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News » Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-03-01

Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-03-01

Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-03-01
With the No. 4 pick overall, and two of the first 37 picks in this year's draft, the Seattle Seahawks likely will not be major players in free agency.

"Getting Leroy Hill, we're already big, right?" said team president and general manager Tim Ruskell while talking to reporters at the NFL scouting combine. "But we're going to wade in cautiously and use it strategically. And we have to combine what we think we can get in the draft and say, 'I think we're going to take care of that here, so we don't have to do it here.'

"Because we have the high picks, we can play that game. You have a better idea of what's going to be available to you."

Bringing back Hill was a priority for the Seahawks, said Ruskell in his first interview just after the season ended. The 26-year old was considered by some as the best linebacker on the team that includes Pro Bowlers Julian Peterson and Lofa Tatupu.

Seattle accomplished that by designating Hill with the franchise tag for an $8.3 million, one-year tender. The move allows Hill and the team to continue negotiations. Hill reportedly turned down a six-year, $36 million offer from the club. However, Hill, who was arrested on a misdemeanor drug charge in Atlanta last month, said he's thankful for the team designating him with the franchise tag.

"Obviously, I'd rather get a long-term deal done, but I can't complain," Hill told a reporter with the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph. "They committed to me with the franchise tag. I accepted and I'm going to give a full commitment back."

With Hill probably remaining a Seahawk, Seattle can now focus on signing the remaining players they would like to keep. The Seahawks have 16 free agents total, with the latest addition linebacker Lance Laury, a restricted agent that will become an unrestricted agent because the Seahawks declined to tender Laury an offer of just over $1 million.

Heading the list among those candidates will be fullback Leonard Weaver and offensive lineman Ray Willis and Floyd Womack. Weaver was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate last season, and likely will have other suitors because of his versatility as a big back who can block and catch passes out of the backfield.

Womack and Willis started the most games in their careers after injuries forced them into duty, and both took advantage of the opportunity. Willis probably has more value on the market and might be harder for Seattle to keep, but Womack's ability to play multiple positions makes him a key piece for the Seahawks' offensive line depth.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 1, 2009

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Wesly Mallard Name: Wesly Mallard
Position: LB
Age: 29
Experience: 5 years
College: Oregon
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