Time again to answer a few Seahawks questions received via Twitter. And as always, you can ask more by sending them to @bcondotta.
A: It might have gotten somewhat lost in the shuffle, but Seattle has already signed competition for Walsh, in late March bringing in free agent John Lunsford, who had been released a couple days earlier by Tampa Bay when the Bucs signed Nick Folk.
Lunsford, who attended Liberty, was originally signed by the 49ers as an undrafted free agent a year ago and played in three preseason games for the 49ers. After being released by the 49ers — who had given him $10,000 guaranteed to sign — he was signed by Tampa Bay following the season before being released.
Lunsford finished his college career as the all-time FCS leader in kicks made of 50 yards or longer — 12 — but was known as a kicker with an exceptionally strong leg but with some accuracy issues at times.
Lunsford was signed to a one-year contract worth the minimum of $465,000 while Walsh signed a one-year deal worth $1.1 million, but with no money guaranteed.
So if Lunsford won the job, Seattle could save about $635,000, which is already on top of the $2 million that the Seahawks are saving by having decided not to re-sign Steven Hauschka, who instead agreed to a four-year deal worth $12 million with Buffalo.
The Seahawks could still look to add to the kicking competition, though I can’t imagine they would ever have three kickers on the roster at any one time. But the contracts of both Walsh and Lunsford are low-risk and can be gotten out of in a heartbeat so there could still be more change.
Given that they have two kickers on the roster, though, I’d be surprised if Seattle drafted another kicker, especially considering that at the moment the Seahawks only have seven picks anyway.
A: The obvious — if maybe unsatisfying — answer is “we’ll see.’’
Recall that Seattle ended last season with Tyler Ott handling the snapping duties during the playoffs after Nolan Frese, who held the job during the regular season, was injured during the final game at San Francisco.
Both remain on the roster and presumably will compete for the snapping position in camp — though as we saw last year, the Seahawks are not above making surprising moves at this spot during the off-season.
I know what many fans may want is a return of Clint Gresham, who held the job from 2010-15 before being waived last March. But I think that ship has sailed — Gresham has moved to Texas and is writing a book and has not signed with any other team since being let go by the Seahawks.
Gresham was released in part due to salary cap considerations — he was in the midst of a three-year contract worth a total of $2.7 million.
Ott and Frese are each due to make $540,000 in 2017 — neither guaranteed. So money won’t be an issue in who wins that battle, assuming they make it to training camp as the two combatants.
A: I would assume next week. The regular season schedules the last three years have all come out between April 14 and April 22, or a week or so before the NFL Draft, and that’s exactly where we are now in the timeline.
The impending release of the schedule also is usually leaked a day ahead of time to garner maximum publicity for its unveiling, and it’s hard to imagine that would happen on a Friday, and if they go with the same plan of leaking the news a day ahead of time then maybe not a Monday, either (since Sunday might be a strange day to leak that news, especially Easter).
So given all of that, I’d say next Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday seem good bets for when the schedule will be released. I’d doubt they would wait until the following week, with the draft set to begin Thursday, April 27, and when there will be more than enough publicity and chatter in the days leading up to the draft about the draft itself without the league having to plop the schedule release into the middle of it.
The NFL has always of late released the schedule prior to the draft so that it can promote key games during the draft coverage.