As it turns out, the grass can be greener on this side.
After weeks of speculation that wide receiver Jermaine Kearse had played his final game in a Seattle Seahawks uniform, the former Lakes High School and Washington Huskies product agreed to a three-year extension with Seattle, according to multiple reports.
Kearse was looking for a big pay day after setting career-highs in receptions (49), yardage (685) and touchdowns (five) while starting all 16 regular season games for the first time in his NFL career.
Despite the steady ascent in production over his career since making the roster as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Kearse did not generate as much interest on the open market as former Cincinnati Bengals' wideouts Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, who landed $40 and $32.5 million-dollar deals with the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, respectively.
Kearse isn't the biggest or most explosive receiver in the league but he's a crafty route-runner with a knack for making big plays in clutch moments. He tracks the ball well, timing his leap and showing excellent body control and hand-eye coordination to make the juggling catch.
Kearse's size helps him stand out among Seattle's otherwise undersized receiving corps with Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson winning their battles based on greater quickness and speed.
With tight end Jimmy Graham still recovering from the serious leg injury which ended his first season in Seattle so abruptly, the Seahawks had hoped to bring back Kearse back and retain the pass-catching corps which helped Russell Wilson play so well down the stretch last year.
Retaining Kearse is another positive step for the Seahawks but the biggest shoes to fill remain those playing at left tackle. Russell Okung remains very much in the mix for the Seahawks with the club reportedly making a "strong" offer to him prior to the start of free agency. The fact that Ahtyba Rubin, Jeremy Lane and Kearse were all re-signed already, however, is an indication that John Schneider and the Seahawks are moving forward with or without Okung.