The Seahawks are batting .667 on the Dynasty Discount so far, and they are about to see whether they can get a couple more hits.
Tight end Zach Miller and defensive lineman Michael Bennett gave the Seahawks discounts, choosing the chance to continue winning Super Bowls over the chance to make a few million more.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Golden Tate, who had said he would take “a little less” to return to Seattle, disappointed a lot of fans when he chose not to.
Neither choice is wrong. It’s just a matter of priorities.
The Seahawks have certain numbers in mind for their players, and in order to remain Super competitive they have to stay true to their budget. To do that, as coach Pete Carroll said last year, they “need some cooperation from guys.”
Miller and Bennett cooperated. Now will safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman?
The Seahawks need to get an extension for at least one of the defensive backs before next year, but how much will Seattle want to pay and how much will the All-Pros want?
The market has been set by recent deals, and both players are expected to try to become the highest-paid players at their positions.
But rather than trump the top contracts at their positions, will the defensive backs be willing to give Seattle a little Dynasty Discount, as Bennett did when he took $1 million a year less than Chicago reportedly offered and as Miller did when he cut his salary in half over the next two years?
Does Thomas really need to get a better deal than Jairus Byrd, who reportedly got $9 million a year and $28 million guaranteed from New Orleans?
The franchise number for safeties in 2014 is $8.43 million. The Hawks probably would be OK with the same deal the Saints gave Byrd: $54 million over six years, with $28 million guaranteed. But if Thomas demands $10 million a year and $30 million guaranteed, the Hawks might just wait until next year and use the franchise tag on him – assuming they can get a deal with Sherman.
Of course, that might not be easy either. The cornerback probably will want to trump the deals of Aqib Talib and Darrelle Revis, aiming for at least $12 million a year and $30 million guaranteed.
If Thomas and Sherman each give up about $1 million a year off those high numbers, the Hawks could afford to pay four young players.
When Bennett was weighing the Seahawks’ offer of $28.5 million over four years against the Bears’ $8.5 million a year, Sherman kept bugging him to come back to Seattle.
“Richard Sherman is one of the main reasons why I came back,” Bennett told reporters after re-signing. “He was on me the whole time and just told me he really wanted me to come back and how much I meant to the defense.”
Bennett returned on a Dynasty Discount. Will Sherman follow his own advice and do the same? And will Thomas cut the Hawks a little slack, too?
Those are the next big questions as Seattle tries to position itself to remain an NFL power beyond 2014.
MORE HAWK TALK
**K Steven Hauschka did not give the Hawks a Dynasty Discount, but that is probably more on the team than on him. With most teams already settled at kicker, Hauschka had few choices, and the Hawks probably could have re-signed him for $2 million per year. But they rewarded him for a career year by giving him $8.55 million over three years instead. According to OverTheCap.com, he got $2.475 million to sign, with salaries of $875,000, $2 million (plus a $500,000 roster bonus) and $2.7 million. Seattle is paying him $3.35 million this year, with a $1.7 million cap hit.
**The Hawks have been actively pursuing defensive linemen and wide receivers, looking to fill openings left by the releases of ends Red Bryant and Chris Clemons and receiver Sidney Rice, plus the departure of Tate. They reportedly checked into receivers Steve Smith (signed with Baltimore) and James Jones (signed with Oakland) and are interested in troubled WR Kenny Britt. On the D-line, they have shown interest in at least five players, with Henry Melton, Jared Allen and Will Smith still in their sites. They reportedly have fallen back in the Melton bidding.
**Allen is looking for big money, but the Hawks surely are not going to pay anyone more than they paid Bennett, especially when he took less to stay. Allen’s best contract offer from Seattle figures to be for about $16 million for two years (what Bennett will receive in the first two years of his deal).
**After all of the moves of the past week, the Hawks are still in position to replace two or three of the nine players they have lost/let go while also doing extensions for Thomas, Sherman, OT Russell Okung, LB K.J. Wright, WR Doug Baldwin and DE Cliff Avril. They are still on pace to remain Super Bowl competitive through at least 2016.