by: Chris Sullivan
Alright guys, so here we have it--the big question marks going into the 2009 season and my read on them at this point in time. For today's 2K9 Tuesday, I'll just focus on the big personnel questions. Let's get started:
- Will the Seahawks re-sign Leroy Hill? This is one that we've all been concerned about since signing Tatupu and Trufant last offseason. Hill appears to be one of the key cogs in this defense going forward, and it would be a shock if Ruskell did not go for him aggressively, even if that means--as it did with Trufant--franchise tagging him. The franchise tag for a linebacker last year was $8.065 million, which stands to make Hill the highest paid linebacker. It is more likely that we will try to work out a longer-term deal with him. The big lingering question is whether we are willing to commit so much money to our linebackers--with Tatupu, Peterson and Hill all getting top dollar, it seems iffy as to whether we can afford all three.
- How does the Morris/Jones situation get settled? At this point, it looks pretty clear that Morris is Holmgren's guy and will simply leave in the offseason (he'll be an unrestricted free agent). Still, Jones is not happy and Morris has been playing much better than expected. This decision may very well have already been made by Mora and Ruskell, but I'm keeping it on here as a situation to watch.
- Will Bobby Engram be resigned? Will Branch and Koren Robinson be Seahawks next year? The wide reciever position is clearly in need of a re-imagining. With the myriad injuries and the inconsistent play of our top three guys this year, it is possible that Ruskell will be looking to clean the slate. I am not expecting to see Engram back on our squad next year unless he doesn't get much interest in free agency. Payne looks to fill in at slot for him, though with such little game time experience it's hard to trust in little Logan too much, eh? Branch should return, if only for Ruskell to prove it wasn't a bad move, and as for Koren Robinson . . . well, I'd love to see him stay. He's been the key blocker on three of our four longest plays from scrimmage this year, and the receiver in our longest (90 yarder).
- Who will back up Matt Hasselbeck? Seneca has shown flashes of brilliance when he is healthy, but few people consider him a longterm fix for this offense. Speculation has it that the Hawks will draft a replacement QB in the first four rounds and then wean him to take over for Matt. If this is the case, it will likely be Frye who is shown the door in the offseason, but it could be Seneca since he makes a bit more than Frye.
- How will the salary cap impact our signings? This is the big question of the year. I'm going to try to work through and see where we are in relation to the cap limit by season's end. I think we could see some pretty heavy cuts and/or non-signings in the offseason, including Rocky Bernard and possibly Patrick Kerney (though I am skeptical of that one). Especially if the Hawks opt to keep Leroy Hill and keep their top-5 draft pick, we could have some tough choices ahead.