All it took for the Seahawks to get busy in free agency was me being locked in one room (court) or another (jury) all week.
The verdict in the trial where I was juror No. 35 was reached Friday. The verdict on the Seahawks’ maneuvers, well, that remains to be seen.
Here, in reverse order, is a quick recap of just what the Seahawks accomplished this week:
(bullet) Acquired restricted free agent Charlie Whitehurst from the San Diego Chargers for a third-round draft choice next year and a swap of second-round picks this year – with the Seahawks moving from No. 40 overall to No. 60. The club then signed the backup QB to a two-year contract. The deal was announced Thursday. More on this later.
(bullet) Signed running back Quinton Ganther to a one-year contract, also Thursday. Ganther, 25, was a seventh-round draft choice by the Tennessee Titans in 2006 and played last season for the Washington Redskins. His coach in both spots was Sherman Smith, the former Seahawks running back who now coaches the position on Pete Carroll’s staff.
(bullet) Signed linebacker Matt McCoy to a one-year contract on Wednesday. A second-round draft choice by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005, McCoy played the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gus Bradley, the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator, was McCoy’s position coach with the Bucs in 2008. McCoy, 27, is a good special teams player and has started 12 games at linebacker in the league.
(bullet) Traded defensive end Darryl Tapp to the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday for defensive end Chris Clemons and a fourth-round pick in next month’s NFL draft. Clemons, 28, is a more explosive pass rusher than Tapp, and should figure into the mix for the “elephant” linebacker position that Carroll has talked about using this season. Clemons collected eight of his career 20 sacks in 2007 while playing for the Oakland Raiders. The addition of another fourth-round pick in what is being called a very deep draft also was a plus for the Seahawks.
(bullet) Released veteran strong safety Deon Grant, a three-year starter and defensive co-captain since joining the team in free agency in 2007. The move, which was made Monday, creates the need for a younger safety to plug into a defense that Carroll says will play faster and more aggressively in the 2010 season.
(bullet) Signed tight end Chris Baker, also on Monday. Baker, 30, was a third-round draft choice by the New York Jets in 2002 and played last season for the New England Patriots. Baker’s blocking ability is a good fit with incumbent starter John Carlson in the two-tight end sets that new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates likes to use. Bates and Baker were together with the Jets in 2005.
(bullet) Signed wide receiver Ruvell Martin, also on Monday. Martin played for Green Bay from 2005-08, when first-year Seahawks GM John Schneider also was with the Packers. Martin, 27, was with the St. Louis Rams last season. He has good size (6-4, 220) and has been productive when given opportunities – seven catches for 118 yards in the 2006 season finale and six catches for 99 yards in the final seven games last season.
The most surprising move, however, was the trade to acquire Whitehurst – because of what the Seahawks gave up to get him, the contract they signed him to and the fact that he has not thrown a pass in a regular-season game. But Carroll and Schneider like his athleticism, arm strength, feet and mobility – and how the mix blends with what Bates likes to do.
Carroll said that while incumbent Matt Hasselbeck remains the starter, he is hoping that Whitehurst can compete for the position and be the possible answer at the pivotal position “for the long haul.” Whitehurst was a third-round draft choice by the Chargers in 2006 out of Clemson, where Schneider first began scouting him.
“There is risk involved when you make decisions like this,” Carroll said.
This was one he and Schneider obviously thought was worth taking.
But none of the moves made by the Seahawks this week will impact what they might do in the draft – where they now have the sixth, 14th and 60th picks overall.
As Schneider said twice Thursday, during the news conference to announce the addition of Whitehurst, the arrival of the Chargers former backup does not rule out the possibility that the Seahawks will choose a quarterback with one of its two picks in the first round.