The Seattle Seahawks have some big decisions to make in the coming weeks as free agency looms. With quite a few of their starters eligible for free agency, including star running back Marshawn Lynch, the team will have to be savvy with their spending if they hope to keep their roster intact. While just about everyone expects the team to re-sign Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant, linebackers David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill have less certain futures.
ESPN 710 Seattle has the latest update:
During a conversation with Brock Huard and Chris Egan on Thursday, Danny O'Neil of The Seattle Times expressed some uncertainty about the team re-signing Hill and Hawthorne. He noted that the current administration has yet to make a major financial commitment to a linebacker and cited Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry as examples of high-priced players that general manager John Schneider has jettisoned.
"We've seen him get rid of guys that this team has made big financial investments to," O'Neil said. "We haven't seen, is he someone that thinks that a linebacker (is a player) that you replenish through the draft? Does he believe in having veterans come back?"
Hill cited his familiarity with the organization as the reason he returned to the Seahawks last season on a one-year deal paying him the veteran minimum of $685,000. He should be in line for a nice raise following a strong season. Hill, 29, made 89 tackles and had four sacks while playing in all 16 games for the first time in his seven-year career.
Hawthorne, 26, made 115 tackles to lead the team for the third straight season. He had three interceptions, including one he returned 77 yards for a touchdown. A knee injury caused him to miss Week 1 and limited his mobility throughout the season. Hawthorne made a base salary of $900,000 as part of a one-year extension he signed in November of 2010.
There are some with the belief that rookie K.J. Wright had a strong enough rookie season to allow the franchise to become comfortable with letting Hawthorne go to a different team. Head coach Pete Carroll has also praised Wright's versatility, saying he could fill in for either player should they go elsewhere.
The uncertainty should be at least somewhat concerning to Seahawks fans. After they saw the unit rank in the top-10 in scoring defense and yards allowed, it is an unsettling thought to see two of their talented linebackers leave in 2012.
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