Seahawks give up on Aaron Curry
Seattle reaches deal with Oakland for underachieving linebacker taken with the fourth overall pick in 2009
The Seahawks reached a deal with Oakland to send Curry, who lost his starting job earlier this season, to the Raiders for an undisclosed pick in each of the next two drafts. The move was not officially announced Wednesday because the teams were still awaiting approval from the league office, though the league's official Web site did list the trade on its transactions page. ESPN reported that the Seahawks will get a seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft and a conditional mid-round pick in 2013.
By trading Curry, the Seahawks expedited a departure that seemed inevitable once the team and Curry agreed to a restructured deal earlier this year. Curry's original contract, which included $34 million in guaranteed money, extended through the 2014 season, but the reworked deal made him a free agent after 2012 and eliminated his guaranteed money for next year.
After two games, Curry lost his starting job at strongside linebacker to rookie K.J. Wright. Even then, it seemed unlikely Curry would be traded this year because of the more than $5 million in base salary he was owed, but part of this trade will include Curry redoing his contract again to make it more attractive to the Raiders.
When the Seahawks eagerly grabbed Curry with the No. 4 pick, he was considered one of the most talented players, regardless of position, in the draft, as well as one of the safest picks. He immediately stepped into a starting job and flashed playmaking abilities early in his rookie season. Over time, however, Curry struggled to live up to the expectations that came with his draft status.
Curry's inability to become a star was highlighted by the success of other players, and in particular other linebackers, from his own draft class. Brian Orakpo has become a two-time Pro Bowl player for Washington and Clay Matthews was a first-team All-Pro with Green Bay last year and finished second in defensive player of the year voting. James Laurinaitis, a second-round pick, also has enjoyed a lot of success in St. Louis.
Additionally two quarterbacks, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman, were picked after Curry and have shown a lot of promise early in their careers. And in case you hadn't heard, quarterback has been a big question mark in Seattle over the past couple of seasons.
Despite his struggles, Curry remained a starter through his first two seasons, but that changed last month when he was unseated by Wright, a fourth-round pick in this year's draft.
On Wednesday, Curry was not at practice and his locker had been cleaned out. Teammates said Curry came by earlier in the day to say his goodbyes.
“He came and said how much he had learned from us and how much he's going to miss us and everything,” linebacker Leroy Hill said. “But it's a new beginning for him and hopefully he steps to the plate. Now he won't have all the expectations that he had here and can just relax and play ball. I wish him luck and I think everything will work out for him.”
As Hill pointed out, a change of scenery could be good for Curry. In Oakland, he will be a reclamation project with tons of athletic upside, and a player for whom the Raiders gave up little. In Seattle, he was always measured against his lofty draft status and huge contract.
“He gets to go to a new team, show the team who he is, and show what kind of person he is,” Wright said.
For Wright, Curry's departure is a vote of confidence after the two split playing time the past three games. Wright, who started the opener at middle linebacker in place of an injured David Hawthorne, moved back to his natural position, strongside linebacker, after Curry struggled against Pittsburgh in Week 2 and ended up winning the starting job. But even after switching to Wright, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll continued to say the position was open, and the two split time almost evenly in games. Now, the job is Wright's.
“They have a lot of confidence in what I can do,” Wright said. “They're pretty sure of my ability, so I'm going to show them that I can play and keep going.”
By moving on from Curry, the Seahawks also have continued the ongoing roster overhaul under Carroll and general manager John Schneider. With Curry's departure, the Seahawks now have just nine players on their active roster — 13 including players on injured reserve and the physically unable to perform list — who were on the roster Carroll and Schneider inherited in January of 2010.
Of the 37 players drafted by previous GM Tim Ruskell, just nine are with the organization and six are on the active roster. None of Ruskell's first-round picks are on the team. Curry, cornerback Kelly Jennings (2006) and defensive end Lawrence Jackson (2008) havie been traded. Center Chris Spencer (2005) went unsigned after his contract expired. Seattle had no first-round pick in 2007, having traded it to New England for Deion Branch. The Seahawks' first pick that year, cornerback Josh Wilson, also is gone, having been traded to Baltimore last year.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog
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