Free Agency Wrap-Around: Brown Goes Down!

Another day comes and goes in free agency, and the Seahawks are still off the list of big spenders. That doesn't mean that things aren't happening, though -- find out how Josh Brown put his foot in it, which two linebackers are on Seattle's radar, and why T.J. Duckett might be the perfect fit.

After signing with the St. Louis Rams and accepting their five-year, $14 million contract with $4 million guaranteed, thus refusing to accept Seattle's … uh … five-year, $14 million contract with $4 million guaranteed, it seemed only a matter of time before former Seahawks kicker Josh Brown would explain himself.

What was unusual was not only that he took his case to the Seattle locals with KJR-AM's Dave "Softy" Mahler on Monday morning (in an exchange that was transcribed by Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times), but that he engaged in a truly bizarre level of spin-doctoring. Brown managed to invent a new phrase -- "Prisoner to the Businessman," no doubt endearing himself to all advocates for those poor, wayward special teamers, expected to live on mere millions a year, with slotted bonuses of pure torture.

Apparently, the problem was that the Rams were willing to give Brown his bonus up front, while the Seahawks wanted to spread an equivalent bonus out for salary cap purposes. Brown, showing the kind of team-first attitude you expect from all the great ones, told Mahler the following: "(They) told me they had cash-flow problems. But your cash-flow problems … I'm not a prisoner to the businessman. I don't care about your cash-flow problems. That's not my issue."

I bet that's what Peyton Manning and Tom Brady said to the Colts and Patriots when they agreed to renegotiate their contracts to free up cap space for their teams. But wait, there's more!

"You know, in all honesty, I don't have a whole lot of animosity towards anybody, the 'Hawks or anybody else," Brown said, with a generosity of spirit that must bring tears to the eyes of the hardest 'Hawks fan. "This is a business, they had to do it with what they had to work with, and I had to do what I thought was best for me. It is a bittersweet thing because I love that city, I love my teammates, I love my coaches. I was happy there. It was my first team, but an opportunity came knocking and an opportunity we didn't see coming. After 14 years, (veteran Rams kicker) Jeff Wilkins retires and they were serious. They came to the table with some major dough. And it was something that I couldn't pass up."

We see, Josh. You're not a slave to the businessman, but you're not opposed to bending a team over when they have an obvious need. Nice!

Of course, the best part; the part that turned Brown into the football equivalent of Alex Rodriguez and paved his way to a room in the Home for Pathological Contract Fibbers, was this particular bon mot -- he wanted to sign with the Rams because he wants to be part of a winner! "They're building something," Brown said of his new 3-13 team. "They're struggling. But the thing is they're injured. You know what their problem is. They have great players, but they're injured. If they were bad football players, then it's hard to fix. I have never seen St. Louis as a bad football town. They've had a couple rough years. There were times coach Holmgren first got in here, they had rough years. And look at him now. He's probably the best coach in the National Football League. It took time. And I want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of a place that wants me to be there."

Yes-indeedy-o. You know, it's not generally our policy to editorialize to this extent -- normally if we have something a little off-color to say, we'll save it for the Seahawks.NET message boards. This is more of a professional forum. But when a kicker -- a KICKER!!! -- takes the time to throw his agent, his former coach, his former front office, and all three long-snappers he played with last year under the same bus .. well, it tends to bring out the "editorialist" in us. And in that spirit, we'd like to blow a big, fat Seahawks.NET raspberry in Josh Brown's general direction.

Josh, you were great when you were here, and the Seahawks never would have made the playoffs in 2006 without you, but you're grossly overestimating your value. The Seahawks would, in the long haul, do just as well to sign Jason Elam, or draft Taylor Mehlhaff, and pay them half of your new over-inflated paycheck. And you, sir, will do well to take your Okie butt to Saint Lou and leave your former team to another division title. May you enjoy many restful, football-free Januaries.

Two Linebackers on the Radar -- With the departures of Niko Koutouvides to the Broncos and Kevin Bentley to the Texans, the Seahawks are in need of linebacker depth inside and outside, not to mention two special teams coverage replacements. Two options could be visiting Seattle very soon - ex-Baltimore 'backer Nick Greisen, and former Cleveland Brown Chaun Thompson. Scout.com's own Adam Caplan broke the news of Seattle's interest in Thompson.

We're still waiting for intel on Thompson, the 6'2", 255-pound West Texas A & M alum who has amassed 212 tackles and 10.5 sacks in his five-year career, but we have the inside take on Griesen, courtesy of Aaron Wilson, publisher of Ravens Insider:

Griesen is a tough, durable inside linebacker who lacks ideal size, but has good quickness and instincts. Productive, gritty individual with leadership qualities. Not a standout in pass coverage, but covers ground well. More of a two-down linebacker and special-teams ace.

Nick Greisen is a good locker room presence whom teammates seem to gravitate toward. Filled in capably at the end of the season when Ray Lewis was injured. Plays bigger than he looks. Doesn't have an imposing build. Understands and learns defenses quickly. Tom Coughlin was a big Greisen fan when Greisen was with the New York Giants, so you know he's a disciplined, on-time athlete.

Actually, if Coughlin likes him, he's five minutes early! He'll be in town Tuesday.

Duckett Could Be First: Former Lions and Falcons running back T.J. Duckett (we don't count his Redskins tenure, as I'm sure he'd rather we didn't) will be talking turkey with the Seahawks this week, and there's one way in which the 254-pound power back could be a perfect fit in Seattle.

In 2007, the Seahawks ranked 26th in third-down conversions with a terrible 35.0 percent conversion rate. In the postseason, that fell to 22.7 percent. No Seattle running back could convert third downs reliably, but in 65 carries for the Detroit Lions in 2007, Duckett created 16 first downs. Shaun Alexander, who racked up 107 first downs in his 2005 MVP season, could only create 37 last year on 207 carries. Duckett may not be a versatile back, but he does one thing the Seahawks desperately need -- he can pound the line and keep drives going.

Stay tuned to Seahawks.NET for updates on these and other stories!


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.


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