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Assessing where the Seahawks’ potential free agents stand

Though he may be Russell Wilson’s best friend on the team, tight end Jimmy Graham is considered unlikely to return to the Seahawks. (Bill Kostroun / Associated Press)
Though he may be Russell Wilson’s best friend on the team, tight end Jimmy Graham is considered unlikely to return to the Seahawks. (Bill Kostroun / Associated Press)

SEATTLE – The Seahawks have 15 players listed as now potentially becoming unrestricted free agents with the 2017 season having concluded. That means they are technically under contract until the new league year begins on March 14 and then they will become free to sign with any other team unless they have re-signed with Seattle (teams can re-sign their own players at any time).

Here are those players with a quick assessment of their Seattle futures.

TE Jimmy Graham: He had 10 touchdown receptions this season in what was his third year in Seattle. And he is maybe Russell Wilson’s best friend on the team – Wilson entertainingly referred to Graham on Monday as being “like a unicorn. There are only so many of them in the world.’’ But Graham has been an uneven fit in Seattle and at age 31 is undoubtedly excited to enter free agency for the first time in his NFL career. Generally considered really unlikely to be back in Seattle.

OL Luke Joeckel: Joeckel was a full-time starter at left guard in his first season with the Seahawks, though he missed five games after having cleanup knee surgery. Indicated he’d like to be back but Seattle might not want to pay $8 million again. One thought is that George Fant could move to right tackle with Germain Ifedi moving to guard and replacing Joeckel.

RB Eddie Lacy: As big of a free-agent bust as there could be after signing a one-year deal with $2.865 million guaranteed, gaining just 179 yards on 62 carries with no touchdowns. Won’t be back.

DL Sheldon Richardson: Acquired the week before the season began from the Jets for Jermaine Kearse and a 2018 second-round pick. Said Monday he’d like to come back and that the team has said it would like him back. But he won’t be cheap and as a first-time free agent may want to see what else is out there.

FS Bradley McDougald: A really valuable player in his first year with Seattle starting nine games at safety. With Kam Chancellor viewed as possibly having played his last game, McDougald could be a priority.

TE Luke Willson: If Graham departs the Seahawks may want to keep Willson in the fold to keep some tight end experience around.

LB Michael Wilhoite: Had a serviceable year as a starting strongside linebacker and backup in the middle. But the team could also look for younger options than the 31-year-old Wilhoite.

WR Paul Richardson: Will be one of the more intriguing players to watch as his four-year rookie contract has run out. Was the team’s best deep threat this year at 16.0 yards per reception and the free-agent receiver class looks a little so-so. But he also had only 44 receptions this season in fading a little bit down the stretch. Seattle may let Richardson hit free agency and then see what happens, as it did with Luke Willson last year.

PK Blair Walsh: Had a tough first season in Seattle and it’s hard to envision that it won’t be his only one. That leaves Seattle needing a kicker, though.

DE Marcus Smith: A serviceable backup who wouldn’t seem to have a big market, which means he could be easy to get back if Seattle wants him.

OL Oday Aboushi: Started eight games at guard before a season-ending shoulder injury. Could be back as depth.

OL Matt Tobin: Played sparingly after being acquired in wake of Fant’s injury. But has a lot of versatility that Seattle may want to retain.

LB Terence Garvin: Backup LB and also a solid special teams player would seem a player Seattle might want back.

QB Austin Davis: Played just two snaps all season. Trevone Boykin was on practice squad all season and Seattle could just bring both back to again compete to be Wilson’s backup.

CB Byron Maxwell: Played well down stretch in second stint with Seahawks and said last week he’d love to be back. Would make sense for Seattle to bring him back.

Also, cornerback DeShawn Shead could become an unrestricted free agent if it is decided that his 2017 contract did not toll (i.e. The final year of his contract is eligible to be delayed until next year, per NFL rules). Shead said Monday he is uncertain if he will be a free agent. Either way, he said he’d like to return and he would seem a player Seattle wants to retain.

Restricted free agents

Seattle also has five players who are restricted free agents, meaning Seattle can give them a qualifying offer that means it can then match any offer the player receives or potentially get compensation if he leaves. If Seattle does not get a qualifying offer then the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.

RB Thomas Rawls: Former rookie sensation had just 157 yards and may not be worth the tender amount. But recall that Seattle didn’t tender Christine Michael in 2016 but then brought him back as an unrestricted free agent.

CB Justin Coleman: A starter at nickel back much of the season, would seem likely to be a priority for Seattle to retain.

RB Mike Davis: Became the starting tailback late in the season and it would seem likely Seattle would want him back one way or another.

DE Dion Jordan: Made a big impact down the stretch and would seem almost a certainty to return.

LB Dewey McDonald: Had ACL surgery after playing four games and his health might mean team lets him become unrestricted.

Seattle also has 12 Exclusive Rights Free Agents, meaning that they have to stay with the Seahawks as long as the team gives them a qualifying offer. ERFA players are: DLs Quinton Jefferson, Branden Jackson and Garrison Smith; LBs Paul Dawson and Josh Forrest; center Joey Hunt; DBs Akeem King and Jordan Simone; RB J.D. McKissic; snapper Tyler Ott; TE Tyrone Swoopes and OL Tyrus Thompson.


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