With the new league year set to begin in just a few weeks, most fans like to take a look at the free agent market and see which players the Seahawks could target to upgrade the roster, but there are only so many spots and cap space available and before any players are added, Seattle has to decide which guys they are willing to part with in 2019. This past season for Seattle marked a turning point for the Seahawks with a retooled roster of young guns and veterans to replace the faces that brought Seattle back into the NFL’s elite class at the beginning of this decade. Now with a few more of the players from the Super Bowl winning squad and some productive vets they have picked up in the past few years set to hit the market, here are a few of the players the Seahawks should say goodbye to this offseason.
Shamar Stephen – DT
Shamar was signed by the Seahawks to a one year deal in 2018 to help bolster the depth of a depleted defensive line after the loss of three of their four starters. Stephens spent the first four seasons of his career with the Minnesota Vikings and in his time there he was less than stellar but very consistent and reliable, averaging around 23 tackles a season and playing in at least 15 games in three of his four seasons as a purple people eater. The Seahawks got exactly what could be expected out of Shamar in 2018, with 25 total tackles and a career high in sacks with 2 from his interior line position. But the emergence of the Poona Ford at the same position with comparable numbers in four fewer games played and a draft stocked with defensive line talent, Shamar is the odd man out on Seattle’s D-line.
Justin Coleman – CB
In 2017, Seattle acquired Coleman from the New England Patriots and he eventually took over starting slot/nickel cornerback duties from Jeremy Lane. In his two years in a Seahawks uniform, Coleman has performed superbly, averaging 48.5 tackles, just under 10 passes defended a year, and 3 total interceptions, 2 of which went back for touchdowns. The problem with Justine is that great slot corners are becoming more and more valuable and his price tag will be too high with players like Frank Clark, Bobby Wagner, and Russell Wilson set for big extensions in the coming months. To give you an idea of exactly how much he could command, in 2017 the Miami Dolphins made Bobby McCain the highest paid slot corner in the league with a 4-year, $27 million contract. With Colman and McCain having similar numbers over the past two seasons, it’s not a stretch to say teams like the Jets and the Browns with a ton of cap space and rookie quarterback contracts wouldn’t mind forking over around $7 million a year. With young and cheaper players that could step in like Neiko Thorpe and be effective, Colman has more than likely played his last snap as a Seahawk.
Mike Davis – RB
After being released by the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, Mike Davis signed with the Seahawks with a chip on his shoulder and a pep in his step. He was buried by a crowded backfield in 2017 until the injury bug turned into a plague and Davis seemed to be the only running back left on the roster and when opportunity came knocking, Mike performed. He played in just 6 games but racked up nearly 500 yards from scrimmage, averaging 3.5 yards per carry and just under 9 yards per reception. In 2018, the Seahawks banked on his consistency when Chris Carson missed a few games and Rashaad Penny was still getting up to speed and Davis still racked up over 700 yards from scrimmage. Unfortunately, the aforementioned Penny, along with JD McKissic coming back healthy, Mike can get more money on other teams being a borderline starting runningback instead of sitting at third on the depth chart and only seeing the field one possession a game or when Carson is nursing an injury.
Earl Thomas – FS
This one is rather obvious if you watched the Seahawks at all in 2018, but since the falling out took place so early in the season it bears repeating. The saga started with Earl holding out for most of training camp, sparking wild speculations about whether he would play at all or be traded to the Dallas Cowboys. All the speculation ended when he suffered a broken leg against the Arizona Cardinals which ended his season and flashed his middle finger to the Seattle sideline. This relationship seems all but burned and both sides had good reasons for their actions, Earl knew that getting a huge contract at 29 years old is much easier than getting one at 30 and the Seahawks had been burned by the contract they gave Kam Chancellor a few years prior and wanted to be more cautious going forward. Seattle will most likely sit tight with either Tendric Thompson or Bradley McDougald at free safety for 2019 and there are plenty of teams willing and able to pay for Thomas’ services, so this will be a clean break for the player and the team.
It is always hard to say goodbye to players that put it all on the line for your team but there just isn’t enough to go around and these are the hard decisions that need to be made. Fans can be assured that there is a long term plan in place for the foundations to this team but role players are designated as such for a reason, they have to come at a certain price, and teams never want to be the one holding the bag when players become overpaid. To all these players, thank you for your service, go get paid.