While the Seahawks got a lot of notoriety a few weeks ago for their brochure aimed at luring undrafted free agents by touting the unique Seattle way of doing things, what also speaks loudly is money.
NFL teams this year had a budget of $80,362 to spend as signing bonuses on undrafted free agents. Teams can spend as much or as little of that as they wish. Teams can also spend as much of that on any one player as they might like — the Rams gave a $20,000 signing bonus this year to West Texas A&M defensive end Ethan Westbrooks and last year the Seahawks gave $25,000 to John Lotulelei, the biggest bonus given to any undrafted free agent in 2013.
After the NFL Draft on May 8-10, Seattle had just nine spots left on its 90-man roster, and used its UDFA bonus money to fill those openings. The Seahawks this year didn’t give anybody money quite up to the level they had the previous year with Lotulelei, with the two biggest bonuses going to Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat and Eastern Washington defensive tackle Andru Pulu, who each got $15,000, according to sources.
Here is the rest of the list:
TE Chase Dixon, Central Arkansas, $12,500
OL Garry Gilliam, Penn State, $12,000
QB Keith Price, Washington, $7,000
S Dion Bailey, USC, $5,000
OL Bronson Irwin, Oklahoma, $3,500
LB Brock Coyle, Montana, $3,000
CB Jimmy Legree, South Carolina, $1,000
That adds up to $74,000, so the Seahawks used most of their allotted budget for UDFAs (undrafted free agents also get room and board during official camps, as well as a weekly per diem).
Legree has since been waived, but the other eight remain on the roster following the team’s rookie mini-camp last week.
That the Seahawks gave as much as they did to Jeffcoat is no surprise as he was regarded as one of the more attractive players available after going undrafted despite making 13 sacks his final season at Texas.
That the Seahawks gave that much to Pulu, a graduate of Federal Way High near Seattle and who later played the 2009 season at Washington before being dismissed from the team due to an assault charge and landing at EWU, may be a little more eye-opening. But word is that the Seahawks had a late-round grade on Pulu during the draft and it obviously looks like they made him a priority, as well.
It similarly looks like Seattle placed a pretty high value on Gilliam, who now steps up a bit on the depth chart with the news that sixth-round draft pick Garrett Scott has been waived due to a rare heart condition. Scott was ticketed to play left tackle. With Scott not participating in the mini-camp last weekend, Gilliam took his reps at left tackle and made a good first impression on Seattle coaches.