In the salary-cap era, locating players who are both productive and inexpensive is a surefire way to extended success. It's really the only way.
The Seattle Seahawks have become the envy of the league on such matters. General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll built a Super Bowl champion by routinely acquiring players overlooked by the rest of the league. Russell Wilson (third round), Richard Sherman (fifth round), Kam Chancellor (fifth round) and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith (seventh round) are all examples of buried treasure.
The Seahawks have also found success signing players who weren't drafted at all. We gain some insight into Seattle's smart business acumen in the form of a recruiting brochure sent to agents to lure undrafted free agents. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport acquired a copy of the brochure, which can be seen here.
In the brochure, statistical data is used to show that no team offers undrafted free agents more preseason playing time than -- you guessed it -- the Seattle Seahawks.
It all begins with a written message by Carroll himself:
"We wholeheartedly believe in competition in all aspects of our program, and the only way to compete is to show it on the field," Carroll writes. "We're dedicated to giving all of our players a look to find out who they are and what they're all about so we can field the best team possible."
Additional data shows the Seahawks have consistently fielded rosters with undrafted free agents, are unafraid to cut draft picks to make room for free agents and have created a culture in which undrafted free agents placed on waivers become the subject of great interest from other teams.
It's smart execution from an organization that continues to prove itself ahead of the curve. The only question is who will be the first team to follow Seattle's lead?