Sunday, 26 April 2009

Leroy Hill's release made with a plan?

When the Seahawks un-tagged Leroy Hill late last night, there may have been a longer term thinking involved and I have a few theories.

There's no doubt the Seahawks are weaker without Leroy Hill on defense. They've also spent a considerable amount of money and effort rebuilding a linebacker group that wasn't considered a problem area this off season. However, if they thought a long term deal was unlikely with Hill or if his recent problems with the law had put them off making a substantial investment - the franchise tag could have been used as insurance. If they weren't able to draft Curry, they review the situation with Hill. If they get Curry - they get a replacement on the field and can release Hill and gain a compensatory pick in 2010 (possible third rounder).

Is it purely coincidental that the Seahawks traded their 2010 pick in the trade to get Deon Butler? If they felt confident of getting that pick back by releasing Hill as soon as possible, they might have felt confident trading up today.

It was revealed the team tried to sign Hill to a 6-year $36m deal before offering the franchise tag. If negotiations had sufficiently soured since then, changing the Seahawks opinions on Hill, the act of un-tagging one of Seattle's best defensive talents may have been more calculated than first thought. He may still re-sign with the team, but the likelihood is Hill's career is over in Seattle.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

You would be wise to link to Clayton's story.

rky said...

Rob, do have any information as to what Hill was asking for on the long term deal? They've been talking about it now for months and months, apparently fruitlessly.
Also, why wouldn't he sign the franchise tender of $8.3M? It seems to me he could have spent the season here making real money and then gone free agent next year. Now he's out on the street after most teams have tied up their capspace, or at least planned for how they'll do so, plus filled needs through the draft and the earlier free agency period.

Chris Sullivan said...

Seems to me like another case of a player determining his value to be much higher than Ruskell. So far, that hasn't bitten us in the butt unless you count Hutchinson who clearly wanted out based on the poison pill laden contract he signed to escape.

akki said...

I don't know the team's cap situation, but perhaps they would have difficulty signing the draft picks with Hill counting $8.3M against the cap. You have the salary cap having to cover the current players, the draftees, potential FA targets like Lucas, and Hill's inflated cap figure, and something had to give. Perhaps the team was faced with a decision of removing the tag, letting an FA go, or cutting other players, and Hill was holding the team hostage with his cap position, decided to play chicken, and lost. We won't know until seeing what moves the team makes the next couple weeks. Either way, Hill's agent sure isn't looking too good right now.

Rob Staton said...

Rky - It's never been revealed what Hill was asking for but I imagine it would be a deal comparable to Lofa Tatupu's.

Akki - I have to believe the team were comfortable cap wise to either get something done or continue with the tag. If Hill had signed the tag, how could they sign the rookies?

Anonymous said...

Hill thinks he is worth much more than the Seahawks do. The Seahawks untagged him so he can see for himself what the other teams will offer. The Seahawks think they will still sign him because they doubt anyone else will offer more than they are.

Michael Steffes said...

They had money set aside already for the rookies. This was about filling needs not addressed in the draft. Hill signing a long term deal would have sufficiently lowered his cap #, but it didn't appear that was going to happen.

Bruce M. said...

Art Thiel's column seems to imply that the Hawks haven't given up on Hill, and that he does still want to be on the team...

http://www.seattlepi.com/thiel/405565_artthiel27.html

Seth H, said...

Well teams that really needed an OLB likely drafted one, so I think his value is kinda low and we may get him cheaper. High risk high reward thing here.

Bruce M. said...

Supposedly, his agent has confirmed they are negotiating tonight....

http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/seahawks/2009/04/26/update_seahawks.html

Mike said...

This draft was somewhat confusing for me. I like Curry, but drafting Curry and then having Hill walk (if he does) seems like a strange move. Essentially we have replaced a LB corps of Hill, Peterson, and Tatupu, with one of Tatupu, Curry, and Lewis. Not sure if that is a net upgrade or not.

Second round we addressed our interior OL which was great. We also snagged a first rounder next year which I like.

Third round we spent a lot to trade up and get a WR which was strange since we have so many receivers, and i'm just not sure we need another under 6 foot receiver.

I don't really like the Teel pick in the sixth, but I don't know anything about him, so I'll just assume he will be a third stringer who hopefully will not play in the next few years. The seventh round guys all seem like practice squad/special teamers.

So, when I look at what we really did in the draft, we switched around the talent of our LBs, added to our interior line depth, and added to our WR depth. These are fine moves, and moves that needed to be done, but I question how much they are really going to help us win next year. We did not upgrade positions like S, RB, or CB. I feel that those positions could have contributed right away next year if we had gotten the right guy. It seems that Ruskell was really looking to the future and not winning this year.

The assumption is, I think, that he thought this team's biggest weakness last year was simply injury, and i'm not sure that is the safest assumption.

LouieLouie said...

Curiouser and curiouser. One think about last years linebacking corps, they were expensive, and the defense wasn't very good. By letting Hill and JP go, replacing them with Curry, they will ultimately save money while still having solid linebacking. That money can go to upgrade other areas of need.

Rob Staton said...

There isn't a strict blue print for success in the NFL, and you almost have to take a 'wait and see' approach with any moves in the off season. No doubt the Seahawks will be much better if they can stay healthy on offense.

However, if the 4-12 was a wake up call, it's not being treated as such. The moves this off season have essentially freshened things up in certain areas. Moves at linebacker, Unger coming in to replace the versatile Womack, losing the ever reliable Bobby Engram and replacing him with another reliable yet ageing receiver in Houshmandzadeh.

If the team rebounds then nobody will pay much attention to it. If the 4-12 season was more than just a one off, the Seahawks have not invested much into the future. The offense relies upon a handful of ageing veterans and does it have the X factor to be dominant either in run or pass? The defense has stars, and you can add Aaron Curry to that list. But essentially, you don't want your defense on the field, and too many times in 2008 - the defense was on the field because the offense didn't click.

With two first rounders in 2010, I wouldn't be completely surprised if a trade happened before the season began. Braylon Edwards perhaps?

Bruce M. said...

Nobody should undervalue that first rounder from Denver next year. That may prove to be as valuable as Curry, or even more so, and it is a legitimate product of this year's draft. For that reason, as well, I think this is a solid B+/A- draft.

My guess on Hill is that the guy simply planned on holding out for as long as legally possible until he signed, just before it would start costing him money, much like Walter did when tagged. Ruskell did not have the patience, or cap room, for that.

Misfit said...

I like your insight about Hill, Rob. Keep up the good work.