When John Clayton says something I generally believe it and boy did he drop a juicy nugget today on Brock and Salk.
According to Clayton, citing the word of Pete Carroll, the Seahawks are strongly considering adding an expensive marquee free agent at the defensive end position.
Additionally, Clayton says sources from other NFC West teams believe Seattle will be one of the teams who presses hard to obtain arguably the best available free agent period; Texans defensive end Mario Williams.
“They think that Seattle is going to be one of the main teams pursuing Mario Williams. They really do.”
When it comes to expensive marquee names at defensive end soon to be available on the open market, the ones that come to mind are Mario Williams, Robert Mathis, and Cliff Avril (unless you still consider John Abraham elite). So, according to what Clayton says Pete Carroll stated, these would be their two prime targets.
Between the three Williams, who is almost a sure bet to leave Houston, would seem to be the player they most heavily pursue. The Texans are cash strapped after such free agent splurges as Jonathan Joseph. Cliff Avril has stated that he prefers to remain with the Detroit Lions but will not give the franchise a “hometown discount”. Robert Mathis, though a very good player, would not cater to this teams philosophy of getting younger and he is 4 years the elder of the 27 year old Williams.
Not often do true franchise cornerstones hit the open market, especially at the defensive end position. Better yet, the Seahawks are one of the prime teams who can afford his services. They have the 5th most cap space in the NFL and could go ahead and dump a BRINKS truck full of however much of Paul Allens money it takes to get him here. The contract Julius Peppers got won’t even likely begin the discussions. He was 30 when he received his 5 year, $91 million deal with $41 million guarantees.
Whoever gets Williams will be the envy of the rest of the league, that does not mean he isn’t without risk. Williams has missed 14 games the past 2 seasons due to injury. Though perhaps a move back to his natural defensive end position after a partial season at outside linebacker could help things.
These are the kind of headlines I know I love seeing during the quiet period, the calm right before the storm. If the Seahawks do indeed have serious interest in Williams, they certainly have favorable resources to get a deal done. Even if they strike out, two very appealing options in Avril and Mathis are there for the taking with neither appearing to be a sure bet to stay put.