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Seahawks 2023 Free Agency Primer

With free agency kicking off next week, a look ahead at what that means for the Seahawks.


NFL free agency kicks off next week with the start of the new league year, meaning the Seahawks, like every other team, will be looking to add talent while also hoping to re-sign some of their own key free agents.

The league year officially starts at 1 p.m. PT on Wednesday, March 15, but beginning at 9 a.m. March 13, teams are allowed to contact and begin negotiating with agents representing pending free agents, or in the case of players not represented by an agent, with the players themselves.

Already this offseason, the Seahawks got a bit of a head start on things, signing quarterback Geno Smith, special teams captain Nick Bellore, kicker Jason Myers and guard Phil Haynes to contract extensions. All four were set to become unrestricted free agents had they not signed new deals before next week.

While the Seahawks know they'll have those four players back, several other starters are set to become unrestricted free agents next week if new deals aren't agreed to before then, including quarterback linebacker Cody Barton, defensive lineman Poona Ford, and running back Rashaad Penny. Additionally, safety Ryan Neal is set to become a restricted free agent, while left cornerback Michael Jackson will become an exclusive rights free agent. Austin Blythe, Seattle's starting center last season, would have also been an unrestricted free agent, but he announced his retirement last week.

With that in mind, here is the list of players who will become free agents next week if they aren't signed to new deals prior to March 15:

Unrestricted Free Agents

An unrestricted free agent is a player whose contract has expired and who has four or more accrued seasons. Unrestricted free agents can sign with any team with no draft compensation owed to their former team.

  • QB Geno Smith UPDATE: Smith and the Seahawks agreed to terms on a contract extension Monday.
  • LB Cody Barton
  • DL Poona Ford
  • RB Rashaad Penny
  • S Johnathan Abram
  • DL L.J. Collier
  • CB Artie Burns
  • QB Drew Lock
  • WR Marquise Goodwin
  • G/C Kyle Fuller
  • CB Justin Coleman
  • OLB Bruce Irvin
  • LS Tyler Ott
  • S Josh Jones
  • LS Carson Tinker
  • WR Laquon Treadwell
  • LB Cullen Gillaspia
  • CB Xavier CrawfordS Teez Tablor
  • RB Travis Homer
  • OLB Darryl Jonson

Restricted Free Agents

A restricted free agent is a player with three accrued seasons whose contract is expiring. If the Seahawks tender a qualifying offer prior to the start of the new year, a restricted free agent can still negotiate with other teams, but the Seahawks would have a chance to match an offer sheet or receive draft-pick compensation should the player sign elsewhere. Teams can use a first-round, second-round, original round or right-of-first refusal tender, the value of each tender increasing based on the amount of compensation the team would get in return should the player leave. In other words, a first-round pick as compensation is a much bigger deterrent for another team to come after a player, but to get that protection, the player in question receives a higher salary. If no qualifying offer is tendered prior to the start of the new league year, these players become unrestricted free agents.

  • S Ryan Neal
  • WR Penny Hart
  • LB Tanner Muse
  • RB Tony Jones Jr.

Exclusive Rights Free Agents

An exclusive rights free agent is a player with fewer than three accrued seasons whose contract is expiring. If the Seahawks offer a one-year contract at the league minimum based on his credited seasons, the player cannot negotiate with other teams. If no offer is made prior to the start of the new league year, these players become unrestricted free agents.

  • RB Godwin Igwebuike
  • CB Michael Jackson
  • LB Jon Rhattigan
  • WR Cody Thompson
  • DL Myles Adams

Take a look back at some of the best photos of Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith from the 2022 season.

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