WR Jermaine Kearse, a University of Washington product, returns to the team after signing a three-year deal worth $13.5 million that will double his previous salary.
Jermaine Kearse will not be leaving the Seahawks after all. The fifth-year wide receiver from Tacoma’s Lakes High, who vowed he would not give Seattle a “hometown discount,” agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the team Thursday only hours after he had been linked to potential deals with the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears.
Kearse reportedly signed for $13.5 million, doubling his previous average salary of $2.3 million per year.
Kearse becomes the third unrestricted free agent to re-sign with Seattle, following DL Ahtyba Rubin and CB Jeremy Lane. The Seahawks have lost LB Bruce Irvin (Oakland), DT Brandon Mebane (San Diego) and OG J.R. Sweezy (Tampa Bay) since the free-agency signing period began Wednesday afternoon.
Kearse said he would not give the Seahawks a hometown discount. He re-signed with the team. Irvin said he would give the Seahawks the discount, but signed instead with Oakland.
The Seahawks signed Kearse as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He developed steadily into a reliable secondary target in the passing game in the four seasons that followed. The 2015 season was his most productive with 49 catches for 685 yards and five touchdowns.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) March 11, 2016
In four regular seasons, Kearse has caught 112 passes for 1,599 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 14.3 yards per reception.
Kearse has been exceptional in the postseason. The University of Washington product has made 28 catches for 471 yards and six scores in eight playoff games, a franchise record. That includes the game-winning TD against the 49ers in the 2014 NFC Championship, a TD catch in Super Bowl XLVIII as Seattle rolled past the Denver Broncos, and the game-winning, 35-yard TD snag in the 2014 NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers that sent Seattle to Super Bowl XLXIX.
In Seattle’s season-ending loss to the Carolina Panthers, Kearse caught 11 passes on 15 targets for 110 yards and two touchdowns as Seattle stormed back from a 31-0 deficit, only to lose 31-24.
Kearse’s return to Seattle will come as great news for quarterback Russell Wilson, who had a 126.1 passer rating last year when targeting Kearse, the fourth-highest rating in the league between a quarterback and a receiver.
Kearse reportedly had an interest in signing with Atlanta, whose head coach, Dan Quinn, once served as Seattle’s defensive coordinator. But the Falcons Thursday signed former Cincinnati receiver Muhammed Sanu to a five-year, $32.5 million deal, apparently eliminating any interest Atlanta may have had in Kearse.
Alvin Bailey signs with Cleveland
OL Alvin Bailey, who started at both tackles and left guard during injury absences of Seahawks starters but was not tendered as a restricted free agent — he would have received $1.6 million – was signed Friday by the Cleveland Browns.
An undrafted rookie from Arkansas entering his fourth season, Bailey did not require a compensatory draft pick. He started eight of 42 games, including Super Bowl XLVIII.
SEAHAWKS FREE AGENT TRACKER
Unrestricted free agents retained
|Date||Player||Pos.||’15 Salary||New Deal|
|Mar 9||Ahtyba Rubin||DL||2.6M||3 years, $12M, $5.5M guaranteed|
|Mar 9||Jeremy Lane||CB||660K||4 years, $23M, $11M guaranteed|
|Mar 10||Jermaine Kearse||WR||2.3M||3 years, $13.5M, $6.3M guaranteed ’16|
|Mar 11||Jon Ryan||P||1.5M||4 years, $10M (1M annual raise)|
Unrestricted free agents lost
|Date||Player||Pos||New Team||New Deal|
|Mar 9||Bruce Irvin||LB||Raiders||5 years, $37M, $19M guaranteed|
|Mar 9||Brandon Mebane||DT||Chargers||3 years, $13.5M, $5.5M guaranteed|
|Mar 9||J.R. Sweezy||G||Bucs||5 years, $32.5M|
|Mar 9||Ricardo Lockette||WR||None||Seahawks declined to offer, now FA|
Remaining unrestricted free agents
|Date||Player||Pos.||’15 Salary||2015 Season/Skinny|
|—–||Russell Okung||T||4.8M||2010 No.1, 15 starts, 2 in playoffs|
|—–||Tarvaris Jackson||QB||1.3M||33 in April, mopped up in 4 games|
|—–||Michael Morgan||LB||750K||14 games with 2 starts|
|—–||Will Tukuafu||FB||745K||14 games, 1 touchdown|
|—–||Demarcus Dobbs||DE||745K||11 games, no starts|
|—–||Fred Jackson||RB||870K||16 games, 2 rec. TDs|
Restricted free agents
|Date||Player||Pos.||’15 Salary||New Deal|
|Mar 7||Patrick Lewis||C||585K||Tendered $1.67M|
|Mar 7||Cooper Helfet||TE||510K||Tendered $600,000|
|Mar 9||Alvin Bailey||G||585K||Signed with Browns|
|Mar 9||Derrick Coleman||FB||585K||Seahawks declined to offer, now FA|
|Mar 9||Christine Michael||RB||208K||Seahawks declined to offer, now FA|
|—–||Nick Moody||LB||413K||3 games, no starts|
Exclusive rights free agents
|Mar 6||Eric Pinkins||LB||180K||Tendered|
|Mar 7||DeShawn Shead||DB||660K||Tendered $760,000|
|Mar 8||Marcus Burley||CB||510K||Tendered $600,000|
|Mar 8||A.J. Francis||DT||6.6K||Tendered $600,000, signed|
|Mar 8||Jesse Williams||DT||393K||Waived; never played|
|Mar 9||Steven Terrell||CB||600K||Tendered|
|Mar 9||Moh. Seisay||CB||333K||Tendered|