Despite a close comeback loss in the Divisional Round playoffs, the Seahawks are in a good place. Russell Wilson had his best statistical season under center; the team boasted a top-four defense for the fourth-straight season; and while Beast Mode could be taking his antics elsewhere, Seattle's offense will see the return of Jimmy Graham and Thomas Rawls in 2016.
However, one impending free agent isn't sure he needs to stick around. Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, an unrestricted free agent when the 2016 season commences, is from near the area and the University of Washington, but said Thursday that there are more pressing concerns in free agency than staying close to his roots.
"I love my hometown, but I've put in too much hard work to give a discount," Kearse told ESPN. "My number one priority is to take care of my family's future, so I will consider all opportunities."
Kearse deserves to shop around and escape the rain for at least a weekend. The fourth-year player was the Seahawks' second-leading receiver with 685 yards and five touchdowns. Kearse also ended the season with a bang, totaling a season-high 110 yards and two touchdowns during Seattle's impressive 24-point second half in Carolina. All this on a contract that saw him earn less than $3 million in 2015. He's got some leverage in a receiver-barren market.
If the Seahawks lose Kearse, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Doug Baldwin (78-1069-14) has emerged as Wilson's go-to guy in the red zone; he's in the Emerald City for at least another go-around. The return of Graham and Rawls will open up space for up-and-coming receivers Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson, who remain under contract.
So if he goes, he goes. Kearse and Seahawks fans will always have this catch.