By Eric D. Williams The News Tribune
RENTON — After 10 games with the Seattle Seahawks, Jason Jones appears to have found a home in Seattle.
However, the defensive tackle’s long-term status with the Seahawks is up in the air.
“I like my teammates and I like everybody here,” Jones said. “But that’s something for my agent to handle.”
The 26-year-old pass rusher is one of 10 unrestricted free agents expected to hit the open market for the Seahawks in 2013.
Others include fellow defensive tackle Alan Branch, receiver Braylon Edwards, kicker Steven Hauschka, linebacker Leroy Hill, tight end Evan Moore, offensive lineman Frank Omiyale, tight end Cameron Morrah and cornerback Marcus Trufant.
Projected restricted free agents for Seattle in 2013 include defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, long snapper Clint Gresham and safety Chris Maragos.
Jones signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Seahawks during the offseason because he wanted to re-establish his market value after playing out of position and dealing with injuries while with Tennessee.
Jones has played in eight games, totaling 2.5 sacks and two pass deflections this season. He missed two games because of an ankle issue.
“I think overall I’ve played pretty well,” Jones said. “You can always play better. I’m mad I sat out those two games with the ankle, so I just want to finish out these last six games strong.”
Jones has not produced eye-popping numbers, but Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has been pleased with the rangy defensive lineman’s ability to create consistent pressure from the interior of the line when he’s been in the game.
“He has this way about him to get into cracks and stuff that helps everybody rush better,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “Our pass rush is at our best when he’s out there so hopefully we can get him going and allow him to be a factor. He doesn’t always have to make the sack to be a factor because he has great reach and he gets in the quarterbacks way and he gains real well with the ends, so he’s a big accent to us.”
The Seahawks may be better off getting a deal done with Jones or Branch instead of franchising them next season. Based on a league-wide salary cap of $121 million next year, Brian McIntyre, a NFL cap specialist who works for Yahoo Sports, projects the franchise tag number for defensive tackles in 2013 to be a little over $8 million.
McIntyre said that the Seahawks currently have $13.5 million in salary cap space that they can roll over to 2013, so general manager John Schneider and Carroll could look to re-sign players they do not want to hit the free agent market next year in December before this season comes to a close, similar to deals the Seahawks made to reward receivers Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu at the end of the 2010 season.
Other players who have performed well like receiver Doug Baldwin and cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner will have to wait because they are signed at least through the 2013 season, so the Seahawks don’t have to re-do their contracts until next year.
However, third-year safety Kam Chancellor’s contract can be re-negotiated because he was drafted in 2010 under the old collective bargaining agreement.
Chancellor earned a Pro Bowl berth in 2011 in his first year as a starter, and followed it up with a solid campaign this season, so the Seahawks’ brass might be looking to get Chancellor under a long-term deal before his price tag goes up.
The Virginia Tech product is signed through the 2014 season, but will receive a significant bump in salary in 2013 because of playing-time escalators he reached in his contract.