Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Breaking News: Hawks Lose Case

Well, the Special Master has ruled against Seattle in their case against the NFL Player's Association, stating that even with the Walter Jones restructure that the contract stipulation means that our match would guarantee the entire 49 million. Essentially, since Jones' contract had a higher average WHEN Hutch signed the offer sheet the poison pill kicks into effect.

From an NFL fan's perspective, I think this sets an extremely bad precedent and gives agents one hell of a weapon to use in negotiations. I don't think we'll see the transition tag used league-wide for a while unless teams accept the fact that the chance of using them jumps higher. That means the more contentious and acrimonious franchise label will continue to be the bane of players' existences. Go NFLPA!

From a Hawk fan's perspective, Colin mentioned this below, but I'm almost relieved. The more I thought about this deal, the less I wanted to do it. Hutch is a great guard, but he is a guard. We had a tremendous offensive line that included Chris Gray. We have instant starter depth immediately with either Pork Chop Womack or Chris Spencer. There is no crisis. Perhaps signing someone like Tom Ashworth to keep our depth stable would be a good move. At this stage, the Hawks should pass and move on.

I think this means we'll see a flurry of activity from Seattle. I wouldn't be surprised if by tomorrow we have a deal in place with either John Abraham or Julian Peterson. We have tons of cap space and can make Abraham rich enough to forget about Atlanta. Signing both means we have a top five defense next year. Draft a safety behind Hamlin and we're set. Another free agent we can now more effectively target is Minnesota's own Nate Burleson, who would love to play in his home city. That would help us with wide receiver depth. Another possibility now is even resigning Andre Dyson, since we still need another corner. Someone on the radio mentioned Ty Law who I feel is a little overrated. We need a number two/three corner, and Law will want number one money.

So fans, would you rather have Steve Hutchinson or Womack/Abraham/Peterson? I know what I would say.

I hope Seahawk nation doesn't hyperventilate too much over this. We still have a top five running back, a top five quarterback, the best left tackle, an up and coming right tackle, a Pro Bowl center, a top ten receiver (Jackson), an improving play making tight end, and a terrific offensive head coach. I think we'll survive.

Of course some of my optimism is prevelant on us using this cap money to sign free agents, but it's not like we haven't been talking to these names... I'm pretty sure a lot of the delay had to do with this whole Hutchinson mess. We'll see where Ruskell can take us now.

Go Hawks!

Colin: I'm caught in the somewhat uncomfortable case of vehemently disagreeing with the decision and yet glad that the decision happened. Of course, my disagreement with the decision is based on an as-yet unclear understanding of how this poison pill worked. Was it just for this year? Was it for every year? Was it just for when the contract was signed? I've heard analysis saying "yes" to every one of those questions.

I have to say, I'm also torn on my feelings about Hutch personally. Here was a guy who busted his butt for us and helped us reach our first Super Bowl. He also was offered a contract FAR ABOVE market value, making him the 4th highest paid lineman in the league, behind Ogden, Pace, and Jones. For a guard. Wow.

I'm torn because of the appearance of this poison pill, and if it worked as the artibrator stated (that it was only for the sign date of the contract), then it was generated precisely to keep Seattle from resigning Hutch. I mean, there was no other reason. And I have yet to understand where the acrimony was there. Why screw over the Hawks like that? I just don't get it.

What I do get is that we now have $13 mill to spend on some high-price talent. Available guards include Steven Neal (from NE), Jonathan Goodwin (Jets), Tutan Reyes (Carolina), and Tom Nutten (St. Louis). There are big name players out on the market. John Abraham would cost us a 1st rounder, but would give us a 27 year old franchise defensive end. Julian Peterson would give us a fantastic linebacking corps. Nate Burleson would cost us a 3rd rounder, but would give us a great 2nd option for the wide receiving corps, plus deal a little hurt back to the Minnesota Vikings. And there are plenty of decent to good cornerbacks left on the market, though I agree with Gavin that Ty Law is probably not the answer for the money it would require to sign him. Just look at how much he helped the Jets succeed last year....

Is this, bottom line, a negative for the Hawks? Good question, and one that won't be answered until after the free agency period is over. It is definitely an immediate loss, but the Hawks can recuperate by signing some of this talent. It remains to be seen if Ruskell can get this done.

By the way, final props to me for seeing the transition tag as a way for Hutch to leave from the get go, while Gavin laughed at me. Never listen to Gavin, people. It'll lead nowhere but to Pains-ville.

posted by Gavin @ 3:37 PM  0 comments

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