We used to be in there, now we’re out here
There are two ways to look at Leroy Hill’s most recent arrest for smoking marijuana: Either the Seahawks will get tired of his immature antics and choose not to re-sign the free-agent linebacker, or they will take advantage of yet another bargain year and bring Hill back for 12 cheap games next season.
Hill already has been punished twice under the NFL’s substance-abuse/personal conduct policies, so this is Strike 3. Under the old CBA, that would have carried a four-game suspension, so that’s probably what Hill will face.
Because of his prior off-field issues, he played for the Hawks under a one-year, $1 million deal last season — and ended up starting 16 games for the first time in his seven-year career. Pete Carroll and John Schneider could wait until just before camp and then sign Hill for another one-year deal. At worst, he could be a backup. At best, he could start the 12 games for which he figures to be eligible.
Hill was a bubble player to be re-signed anyway, so this development doesn’t really change much — except to lower the price tag if the Seahawks are interested.
Meanwhile, it’s looking like our prediction that David Hawthorne won’t be back is on the money.
Word is the Seahawks are not going to be interested in paying Hawthorne in the range he seems likely to seek — possibly as much as $7 million a year.
Hawthorne led the team in tackles for the third straight season, and he had three interceptions and two sacks. But he is undersized and is already wearing down – he hobbled around on one good leg for most of last season — and Carroll said he wants to get faster at linebacker.
If Hawthorne insists on getting a big-money deal, he won’t be back.
That could lead to the Hawks moving second-year linebacker K.J. Wright to the middle, even though Carroll said he likes Wright at outside linebacker.
“If I had my way, I’d let him play where he finished up outside,” Carroll told reporters at the Combine. “I think he has the versatility to do that, and it gives us the opportunity to move him around and to pressure him, and to drop him out under coverage and also do some things inside at times with the way we move our defense that you can take advantage of all that.”
If the Hawks let Hill and Hawthorne go, they will need to add two new starters — whether via free agency or the draft. But they seem unlikely to spend a lot of money on the position.
“We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” Carroll said before Hill’s arrest. “We’ve got some free agency issues that we’re dealing with right now, and (Wright) gives us some flexibility, so we’ll just have to wait it out.”
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