Free agency officially kicked off Wednesday with the start of the 2019 league year, and as has been the case every year, under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks were not among the most active teams on Day 1 of free agency.
Seattle’s tendency under Carroll and Schneider has been to let other teams spend big money in bidding wars, then go bargain shopping, a strategy that has paid off in the past with signings like Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bradley McDougald and Ahtyba Rubin, to name a few.
But while the Seahawks were relatively quiet right off the bat aside from retaining some of their own restricted and exclusive rights free agents, they did see a handful of players depart in free agency, most notably free safety Earl Thomas, who agreed to terms with the Baltimore Ravens.
Throughout the next few weeks, we’ll keep track of all the Seahawks comings and going in this space, so check back daily for the latest updates. And one quick note, we’re only including news that has been officially announced by teams.
Seahawks Add Pair Of Defensive Ends
The Seahawks added a pair of players to bolster their pass rush, signing defensive ends Cassius Marsh and Nate Orchard.
Marsh began his NFL career in Seattle as a fourth-round pick out of UCLA in 2014, and played three seasons with the Seahawks before being traded to New England prior to the start of the 2017 season. He spent 2018 with the San Francisco 49ers, playing in 16 games and recording career highs in tackles with 27 and sacks with 5.5.
Orchard, meanwhile, was a second-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2015. As a rookie he started 11 of 15 games played, recording 3.0 sacks, 36 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble. He was released by the Browns prior to the start of last season, then signed with Buffalo, where he appeared in three games before later signing with Kansas City.
Seahawks Re-Sign Cornerback Neiko Thorpe
The Seahawks are bringing back one of their top special teams players, having re-signed cornerback Neiko Thorpe on Saturday. Thorpe, who first joined the Seahawks in 2016, has been one of Seattle’s best special teams players over the past three seasons, and last year was a special teams co-captain along with kicker Sebastian Janikowski.
Prior to signing with Seattle, Thorpe previously played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders.
Maurice Alexander Signs With Bills
Defensive back Maurice Alexander signed with the Buffalo Bills on Friday. As a reserve safety and special teams contributor for the Seahawks in 2018, Alexander saw action in nine games and recorded 10 tackles. A former fourth-round draft pick in 2014 out of Utah State, Alexander joined Seattle as a free agent last March. His most productive season came as a member of the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, when he tallied 50 tackles, two interceptions, and four passes defensed in 14 games.
Seahawks re-sign linebacker Mychal Kendricks
The Seahawks are bringing back linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who played well in limited opportunities last season, primarily while filling in for an injured K.J. Wright. Kendricks, who appeared in four games, starting three, recorded 19 tackles, two sacks and one pass defensed playing weakside linebacker in place of Wright. With Wright also re-signing after briefly testing the free-agent waters, the Seahawks have a talented and experienced group of linebackers heading into 2019, led by five-time Pro-Bowl middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.
J.R. Sweezy heads to Arizona
Guard J.R. Sweezy signed with the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, marking the second time in his career he has left Seattle in free agency. A 2012 seventh-round pick, Sweezy was one of Seattle’s many late-round draft pick success stories. A defensive tackle at N.C. State, Sweezy switched to guard in Seattle and was the starting right guard from 2013 to 2015 before signing with Tampa Bay in free agency. Sweezy returned to the Seahawks last summer and won the starting job at left guard, helping the Seahawks offense produce a league-leading 160 rushing yards-per-game while being named a Pro-Bowl alternate.
The Seahawks made a move this week that they hope can mitigate the loss of Sweezy, signing veteran guard Mike Iupati, a four-time Pro Bowler who most recently spent four seasons in Arizona.
Seahawks re-sign guard D.J. Fluker
D.J. Fluker, the right guard who was a big part of Seattle’s offensive success last season—both literally and figuratively speaking—is sticking around with the Seahawks, having re-signed on Friday. Fluker’s physical play at the line of scrimmage helped the Seahawks rush for a league-leading 160 yards-per-game and score the sixth-most points in the league (26.8 points-per-game) while having the third-highest scoring offense in franchise history, trailing only the 2005 and 2015 teams.
“When you get D.J. Fluker, you get the guy who loves football, you get the guy who works hard, busts his ass on every single play,” Fluker said after signing Friday. “The guy who plays with heart, plays with passion, loves picking up his running backs and his quarterback, having those leadership skills—I’m bringing the juice at practices—having guys gravitate towards that makes everyone play together.”
Seahawks re-sign linebacker K.J. Wright
Linebacker K.J. Wright, a key part of the Seahawks defense since 2011, will be back for his ninth season with the Seahawks in 2019, having signed a multi-year deal on Thursday. Wright, who earned Pro Bowl honors in 2016 and was the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee last year, missed 11 games last year due to injury, but finished the year with his best two games of the season in a Week 17 win over Arizona and a playoff loss in Dallas, recording a combined 15 tackles and an interception.
“I believe the way I played, and just the type of person I am helped in bringing me back,” he said after signing his contract. “They know I can still play, they know I’m good for this team and this organization.”
Seahawks sign guard Mike Iupati
After five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and four with the Arizona Cardinals, guard Mike Iupati is staying in the NFC West, having signed with the Seahawks on Thursday. A four-time Pro Bowler, Iupati played under current Seahawks offensive line coach Mike Solari for five years in San Francisco.
Seahawks sign kicker Jason Myers
The Seahawks signed Jason Myers on Thursday, adding a Pro-Bowl kicker to their special teams unit. Myers, who spent training camp and the preseason in Seattle last year before being released, went on to have a Pro-Bowl season with the New York Jets, making 33 of 36 field-goal attempts, including 6 of 7 from 50-plus yards.
Quarterback Brett Hundley heads to Arizona
Brett Hundley, who spent one season backing up Russell Wilson, agreed to terms on a contract with the Arizona Cardinals Thursday.
Hundley was acquired for a sixth-round pick prior to last season to back up Wilson, an insurance policy the Seahawks ended up not using because, as he has done throughout his career, Wilson proved to be durable, playing all 16 games, not missing a single offensive snap.
Cornerback Justin Coleman signs with Lions
Justin Coleman, Seattle’s nickel cornerback the past two seasons, signed with the Detroit Lions on Thursday.
Coleman, who was acquired for the bargain price of a seventh-round pick in a 2017 trade with New England, was also a big contributor on special teams in addition to being an important part of the defense. Coleman appeared in all 32 games over the past two seasons, starting 10, and recorded 97 tackles, three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, two sacks and 19 passes defensed. He also returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown, giving him three defensive scores in two seasons in Seattle.
Seahawks keep restricted free agents George Fant, Quinton Jefferson and 10 exclusive rights free agents
Prior to the start of the league year, the Seahawks placed the second-round tender on offensive tackle George Fant and the original-round tender on defensive end Quinton Jefferson, keeping those two from becoming unrestricted free agents when the new league year began.
The Seahawks also made qualifying offers to exclusive rights free agents linebacker Austin Calitro, linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee, center Joey Hunt, defensive end Branden Jackson, safety Shalom Luani, running back J.D. McKissic, receiver David Moore, long snapper Tyler Ott, cornerback Kalan Reed and guard Jordan Simmons, meaning they remain under contract with Seattle for 2019.
Safety Earl Thomas agrees to terms with Baltimore
Earl Thomas, a six-time Pro-Bowler who was part of some of the best defenses in team history, saw his nine-year tenure with the Seahawks come to an end when free agency began, agreeing to terms on a contract with the Baltimore Ravens. A first-round pick in 2010, Thomas was part of Seahawks defenses that led the NFL in scoring defense for four straight seasons from 2012 to 2015, a feat never before accomplished during the Super Bowl era.
Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen returns to Vikings
Following one season with the Seahawks where he was a starting defensive tackle, Shamar Stephen is returning to the team that drafted him, having agreed to terms on a deal with the Vikings. In his one season in Seattle, Stephen recorded 25 tackles and two sacks, starting 14 of his 15 games played.
Running back Mike Davis agrees to terms with Chicago
After two seasons with the Seahawks, running back Mike Davis is headed to the Windy City, having agreed to terms with the Bears Wednesday.
Davis was part of a running game that gained a league-best 160 yards-per-game, contributing 514 yards and four rushing touchdowns on 112 carries. He also had 34 receptions for 214 yards and a touchdown. Davis began his Seahawks career in 2017, spending the first part of the year on the practice squad before becoming a starter late in the year after injuries took their toll at running back, and rushed for 240 yards and added 131 receiving yards in the final six games of the year.