By Eric Williams The News Tribune
Darrell Bevell has a problem that most offensive coordinators won’t complain about.
Since the Seattle Seahawks signed Percy Harvin and added him to a group of receivers that includes Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin — along with tight end Zach Miller and running back Marshawn Lynch — Bevell has to figure out how to spread the ball around to keep all those playmakers happy.
“The only problem right now is we only have one ball,” Bevell said with a laugh.
Bevell started the spread-the-wealth process last week, working to devise schemes that best suit Harvin’s skills in Seattle’s offense.
Harvin led the Vikings in receptions through nine games last season, with 62 catches for 677 yards and three touchdowns. That put him among the league leaders before he suffered a severe ankle sprain against Seattle.
Rice led the Seahawks in receptions with 50 catches for 748 yards and seven touchdown in 16 games during the regular season. Seattle threw the ball a league-low 25 times a game last season, so Bevell will have to increase the passing attempts for quarterback Russell Wilson to meet the expectations of his talented group of receivers.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons that we get to work with,” Bevell said. “And a lot of different skill sets, with a variety of guys. So it’s going to be fun devising that plan and using the strength that each one of those guys have to get them the ball.”
Bevell said one of the things Seattle will have to balance during the offseason is being innovative with new offensive schemes, including the further development of the zone read option, but not adopting so much new stuff that the offense bogs down.
“That’s always the fine line that we’re trying to walk — put enough in that we’re able to have enough variety, but then not overload the players” he said. “The problem is, you can’t go by your smartest and easiest guy to process information. You’ve kind of got to go to the other end, because you need all 11 guys playing as fast as they can. So we need to make sure that we don’t overload the other guys as well. Just because (Wilson) may be able to do something, some of the other guys might not be able to come along with him.”
Bevell served as offensive coordinator for Minnesota during Harvin’s first two seasons in the league. So it’s no surprise that Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider consulted him before making the trade.
“Both John and coach Carroll came in on numerous occasions, and asked me about Percy in a lot of different ways,” he said. “What he could bring to us, what kind of guy he is, how is he in the locker room — all of the questions that they wanted answered.
“I have nothing but great things to say about Percy. I had a great time with him. Obviously he was a great player for us. He was Rookie of the Year for us … He can do so many things. Him and I, our relationship is great.”
Bevell acknowledged that Harvin had “a couple of issues” with former Minnesota head coach Brad Childress while Bevell was with the Vikings.
However, Bevell thought the incident with Harvin and current Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier caught on video during the game at Seattle last November was more bark than bite.
“I think that was a little bit overblown with the one case that happened on TV,” Bevell said. “He’s had some issues in his past, but with me he was great. I think the lines of communication are open. And I think coach Carroll does a great job of how he handles his team as well. I don’t foresee us having any issues with him.”
Michael Bennett, a free-agent defensive lineman from the Buccaneers who had nine sacks last season, officially signed his contract with the Seahawks Friday. Bennett agreed to terms late Thursday, just after the team had announced the signing of Cliff Avril, a free-agent defensive end from the Lions who produced 9.5 and 11 sacks the past two seasons.
Bennett entered the league with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He was released in October of his rookie season to clear a roster spot and the Bucs claimed him. In three-plus seasons in Tampa, the 6-foot-4, 274-pound Bennett had 114 tackles and 15 sacks.
Wide receiver Ben Obomanu announced via Twitter on Friday that he will be released by the team.
“#Seattle it’s been grt! 7th rd pick &7 good years for #87! Now for an opportunity to play and continue to live my dream. Thanks #12Man,” Obomanu wrote via his Twitter account.
The Seahawks have not confirmed Obomanu’s release.
Obomanu later told KJR-AM that he will indeed be released by Seattle.
“We agreed to allow me to join the free agent pool now instead of possibly waiting around through training camp,” Obomanu said.
Obomanu was scheduled to make $2.3 million in base salary in 2013 in the final year of a three-year extension. But with the addition of Harvin, Obomanu would have been the fifth receiver on Seattle’s roster at best, which made his salary a prohibitive luxury for Seattle to keep.
The Seahawks will save about $2.5 million in cap space by releasing Obomanu.
By letting him go now, the Seahawks allow Obomanu a chance to catch on with another team.
Obomanu, 29, finished 2012 on injured reserve with a wrist issue. He thought he could have came back had Seattle given him the chance. Known for his toughness, versatility and special teams skills, Obomanu finished his career in Seattle with 87 receptions for 1,209 yards and seven touchdowns.