The Diehard stands in awe of Seattle GM John Schneider. Having loaded the roster with young talent at bargain rates, he exploits his team's enviable salary cap latitude to sign top free agents to fortify the team's only glaring weaknesses: wide receiver and pass rusher.
To increase pressure on opposing quarterbacks, Schneider signed two defensive ends. Cliff Avril of Detroit is a Pro Bowl-caliber pass rusher (though he has never made the Pro Bowl). Michael Bennett of Tampa Bay is a versatile player who can line up at end or tackle.
If Chris Clemons can't return to form, and if Bruce Irvin can't get any better, then Avril and Bennett help the defense get better.
However, if Clemons recovers fully and Irvin matures as expected, then Seattle may field the league's most terrifying rotation of pass rushers.
Seattle signed Avril and Bennett to reasonable short-term contracts. This gives both players a chance to earn a big payday a year or two down the road, either from the Seahawks or--more likely--from some other team. Meanwhile, Seattle buys some time to find and groom younger and more affordable pass rush talent through the draft. Moreover, Schneider avoided making any commitments that could prevent us from keeping our team's core players as they qualify for free agency in the next few years.
The Seahawks did make a substantial long-term commitment to Percy Harvin. I'll post later on the exciting possibilities Harvin brings to the team.
It was sad to part ways with Leon Washington, but with league rule changes decreasing the frequency of kickoff returns, the only case for keeping two great returners on your roster is as insurance against injury. Seattle never found a way to capitalize upon Washington's skills as a running back, but he'll be a good fit in the New England offense, which consistently and effectively features shifty, undersized backs with good hands. As a Patriot, Washington will have an opportunity to set more career records and continue stating the case that he may be the greatest kick returner in NFL history.