Seahawks use off week to negotiate with RB
Jay Glazer / FOXSports.com
Posted: 4 hours ago
The bye week is usually a productive week for teams trying to get healthy. But for the Seattle Seahawks, it also marked a week in which they tried to get some future stability.
Several sources close to Pro Bowl RB Shaun Alexander told FOXSports.com that for the first time all season, the Seahawks and Alexander held significant talks regarding a new contract. In fact, each side actually exchanged contract proposals during the week with the hopes of feeling each other out and establishing parameters from which to work. The two offers, however, were a little extreme on both sides, with Seattle's too low and the player's request too high.
The two are expected to talk again within the next 24 to 48 hours in order to see if either side is truly serious. If the Seahawks come back with an offer that is completely under par again, Alexander's people may suggest they cut off talks and let him become a free agent after the year. However, if the Seahawks respond with an offer that shows the two sides can seriously iron out a new deal, something could move pretty quickly on this front.
Alexander signed a one-year deal after being slapped with the franchise tag that included a stipulation that the player would not be tagged again.
A few weeks ago, reports surfaced claiming that the two sides had opened up talks. Those reports, however, were inaccurate as the two sides have not held any talks until this past week. Both the Seahawks and the agents confirmed that no such talks actually took place.
Alexander is once again enjoying an extremely productive season. Through seven weeks of this season, the former first-round pick has rushed for a very impressive 776 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also has a stunning 5.1-yard average on 152 carries.
If there is a downside to his game it's the fact that Alexander is lackadaisical in the pass protection portion and has not been an effective receiver (seven catches this year). However, the major positive in his game is his brutish running style inside the red zone. While most teams struggle inside the 20, Alexander seems to raise his level of play when the end zone is near.
As far as running backs who may reach the open market (Edgerrin James, Brian Westbrook, Jamal Lewis among others) there is no better red-zone option than Alexander. He also brings a durability that many other leading rushers have not enjoyed.
Last year he came within one yard of leading the NFL in rushing with 1,696 yards. In his four full years as a starter, he has never rushed for less than 1,175 yards in a season. This season, however, he is enjoying his highest yards-per-run average and is a major part of the Seahawks' surging play thus far.
By Tuesday the two sides should have a better idea of whether or not getting a new deal would be a reality or if the deal will die and Alexander will hit the free agent market.
WESTBROOK TOO? Alexander and the Seahawks were not the only ones to hold talks this week regarding a potential free agent back. Sources told FOXSports.com that the Eagles and the agent for RB Brian Westbrook held talks this week as well. The Eagles have put a solid offer on the table for Westbrook and the team remains hopeful that he'll be happy with the deal.
Last year Westbrook ran and received for a total of 1,515 all-purpose yards along with nine scores as he became a legitimate full-time threat. This year he has not been used in the running game as much and has just 256 yards on the ground while scampering for 367 yards in the receiving game.
Westbrook has been looking for a deal in the range of what the Raiders gave Lamont Jordan this off-season. It appears that the team and agent would like to get a deal done but the player may balk at something he won't be happy with down the road.