Recent ESPN reports have put Seattle's functional salary cap at around $15.1 Million. Before the Seahawks start looking across the league for new players, they'll have to make a decision whether to re-sign OLB Leroy Hll or not. He certainly has ability and is both strong in coverage and as a pass rusher, but his recent arrest will give GM Tim Ruskell pause. Tagging Hill would take up about $8 million, cutting Seattle's ability to sign new players by half. It will be interesting to see which direction the team takes.
Here's a look at the current crop of NFL Free Agents that could be in Seattle next season.
*I am only including players that I believe have a realistic chance to be in Seattle. For those of you hoping for Julius Peppers , Nnamdi Asumugha, or Terrell Suggs, you're not going to find them here.
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh,
Of all the "big-name" Free Agents out there, Housmandzadeh looks to have the most realistic chance of signing with Seattle. He has Northwest ties because he played at Oregon State, is a high-character player, and has been tremendously productive. T.J. has better long speed than people give him credit for, but is at his best working intermediate routes and moving the chains. Adding him would immediately upgrade Seattle's receivers and allow the team to focus on OL or DL with the 4th overall pick. The only downside to signing him is his age- 31.
S Sean Jones, Cleveland
Young player (26) with good size (6'1" 220) and has been a 3-year starter for the Browns. Can play both SS and FS, giving him solid flexibility within defensive schemes. Jones would be an upgrade over Brian Russell and add some more youth to the secondary.
WR Reggie Williams, Jacksonville
Former University of Washington star has the size (6'4" 215) that current Seahawk receivers lack. Was very immature coming out of college and has been a disappointment in Jacksonville after being the 9th overall in the 2004 Draft. He's publicly said that he'd like to play in Seattle, but will GM Tim Ruskell pull the trigger on a guy who's largely been a bust and had some character issues?
C Matt Birk, Minnesota
Former Pro Bowl C isn't expected to re-sign with Minnesota and would be an immediate upgrade over current C Chris Spencer. Birk has started the past 9 seasons and while he's 32 years old, adding a pivot player with his intelligence and experience would be a nice move for the offense.
S Jermaine Philips, Tampa
Experienced veteran who's excelled in the Cover 2 defense that Coach Jim Mora is expected to employ more often this year. Good size (6'2" 220) and is a definite upgrade at SS for the Seahawks should he sign. GM Time Ruskell's previous Free Agent signings have indicated that he likes to bring in players he knows, which might give Philips a better chance of being a 'Hawk.
OT Vernon Carey, Miami
Huge (6'5" 350) and has experience at RT, LT and G, giving him more versatility than any other lineman in this class. Hasn't lived up to the hype after being a 1st Round Pick, but he's been moved around a lot on a bad team and hasn't been allowed to settle into one position. Definitely has the size and strength that the new coaching staff may be looking for. However, he's a Florida kid and unless the money's right, I don't know how realistic getting him to move across the country will be.
S Oshiomogho Atogowe,
Decent size (5'10" 210) and has been a playmaker the past two years. Was in on 17 turnovers the past two seasons, including 13 INTs. Good player on a very bad team and has West Coast ties (Stanford). Would fit best as a FS, allowing Deon Grant to switch to SS.
DT Tank Johnson, Dallas
It's hard for me to even put him on this list because of his well-publicized off-field problems, but it's also hard for me to ignore his ability and ties to the Northwest. Johnson was a star at the University of Washington and played well in Chicago in a 4-3 defense. He's been miscast playing in Dallas' 3-4 defense and would instantly be Seattle's best pass-rushing DT. But his baggage is hard to ignore.
C Jake Grove, Oakland
Terrific college player who's played G and C in Oakland. Isn't tremendously strong at 6'4" 300, but is smart and would bring experience to Seattle's interior.
WR Mike Furrey, Detroit
Put up tremendous numbers in '06 (98 catches), but has tailed off the past two seasons. Is ideally a team's 4th receiver, but with veteran Bobby Engram a Free Agent and Nate Burleson coming off ACL surgery, adding a veteran WR is a good idea.