RENTON – Free agency is two months away, but the speculation begins in earnest now with the end of Seattle’s season and the fact that seven starters are unrestricted free agents.
One of those is linebacker Bruce Irvin, and he hadn’t even cleaned out his locker on Monday before the misinterpretations began.
Irvin was asked about his hopes of returning, and he mentioned the subject came up in discussions with coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
“If it came to that, I would definitely come back,” Irvin said. “Three- or four-million (dollars), three-, four-, five-million I would definitely come back because I’m established here. These are my brothers. I honestly can’t even imagine myself playing with anybody else.”
OK. Let’s pause now for a second, because that can be taken a lot of different ways. In fact, it almost sounds like he’s looking for $3 million or $4 million a year in salary.
Knowing both Irvin and the situation, that is most definitely not the case. He’s looking for – and will receive – a salary significantly higher than $3 million to $5 million whether he stays here or signs elsewhere.
What Irvin meant was that if the Seahawks made an offer that was within $3 million to $5 million of the total contract offer from another team, he would be more inclined to stay in Seattle because of the relationships and history here.
All that said, this underscores the difficulty of trying to estimate the market two months before unrestricted free agency begins.
Irvin is a three-year starter in Seattle, a remarkably good strong-side linebacker who really wants to rush the passer as often as possible. He likes playing in Seattle, and he has been a steady contributor, but the question of what it will take to keep Irvin is going to depend on how much other teams value him and whether those teams see him as a defensive end.
And ultimately, it’s going to take more than $5 million a year to keep him in Seattle.