We used to be in there, now we’re out here
We had our eye on the wrong cornerback to Baltimore. Instead of Kelly Jennings, the Hawks pulled a shocker by shipping Josh Wilson off.
On the surface, sending a versatile, play-making former second-round cornerback who was the favorite to start and getting a fourth- or fifth-rounder in return looks like a horrible deal.
However, the Seahawks obviously felt compelled by various circumstances: (1) They are relatively deep at cornerback, (2) they have plenty of return candidates and (3) Wilson will be a free agent after this season.
Fortunately, coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider made themselves available to talk about this trade, and they basically confirmed the aforementioned as reasons they went through with the deal.
As we pointed in our previous post, Baltimore was a logical trade target because the Ravens have serious issues in their secondary. But, with Wilson in the final year of his contract, the Hawks weren’t going to be able to pull true value for the former second-rounder who had six interceptions over the last two years. Thus, a fourth-rounder in 2011 is the best they could do.
One could successfully argue that Wilson is worth more than that, but Carroll and Schneider were willing to give up the fourth-year player because they were deep at cornerback, where Marcus Trufant appears poised to possibly return to the Pro Bowl and the Hawks also have Jennings, promising rookie Walter Thurmond and third-year player Roy Lewis.
Wilson also is a dangerous return man, but the team is as deep as it has ever been in that category, with Leon Washington, Golden Tate and Thurmond their top options.
By giving up Wilson, the Seahawks are losing one of their best pound-for-pound football players. Although he’s only 5-9 and 192 pounds, the guy is tough as nails and really just seemed to have come into his own as a starting-caliber player.
In 2008, he led the NFL with eight kick returns of at least 40 yards, and he also led the Hawks with four picks. Last year, he returned both his picks for touchdowns.
Jennings – 5-11 and 180 pounds — is simply too light, a fact that has been proven over and over since he was drafted in the first round in 2006. His contract also expires after this season, but Thurmond should be ready to start by then anyway.
Before this trade, the Hawks’ deepest positions were defensive line, receiver and cornerback. Dealing Wilson means they have one less tough decision to make Saturday, when they have to cut down from 75 to 53 players.
One guy who apparently assured that he won’t be cut is linebacker Leroy Hill, who reportedly took a pay cut from his guaranteed $6 million salary to about $2.1 million, with the chance to make $300,000 in incentives.
With a one-game suspension and a sprained knee clouding the start of his season, Hill wasn’t going to find a better deal than the one Carroll and Schneider offered him to stay. With the remaining four years of his $36 million voided, Hill now has major incentive to play well and keep his nose clean in 2010.
This is a good deal for the Hawks, who either were willing to pay Hill $6 million just to get rid of him or would have pursued that money by claiming he violated his contract through his illegal activities over the past year and a half.
Hill will be on the reserve-suspended list to start the season, meaning the Hawks can keep another player for Week 1. Beyond that, they will have to decide what to do if his knee injury keeps him out longer.
Hill’s absence might allow the Seahawks to keep an extra offensive lineman, considering all of their injury woes among that unit.
They made a minor deal for right tackle Tyler Polumbus, reportedly giving Detroit a conditional late-round pick in 2012.
In eight starts for Denver last season, he was not penalized once, but he gave up six sacks (according to the Washington Post’s stats).
At 6-8 and just over 300 pounds, he is a very skinny giant. He could provide some immediate depth or get cut Saturday.
With Chester Pitts coming back to practice, the Hawks are slowly getting healthier on the line. Even if Russell Okung (ankle) misses the first game or two, the return of Pitts should help the left side. If Pitts is fully healthy, he could push to start at left guard once Okung returns.
Don’t think the Seahawks are done dealing. They will surely keep their eyes open for a lineman (Marcus McNeill anyone?) and might be able to find a buyer for running back Julius Jones (Denver or St. Louis?) by Saturday.
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