With time of the essence, and free agency beginning in mere hours, let's take a look at the men who catch the footballs. One way or another, this team is going to need at least one new pair of hands.
First, the tight end in question (and we're just going to go ahead and assume that Jerramy Stevens isn't in play here…)
former Falcon, and sibling to Carlester, Mr. Algernon
will be visiting
The Upside: Caught 42 balls in 2007 for an Atlanta team that redefined the word "nightmare"; lit the Seahawks up in Atlanta's season finale; can exploit the seam just as Mike Holmgren likes his tight ends to do; prior experience with Patrick Kerney, Jim Mora and Tim Ruskell.
The Downside: If he's healthy (and he passed the
The Verdict: The Seahawks desperately need a tight
end with the end of the Marcus Pollard experiment,
and Crumpler would put them in a position where they can avoid reaching for
need at the position in the first two rounds of the draft. This makes sense
in a number of ways, and I'll be surprised if Crumpler leaves the
are two scenarios under which the Seahawks will require at least one elite
receiver through the draft or free agency: First, if D.J. Hackett takes
The second scenario isif the Seahawks re-sign Hackett, and Deion Branch's injuries take him out for the 2008 season. We don't know how plausible that is, but there is a sense that as much effort and money as this front office has put into the receiver position, it's far from sewn up in 2008.Hackett or no, here are the primary names who could provide some relief (we're assuming that Randy Moss is out of the picture).
The former Bears receiver will likely set the market this year, and he's already started, rejecting what has been referred to as a "take it or leave it" offer from the Bears in the amount of $25 million over five years, according to John Crist of Bear Report. The thought is that the asking price for Berrian (and possibly Hackett) will be in the neighborhood of five years, $28-20 million, $10-15 million guaranteed. That would be a big investment for the position after throwing so much money at Deion Branch less than two years ago.
The Upside: Can step in and provide a field-stretching option right away, especially if Hackett leaves, and you have to wonder what he'd do with an actual NFL quarterback throwing to him.
The Downside: Home run threat with negative DVOA and only five touchdowns in 127 pass attempts in his direction; unimpressive catch percentage; a receiver who's best as a deep option doesn't really fit Matt Hasselbeck's game.
The Verdict: It's not a fit, and considering that Berrian would cost more than Hackett, this would be a serious mistake.
2003 first-round pick was overshadowed by Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald
The Upside: Big target at 6'3" and 216 pounds; reasonably physical; has been a good option when called upon to take a bigger role in recent years.
The Downside: Not highly-regarded as a route runner. Focus has been called into question at times.
The Verdict: He could be a stopgap if Hackett is
out of the picture, but the Seahawks would be overpaying at anything more
than second-tier money (such as the four-year, $16 million deal with $8 million
guaranteed recently given to Andre Davis by
don't we know this guy?
The Upside: Well, he knows the system. And he torched the Seahawks in early December.
The Verdict: Possible as a roster move, but nobody's going to be tripping over anyone else to sign this guy to a huge contract on potential. He's a good, solid backup, and the Seahawks are overstocked down there.
The last #80 in Rams history was cut in a salary cap move; he may be re-signed at a lower cost or he may choose to test the market and see if he can't end his career in Tim Brown/Jerry Rice fashion with a few more productive years at age 35.
The Upside: Had a higher DPAR (12.2) in 2007 than Deion Branch, Nate Burleson, Bernard Berrian and Joe Jurevicius, and he did it in an offense that the CFL would have kicked out of bed. Consummate route-runner, and a proud veteran with something to prove.
The Downside: The Seahawks already have Bobby Engram, so it might not make sense to bring in a guy who can't get reasonably deep at times. Then again, with a bunch of four-wise sets, Matt Hasselbeck might fall in love with Bruce as an option.
The Verdict: As Arte Johnson used to say, "Velllllly intelestink." Good fit in this offense with his hands and game knowledge, and he could be a mentor to the younger players. Not a completely insane idea at the right price, and Bob Whitsitt isn't around to "unretire" #80 anymore.
The Upside: Has shown improvement for the Saints over the last couple of seasons in several aspects; not afraid to be physical against press coverage; good size for this offense at 5'11" and 200 pounds.
The Downside: That 49 percent Catch Rate isn't going
to set anyone on fire;
The Verdict: I have a feeling that Henderson, who
is rumored to have been basically jettisoned by
If Patten isn't brought back as Marques Colston's supporting actor, would he be a fit for a few seasons?
The Upside: Had a solid season for the Saints in 2007.
The Downside: Hadn't done much before that since
The Verdict: Appears to be a product of the Patriots'
system. The Seahawks already socked a first-round pick and $39 million into
that particular patch of quicksand. Pass.
Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET, a staff writer for Football Outsiders, and he writes NFL previews for the New York Sun. Feel free to e-mail Doug here.