The Brock and Danny Show on 710 ESPN Seattle
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 @ 9:55pm
By Danny O'Neil
Free-agent departures are the price of success in the NFL, a league where imitation isn't as high a form of flattery as acquisition.
So it wasn't a surprise that Seattle had two players from its Super Bowl roster poached within the first hour that NFL free agents could be signed. The surprise is who those players were: defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and linebacker O'Brien Schofield.
O'Brien Schofield received a two-year, $8 million deal from the Giants after playing sparingly for Seattle in 2013. (AP)
See, both were backups for the Seahawks. In fact, Schofield was inactive for one of Seattle's three playoff games, yet no sooner had the free-agency carousel begun to spin than they were signed to multi-year commitments elsewhere in the conference.
The second tier of Seattle's roster constituted an upgrade for the Buccaneers, who signed McDonald to a three-year deal worth $12 million, as well as the Giants, who signed Schofield to a two-year deal that could net him $8 million.
It wasn't all that long ago that Seattle was sifting through the rest of the league's recycling bin looking for hand-me-downs. Less than four years, in fact, since Seattle added seven players in the week between the final roster cuts and the first game of 2010.
Four seasons later, not only do the Seahawks have a Super Bowl trophy, but they have teams coveting players who are on the second rung of Seattle's depth chart – or in Schofield's case, the third.
That's not to diminish the ability of either player. McDonald may have been the single biggest surprise of the 2013 season, a player the Seahawks released before Week 1 because they weren't going to pay him $1.3 million only to have him come back and become a staple of the nickel pass-rush package.
He had 5.5 sacks in the regular season, equaling the total of Lions All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. McDonald started the Super Bowl, but he was also the No. 2 nose tackle for a team on which Brandon Mebane had one of his best seasons. Seattle has high hopes for Jordan Hill, a 2013 third-round pick who has three years left on his rookie contract.
Schofield was only with Seattle for a season, a player acquired in training camp with an eye toward filling in during the first four games while Bruce Irvin was suspended. He was better than serviceable, a special-teams staple and a capable pass rusher. But with Michael Bennett back, Schofield was a reserve.
Now, he's a Giant.
The Seahawks aren't better off for losing either player. It cost them depth. But their departures are also a sign of just how much better this roster is than four years ago when the Seahawks were the NFL equivalent of dumpster diving in search of their next meal.
Now, other teams are trying to cook something up with Seattle's leftovers.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 @ 8:46am
By Danny O'Neil
Seattle's defense of the Super Bowl it won just last month began with just that: Defense.
Namely, the Seahawks fending off the other suitors for defensive lineman Michael Bennett so effectively that they signed him more than 24 hours before he was able to be inked elsewhere.
Only time will tell whether the four-year contract pays off for Seattle, which makes it impossible to pass judgment on the prudence of this move. On the other hand, it makes it very clear that experience counts for something in the Seahawks' vision of their future. So does effort. And more than anything, Seattle isn't going to be afraid to pony up at the bargaining table when it comes to retaining its most productive parts.
That last fact – Seattle's willingness to cut a check – might turn out to be the most important thing not only in terms of this team's direction but because the deal will offer an eight-digit example to players on Seattle's roster that they don't have to leave to find greener pastures.
A year ago, Bennett was a bargain buy after hitting the free-agent market with one big season under his belt and a bad shoulder. Throw in a salary cap that stayed stagnant and his dive into the open market felt more like one of those polar-bear plunges performed annually by people who have more time on their hands than sense in their heads. Brrr. It was cold out there, and while signing a one-year contract for about $5 million as Bennett did a year ago hardly qualifies as blue-collar work, it was nowhere near the going rate for a defensive lineman who had more than eight sacks for a second consecutive season in 2013.
And if Seattle had bid Bennett farewell instead of outbidding other teams, that would have been perfectly defensible. After all, the Seahawks still have to think about how they're going to pay Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson, so if Seattle had instead looked to find the next short-term fix who would provide a quick return, well, it would have been certainly more affordable.
After all, there are tough decisions that must be made in a salary-capped league like the NFL. The Seahawks showed that a little more than a week ago when they released Red Bryant, who was only a captain on a defense that allowed the fewest points in the league for a second consecutive season.
Like Bryant, Bennett was part of a defensive-line rotation in Seattle. And Bryant was scheduled to count about the same against the salary cap that Bennett will end up averaging.
The fact that Bennett will be on the Seahawks instead of Bryant isn't just a statement on how much the Seahawks value Bennett and his pass-rushing ability, but how much they're willing to pay to retain players they identify as key cogs.
That's important because we're getting to that point in Seattle's life cycle as a contender that players are going to start looking for the pay day. That's not a criticism, but a reality. And if Bennett had been allowed to leave as a free agent the year after leading Seattle in sacks, well, there would have been some who wondered if that was going to be the way to get paid a market-rate contract given the future costs of not only players like Wilson, Sherman and Thomas, but the deal for Percy Harvin that will occupy a healthy chunk of Seattle's salary cap beginning this year.
Instead, Seattle came forth with an offer that kept Bennett from reaching a window in which he could sign elsewhere. There's going to be a fair amount of time spent this week wondering if Bennett could have gotten more elsewhere and the financial specifics, but for now, it's enough to know that Seattle came out firing in defense of that Super Bowl it one, the contract offer of sufficient caliber to keep one of the key contributors on that defense that was the bedrock for that title run.
Sunday, March 9, 2014 @ 3:06pm
Even with the Mariners' opening day just a little over two weeks away, the worries about their lineup persist.
Corey Hart signed a one-year deal with the M's after missing all of 2013. (AP)
The free-agent signing of left-handed Robinson Cano was the splashy addition to Seattle's offense, but the team wasn't able to really address the lack of punch from the right side except for the signing of 6-foot-6 outfielder/first baseman Corey Hart. As a result, the Mariners have been rumored for months to be in the market to acquire another big bat, though nothing has materialized.
With time running out before the regular season, it appears Hart is going to be relied upon more than originally expected to help Cano bring life back to the Mariners' lineup. But the former Milwaukee Brewer and two-time All-Star has a number of question marks surrounding him, especially since the soon-to-be 32-year-old missed the entire 2013 season following knee surgery.
ESPN senior baseball writer Tim Kurkjian joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Danny" Friday, and he addressed the expectations for Hart if the Mariners don't add another hitter before opening day.
"Well, he's crucial," Kurkjian said. "You talk about the right-handed hitter that they had to add. (If) they don't, then he is that right-handed hitter, and I'm not sure he's up to being the lone, main protection for Robinson Cano."
In his prime, Hart may have been up to the task. In 2010 he set career highs with 31 home runs and 102 RBIs, along with a .283 batting average and .865 OPS. The Mariners would be extremely lucky to get that kind of production out of a player coming off a significant injury that they signed to a discount one-year contract for $6 million, though.
"It's a tricky spot for Corey Hart -- pressure on him, hasn't played in a year and a half," Kurkjian said. "(It's) not an easy game to catch up to when you've been away that that long."
The good news is Hart has looked healthy in spring training, and a healthy Hart can produce at the plate. Whether he can produce enough to turn the Mariners' into a formidable offense still seems like a long-shot to Kurkjian, however.
"He's a great athlete and I'm convinced he's healthy, and when he's healthy he's a mid-20s-homer guy who can do some damage," Kurkjian said. "I think he'll hit 20 homers, I just don't think he's gonna be the guy that people look at and say, 'Oh, we can pitch to Cano because Corey Hart's up next.' "
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 @ 10:11pm
By Brady Henderson
After the Seahawks cleared nearly $13 million in salary-cap space last week by releasing defensive end Red Bryant and wide receiver Sidney Rice, the attention has turned to another high-cost player who could be on the chopping block.
Zach Miller is scheduled to count $7 million against the salary cap in 2014, and while none of the other tight ends Seattle has under contract for next season have experience as a full-time starter, Bryant's release showed the Seahawks' willingness to part ways with a player despite not having a clear heir apparent.
Miller's uncertain future in Seattle was among the topics during the latest edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil. The full transcript can be found here. Highlights are below.
Brad H asked where Miller and the Seahawks stand.
O'Neil: We don't know anything about the specifics of any discussions with Zach Miller. At least I don't. Being fully transparent: The Seahawks are very tight-lipped about players' status. It's out of respect. And especially following the Super Bowl, there is an intense focus on communicating directly to the player and his camp and no one else. I have not heard anything from Zach Miller or his agent to make me think he has been asked to take a pay cut. Most of the discussion is based on the speculation that because he had the highest salary-cap cost on the team a year ago (more than $11 million) and he is scheduled to count $7 million against it this season, the team is going to revisit that. Fiscally, it makes sense. Zach Miller came here as one of the top three receiving tight ends in the league and as valuable as he has been as a blocker, he hasn't been anywhere near the pass catcher.
TrickyNicky asked whether the Seahawks would be more inclined to find a tight end in the draft or free agency if they release Miller.
O'Neil: Both. I think they'll seek out alternatives, and if Zach Miller is gone, well, then Jermichael Finley certainly could be in play, but that's speculation on my part.
BlatantChipmunk asked if the Seahawks could re-sign Rice and/or Bryant at more team-friendly deals or if those bridges were burned by their releases.
O'Neil: I don't think it's a matter of bridges being burned so much as where those players would fit. Sidney Rice might ever be offered anything more than the vet minimum by the Seahawks. Ditto for Red Bryant when you consider the team is taking on $3 million of dead money by releasing him. I think both can get more than that on the market.
Brad H asked whether Greg Scruggs could be an option to replace Bryant, noting that the former had a strong rookie season in 2012 and has reportedly bulked up to over 300 pounds after missing last season while recovering from a torn ACL.
O'Neil: He's got a chance, but the one thing you've got to see with these Seahawks, is they don't fear the possibility of not having a clear successor. Otherwise, Red Bryant would still be on this team. You can hope Greg Scruggs fills that role. You may even believe he can. But no one can expect him to do that. Not as a seventh-round pick who has yet to start a game let alone a seventh-round pick coming off a year he missed for knee surgery.
TrickyNicky asked if the 6-foot-1 Jermaine Kearse could replace the 6-4 Rice as Seattle's big-bodied receiver.
O'Neil: He's not as tall as Sidney Rice nor as good with the jump ball, but he's got an ability to battle in traffic, and to answer your question, he's going to be a big target going forward.
Gaeleck Eylander asked if the Seahawks might extend linebacker K.J. Wright's contract, noting all the money Seattle either has committed or is expected to commit to its defensive line and secondary.
O'Neil: The salary structure at linebacker is a total freaking mystery to me. On the one hand, general manager John Schneider was in Green Bay when the Packers chose A.J. Hawk No. 5 overall and re-signed Nick Barnett back when he was a beast of a middle linebacker. On the other hand, in Seattle we have seen him cut Lofa Tatupu, trade Aaron Curry and let David Hawthorne walk in free agency, replacing them with a litany of draft picks – only one of whom was drafted in the first half of the draft. Well, two linebackers in the first half if you include Bruce Irvin, but he was drafted to be a pass rusher. I honestly don't have a great feel on whether the Seahawks are going to sign these linebackers to second contracts or try to replace through the draft.
DB asked if the Seahawks will bring back backup nose tackle Clinton McDonald, who was third on the team in sacks last season with 5.5.
O'Neil: Interesting question. They obviously didn't value him too highly at the beginning of the year when they released him for what amounted to be about $500,000. But he was one of the team's top pass rushers. Not sure if that changes his value in the eyes of the team.
A reader posing as Steven Hauschka asked whether the Seahawks' kicker will be back in 2014.
O'Neil: Well, depends if another team offers significant years or dollars. The fact Seattle didn't use the franchise tag would mean the Seahawks are looking to spend less than $3 million.
Friday, February 28, 2014 @ 8:34am
By Danny O'Neil
A Super Bowl team generally spends the offseason trying to avoid subtractions.
The difference in Seattle is the Seahawks appear poised to make them.
Receiver Sidney Rice and defensive end Red Bryant have been released while speculation continues regarding defensive end Chris Clemons and tight end Zach Miller.
The possibility that a championship team would lose key contributors is not in itself all that surprising. A year ago, the Ravens had to deal with the departures of defensive starters Ed Reed, Paul Kruger and Danell Ellerbe not to mention the retirement of Ray Lewis.
The fact Seattle's first personnel losses may be self-inflicted is a fact both a bit startling and instructive about the Seahawks' approach to their roster.
In the NFL, teams spend years trying to configure a championship roster, whether it's searching for a franchise quarterback or outfitting that franchise quarterback with sufficient offensive firepower or building a defense that is capable of wading hip deep into the playoffs. Once a team manages to find that championship concoction it does everything it can to hang on to as many core members of the group for as long as possible.
This is the "Window of Opportunity" approach, which can be boiled down to the belief that a specific nucleus of players – the quarterback being the most important component – constitutes the bedrock for a championship team. The DNA, so to speak. And once you find that specific nucleus, you hold on to as many members of it for as long as possible in an effort to win as many games and titles as possible while that nucleus is intact.
If this was the approach Seattle was taking, then Bryant wouldn't be going anywhere. He's a leader on this team, someone who has started all but one game for the Seahawks over the previous three seasons and played well in 2013 as a captain on a defense that allowed the fewest points in the league for the second consecutive year.
But Bryant is also an early-down run-stuffer on a defensive line that features frequent rotations, and his current contract would count $8.5 million against the cap. Seattle could afford a higher price the past two seasons when so much of its nucleus was on the more affordable rookie contracts. It's a little more difficult to digest that cost if Seattle wants to re-sign defensive lineman Michael Bennett – a free agent – or extend the contracts of All-Pro defensive backs Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.
As is the case with Red Bryant at defensive end, Seattle doesn't have an heir apparent at tight end should the team release starter Zach Miller in a cost-saving move. (AP)
There's no heir apparent on hand for Bryant. Jesse Williams is a big-bodied defensive lineman, but he has yet to play a down in the NFL after being drafted by Seattle a year ago, and there's no guarantee he'll be back. Greg Scruggs was emerging at the end of his rookie season in 2012, and he's currently up to 310 pounds, but he's also coming back from a torn knee ligament that kept him out all of last season.
Seattle doesn't have any ready alternatives at tight end, either. Miller has started for three years and was the team's top paid player in 2013. He was on the field for 58 of the team's 60 offensive snaps in the Super Bowl, the leading man at one of the barest positions on Seattle's roster. Luke Willson was one of Seattle's most productive rookies last season, but as effective a receiving threat as he may be, he's not anywhere close to the blocker Miller is, and may never be. Anthony McCoy is a free agent, coming off a torn Achilles, but even when healthy, he was inconsistent during his first three seasons as a Seahawk.
So what's a championship team to do? Couldn't blame it for holding on for dear life to veteran leaders like Bryant and Miller especially given the lack of depth at those positions. And maybe that's what Seattle will do, trying to extend the window of opportunity by preserving players who have constituted the core of its rise to the top of the league.
Or maybe Seattle will look at its team – and more specifically its payroll – with an eye toward the future as opposed to strictly preserving what it can from its nucleus.
Subtraction is a part of life in the NFL, especially for successful teams. The difference in Seattle's case, the Seahawks appear to be inflicting some of those losses upon themselves in the expectation it will help down the road.
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 9:33am
By Danny O'Neil
Rosetta Stone doesn't teach NFL free agency, which is unfortunate.
It's a language unto itself with its own vocabulary of terms like dead money and proration, which distill down what is some pretty darn complicated financial realities for NFL teams under the league's salary cap.
And if you find yourself wondering just what it means to take a cap hit, well, it has nothing to do with headwear and you're advised to keep reading for your beginner's glossary to both free agency and salary-cap accounting.
Salary cap: It has been around 20 years in the NFL, and it is an annual limit on how much a team is allowed to spend on its roster. Last year, the salary cap was at just over $123 million. The cap for 2014 has not been announced, but it's project to be more than $132 million, a significant increase.
Cap cost: This is how much a player counts against a team's salary cap in a given year. This is not the same as a player's salary. The cap cost is actually composed of the player's base salary in that given year plus any bonuses earned or paid plus the prorated portion of the signing bonus he received at the time of the contract signing. What's that you ask? We'll explain next.
Used in a sentence: Believe it or not, tight end Zach Miller had the highest cap cost of any Seahawk in 2013.
Proration: A signing bonus is just what it sounds like, a bonus paid upon the signing of the deal. However, while that bonus is paid all at once, the cap cost (see above) of the signing bonus can be averaged over the length of the contract or five years, whichever is less. The result is that while a player receives the signing bonus all at once, the cap cost is extended over as many as five years into the future. And if that player is released before the end of that contract? Well, the portion of the signing bonus that has not been counted against the salary cap must be accounted for under the salary cap, often resulting in a cap hit (keep reading).
Cap savings: The amount of money a team will save against the cap by releasing a player. This is determined by taking the cap cost and subtracting the proration.
Used in a sentence: Releasing wide receiver Sidney Rice would result in a cap savings in 2014 of $7.3 million, which is the cap cost under his current deal ($9.7 million) minus the two-year pro-rated portion of his signing bonus ($2.4 million).
Cap hit: The amount of proration that must be accounted for if a given player is released. This is the portion of the signing bonus that has already been paid to the player – sometimes years before – but has yet to be counted against the team's salary cap.
Used in a sentence: If the Seahawks do in fact release defensive end Red Bryant, it will result in a $3 million cap hit. His signing bonus was $5 million, paid in 2012. That signing bonus was prorated over the five years of the contract, meaning that $1 million of that counted against the salary cap each of the past two seasons. There's $3 million left that must be counted against the cap.
Dead money: Same thing as the cap hit only this term is used in the past tense to refer to the cap cost consumed by players who are no longer on the roster. Releasing Bryant would entail a cap hit of $3 million. Once he is released, that would become considered dead money.
Got it? Good. Let's try a new sample
Tight end Zach Miller's current contract has a cap cost of $7 million in 2014. That number is the sum of his 2014 base salary ($4.8 million salary), unspecified bonuses ($1.2 million) and the prorated amount of his $5 million signing bonus ($1 million). The cap savings of releasing Miller would be $5 million, the dead money $2 million.
Well, that covers the subtraction of roster moves. Now, here's the dictionary for additions:
Free agent: A player unsigned for the upcoming league year. Free agents come predominantly in two flavors: restricted and unrestricted.
Used in a sentence: The Seahawks have a number of unrestricted free agents, including offensive starters Golden Tate and Breno Giacomini. Doug Baldwin is the team's top restricted free agent.
Unrestricted free agent: Just like it sounds. There are no restrictions on which teams the player can negotiate with, and nothing to prevent that player from signing elsewhere in the form of a right to match or compensation.
Used in a sentence: A player must have four accrued seasons in the league to qualify for unrestricted free agency.
Restricted free agent: A free agent with three accrued seasons in the league, who is free to negotiate with other teams with a few caveats. His original team has the right to match the terms of his agreement with the new team, thereby retaining the player. If the original team declines to match the terms of the new team's offer, the original team is entitled to compensation from the new team. The level of that compensation will depend on the level of qualifying offer that is made.
Qualifying offer: The one-year contract offer made to a player with three accrued seasons, thereby making him a restricted free agent. This entitles the team – at the very least – to the right of first of refusal to match the contract terms a restricted free agent agrees to with another team. If the original team matches, it retains the player. If the original team declines to match, it is entitled to compensation. The level of that compensation depends on what level qualifying offer the player received. There are three different tender levels.
Original-round tender: This entails a one-year offer of $1.389 million, and entitles the team to a draft pick in the same round the player was selected.
Second-round tender: A one-year contract offer of $2.124 million entitles the original team to a second-round pick from the team that signs away a restricted free agent.
First-round tender: A one-year contract offer of $3.023 million entitles the original team to a first-round pick as compensation.
Used in a sentence: Because wide receiver Doug Baldwin was undrafted, an original-round tender would entitle Seattle to no compensation should he leave for another team. Therefore, he will almost certainly be tendered at one of the two highest levels.
Offer sheet: This is the term sheet a restricted free agent signs with another team. The original team then has seven days to decide to match the offer sheet and retain the player. Restricted free agents can sign an offer sheet up until May 2, after which they can not sign with anyone but the original team.
Franchise tag: This amounts to the most restrictive form of free agency. A team has the option of applying a franchise tag to one player during the two-week period from Feb. 17 to March 3. That tag entitles the player to a one-year contract that is either 110 percent of his previous year's salary or the average of the top five salaries at his position, whichever is greater. A player who is designated with a franchise tag can negotiate with other teams, however, if he signs an offer sheet, which his original team has the right to match. If it doesn't, it is entitled two first-round picks from the new team.
Used in a sentence: The Seahawks have not used their franchise tag in any of the previous three seasons and are not expected to this offseason, so don't worry about it.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 @ 1:05pm
Brandon Browner is fighting for his NFL future whether or not that future includes the Seahawks.
In fact, it most likely won't. Browner had been benched for more than a quarter during a home game in October, and after a groin injury was passed first by Walter Thurmond and then Byron Maxwell on the depth chart.
A lawsuit is expected to be filed next week on behalf of Brandon Browner challenging the cornerback's indefinite supsension from the NFL. (AP)
Just whether – and more importantly to Browner, when – he is able to do that may be left for the courts to decide.
The NFL suspended Browner indefinitely on Dec. 18, 2013 for violating the league's policy on substance abuse. Under the league's collective bargaining agreement, he is not able to apply for reinstatement for one year, which will be the final month of the 2014 season.
It's a punishment Browner will seek to challenge in court in a lawsuit that his agent pointed to back in December when the suspension was announced. That suit is expected to be filed next week in Colorado.
The timing of the lawsuit is significant, and Peter Schaffer – Browner's agent – told ProFootballTalk.com it will include a request for a preliminary injunction to allow Browner to be considered a free agent on March 11, free to sign with any team, pending the resolution of the case.
Browner will be taking legal issue with the arbitration process under the NFL's collective-bargaining agreement, arguing the league is taking into account drug-test appointments Browner is alleged to have missed when he was not employed in the league.
Here's what we know about his case:
Browner entered the league in 2005, an undrafted rookie out of Oregon State signed by the Broncos. He spent that season on injured reserve and was released the following year before the season began. At some point in his time with the Broncos, he was entered into the league's substance-abuse program.
Browner did not play with an NFL team in 2006, and in 2007, he played the first of four seasons in the Canadian Football League. He returned to the NFL in 2011 when he was signed by the Seahawks and made the Pro Bowl that year.
Browner was suspended for the final four regular-season games in 2012 under the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. In the nine days before that suspension was announced, there were reports Browner was subjected to more frequent tests because he was in the league's substance-abuse program for a violation dating back to his time with Denver.
In November 2013, it was reported on the league's official website Browner would face another suspension for violating the policy on performance-enhancing drugs. This report was later corrected to indicate that the suspension would be under the substance-abuse policy.
Then came the Dec. 18 announcement – with two regular-season games left – that Browner was suspended indefinitely under the substance-abuse program.
Generally, a first violation of the substance-abuse policy does not result in a suspension, but rather enrollment in the substance-abuse program. Once in the program, a second violation usually results in a four-game suspension with a third violation constituting an indefinite ban.
Browner received no suspension under the substance-abuse program until the indefinite ban was announced, and Browner will challenge the validity of the league's procedure in counting a missed test(s) as a violation of the substance-abuse program.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 3:30pm
By Brady Henderson
Pete Carroll signed a five-year contract to be the Seahawks' head coach before the 2010 season, which would make 2014 the final year of the deal. It's hard to imagine Carroll, coming off a Super Bowl victory, entering the season as a so-called lame duck coach, which begs an obvious question that was asked during the latest edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil.
"I'm sitting in great shape," Pete Carroll said when asked after the season about his contract situation. (AP)
Tory asked when the Seahawks will give Carroll an extension.
O'Neil: Great question. But that really is more of a question of how long he intends to coach more than anything else. He's not going to work anywhere else in the NFL, is he? I mean, really? He has said all along that this is about building something and seeing how far you're going to take it. And he works for the richest owner in the league? It would not surprise me if he has an extension without it ever being reported or announced or any to-do about it, much like John Schneider a year ago.
John asked why the Seahawks don't give offensive-line coach Tom Cable and other assistants enough money to deter them from leaving for other jobs, thereby ensuring continuity.
O'Neil: Coaching salaries don't cost against the cap, but you also don't want to stop a guy from getting a job elsewhere. The best way to develop a staff is to show your team, your program as a chance for an ambitious coach to further and develop his career. And if you think it's better to have the same staff stay in place year after year (locked down, so to speak), I ask you whether Mike Holmgren's coaching staffs were better in Green Bay when he had guys like Andy Reid and Jon Gruden and Mike Sherman on his staff or when he was in Seattle. That's not because the Seahawks "locked down" their assistant coaches, but because Holmgren's ambitious and able coaches had moved on.
Gantiz asked if O'Neil anticipates the Seahawks will keep tight end Zach Miller, whose contract has led some to believe he will be released in a cost-saving move.
O'Neil: Until I see otherwise. I don't want to assume he's gone. I think there are discussions taking place as to the specifics of his contract, but there's been no whisper of a take-it-or-leave-it crossroads.
John asked if tight end Anthony McCoy would be worth bringing back next season after missing 2013 with an Achilles injury.
O'Neil: Yes, he most certainly is worth bringing back, and he could be a great No. 3 tight end for the team. He's a better blocker than Luke Willson. There's nothing to lead you to believe that Anthony McCoy will become the starter.
John asked for an update on cornerback Tharold Simon, who missed his rookie season with a foot injury.
O'Neil: The word was not necessarily good. He had an issue with his foot last year, and it sounds like he may have a similar issue with his other foot now, according to coach Pete Carroll's final press conference.
kobe berg asked why O'Neil thinks former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will be a bust in the NFL.
O'Neil: Two things: I believe he's going to prove waaaaay more susceptible to turnovers when he improvises as opposed to Russell Wilson, who is able to create outside the scope of the play while still avoiding taking too many chances. The other thing is that I think that Manziel's headstrong desire to be the focal point is going to impede his ability to respond to coaching and attempts to temper his risk-taking.
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