Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ruskell Scorecard - How's He Doing?

by: William P. Tomisser

Once again there seems to be disparity in Seahawk land over what Ruskell is doing in free agency. Some seem to feel that he is doing just fine in pursuing free agents who fit our most glaring holes while not overspending, which would get us into cap trouble in following years. Others have been critical of his moves so far.

We've missed on T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Canty because we weren't willing to spend $7 million a year for Canty or over $10 million a year for Housh. We did make a deal for Colin Cole for a $21 million pricetag over 5 years with $5 million guaranteed. Although viewed as a second tier free agent, he comes at a cheaper price than Bernard, whom Cole essentially replaces, did for the Giants at $25 million.

Even that one transaction drew the ire of one poster who called it a "stupid move" by Ruskell, so it seems that we're split again on what kind of job Ruskell is doing in free agency this year.

To Continue . . .

Rumors abound that Ruskell is trying to engineer a deal for wide receiver Braylon Edwards with the Browns, but no one has been able to substantiate that rumor yet with any concrete evidence. That impending move has already been highly criticized by some and praised by others, depending on whether you feel Edwards is another drop king or an up-and-coming superstar. Sometimes, you get the feeling that it wouldn't be fun to be Ruskell if you're the type of person who likes having everyone's approval most of the time.

It is pretty well established that two of Seattle's biggest needs are defensive tackle and wide receiver. So far, Ruskell has gone after Chris Canty, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Michael Clayton, Colin Cole, and if we believe the rumor, Braylon Edwards. He certainly seems locked in on those two positions, which fits his profile of not entering the draft with critical needs to still be filled.

Oddly, he doesn't seem to be pursuing any offensive linemen so that could either be an indication that he's confident of finding those in the draft or he's intending on re-signing Willis and/or additional free agent linemen in the coming week after he takes care of the receiver and defensive tackle position. Of course, it could also indicate that he and Mora feel that our offensive line is just fine and not in need of any upgrades. I don't buy that, but anything's possible.

Good or bad? I've seen comments ranging from how stupid his moves have been so far and his being an idiot to let Canty get away to compliments on how he's avoided overpaying free agents and putting the Seahawks in a bad cap situation and giving him kudos for being fiscally responsible--and then there's quite a bit of territory in between.

Even though we haven't seen a lot of things breaking for the Seahawks since free agency began, I'm sure that Ruskell and Company have been burning the midnight oil in keeping up with developments in the free agent market and are working hard to make deals that will benefit Seattle, not only from a player standpoint but by making financially sound investments in our future too.

I'm sure Ruskell and Mora don't want their partnership to be a one year wonder, but would instead like to sustain the success of the team just as Holmgren was able to do over the last five years of his tenure.

On that note, I'd like to see you Addicts chime in with your assessment of how well our front office has handled free agency so far for the Seahawks. Is Ruskell the stupid idiot some have claimed, or is he properly being cautious and making sure we get value for our money, or is the truth somewhere in the middle?

If you were GM, would you have made bigger offers to Canty, Clayton, or Houshmandzadeh and signed them regardless of the pricetag? What more could Ruskell have done up to this point to get Seattle in the game?

Let's give Ruskell an opening grade on how he's done in the first three days of free agency. I'll post my grade in the comments section in the interest of keeping this article as unbiased as possible. I'd like to see what you Addicts think of how well we're proceeding so far.


Bill T