Hutchinson visits Seahawks; Gallery released

SEATTLE — Apparently, even after a poison pill and a messy departure, you can go home again. Or at least look into it.

Steve Hutchinson, the Pro Bowl left guard who left Seattle for Minnesota on not-so-good terms in 2006, was in Seattle for a free agent visit Wednesday, a sign that both he and the Seahawks are considering a reunion. Hutchinson isn’t the only free agent visiting the Seahawks this week, as quarterback Matt Flynn and defensive end Jason Jones all have visits scheduled. Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne was scheduled to visit the Seahawks Wednesday night, but signed a two-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

On Wednesday, the Seahawks released veteran left guard Robert Gallery, who signed to a three-year deal last season. Gallery was due $5 million in each of the next two seasons. The Seahawks also re-signed backup offensive lineman Paul McQuistan on Wednesday.

It probably doesn’t hurt that Hutchinson, a seven-time Pro Bowler, has almost no remaining ties to the organization he left six years ago. The entire front office and coaching staff have been turned over, meaning there shouldn’t be any remaining hostility, and it should also help Seattle’s chances that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spent five seasons in Minnesota with Hutchinson.

Hutchinson, who is now 34, was part of a dominant offensive line in Seattle playing alongside Walter Jones, and helped lead the Seahawks to Super Bowl XL. Following that 2005 season, Hutchinson was a free agent and it was widely expected that Seattle would place the franchise tag on him. Instead, the Seahawks applied the transition tag on him, which meant that, while they could match any other team’s offer, they would receive no compensation if Hutchinson left — teams that lose a player after applying the franchise tag get two first-round pick as compensation.

Minnesota then offered Hutchinson a seven-year $49 million contract that included a “poison pill” provision which stated that, if Hutchinson wasn’t his team’s highest-paid lineman, the entire contract was immediately guaranteed. For the Seahawks, who had a year earlier re-signed Jones to a lucrative long-term deal, that meant matching Minnesota’s offer sheet would require all of Hutchinson’s deal was guaranteed.

So rather than keep intact the best left side of a line in the NFL, the Seahawks had to let Hutchinson walk with nothing to show for it. Seattle eventually got a bit of revenge, singing receiver Nate Burleson to contract that included poison pill provisions that would keep Minnesota from matching, but the team’s line never fully recovered. Ironically Hutchinson is the latest in a long series of veteran left guards the Seahawks have explored since 2006 when they were trying to replace Hutchinson.

All of that is apparently ancient history, however, and there is now a real chance that Hutchinson will come back to the team that selected him in the first round of the 2001 draft. In Minnesota, Hutchinson continued to be one of the best guard’s in the league, earning Pro Bowl honors in each of his first four seasons there. Injuries and age have limited his effectiveness some, but Hutchinson was still able to start 14 games last season.

Flynn to visit

The Seahawks are by all accounts out of the running for Peyton Manning, but they are still looking at quarterback options. Flynn, a free agent who was Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay, is scheduled to visit this week, the team confirmed.

Flynn, who has excelled in his only two career starts, was expected to be a hot commodity on the free agent market, but Manning’s availability, as well as Washington’s ability to trade up to the No. 2 pick, where it will draft Robert Griffin III, has the market for Flynn seemingly cooling. Seattle should have more familiarity with Flynn than most teams because general manager John Schneider was a part of the Green Bay front office when the Packers drafted Flynn.

The Seahawks currently have two quarterbacks under contract — Tarvaris Jackson, last year’s starter, and Josh Portis, who was signed last year as an undrafted free agent.

Carlson headed to Minnesota

John Carlson, who established Seahawks records for a tight end with 55 catches and 627 receiving yards as a rookie, is heading back to his home state of Minnesota after signing a five-year contract with the Vikings Wednesday. Carlson, a second-round pick in 2008, was a force in the passing game his first two seasons, but saw his numbers decline in 2010, then missed the entire 2011 season with a torn labrum. His role would have decreased last year even if healthy, the result of the Seahawks signing Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller last summer.

Head coach Pete Carroll expressed a desire to utilize both tight ends in the offense, both at the time of the Miller signing then again at the end of the season, but the reality was that the Seahawks weren’t going to pay Carlson starting tight end money with Miller also on the books. Had no team stepped up with a big offer, Seattle would have likely tried to keep Carlson, but Minnesota’s offer of $25 million over five years was simply too much for a second tight end.

The NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported the Seahawks will host tight end Visanthe Shiancoe for a free agent visit “within the next few days.” Shiancoe knows Bevell from their time together in Minnesota.


Linebacker David Hawthorne, the team’s leading tackler each of the last three seasons and now an unrestricted free agent, is scheduled to visit the Saints later this week, reports CBS Sports. … Guard Mike Gibson, who spent the last three years in Seattle, starting eight games in 2010, has signed with the Eagles, according to Pro Football Weekly. Gibson began his career in Philadelphia as sixth-round draft pick in 2008, then was signed by Seattle off the practice squad in 2009.

Herald Writer John Boyle:

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith is hugged by center Austin Blythe, right, after Smith rushed for an 8-yard touchdown during the first half of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Grading the Seahawks’ 48-45 victory over the Lions

Geno Smith and the offense take home the top marks from a wild affair.

Marysville-Pilchuck’s Darren Johnson-Jones, left, tries to block a pass to Miguel Chavez, right, during football practice on Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021 in Marysville, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Football Game of the Week

Help pick one of the high school football games we cover Friday… Continue reading

Runners in the 3A-4A Boys 5K turn a corner as the sun sets during the Nike Twilight Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, at Cedarcrest Golf Course in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
GALLERY: 15th Annual Nike Twilight XC Invitational

Teams from across the Pacific Northwest descend on Cedarcrest Golf Course in Marysville for the major cross country meet.

Seattle Mariners, including Jarred Kelenic, foreground, Cal Raleigh, second from left, and another player celebrate with fans after the team's baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Seattle. The Mariners won 2-1 to clinch a spot in the playoffs. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Finally!: M’s end 21 years of misery by clinching playoff berth

Baseball is fun again in the Pacific Northwest in a way that it hasn’t been in more than two decades.

The Herald's prep football roundup. (Photo by Elaine Thompson)
Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 30

Prep football roundup for Friday, Sept. 30: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Stanwood’s Ryder Bumgarner and teammates yell in celebration after winning the Stilly Cup for the first time in 13 years on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Stanwood rolls past Arlington, wins 1st Stilly Cup since 2009

Ryder Bumgarner runs for 246 yards and the unbeaten Spartans defeat their archrival for the 1st time in 13 years.

Sultan’s Derek Feltner takes a handoff from quarterback Westin Galle against Granite Falls on Friday, Sep. 30, 2022, at Sultan High School in Sultan, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Sultan holds on in wild finish, beats rival Granite Falls

The Turks win the Black and Blue Bowl trophy for the first time since 2017.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, above, makes a catch in the end zone for a touchdown as Atlanta Falcons safety Jaylinn Hawkins defends during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Preview: Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions

The Seahawks hit the road to face the banged-up Lions in a matchup of 1-2 teams.

The AquaSox have the bases load in the first inning against the Vancouver Canadians Tuesday evening at Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett June 29th, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Patterson: AquaSox’s facilities need major upgrade

Funko Field’s facilities aren’t up to MLB’s standards, so Everett’s time as a partner with the ESD will likely have to end.

Most Read