ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s fourth 2014 NFL mock draft is out on ESPN Insider today, and his choices are good ones for the Seahawks.
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Total cap charge: $17.2 million
NFL average: $12.8 million
Percentage of team cap space: 14.7
Biggest cap hit: Cliff Avril at $9.25 million
Biggest bargain: Greg Scruggs at $582,000
Total cap charge: $9.5 million
NFL average: $9 million
Percentage of team cap space: 8.1
Biggest cap hit: Brandon Mebane at $5.7 million
Biggest bargain: Tony McDaniel at $2.1 million
Note: Seattle lost Clinton McDonald, who had a breakout season in 2013, to free agency when he signed with Tampa Bay. But Mebane is a rock inside and McDaniel is a quality run stopper. Jordan Hill was a bit of a disappointment as a rookie last year, but the man who may surprise people is Jesse Williams, the 2013 rookie who spent the season on injured reserve.
Total cap charge: $6.5 million
NFL average: $15.5 million
Percentage of team cap space: 5.6
Biggest cap hit: Heath Farwell at $1.7 million
Biggest bargain: Malcolm Smith at $656,000
Note: When your back-up middle linebacker is the highest-paid player in the unit on a Super Bowl winning team, you are getting bargain-basement prices on some darn good players. The Super-Bowl MVP (Smith) is working for pennies, comparatively speaking. As I said above, Irvin should count in this group, but it still would leave the Seahawks far below the league average. Bobby Wagner (who counts only $1.2 million against the cap) is one of the best middle linebackers in the league. K.J. Wright (at $1.6 million) performs at a consistently high level and can play outside or inside.
Total cap charge: $3.9 million
NFL average: $12.1 million
Percentage of team cap space: 3.4
Biggest cap hit: Richard Sherman at $1.5 million
Biggest bargain: Byron Maxwell at $673,000
Total cap charge: $13.6 million
NFL average: $8.3 million
Percentage of team cap space: 11.7
Biggest cap hit: Strong safety Kam Chancellor at $5.8 million
Biggest bargain: DeShawn Shead at $570,000
Note: The Seahawks already spend way over the league average here with two of the best safeties in the NFL in Chancellor and free safety Earl Thomas, generally regarded as the best safety in football, but Seattle is about to spend even more. Thomas is in the final year of a contract that counts $5.5 million against the salary cap now. He is likely to become the first $10 million safety soon. The Seahawks are in the process of extending his contact and hope to have a new deal worked out before the start of the 2014 season. Seattle re-signed Jeron Johnson, who missed most of last season with hamstring injuries. Shead, who played well at the end of last season, can also play cornerback.
Total cap charge: $1.7 million for Steven Hauschka
NFL average: $1.9 million
Percentage of team cap space: 1.5
Note: Great decision by the Seahawks to re-sign Hauschka, who was one of the league's best kickers last year. Hauschka got a three-year deal worth $9.1 million, but it's back-loaded and comes with $3.3 million in guaranteed money.
Total cap charge: $1.4 million for Jon Ryan
NFL average: $1.7 million
Percentage of team cap space: 1.2 percent
Note: Ryan is one of only three players still on the team (along with Mebane and center Max Unger) from the pre-Pete Carroll era. Returning punts against Ryan was almost non-existent in 2013. He isn't the longest punter in the league, but he has great hang time and gets a big boost from his coverage team, especially Lane, possibly the best gunner in the NFL.
Total cap charge: $1.3 million
NFL average: $709,000
Percentage of team cap space: 1.1
Biggest cap hit: Clint Gresham at $887,000
Biggest bargain: Jorgen Hus at $420,000
Note: The cap number here is misleading because one of these guys won't be on the team when the season starts. Gresham is one of the best deep snappers in the league, but he's expensive. The Seahawks signed Hus to compete with Gresham for the job. Hus is Canadian and good friends with Ryan.
Terms haven’t been announced, but the Seahawks obviously wanted Rice back bad enough to outbid the Jets.
Rice sent out this tweet Wednesday night:
It appeared the Seahawks' chances of re-signing Rice were in jeopardy when he visited the Jets. But apparently Rice already had an offer from Seattle and simply was testing the waters.
Rice had a connection in the Jets organization with general manager John Idzik, who spent six years in Seattle as the vice president of football operations before taking the GM job with the Jets in January 2013.
But Seattle was able to work out a deal for Rice to return for 2014. He was released by the Seahawks on Feb. 28 for salary-cap reasons; he would have counted $7.3 million against the cap.
Rice missed the second half of the 2013 season after tearing an ACL in a game at St. Louis, but was given clearance by his doctor to begin running and cutting drills on Monday.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said all along they were interested in bringing Rice back if the price was right. By re-signing the 6-foot-4 Rice, it could mean the Seahawks go in another direction with their early picks in the NFL draft next month -- possibly selecting an offensive lineman or defensive end.
Seattle brought in Indiana receiver Cody Latimer on Tuesday. Latimer has zoomed up the draft boards in the recent weeks and is seen as a late first-round or early second-round pick.
Rice, 27, caught 15 passes and scored three touchdowns before his injury last season. He caught 50 passes for 748 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012.
The two sides reached agreement on a one-year deal, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Rice took to Twitter Wednesday night to confirm his return to Seattle:
- Sidney Rice (@sidneyrice) April 16, 2014
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson also took to Twitter Wednesday night to express his excitement:
- Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) April 17, 2014
Rice, 27, spent Wednesday in New Jersey visiting with the New York Jets, but decided to return to the team he played for the last three seasons.
Rice caught 15 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns in eight games last season, which ended after Rice tore his ACL against the St. Louis Rams
Rice has a connection in the Jets organization with general manager John Idzik, who spent six years in Seattle as the vice president of football operations before taking the GM job with the Jets in January of 2013.
Rice was released by the Seahawks on Feb. 28 for salary-cap reasons. He would have counted $7.3 million against the cap. He missed the second half of the 2013 season after tearing an ACL in a game at St. Louis, but was given clearance by his doctor to begin running and cutting drills on Monday.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said they were interested in bringing Rice back, but the price may become too high if the Jets have a serious interest in him.
Rice, 27, caught 15 passes and scored three touchdowns before his injury last season. He caught 50 passes for 748 yard and seven touchdowns in 2012.
That doesn't necessarily mean that the Seahawks will draft Latimer, but as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times puts it, "his visit is worth noting because it presents yet more evidence that Seattle may be interested in bolstering its receiving corps going forward, and especially with a bigger receiver. ..."
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Total cap charge: $2.6 million
NFL average: $11.7 million.
Percentage of team cap space: 2.2 percent.
Biggest cap hit: Tarvaris Jackson at $1.2 million
Biggest bargain: Russell Wilson at $817,000
Note: Obviously, this spot is a steal for the Seahawks, but not for long. Wilson can renegotiate his deal at the end of the 2014 season and likely will command close to $20 million a year.
Total cap charge: $9.5 million
NFL average: $7.7 million.
Percentage of team cap space: 8.1 percent
Biggest cap hit: Marshawn Lynch at $7 million
Biggest bargain: Christine Michael at $767,000.
Note: The Seahawks spend more than most teams here, and for good reason. Lynch is one of the best running backs in the league and the offense is built around the power running game. Look for Michael to get a lot more carries in 2014 and be a bigger part of the offense.
Total cap charge: $18.7 million.
NFL average: $8.2 million.
Percentage of team cap space: 16 percent.
Biggest cap hit: Percy Harvin at $13.4 million.
Biggest bargain: Jermaine Kearse at $570,000.
Note: Harvin puts the Seahawks way over the league average here, which shows why they weren’t able to keep Golden Tate. Seattle likely will add a big receiver early in the draft (Indiana’s Cody Latimer is on their wish list). Another player who could prove to be a bargain is Chris Matthews, the 2012 Rookie of the Year in the CFL who signed with Seattle for $425,000.
Total cap charge: $6.9 million.
NFL average: $6.1 million.
Percentage of team cap space: 5.9 percent.
Biggest cap hit: Zach Miller at $4 million.
Biggest bargain: Luke Willson at $540,000.
Note: Miller agreed to restructure his contract, which saved the Seahawks over $3 million in cap space. The team is expecting big things from Anthony McCoy, who missed last season after tearing his Achilles tendon. And it’s still possible the Seahawks might consider adding former Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley, who they see more as a hybrid tight end/wide receiver. But it would depend of Finley being medically cleared and being willing to take a huge pay cut.
Total cap charge: $24 million
NFL average: $21.4 million.
Percentage of team cap space: 20.1 percent
Biggest cap hit: Left tackle Russell Okung at $11.2 million.
Biggest bargain: Right guard J.R. Sweezy at $584,000.
Note: Okung is the team’s second-highest paid player, but he’s worth it to protect Wilson’s blind side. And Okung likely will return to his Pro Bowl form in 2014 after missing half the 2013 season with a torn ligament in his big toe that continued to hinder him when he returned. But the O-line is an area where the Seahawks need to improve. Left guard probably is up for grabs unless James Carpenter has a great camp. Michael Bowie, who played well as a rookie in 2013, likely will get a chance to start at right tackle in replacing Breno Giacomini, who signed with the Jets. But it will be a shock if the Seahawks don’t select an offensive lineman early in the draft
However, statistically speaking, the odds are against them. Winning back-to-back Super Bowls is a difficult thing to do. Only eight teams have managed to do it since the big game began in 1967 (Pittsburgh did it twice).
If the Seahawks do it in the 2014 season (the 2015 Super Bowl), it would be the first time in nine years. The New England Patriots were the previous team to win consecutive Super Bowls (2004-05).
Only three teams have done it in the past 20 years. The Dallas Cowboys won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1993-94 and the Denver Broncos in 1998-99.
Thirty-one Super Bowl winners did not come back and win it again the following year. However, three teams returned to the Super Bowl and lost -- Dallas in 1979, Washington in 1984 and Green Bay in 1998.
But there is a good chance of winning a second Super Bowl within four years of winning one. Besides the eight teams that won back-to-back, four teams won another Super Bowl within three years, and five did it within four years.
Buffalo is the only team to play in four consecutive Super Bowls, but the Bills lost all four games. Dallas lost in 1971 and won the next year. Miami lost in 1972 and won it in 1973.
Will Seattle become the ninth team to win consecutive Super Bowls? Maybe, but the Seahawks have a better chance of becoming the 18th team to win it twice within four years.
Latimer sent out this Tweet Tuesday afternoon, along with an Instagram photo of him wearing a Seahawks cap. He also included Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman's Twitter handles:
Wilson was not in Seattle Tuesday. He's in California working out with some of the other Seahawks.
Latimer (6-3, 215) was originally projected as fourth-round draft pick, but has been moving up most drafts boards recently after an impressive performance on Indiana’s pro day three weeks ago. He’s generally viewed as a second-round pick now, but the Seahawks might consider him at the end of the first round.
Latimer was the Hoosier’s MVP in 2013 with he caught 72 passes for 1,096 yards nine touchdowns. He had five games of more than 100 yards receiving last season before deciding to enter the NFL draft after his junior year.
Some experts compare Latimer to San Francisco receiver Anquan Boldin -- a physical player who can beat press coverage. Latimer has a reputation as an excellent route runner with the ability to make yards after the catch. He also is considered an above-average blocker.
Latimer is from Dayton, Ohio, where he also excelled in basketball and baseball during his high school years.
ESPN Insider Mike Sando has an interesting post Tuesday about which quarterbacks are worth trading for and giving up a No. 1 overall draft choice.
Sando polled an NFL general manager, along with ESPN analyst Bill Polian (a long-time NFL GM), and ESPN.com NFL scout Matt Williamson.
All three of them had at least eight quarterbacks on their list, but seven QBs made the list for each man. Wilson and Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck, both of whom have only two years in the NFL, made all three lists.
Check out the full list in Sando’s Insider post .
That's one of the interesting results from our ESPN The Magazine/Sportingintelligence Global Salary Survey. Last season's Super Bowl champs spent an average of $2.303 million per player in 2013.
Only the Minnesota Vikings spent more at $2.315 million per player, and that number was reached without former Vikings receiver Percy Harvin, who signed a six-year, $67 million deal with the Seahawks in 2013.
Well, pretty easy to figure out which team got more bang for the buck.
However, comparatively speaking, it just a little above middle of the pack in the overall financial picture of the pro sports landscape. The survey lists the Seahawks as No. 116 in spending per player among major sports franchises.
Every NBA team spent more, as did 28 of 30 MLB teams. Topping the list was Manchester City's soccer squad in the English Premier League, averaging $8.1 million per player.
The New York Yankees were just a shade behind at $8.0 million per player. The Los Angeles Dodgers were third at $7.7 million per player.
Here's a link to the full list of sports franchises.
There's also a list of the top-paid athletes in each sport. The Seahawks don't have anyone close to a top-10 spot on that list. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers tops the NFL list at $40 million a year.
No. 10 on the NFL list is Cincinnati defensive tackle Geno Atkins at $19 million, a figure that Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson just might top before long.
Here's a link to the list of highest paid athletes.
It’s the best reality show in sports, but this time, a chance to take you away from the reality of tax day stress.
Here’s the link. Let me hear what you’re thinking.
Rice tore an ACL on Oct. 28 last season in the game at St. Louis. He was released by the Seahawks on Feb. 28 for salary-cap reasons. Rice was scheduled to make $9.7 million and would have counted $7.3 million against the 2014 cap.
Rice, 27, has been under the care of renowned surgeon, Dr. James Andrews. Rice tweeted this Monday:
"Great visit w Dr. Andrews today. Cleared to begin cutting at 5months and 1week. Let's work! #PayAttention"
The Seahawks would consider re-signing Rice if the price is right, which likely will be near the league minimum now for a player with his experience.
The Seahawks coaches like Rice and believe he still can contribute as a veteran receiver who knows the offense. And at 6-foot-4, Rice can give the team the big receiver it lacks.
However, this year's draft is a good one for big receivers. A couple that could fall to Seattle's pick at the end of the first round include Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State or Allen Robinson of Penn State.
The Seahawks also have shown interest in Cody Latimer of Indiana, who has shot up the draft boards recently after an impressive Pro Day workout.
Other teams are courting Rice. The New Orleans Saints have shown the most interest, but others reportedly looking at Rice include the Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants.
Rice caught 15 passes and scored three touchdowns before his injury last season. He caught 50 passes for 748 yard and seven touchdowns in 2012.