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Seahawks to Cut Alexander?

Postby deerayfan072 » Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:19 am

It is against this backdrop of increasing age and injuries -- as well as diminishing productivity -- that the Seahawks must decide what to do with Shaun Alexander. There are the obvious financial ramifications, because of the $11.5 million signing bonus that was attached to his new deal. If Alexander is on the roster for the 2008 season, he will count $6.775 million against the salary cap. If he is released before June 1, the cap hit is $6.9 million. But if released after June 1, the hit is spread over two years -- $2.3 million this year, $4.6 million in 2009. -- Seattle P-I
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Re: Seahawks to Cut Alexander?

Postby deerayfan072 » Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:20 am

Shaun Alexander's productivity tailing off
Alexander's productivity tailing off, and at 30, he's getting long in the tooth

By CLARE FARNSWORTH
P-I REPORTER

KIRKLAND -- It seems like only a couple years ago that Shaun Alexander arrived as a first-round draft choice, the glow of his unlimited potential matched only by the radiance of that trademark grin.

The Seahawks really didn't need Alexander, the workhorse running back from Alabama, because they already had Ricky Watters. But Alexander was simply too good to pass up with the 19th selection in the 2000 draft.

Eight seasons later, Alexander has become Watters.

A prolific back only two years ago, when he was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player after scoring a record 28 touchdowns and leading the NFL with 1,880 rushing yards, Alexander's production the past two seasons has been eroded by injuries and ineffectiveness.

Just like Watters before him. And Chris Warren before him. And Curt Warner before him.

The Seahawks and their leading rusher arriving at this keep-him/cut-him crossroads is not uncharted territory.

It's become a fact of life in this game -- especially for running backs. The human body can take only so much, and continue to deliver for only so long.

While Alexander turned 30 last August, Warner was 28 in his final season with the club, Warren 29 and Watters 32.

"At that position, you can't hide anything," is the way one league assistant coach put it. "If you get old, it goes away real fast. It's not like other positions. A runner who doesn't have it anymore has no place to hide."

From 2001-2005, Alexander averaged 367 touches for five seasons (rushing and receiving). The apex came in 2005, when he carried the ball 370 times and caught 15 passes.

In the past two seasons, when he missed the first games of his career because of injuries, Alexander's touches were down, and so was his productivity.

Just like Watters, Warren and Warner. Each produced his most productive season, only to follow it up with one (Watters), two (Warren) or three (Warner) seasons of diminishing returns that preceded their departure.

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren came to Alexander's defense all season, and continued to do so last week during his season-ending news conference.

"Absolutely he is capable of -- maybe not getting the 1,800 yards he had in the great season in 2005 -- but being a very productive back," Holmgren said. "I believe he can."

Holmgren's support of a player who has done so much for this franchise seems justified, to a point. Alexander played with injuries all season. There was his left wrist, which he sprained in the season opener and then cracked when he fell on it in Week 3.

Alexander had surgery last week to repair the wrist. Holmgren has said that playing with a protective cast on the wrist affected Alexander's play more than anyone anticipated.

He also suffered a sprained left knee and ankle in Week 9, and the knee injury forced him to sit out three games.

His offensive line, meanwhile, did Alexander no favors. The Seahawks' season-long ineffectiveness in run blocking partially led to, and also magnified, Alexander's tentativeness.

"They have absolutely no running game, and their O-line is average to a little above average," one NFC scout said the week before the team's loss to the Green Bay Packers in the second round of the playoffs -- an assessment then supported by the Seahawks rushing for 28 yards on 18 carries in the loss at Lambeau Field.

But the same scout also pointed to another factor that links Alexander to Warner and Warren -- his extra-large contract. Alexander got a new eight-year, $62 million deal after the 2005 season. Warner and Warren also were rewarded after their best seasons, but were not around for the length of their contracts.

"A franchise back gets that big contract, and then he wants to make sure he's around to collect on it," former Seahawks coach Chuck Knox once said. "So instead of just hitting the hole, they're looking around to see if they're going to get hit.

"It's human nature. But it changes them, and the way they play the game."

As the NFC scout said, "Shaun got nicked, he got the new contract and he's not the same back -- not even close."

Another scout wasn't even that diplomatic, simply offering, "He's done."

It is against this backdrop of increasing age and injuries -- as well as diminishing productivity -- that the Seahawks must decide what to do with Alexander.

There are the obvious financial ramifications, because of the $11.5 million signing bonus that was attached to his new deal.

If Alexander is on the roster for the 2008 season, he will count $6.775 million against the salary cap. If he is released before June 1, the cap hit is $6.9 million. But if released after June 1, the hit is spread over two years -- $2.3 million this year, $4.6 million in 2009.

There also is the issue of chemistry. Teammates used to consider Alexander a "me" player in an "us" game. This was never more apparent than when he scored his record-breaking 28th touchdown in the '05 regular-season finale against the Packers in Green Bay. Rather than being mobbed by teammates in the end zone, Alexander was a solitary man as he pointed to the heavens.

Flash forward to the '07 regular-season home finale. After Alexander took a screen pass and weaved his way 14 yards for a score against the Ravens, well-wishing teammates engulfed him as he crossed the goal line.

Also viewed as signs of maturity have been Alexander embracing Holmgren's decision at midseason to veer away from the running game and return to his pass-first-and-foremost roots, and the way Alexander accepted the job-sharing approach with backup Maurice Morris down the stretch.

The other players even came to his defense when fans began venting their frustration at Alexander -- the player Holmgren labeled the "lightning rod" for the season-long problems with the running game.

"A player who's done what Shaun has for this franchise and they're booing him -- at home," Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson said. "That's just not right."

So what is the right thing to do with Alexander?

Even if the club decides to go with him for another season, it needs to address the running back position in the draft. Just like the Seahawks did when they selected Alexander, but already had Watters.
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Re: Seahawks to Cut Alexander?

Postby Nfl Fan » Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:52 am

"A player who's done what Shaun has for this franchise and they're booing him -- at home," Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson said. "That's just not right."


My thoughts exactly!

So what is the right thing to do with Alexander?

Even if the club decides to go with him for another season, it needs to address the running back position in the draft. Just like the Seahawks did when they selected Alexander, but already had Watters.


I'd love to see Stewart fall to them, but I don't think that will happen.
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Re: Seahawks to Cut Alexander?

Postby Bowie » Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:20 pm

Nfl Fan wrote:
"A player who's done what Shaun has for this franchise and they're booing him -- at home," Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson said. "That's just not right."


My thoughts exactly!


If he was running hard but had simply lost a gear I would agree. However, when a guy signs a huge, salary cap crippling contract and then proceeds to tippy-toe around the line of scrimmage and fall down at first contact (if not before) it is perfectly reasonable to boo him.
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Re: Seahawks to Cut Alexander?

Postby Nfl Fan » Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:11 pm

Bowie wrote:
Nfl Fan wrote:
"A player who's done what Shaun has for this franchise and they're booing him -- at home," Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson said. "That's just not right."


My thoughts exactly!


If he was running hard but had simply lost a gear I would agree. However, when a guy signs a huge, salary cap crippling contract and then proceeds to tippy-toe around the line of scrimmage and fall down at first contact (if not before) it is perfectly reasonable to boo him.


To his defense, he was always a cut-back runner. Fans got twisted about his style (not hitting the hole hard) for years. Now, you add a broken wrist + marginal line + 30 years and you have issues. The broken wrist was the biggest thing, though. He carried in his right arm even running left and couldn't stiff-arm with his left when running right. Tough being a one-armed running back.

I'm interested to see if he can bounce back, but nonetheless, he is a class act and I WILL NEVER BOO HIM! No way.
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Re: Seahawks to Cut Alexander?

Postby eaglesrule » Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:37 pm

Man, this was one of the most predictable things to happen in a long time. I'm sure they weren't thrilled when he broke the record, because he has always had those soft/doesn't run hard/overrated whispers around him. But they had to do something because of the fan base. I find this stuff funny sometimes, because the fan base knows something that management knew (notice how long it took them to sign him that year) a few years ago. I wouldn't be surprised, he has been underwhelming, and spending a ton of money on the "big" runningback seems to be fading, if not dying. It's not good when you pay a back that much and you have to become a pass-oriented team.
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Re: Seahawks to Cut Alexander?

Postby biju » Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:17 pm

Shaun Alexander needs to restructure his contract. If not, the Seahawks need to outright cut him.

It's unfortunate that it's come to this, but the "dumb" fans are reaping what they sowed back after the 2005 season. I heard a ton of people screaming to re-sign him and we let the *real* reason for his success leave off to Minnesota in the worst fashion possible.

Now, because of his monster contract, we're likely not going to be able to sign Alan Faneca which is *exactly* what he needs if he ever is to come close to gaining over 800 yards in a season again. Furthermore, the inept running game is exactly what the Seahawks need to get to the next level. Without it, it's apparent the well-rounded teams in the NFC are a class above the Seahawks as the Packers proved.

While the Seahawks have a bunch of players they are trying to keep this offseason (Marcus Trufant, DJ Hackett, Sean Locklear, and Josh Brown) I would place the importance highly on getting the O-line in order. We'll probably franchise tag Trufant and try to get Locklear back. We're going to place emphasis on getting Hackett back since Branch might be out the entire season in 2008, and I do think that if we can right our O-line we should try to get him back in Seattle, but I think the reason why we traded for Charlie Frye was to get him in as the backup QB and let Seneca Wallace mature into the WR he should be. That might ease the issues we have at that space.

I really am concerned for my Seahawks in 2008. I think they're right on the cusp of becoming that has-been in the NFC West. I understand why Holmgren spent some serious time considering retirement, because it's going to be hard to win next season... :~(
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Re: Seahawks to Cut Alexander?

Postby LS2throwed » Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:19 pm

Nfl Fan wrote:
"A player who's done what Shaun has for this franchise and they're booing him -- at home," Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson said. "That's just not right."


My thoughts exactly!

So what is the right thing to do with Alexander?

Even if the club decides to go with him for another season, it needs to address the running back position in the draft. Just like the Seahawks did when they selected Alexander, but already had Watters.


I'd love to see Stewart fall to them, but I don't think that will happen.



Seeing as how the last game Stewart had was a monster game, and when he works out at the combines scouts are going to fall in love...seahawks would have to move up to get him honestly...But it could be a blessing in disguise, rashard mendenhall will probably be there and I think he is the more complete back, and fits better with seattle, quicker and faster, works well with all those wrs out on the field...They could go mendenhall and morris, last resort Felix Jones will be there but he's more of a split carry back, stewart and mendenhall are built to carry the load, but your an oregon fan so I can see why you would want stewart, just think someone like Arizona scoops him up first because Edge doesnt have much left either

Seahawks dont really have any other needs, they are pretty stacked everywhere else, so i think its stewart/mendenhall whoever is available when they pick
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Re: Seahawks to Cut Alexander?

Postby Nfl Fan » Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:13 pm

LS2throwed wrote:
Nfl Fan wrote:
"A player who's done what Shaun has for this franchise and they're booing him -- at home," Pro Bowl linebacker Julian Peterson said. "That's just not right."


My thoughts exactly!

So what is the right thing to do with Alexander?

Even if the club decides to go with him for another season, it needs to address the running back position in the draft. Just like the Seahawks did when they selected Alexander, but already had Watters.


I'd love to see Stewart fall to them, but I don't think that will happen.



Seeing as how the last game Stewart had was a monster game, and when he works out at the combines scouts are going to fall in love...seahawks would have to move up to get him honestly...But it could be a blessing in disguise, rashard mendenhall will probably be there and I think he is the more complete back, and fits better with seattle, quicker and faster, works well with all those wrs out on the field...They could go mendenhall and morris, last resort Felix Jones will be there but he's more of a split carry back, stewart and mendenhall are built to carry the load, but your an oregon fan so I can see why you would want stewart, just think someone like Arizona scoops him up first because Edge doesnt have much left either

Seahawks dont really have any other needs, they are pretty stacked everywhere else, so i think its stewart/mendenhall whoever is available when they pick


My thoughts exactly on Stewart. He shows at the combines and they see his freak strength combined with a 4.4 40, and he goes waaaay before Seattle's pick.
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Re: Seahawks to Cut Alexander?

Postby stomperrob » Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:18 pm

January 21, 2008 1:16 PM
Alexander on KJR, and some numbers
Posted by Jose Romero

Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander spoke with KJR-AM's Dave "Softy" Mahler just about an hour ago, and the most interesting thing he said was a response to a question about whether Alexander will have his contract restructured.

"You don't really do that with your foundation people. You do that with the people you aren't sure about," Alexander said. "I just don't think that they [the Seahawks] would do that. They're too classy for that."

Alexander may be part of the Seahawks' foundation, but there has to be some uncertainty about what he can still bring to the table even if he said he feels he can get back to 2005 MVP form. Alexander has always been sort of hard to figure out sometimes, so I wonder if that statement is what he actually believes. It seems like the Seahawks will at least explore the idea of changing the numbers on Alexander's contract so as to gain some salary-cap room, in part because Alexander has been injured the past two seasons and is not as effective for one reason or another.

Alexander's signing bonus, which was $11.5 million, is guaranteed money. It is spread out over the eight years of his contract which he signed in 2006, so two seasons of it are complete. The base salary for each year is not guaranteed but it also figures into his cap number each year he remains on the team. This year, Alexander made $1.4 million in base salary. In 2008, that annual salary jumps to $4.475 million.

Some of that money would really help the Seahawks in free agency this season if they wanted to make a splash. Just something to think about.

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