The Cheap Seats with Steve Cameron: To win later, it helps to win now

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It seems a bit bonkers to get worked up about pro football.

Right at the moment, at least.

I mean, seriously, the season is seven months away.

But the truth is that player movement now — free agency began this week and the NFL draft starts April 25 — can significantly change the prospects of your favorite team.

Assuming that team might be the Seahawks, you had probably already braced yourself for the departure of some longtime favorites.

No surprise, then, when all-world safety Earl Thomas left to take a wad of cash from the Baltimore Ravens.

The Seahawks theoretically protected themselves against the loss of monster edge rusher Frank Clark by placing a franchise tag on him — but now that Clark is under team control, Seattle is listening to trade offers for the big man.

Several other players have slipped away from the Seahawks this week, most notably slot cornerback Justin Coleman.

Detroit gave Coleman a hefty four-year contract that has been reported as a richest deal in the league for a slot corner.

COLEMAN MAY even be harder to replace than Thomas, who had an absentee 2018 — first with his holdout and then that season-ending broken leg in the fourth game.

At least the Hawks got used to playing without Thomas.

Seattle also was in the unique situation of having both offensive guards dangling out in free agency.

The Seahawks batted .500 in that department, hanging on to D.J. Fluker with a new two-year deal, but watching J.R. Sweezy walk off to Arizona.

No other free-agent departures were really significant, at least.

Backup QB Brett Hundley is gone, but he never took a snap in the regular season and there are plenty of Brett Hundleys floating around.

On the plus side of things, Seattle re-signed linebackers K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks.

Those two formed a solid trio with longtime star Bobby Wagner, but…

Wright tore up his knee last year, and even though he came back to play pretty well, knee injuries in the NFL are not good news.

Then there’s Kendricks, who could be facing jail time for an insider trading charge on which he’s already been convicted.

Kendricks, who was surprisingly good for the Seahawks last year, will be sentenced in April.

If there’s any hopeful news in that situation, I suppose it would be that if Kendricks can somehow score probation instead of actual lock-up time, he has already served his NFL suspension on the charge and would be eligible to play immediately.

So, sure, it was a safe move to get those two linebackers under contract, but a bad knee and a felony sentencing don’t fill you with tons of confidence.

ALTHOUGH IT doesn’t rank up there on ESPN with the destinations of guys like Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell, the Seahawks did make one very important move by capturing former Jets placekicker Jason Myers.

Special teams can win or lose games at the top level, and Seattle now has an elite group with Myers, Aussie punter Michael Dickson and kick returner Tyler Lockett.

All three have been to the Pro Bowl, and you only need to suffer through a few special teams breakdowns to understand how critical these guys really can be.

The Seahawks proved how much value they place on the kicking game by giving Myers a four-year deal worth a fat $15.5 million — with $7 million guaranteed.

Seattle has a history of avoiding giant free-agent signings when possible, hoping to build through the draft.

So far under the John Schneider-Pete Carroll regime, it’s worked out just fine.

Whether or not that strategy remains prudent with the window on Russell Wilson’s tenure just beginning to close...

Let’s wait and see.

Steve Cameron’s “Cheap Seats” columns for The Press appear on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He also contributes the “Zags Tracker” package on Gonzaga basketball each Tuesday.

Facebook: Steve Cameron

Twitter: @BrandNewDayCDA

Email: scameron@cdapress.com

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