle Sept. 1, the Seahawks agreed to waive their right to use the franchise tag on him, raising the prospect that even though Clowney talked highly of his experience in Seattle, he could be a one-and-done. That would make weaker the the Seahawks’ weakest element last year, the pass rush.
Clowney also may wait awhile before signing, according to a tweet from ESPN reporter Josina Anderson.
Source says answer on Jadeveon Clowney’s future could still take “some time, days maybe.” Obviously it remains fluid though.
— ig: josinaanderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 16, 2020
In related news, the NFL, prompted by the national COVID-19 health crisis, said Monday the draft will take place as planned April 23-25 in Las Vegas, but without fan events, and that the off-season training schedule that includes organized team activities (OTAs) has been pushed back.
Also, the league finally clarified its guidelines for free agency’s normal use of physical exams before signing players — there won’t be any travel to accommodate them.
According to an NFL release, teams are not allowed to bring in prospective free-agent players “to a club facility or other location to meet with club personnel.” Team personnel, including medical staff, also may not travel to any location to meet with or examine a free-agent player.
The league and union are “developing protocols that will provide clubs with opportunities to review a free agent player’s medical records from his prior club(s) and to arrange for a free agent player to have a medical exam in the player’s home city or at another nearby location,” per the league’s statement. “These steps are consistent with those announced last Friday for club contact with draft-eligible college players.”