Report: Seahawks looking to trade Jermaine Kearse
The Seahawks are reportedly trying to trade receiver Jermaine Kearse, according a tweet Wednesday afternoon from ESPN NFL insider Dianna Russini.
The reported trade talks come just days before teams will simultaneously slice their rosters from 90 to 53 players, which needs to be done no later than 1 p.m. PDT Saturday. Seattle – as will the rest of the league – plays its preseason finale on Thursday, at the Oakland Raiders.
Trading Kearse at this point in the preseason would suggest the Seahawks are hoping to receive any type of compensation for the former UW Huskies receiver, prior to terminating his contract on Saturday.
Entering his sixth NFL season, Kearse is in the second year of a three-year, $13.5 million extension he signed with Seattle in March 2016. He's due to make $2.2 million in guaranteed base salary this season, carrying a cap hit of $4,033,333 – the 13th-highest on the team (via overthecap.com).
In addition to the financial factor, the concept of trading Kearse is interesting on several fronts.
For one, he's one of the few veteran receivers Seattle has on its roster after Doug Baldwin and third-year man Tyler Lockett, who has practiced in full during the preseason but is yet to play in a game since suffering a broken leg on Dec. 24.
Seattle's projected receiving corps without Kearse includes Baldwin, Paul Richardson, rookie Amara Darboh, former Husky Kasen Williams and perhaps second-year pro Tanner McEvoy. Earlier this week, quarterback Russell Wilson referred to the unit as "the most talented group we've ever had here, in terms of just overall group from left to right," though that statement obviously factored in Kearse's presence.
Speaking of Wilson, his relationship with Kearse is another reason parting ways with him might be considered odd. Undrafted the same year Wilson was selected in the third round, Kearse has grown with the franchise QB in the Seahawks organization and developed a rapport that has led to some of the most clutch catches in franchise history.
Wilson acknowledged that relationship earlier in training camp this month.
"Well, he's always been really clutch for us," Wilson said. "I mean, Jermaine has always been super consistent as well. Last year, I think Jermaine's standards in his head and everyone else's in his head, I think are super high. He believes in himself. Last year, he felt like he didn't have as great of a season as he normally has, and he's always been super talented and can do everything for us, from blocking to catching to make the big time catch, to getting open one-on-one. So, he's a special player."
That not-so-great of a season Wilson is referring to saw Kearse catch 41 passes for 510 yards and just one score. Kearse is often criticized for his lack of statistical production – his 49 catches for 685 yards and five TDs in 2015 were all career highs – but his knack for delivering in crunch time has been critical in earning the trust of the franchise QB.
There's his go-ahead touchdown catch against the San Francisco 49ers in the 2013 NFC Championship; his game-winning touchdown catch against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC title game the following season; and, although Seattle ultimately lost at the goal line, Kearse's diving, bobbling, red-zone grab in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.
At the same time, Seattle does in fact have talented players in Lockett and Richardson – though their injury histories are cause for caution – an emerging player in Williams, and a newbie in Darboh, who despite not producing during the preseason, is highly regarded by his teammates and coaches.
If Kearse is dealt -- or released, which might be more likely at this point -- then those players will quickly transition from Seattle's wideouts of the future to the present.
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