Seahawks receive generous free agency grade despite Sherman, Graham, Richardson losses

Sheldon Richardson seemingly would have been a reasonable fit for the Seahawks, given the deal he signed with Minnesota. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Here is a breakdown of the initial wave of free agency for the Seattle Seahawks:

Overall grade: B. Even a middling grade such as that might sound generous, given that the Seahawks have lost way more talent than they've retained or added. They released Richard Sherman and traded Michael Bennett before letting the likes of Jimmy Graham, Sheldon Richardson and Paul Richardson walk in free agency. Instead of spending money to keep completely intact an aging team that went 9-7 last season -- a strategy that generally isn't conducive to long-term success -- the Seahawks turned over part of the top of their roster and replaced those players with veteran stopgaps on inexpensive deals, with none averaging more than $4.5 million per season. The individual decisions and the overall approach are understandable, even if the Seahawks won't be any better in the short term.

Most significant signing: It's actually a re-signing. The Seahawks gave themselves some protection at a position of great uncertainty when they kept safety Bradley McDougald on a three-year, $13.5 million deal. McDougald can take over at strong safety if Kam Chancellor's neck injury prevents him from playing again. He made seven starts there the past season and two more for Earl Thomas at free safety. Thomas is entering the final year of his contract, and the Seahawks are at least open to trading him, so McDougald gives Seattle a potential replacement at free safety too.

Most significant loss: Sherman is a fairly easy call here. The Seahawks will miss Graham's production in the red zone and Paul Richardson's ability to stretch the field. Their defensive line is much weaker without Bennett and Sheldon Richardson, to be sure. But releasing Sherman -- a move that cleared $11 million in salary-cap space -- left the biggest void. The Seahawks don't have much in the way of viable in-house replacements at left cornerback and certainly none that can come close to matching what Sherman -- a three-time All-Pro -- gave the team for the past seven seasons.

Player they should have signed: You could make a strong case for Sheldon Richardson, assuming the Seahawks could have had him on the deal he got from the Vikings. It's for one year and $8 million with another $3 million available in incentives. The Seahawks paid Richardson a little over $8 million for his one season in Seattle, so bringing him back wouldn't have required a raise unless he played well enough to hit his incentives (again, assuming he would have taken the same deal from Seattle). That would have been a reasonable price, and it would have mitigated the loss of talent along a defensive line that already moved on from Bennett and could be without Cliff Avril because of his career-threatening neck injury.

What's next: General manager John Schneider told reporters at the NFL owners meetings that the Seahawks are still in communication with Byron Maxwell's representatives. From a purely need and fit standpoint, bringing back Maxwell is something of a no-brainer. A major void remains at cornerback with Sherman gone. Maxwell has four-and-a-half seasons worth of familiarity in Seattle's defense and played well down the stretch last season after the Seahawks brought him back following Sherman's Achilles injury. But with as conservatively as they've been spending this free-agency period, the Seahawks might not be willing to offer Maxwell as much as he could get from another team. Elsewhere on the roster, the work might not be finished along the defensive line, even after Seattle added former Vikings Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen to help replace Richardson. The Seahawks have been linked to two other defensive tackles, Quinton Dial and Bennie Logan. They've also shown interest in former Raiders and Cowboys edge rusher Benson Mayowa, who began his career in Seattle. Backup quarterback is a need with Austin Davis unsigned and Trevone Boykin no longer in the mix after his release this week. Boykin was the only quarterback on Seattle's roster behind Russell Wilson.

Additions: Bradley McDougald, S (re-signed), Barkevious Mingo, OLB/DE (Colts); Tom Johnson, DT (Vikings); Shamar Stephen, DT (Vikings); Marcus Smith, DE (re-signed); Maurice Alexander, S (Rams); Akeem King, DB (re-signed); Justin Coleman, CB (tendered RFA); Dion Jordan, DE (tendered RFA); Ed Dickson, TE (Panthers); Jaron Brown, WR (Cardinals); D.J. Fluker, OL (Giants); Mike Davis, RB (re-signed)

Subtractions: Richard Sherman, CB; Michael Bennett, DL; Sheldon Richardson, DT; DeShawn Shead, CB; Jimmy Graham, TE; Paul Richardson, WR; Luke Willson, TE; Matt Tobin, OL.