By Brady Henderson

Who is your favorite wrestler of all time?

That questioned spawned the latest incarnation of our annual March Madness parody. After ranking Seattle sports-media members and local restaurant dishes in previous years, the bracket has given way to Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and the other characters of pro wrestling.

After a weekend retreat, the selection committee pared the field down to 64, and you can cast your votes here.


By Danny O'Neil

Wondering what's taking Jared Allen so long to decide on accepting the Seahawks offer?

allen story
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he didn't have much to comment on Monday regarding free agent DL Jared Allen, who still has an offer on the table from Seattle. (AP)

Because coach Pete Carroll isn't. At least not judging by Monday's interview with Pat Kirwan on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

"We don't have any date," Carroll said. "This is something we've talked about, and it's a big business decision for him and really not much to comment about it right now."

Well, so let's read between the lines then because it's not just what Carroll said, but what it means that is worth breaking down after Monday's interview from the owners' meeting down in Florida.

What Carroll said: "We're very restricted in what we can do, you know? We have a lot of work to get done here on our roster and a lot of guys we've got to work with and we're excited about extending and stuff like this."

What Carroll meant: We're not in position to offer the dollar amount that Allen wanted. We just can't. Not with cornerback Richard Sherman now eligible for an extension, safety Earl Thomas with one season left on his deal and a new deal for Russell Wilson looming on the horizon.

What Carroll said: "So we have a lot of concerns, and not everything is real easy. Can't move as swiftly as anyone would like."

What Carroll meant: It isn't a matter of the Seahawks closing the deal nearly so much as Allen deciding whether he wants this opportunity. Because we're not in a position to keep sweetening the pot.

Allen has had 10 or more sacks in each of the past seven seasons, the last six of which he played in Minnesota. He visited Seattle twice in the span of a week, but as of Monday there was no word on any decision he had made as a free agent.

With 128.5 sacks during his 10-year career, Jared Allen is one of the premier pass rushers of his generation. (AP)

By Danny O'Neil

The Seahawks can't afford to keep everyone.

That became obvious as Seattle has already had seven of its unrestricted free agents sign elsewhere this month.

You never know what you're going to be able to buy, either, and for the second consecutive year, the Seahawks just may have waited out the market and come away with a premier pass rusher that most people expected would be too expensive.

In 2013, it was Cliff Avril and then Michael Bennett. In 2014? It could be Jared Allen, who is reportedly mulling a contract offer from the Seahawks after visiting with the team for a second time Thursday.

How big of a deal is this?

Well, depends on what you mean by that. The actual size of the contract offer has yet to be seen, and any calibration of just how good of an acquisition this would be depends on how much Seattle is potentially committed to paying Allen.

But strategically, the acquisition of Allen would be huge because it means the Seahawks aren't looking to withstand the departure of four-year starter Chris Clemons, they're looking to upgrade.

Allen is certainly that. Clemons exceeded 10 sacks in each of his first three seasons in Seattle; Allen has accomplished that in each of the past seven seasons. Clemons is older, too.

But after deciding Clemons' contract was prohibitively high to retain him, the Seahawks didn't plunge into the free-agent pool to come out with a pass rusher so much as they waded in. Deliberately. Patiently.

Signing Jared Allen would follow a pattern for the Seahawks, who took a patient approach last offseason before adding Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. (AP)
This wasn't a free-agent power play in which the Seahawks grabbed a couple fists full of dollars and set out to get their man. Not like Tampa Bay pursued defensive end Michael Johnson from Cincinnati. Or even the way Denver acquired DeMarcus Ware soon after he was released by Dallas.

Seattle wasn't quite that aggressive as the big money was getting spent first by the Bucs, then the Broncos and finally the Packers bringing in Julius Peppers on a three-year, $27 million deal.

Allen's contract likely wouldn't average that much. But Seattle's offer included something else: An opportunity to play for a team that has allowed the fewest points in the league in two successive seasons and is coming off a Super Bowl victory.

That buys more than just credibility in the eyes of a player. It's part of the entire package that a team can offer, and while free-agent negotiations are often distilled down into dollars and years, there can be more to it than just that even for a veteran like Allen.

No, especially for a veteran like Allen. He's already collected the biggest check he'll receive in his career, just having completed a six-year, $72 million contract he signed with the Vikings in 2008.

That's not to say money no longer matters. Certainly it does, but after the top-shelf deals came and went for Johnson and then Ware and then Peppers, Allen was left to look at what was left.

The fact that he may pick Seattle speaks to just how attractive the Seahawks can be. They may not be able to offer the most money. Not with a payroll that must be tailored with an eye toward the future big-bucks contract offers for guys like Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson, but the Seahawks can offer both their status as the reigning champs and a home-field advantage tailor-made for a pass-rusher like Allen.

No, Seattle won't be able to afford to keep everyone, but for the second straight year, the Seahawks might pull off a surprise in terms of what they can buy on the free-agent market.

The $67 million contract Seattle gave to receiver Percy Harvin last offseason is the largest in franchise history. (AP)

By Danny O'Neil

Golden Tate never mentioned Percy Harvin by name.

Let's make that clear. But it wasn't hard to determine who Tate was referring to as he expressed his unhappiness over the size of Seattle's contract offer during an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz."

"The organization is offering guys from other places two times what they even – almost three times what they offered me," Tate said Tuesday. "And I was like, 'Are you serious?' "

Hmmm, who could that be considering Harvin signed a six-year, $67 million contract after being acquired from Minnesota a year ago? Turns out the shadow cast by that deal might be the most significant detail to emerge from this week's discussion of Tate's departure since the rest of that story really isn't all that complicated.

It isn't surprising that a team like Detroit would make an offer like it did to Tate. The Lions have cast their lot with quarterback Matthew Stafford, they have the game's top wide receiver in Calvin Johnson and Tate provides a playmaking counterpunch that will make opponents pay for paying too much attention.

And it's not shocking that the Seahawks would decide they couldn't offer as much to Tate in this salary-capped league. After all, Seattle will have to sign its All-Pro safety, Earl Thomas, within the next 12 months. And its All-Pro cornerback, Richard Sherman. And quarterback Russell Wilson is now halfway through his rookie deal.

But when Tate mentioned a contract Seattle offered a player from outside the team on his way to Detroit, he pointed to something that could constitute the elephant in the room for future negotiations, too.

The deal Seattle signed Harvin to a year ago is going to make it more difficult for the Seahawks to sell their players on re-signing for less than other teams offer. Not impossible, but more difficult.

Because if Seattle was like the Steelers and the Packers (usually), two franchises known for being composed predominantly of players they drafted, then it would be easier to sell players on the idea of taking a little less so everyone could stick together.

ap ecf92df20423450a4e0f6a7067009c28
Golden Tate referenced Percy Harvin's deal while bemoaning the "laughable" offer he received from the Seahawks. (AP)
After all, look at all the talent Seattle has drafted on both sides of the ball. It's not just Wilson, Thomas and Sherman. It's strong safety Kam Chancellor. And linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. A cornerback like Byron Maxwell and yes, a receiver like Tate.

And it's natural for fans to wonder whether part of Seattle's sales pitch in negotiating players to re-sign is that everyone has to take a little less than they want if the Seahawks are going to retain this core of players it has first drafted, then developed.

But in that case, how does Seattle explain Harvin's deal? He didn't take less to come to the Seahawks. He got a contract that was a notch below the two industry leaders at his position, Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald and Tate's new teammate Johnson, but it's right at the top of the next tier.

Ultimately, the Seahawks valued Harvin more than they did Tate. A lot more. Only time will tell over the next few years whether Seattle's calibration between the two was correct, but the fact that Tate referenced Harvin upon his exit demonstrates that Harvin's contract was a benchmark he looked to, not believing he deserved that same deal but wondering why the offer the Seahawks gave him was so small in comparison.

The Seahawks acquired Harvin in 2013 because they believed he was among the 10 or so most explosive offensive players in the league, quarterbacks excluded. The contract Seattle signed him to reflected how highly the Seahawks regarded him, and for better or worse, that contract is going to be a landmark that some players look to when deciding whether to re-sign with Seattle.

Tate made that clear this week even if he never mentioned Harvin by name.

John Moffitt's weekend arrest has been national news because of his decision to retire midseason at age 27. (AP)

By Danny O'Neil

What happens after football?

It's a question every NFL player will be forced to answer at some point, and a question John Moffitt chose to answer when he left the Broncos in the middle of last season.

The fact that he quit football – and not the other way around – makes him unique. That's why The New York times wrote about him as did ESPN The Magazine, making him more renowned for his decision to leave football than he ever was by playing it.

And now that decision to walk away from the game is the reason that his arrest over the weekend in Chicago was national news. This wasn't just another 20-something in trouble in the early hours of the morning with an ill-advised punch and a copious amount of illegal drugs. This was a player who said he walked away from football in part because of concerns over his health caught with a whole bunch of drugs that doctors don't recommend nor do they prescribe.

So he's a punchline, which is understandable.

If he was a player, he would have to worry about the possibility of another suspension. As a person, it's impossible not to wonder about where Moffitt is headed when you look at his mug shot – which includes a welt on his lower lip, bleary eyes and what can only be described as a wince – and not worry at least a little bit for his future.

That's not to overly dramatize the situation or make his arrest into some sort of moral failing. This is about decisions and direction, and wondering just what Moffitt is planning to do after an unexpectedly short football career.

He is an adult, after all. He's not a high-school kid who didn't know any better or a college kid who is experimenting. He is 27, has made a six-figure salary over the past three years and now has lots and lots of time on his hands.

What's he going to do with that time? That's the real question here, one that only Moffitt can answer.

Police reportedly found cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana on John Moffitt when he was arrested on battery and drug possession charges after an incident at a Chicago nightclub. (Chicago Police)
He left the NFL not because he didn't love football, but because he felt burdened by the sport. He didn't like what he was doing, the practicing nor the playing. He didn't like how the practicing and the playing made him feel. He was a third-round pick in 2011 who saw his rookie year ended by a knee injury, and that knee continued to be a problem to the point the Browns said he failed his physical examination because of it.

He was subsequently dealt to the Broncos, becoming the only player to suit up for both of the Super Bowl teams. But he didn't play in the Super Bowl, having walked away from the sport after the Broncos' bye.

Professional football didn't make him happy. So what will? Professionally partying? That seems like a rather shallow – not to mention potentially illegal – path. His Twitter account offers the self-description of "active happiness pursuer."

He's charismatic and engaging, someone with personality and an enthusiastic approach to life, a great wit and an unorthodox way of looking at things. He was always one of my favorite players to talk to when he was with the Seahawks because he was so unique.

He certainly has the personality to perform, whether that's in the media or on stage. I'd buy a ticket to listen to him tell stories about football, whether it's coaches or teammates.

But the post-career transition that Moffitt must now make has tripped up so many players across so many sports.

For all the wealth in sports today, the athletes have an incredibly short window in which to earn that money. Not only that, but they're earning much of it in their 20s, which is not an age bracket that tends to make the best long-range financial decisions. Then they have the whole rest of their lives to worry about. For some that means finding a new profession. For every one of them it means a new way of finding fulfillment and feeling satisfied.

It's a decision that most athletes put off as long as possible, staying in the game until they can't anymore. Last year, Moffitt chose to make this transition.

Now, we'll see if he makes the most of it or makes a mess. I sure hope it's not the latter.

By Danny O'Neil

Seahawks tight end Zach Miller isn't going anywhere this year.

Next year, either, after he agreed to restructure his contract, which has two seasons remaining on it.

Seahawks free-agency tracker
Keep track of the players Seattle has re-signed, added, lost to other teams and released during free agency here.
Miller won't get as much money as his original deal called for, but he will not only stay with the Seahawks but the expectation is that he'll be back in 2015, too.

It's great news for the Seahawks as not only is Miller a starter, but tight end is one of the barest spots on the roster with Luke Wilson and Anthony McCoy – who did not play in 2013 because of an Achilles injury – below Miller on the depth chart.

Miller was on the field for 58 of Seattle's 60 offensive plays in the Super Bowl, and is one of the league's best blocking tight ends.

Miller signed with the Seahawks in 2011 from Oakland, and he has two years remaining on his deal. His initial deal called for him to make $6 million in 2014 and he would have counted more than $7 million against the salary cap. Miller's 2014 compensation will go down to $3 million with incentives making it possible to earn as much as $4 million.

The Broncos' free-agent spending spree is a reflection of their urgency to win given Peyton Manning's age. (AP)

By Danny O'Neil

Thirty-five points. That was the gap between the Seahawks and Broncos back on Feb. 2 in the Super Bowl.

Thirty-five million. That's the gap between those two teams when it comes to free-agent additions in the first week of free agency, the Broncos taking a two-fisted approach to spending on other team's players while the Seahawks' only moves of any significance have been to re-sign a pair of their own players.

That spending gap says everything you need to know about how far apart last season's Super Bowl teams are in the life cycle of an NFL contender. The Seahawks are still a young team, one that is early in its window as a contender and looking to sustain the success. The Broncos are only hoping to win now.

There's no other way to explain the spending spree Denver just went on, handing out at least $35 million in signing bonuses and first-year salaries to a trio of defensive players who will undoubtedly be short-term upgrades at a long-term cost.

Not that the players Denver signed aren't any good. Aqib Talib is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL though he has never played a full 16 games in any season, DeMarcus Ware remains a premier pass rusher even after Dallas released him while safety T.J. Ward is one of the league's top designated hitters.

This will help Denver's defense. It will also mortgage their spending room for the future, and puts a lot of faith that these three players – all of whom are at least 27 – will not tail off.

Seahawks free-agency tracker
Keep track of the players Seattle has re-signed, added, lost to other teams and released during free agency here.
Not that Denver should be blamed for a sense of urgency that is bordering on desperation. Quarterback Peyton Manning doesn't have a long-term future, not with his neck. He has said himself he considers it a year-to-year deal, and the Broncos' window of contention right now doesn't extend beyond Manning's tenure with the team. Well, not unless you think Brock Osweiler is a suitable heir or believe John Elway will be able to recruit another Hall of Fame quarterback to Mile High.

Seattle is thinking down the road, which is the reason the Seahawks have been on defense since free agency began. They want to retain as many players as they could – an impossible task given the fact that even the Seahawks' backups were coveted elsewhere – while maintaining the long-term salary-cap space Seattle will need to re-sign Pro Bowlers like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson.

So while the Broncos spent the first days of free agency trying to buy that player or three that will put them over the top, the Seahawks are looking at the best way to stay up there. It's a long-term vision that Denver doesn't have the luxury of right now.

Defensive tackle Henry Melton had 13 sacks from 2011-2012 but missed most of last season with a knee injury. (AP)

By Danny O'Neil

For nearly a week now, Seattle has paid the price for its success.

That cost is calculated not only in the departures of receiver Golden Tate and right tackle Breno Giacomini – who cashed in elsewhere as free agents – but the money it took to retain Michael Bennett and to a lesser extent Tony McDaniel.

Success doesn't breed contempt in the free-agent era of the NFL. It breeds competition in the market place, and those players who've proven they can play a role on a championship team tend to command a premium in the open market.

But while Seattle spent the first few days of free agency paying that Super Bowl premium, the Seahawks may be about to get the advantage that comes from their position in the league's pecking order. And yes, there are benefits beyond what gets display in a trophy case.

That benefit is the reason why Seattle has a chance of landing defensive tackle Henry Melton of the Bears or Vance Walker of the Raiders.

The big-budget deals have been handed out across the league, and neither Melton nor Walker were part of that first-wave of signings. That means their price wasn't met, their best-case scenario failing to come through. They're still standing in the NFL's game of musical chairs, looking for the best spot to settle down.

This is where Seattle starts to look pretty enticing. Some of that is the Seahawks' success, having won more than 10 games in back-to-back seasons. Even more may be the fact that Seattle just won a Super Bowl. And then there's the fact that a defensive lineman need look no further than Bennett to see just what a season in Seattle can do to kickstart earning potential.

Bennett signed a $4.8 million contract in 2013, certainly less than he hoped for coming off a season in which he had nine sacks for Tampa Bay. But when that big-money offer never materialized, he went to Seattle, where he knew defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and where he knew the home-field advantage was truly that for a pass rusher. All Bennett did last season was lead Seattle in sacks, earning an invitation back to Seattle with a four-year deal that is certain to pay him $16 million and could top out at more $28 million.

Could Melton follow a similar approach? He was tagged as the Bears' franchise player a year ago, a relentless active defensive tackle with great speed. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game, which has undoubtedly chilled his earning potential on the free-agent market this year.

Seahawks free-agency tracker
Keep track of the players Seattle has re-signed, added, lost to other teams and released during free agency here.
Melton still has options. It's just those options aren't as lucrative as he first hoped, a fact that plays to Seattle's advantage. The Seahawks can't afford to pay another defensive lineman as much as they signed Bennett for. Not with Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas eligible for extensions and a new deal for Russell Wilson looming on the horizon.

What Seattle can offer is a tremendous opportunity to be part of a defense that allowed the fewest points in the NFL and whose crowd offers perhaps the best home-field advantage in the league. A year ago, that sales pitch was enough to lure first Cliff Avril and then Bennett to Seattle. Neither one of those players got the long-term offers they hoped for in free agency. Both opted instead for short-term deals on a contending team in a venue that would give them the best case to showcase themselves.

So while success may cost you in the NFL, it can also pay dividends. The Seahawks certainly hope it does again.

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Brock Huard

Brock Huard has co-hosted the show since 2009. After earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors at Puyallup High School, Brock went on to a record-setting career at Washington and then spent six years in the NFL, including four with the Seahawks. Brock also works for ESPN as a college football analyst in the booth and the studio. He makes his home on the Eastside with his wife Molly and their three young children.

Danny O'Neil

Danny O'Neil, the new co-host of "Brock and Danny", is the son of a logger, a graduate of the University of Washington and has been a working journalist in Seattle since 1999, first at newspapers and since 2012 at 710 ESPN Seattle. He is married to Sharon Pian Chan, associate opinions editor at The Seattle Times. They live on Capitol Hill with their wrinkled, smelly dog.

Tom Wassell

Tom Wassell has produced the show since 2011 and also co-hosts "Seattle Sports at Night" with Colin Paisley and Matt Pitman. A native of Connecticut, Tom came to 710 ESPN Seattle after working at ESPN Radio's headquarters in Bristol, Conn. for five years. Tom studied communications at Indiana University, is color-blind and has a weak sense of smell.
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