We used to be in there, now we’re out here
At this point, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Hawks’ new Nike uniforms contain some purple and yellow in them.
Already staffed with former Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and receiver Sidney Rice, the Hawks reportedly hosted Steve Hutchinson today and are bringing in tight end Visanthe Shiancoe.
With hotly pursued tight end John Carlson deciding to go home to Minnesota, where he will replace Shiancoe, the Hawks could replace Carlson with the guy he replaced in Minnesota.
Got all that?
But the bigger — and certainly more controversial — news is the possible return of Hutch, six years after he left Seattle in a major firestorm that reverberated across the league and led to the closing of the poison-pill loophole the Vikings used to sign Hutch.
Maybe Pete Carroll and John Schneider think this is the only way to exorcise the Curse of Hutch and finally get a healthy offensive line.
The idea of a return to Seattle seemed too farfetched to consider when word came that Hutchinson was going to be released by Minnesota, but aging players tend to take what they can get, so it’s no surprise that the 34-year-old Hutch is willing to consider coming back to Seattle.
After all, the people who “dissed” him by not offering him a long-term deal in 2005 are gone (although pretty funny that Mike Reinfeldt was Seattle’s contract negotiator back then and Hutch just came from visiting Reinfeldt’s Titans).
Tim Ruskell — the man who gets the blame for so infamously making the decision to use the transition tag rather than the franchise tag on the All-Pro guard in 2006 — is no longer in Seattle.
By now, everyone knows the Poison Pill Story. Hutch’s departure hastened the downfall of the Seahawks’ offense, and savvy fans know it was an inexcusable, completely avoidable loss.
Carroll and Schneider surely have heard the story, but they don’t seem to care about that history, based on the fact that they cut Robert Gallery today as Hutch came to visit.
Sam Farmer of The Los Angeles Times tweeted that “unless somebody blows away the Seahawks’ offer, Steve Hutchinson is going back to Seattle.”
So, it looks like the Hawks want to replace an aging, injury-prone left guard with … an aging, injury-prone left guard.
Hutch played at an All-Pro level his first four seasons in Minnesota but has started just 25 games the last two years, ending each on injured reserve (broken thumb in 2010 and concussion in 2011). So, he made it through about 79 percent of that seven-year, $49 million deal.
At 34, he might have two or three decent years left, and the Seahawks apparently think he is a better option than Gallery, who missed four games last season and will be 32 in July. Hutch also could take over the tutoring of James Carpenter, who is likely to move to left guard.
We’ve already promoted the idea of the Seahawks drafting Stanford right guard David DeCastro in the first round, which they certainly still could do even if they signed Hutch. Could you imagine the Seahawks actually having experienced depth and promising young players on the offensive line? When was the last time that happened? About 10 years ago, when Hutch was coming off his rookie year.
A LITTLE MORE ON THE HUTCH POISON PILL
Tod Leiweke, who was the Seahawks’ CEO when the Hutch fiasco went down in 2006, discussed it in January when he was talking up Ruskell as a candidate to become GM of the Bears.
Leiweke, who fired Ruskell in December 2009 and left the Seahawks seven months later to take over the Tampa Bay Lightning, told the Chicago Tribune: “Never did we think a team would invoke that kind of (poison-pill) offer. To lay that on Tim is just unfair.”
This shows Leiweke’s complete lack of knowledge about the NFL and the way business should be done. Ruskell messed up, plain and simple, by not franchising Hutch, and the Seahawks’ running game paid for it for over five years.
Now, just as the Hawks seem to have rebuilt their rushing game, it looks like Hutch could be coming back. Maybe that will end the Curse of Hutch once and for all.
SO MUCH FOR HENNE
The danger of being the second team on a free agent’s visitation calendar is that he may never leave the first city he visits.
We suspected that would happen with Chad Henne, the former Miami quarterback who signed with Jacksonville with the hope of competing against second-year QB Blaine Gabbert.
That leaves the Seahawks looking at Matt Flynn (assuming he doesn’t sign with Miami before he gets to Seattle) and perhaps hoping Tennessee signs Peyton Manning and frees up Jake Locker (unlikely) or Hasselbeck (pretty likely).
What’s that? You think they wouldn’t consider bringing back Hasselbeck? Maybe not. But, hey, if they are thinking of bringing back Hutch, why wouldn’t they want the quarterback who pulled off one of the great playoff upsets of all time?
ABOUT THAT NFC NORTH THING
At times, it almost seems as though the Seahawks are a member of the NFC North.
It goes back to trading for Holmgren and Hasselbeck from Green Bay (remember, the Hawks gave up a second-round pick to get Holmgren in 1999).
Then came all the Detroit SeaLion connections over the last three years, with half a dozen Seahawks ending up in Detroit via trades and free agency and the Seahawks getting a couple of Lions. The Bears ended up with Seahawk busts Ruskell and Chris Spencer.
And now this Minnesota connection, which really began in 2006, when Hutch and Nate Burleson switched places in Poison Pill Palooza.
OTHER HAWK TALK
**Gallery had the fourth-highest salary ($5 million) on the team (not counting Red Bryant’s deal) and cutting him adds $4.67 million in cap space. That money figures to be shifted to Hutchinson. The Hawks still have at least $23 million (depending on the cap count of Bryant’s deal).
**Aside from Gallery and Hutch, there was some other line shuffling today as the Hawks re-signed Paul McQuistan and lost Mike Gibson to Philadelphia. McQuistan started 10 games at three positions last season as injuries once again ravaged the line. Gibson, a restricted free agent who was not tendered, reportedly signed with Philly. That’s where the Seahawks found him in 2009. He was a fill-in starter in 2009 and 2010 and was re-signed late last season after the injuries hit. The Seahawks also seem to still have an interest in Frank Omiyale, the former Bear (another NFC Norther) who worked out for them recently.
**At least the Seahawks finally refrained from jumping into the incredibly overpriced receiver market. From Vincent Jackson to DeSean Jackson, over the last two days, nine receivers have signed deals reportedly worth up to $406 million — topped by the $132 million deal for Calvin “MegaBucks” Johnson. Since 2006, the Seahawks have signed three receivers to deals worth up to $120 million. Deion Branch and T.J. Houshmandzadeh were busts, and we don’t hold out much hope for Sidney Rice.
**Another quarterback the Hawks might be able to take a look at soon is Jimmy Clausen, who could be let go by Carolina. Plenty of people wanted the Hawks to draft him in 2010, when the Panthers picked him in the second round. With Cam Newton looking like a potential superstar, the Panthers don’t really need Clausen. The Seahawks worked out Clausen for three hours at his Pro Day in April 2010, so they surely have an opinion on him. The Panthers drafted him in the second round (48th), and the Hawks took his Notre Dame battery mate, Golden Tate, 12 picks later.
SEAHAWKS’ FREE AGENTS
Re-signed: RB Marshawn Lynch, DE Red Bryant, LB Heath Farwell, OL Paul McQuistan, K Steven Hauschka (RFA tender)
Cut: CB Marcus Trufant, OG Robert Gallery
Lost: TE John Carlson (Minnesota), OG Mike Gibson (Philadelphia)
Unsigned: LB David Hawthorne, LB Leroy Hill, FB Michael Robinson, RB Justin Forsett, DE Jimmy Wilkerson, S Atari Bigby, QB Charlie Whitehurst, DE Anthony Hargrove, LB Matt McCoy, DE Raheem Brock, LB David Vobora, CB Roy Lewis (untendered RFA)
Outgoing visits: Hawthorne, New Orleans
Two former sports reporters freed from the constraints of traditional print media write about the hot topics on both the Seattle and national sports scene. No deadlines, no word count, no press box decorum — we're Outside The Press Box.