Well, here we are, 5-1 and a week and a half away from the 2019 NFL Trade Deadline. We’ve gleamed a few things from six weeks of regular season ball from these Seattle Seahawks. We know that quarterback Russell Wilson is on pace for an MVP level season, and we know that largely because of his play, the offense has been humming along both through the air, and on the ground with the stellar running of Chris Carson, and others.
We also know that, at best, the defense has been just sorta hanging in there, and while they have been able to create some key turnovers as of late, the pass rush has been a work in progress, to put it nicely. The defensive line has been able to get pressures, but they haven’t be able to generate sacks or hits. That can all change with the return of defensive tackle Jarran Reed into the starting lineup after serving his six game suspension. However, even with his return, the team might consider looking to add here. When Seattle was playing in Super Bowls, the defensive line rotation was deep. I’m not sure we can all it that this year. Not yet, anyways.
So, if I were General Manager John Schneider, and I got the green light that all was cool with Head Coach Pete Carroll, I would be on the phone with the New England Patriots on a trade deal to bring back defensive end Michael Bennett. What he can do as a pass rusher is probably still special enough, and Seattle has used him perfectly rushing all up and down their four man front, depending on match ups.
Presently, he seems to be at odds with the New England coaching staff (is anyone surprised about this?) about how he is being used and or not used, and is sitting out this week on a suspension dished out by the very not Pete Carroll New England head coach Bill Belichick. Bennett, is a bit of an oddball, and can come across as a bit of a malcontent, but one thing he never does is not give it is absolute all on the football field. The current Northeasterly vibe I get is that perhaps with New England shifting back to a 3-4 defense, Bennett just hasn’t been a great fit there, and possibly both sides are coming to that understanding.
While two years ago Bennett may have lost his zest playing for Seattle, maybe, just possibly, a season and a half removed from this team and its player friendly head coach will have made his heart grow fonder about returning to the PNW where he most flourished as a player in Carroll’s 4-3 scheme. Conversely, Seattle’s coaching staff, seeing how slowly their pass rush has come along, might be now pine for the return of the hip gyrating sack master to do his voodoo again at Century Link Field. This could be a really great story line to the 2019 season, and in some respects, a very Seahawk-y move. There is precedence with former players returning to the program.
With Ziggy Ansah’s injury history, and the greenness of Rasheem Green and LJ Collier, I definitely think the return of Bennett to Seattle makes a ton of sense. I also think this team’s culture and this city’s vibe is the right place for the outspokenness of Bennett. He enjoyed his best seasons as a player out here. Seattle always knew how to use him, and hipster fans loved his social awareness and sound bites. He was a definite fan favorite.
More importantly to football, though, he could really give Seattle a big shot of what it most needs. Even if Ansah stays relatively healthy, think of what the pass rush could morph into with Ansah and Clowney working the edges and Bennett and Reed rushing inside. Then you still have the quality play of Quinton Jefferson, and the youth of Green and Collier all factoring in, now Seattle has a rotation. Collier, in particular, will have the benefit of learning from the very player his was compared to when he was drafted out of TCU with Seattle’s first pick last Spring. This all makes me feel warm and mushy inside.
In my humble opinion, Michael Bennett returning to Seattle just makes too much sense for them not to do it, and they could probably have him for a 2020 mid to late round pick. To me, this is a no brainer. Go get him, John.
The second trade I would make a move on would be for Tampa Bay tight end OJ Howard, and I would be totally okay sending one of the team’s two second round picks to Tampa for him. It was rumored at couple years ago that Seattle was high on him during the 2017 draft, and possibly would have used their first round pick on him had he been available, even though the team still had Jimmy Graham. It is also being run through the NFL rumor mill that Tampa might be shopping him because head coach Bruce Arians doesn’t really utilize tight ends into his passing offense. Seattle just lost talented second year tight end Will Dissly to another season ending injury. Given Howard’s rare physical talent at the position, and Seattle’s need presently at the position, this trade makes a ton of sense. Tons of sense.
Yes, Seattle could probably trade a lower round pick for an older player, like Delanie Walker in Tennessee, but an older player comes with a bigger salary and is most likely a short term fix. With Howard, who was a first round pick just two years ago, Seattle would have club cheap control up to three more seasons with him, if they use his fifth year option. Howard is also a rare athletic talent at the position that can still blossom into one of the best players in the game in that span. His ceiling as a player is still out there, and Seattle could be set at the position for years.
Yes, I know Seattle still has Will Dissly for 2020 and 2021, but as much as we all love him, he has yet to play a full healthy season in this league, and let’s be really honest; each one of his seasons have been cut really short. That’s at least a bit of a red flag. As much as they likely love him as a player, Seattle is probably now going to be in the market next year for the position with either a big name player in free agency, or possibly a high pick in the draft. So why not just shop now and start the process now?
If Dissly comes back in 2020 and stays healthy, Seattle will have a stellar two tight end situation to pair with Russell Wilson and Chris Carson, and under Pete Carroll, Seattle has always valued the tight end position. They’ve always signed it, traded for it, and drafted it. Any team that wants to run and work play action off the run, values the tight end highly. Having Howard and Dissly on the field together, two players who can run block and catch, is probably a proposition that would have Carroll salivating.
Seattle is probably going to bring in a tight end soon. Pete Carroll has already alluded to them working on it in a press conference this week. They didn’t sign any significant free agent this week, so something is probably brewing. Like Bennett, Howard just makes too much sense.
Will it be him? I don’t know. Would they be interested in bring back Bennett? I can’t say.
But what I can say is that these Seattle Seahawks are in a great window for Russell Wilson to win the league MVP honors while guiding them back into the playoffs, possibly even further. To think of a quarterback from Seattle doing that is really cool. It’s never been done. It would be a shame to fall short of those sights because the pass rush wasn’t always there like it should have been, and the offense struggled at times because the tight end position was significantly less reliable. It would be a shame to waste a stellar year of Russell Wilson play. That’s what the Green Bay Packers have done over the recent years with Aaron Rodgers. I would rather not see Seattle follow that path.
Another thing to consider, according to Spotrac.com, Seattle has about $15 million is available in cap space presently. Michael Bennett’s salary is about $6.5 million and OJ Howard’s is a little over $3 million. These additions would fit well under Seattle’s cap, and give room to play with should Seattle need to sign free agents later in the season if more injuries mound (as is often the case during any given NFL season).
So, I say, “come on, John, go get another pass rusher and shore up that tight end squad. Doesn’t have to be Michael Bennett or OJ Howard, but doesn’t not have to be them either. Go for it. Go get it.”
Just my two cents, anyways. I think they make sense.