Among the continuing franchise player moves this week, Wednesday was a Dawg day as ex-University of Georgia teammates Richard Seymour and Marcus Stroud both hit the transactions wire. Seymour (the sixth overall pick in 2001) re-signed with the Raiders, while Stroud (the 13th overall pick that same year) was released by the Bills. Below are thoughts on both transactions.
Seymour, whom the Raiders gave up this year’s first-round pick for two years ago, helped to stabilize the Raiders’ defense and was a key to Oakland’s rebound season this year. After franchising Seymour last year, the Raiders worked a two-year deal worth up to $30 million with $22.5 million guaranteed. In other words, they’re paying him basically two years’ worth of franchise tags while saving the tag for another player (likely TE Zach Miller). Seymour, meanwhile, gets a contract potential worth more per season than Julius Peppers, the highest paid defensive end, makes. Seymour is still playing at a high level, and his 2010 Pro Bowl nod (his sixth) was well deserved. At age 31, Seymour isn’t over the hill, although his prime certainly is waning. Still, Seymour has the chance to turn his trade to Oakland into a nice second act to his career after eight great seasons in New England, and by keeping Seymour, the Raiders make their first-round investment more worthwhile. As the Raiders try to build a defense that’s sneaky good in the front seven, this is a positive move despite the high price tag.
Stroud, meanwhile, has not paid off for the Bills since they traded third- and fifth-round picks for him two seasons ago. Stroud had a strong 2009 season and parlayed it into a contract extension, but his 2010 performance tailed off, to the point that Pro Bowler Kyle Williams and (as pointed out by BuffLowDown.com) Alex Carrington are more valuable at defensive tackle. Stroud, who turns 32 this offseason, isn’t the player he was during his Pro Bowl tenure in Jacksonville, but he’s young enough to become at least a solid nose tackle elsewhere. Often, defensive tackles see massive fluctuations in their performance as they age, and from year to year they can look finished and then revitatlized. Stroud must now hope that is his path, but the Bills aren’t willing to gamble that it is.