I really like how the Seattle Seahawks have attacked the free agency market this off-season. I am aware that this might make me seem like a homer, that I am not looking at this team as critically as a growing number of discontent fans on Twitter are, and perhaps I am living in some sort of Seahawk blue and green world of denial, but I love what they have been doing.
I love the free agent signing of former Ram tight end Gerald Everett. I liked him a lot as a pass catching option coming out of college a few years back, and I love the fact that he is coming into Seattle well versed with knowledge of the offense that new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron will likely be installing. He was a player that I had singled out as a potential free agent target in previous pieces. This was a smart move, in my opinion.
I love that fact that Seattle did not overspend to keep cornerback Shaquill Griffin and they brought in former 49er corner Ahkello Witherspoon on a one year deal to add to the competition to replace him. Witherspoon has a very traditional Pete Carroll Seahawk corner air about his physicality and play, and he played in a style of defense in San Francisco that is closely modeled after Carroll’s defense. Again, this was a smart move.
I really love that Seattle did to trade for veteran guard Gabe Jackson by sending a fifth round pick to the Raiders for his services. Jackson did not allow for a single sack in 2020, and Seattle has improved their left guard spot for at least two seasons, if not more.
By bringing back center Ethan Pocic, Seattle now has it’s starting 2021 offensive line likely set, and there is nothing preventing them from drafting a young center at some point next month. These were both solid moves, in my opinion.
What I love most of all about this off-season, however, is how Seattle addressed it’s defensive line. I love every move Seattle made. Being able to correctly gauge Carlos Dunlap’s market by releasing him and bringing him back on a two year $16 million deal is inspired front offense navigating. Adding back Benson Mayowa and bringing in former 49er Kerry Hyder are both sneaky good moves. With Dunlap, Mayowa and Hyder all on multip year deals, Seattle now has a deep and proven rotation of edge rushers to mix in with the younger talents of Alton Robinson and Darrell Taylor.
The release of Jarran Reed stings a bit at defensive tackle, but I would much rather have Dunlap back on the edge than Reed inside, especially when you consider that Seattle has committed to up and coming defensive tackle Poona Ford, who might be a more talented player than Reed. Bringing back former Seahawk DT Al Woods helps mitigate the loss of the toughness Reed brought inside, and I suspect that we are likely to see former first round pick LJ Collier transition more to defensive tackle, as well. From my eyes, I thought Collier looked way more interesting rushing inside in 2020 than when he was asked to play end, and Seattle also has Rasheem Green as an inside pass rusher, as well. Color me not worried.
Suddenly, this defensive line feels deep. It feels loaded with players who can play multiple positions and it has some that excel specifically at certain ones. It looks like they can go big against the run, if they need to, and they can go quick against the pass when needed, all game long. I’m very intrigued.
I also think that Seattle might not be done shopping as we inch towards the draft next month. I think it’s still possible that we see the return of KJ Wright at SAM linebacker, and I really hope that happens. I also think that if they can dip a bit towards a third receiver in the market, they would enter the draft with no glaring holes for their 2021 season, and that is a huge deal because they only currently have three picks (although, spoiler alert, I suspect John Schneider will figure out a way to add more).
So, as I sit and gauge these activities, I have to grade Seattle pretty highly, right?
I think so. As I look over the roster, I have to feel pretty good about this club, especially considering that they brought back superhero running back Chris Carson with all these other moves. I mean, we should all be pretty pumped.
Why isn’t everyone so pumped?
What the heck is really going on with all this Russell Wilson stuff?
My guess is that the issues around Seattle’s star quarterback are the reasons why not everyone is on board with what Seattle is presently doing. There seems to be this growing trend with NFL fans believing that the quarterback position means everything in the game, and if you don’t have a really really really good one, you can’t win.
Never mind that a few years back the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl with Nick Foles as their starting quarterback, and both the 49ers and Rams got to the Super Bowl with the very average talents of Jimmy Garoppolo and Jared Goff as their passers, or a few years ago both the Vikings and Jaguars made it to the conference championship games with Case Keenum and Blake Bortles at quarterback. These facts don’t matter to the fans who believe in today’s NFL it is all about the quarterback and doing whatever it is humanly possible to make the player happy, at all costs, if he’s thought to be a pretty darn good one.
So, to repeat prior thoughts, here’s what I think is likely going on in Seattle with Russell Wilson. I think Russell Wilson wants out of Seattle. I don’t think he wants to play for Pete Carroll anymore, and the only way he wants to stay is if Jody Allen fires Pete and replaces him with a coach who will do everything that Russell Wilson wants him to do. I think that is the long and short of it.
Russell Wilson might say and do things that, on the surface, makes you think that he still wants to be around. He will say “go Hawks” on Instagram, and he will tweet his approval of Chris Carson and Carlos Dunlap coming back, but make no mistake, this dude is looking for greener pastures. That’s why he’s floated out destinations that he would like to be traded to, and why he is constantly back channeling to Colin Cowherd all his issues with Pete Carroll. The dude wants out of Dodge.
He wants to play in a market that will take his brand farther. He also wants a team to be so desperate in trading for him that they will do whatever he wants to fashion the team around him, and my guess is that we might not want to sleep on the Chicago Bears eventually coming up with enough to make it happen.
This is my gut talking here. I will repeat what many have been saying for weeks; where there is smoke, there is fire.
I also believe the reports that Seattle would be happy to trade him and be done with his pesky agent if they had the right path to a quarterback they like to replace him. I tend to believe the reports that they perhaps really like Sam Darnold.
People can laugh all they want to about replacing Russell with Sam Darnold. I won’t stop you, but I will just say that a few years back, I personally thought he was the best quarterback prospect in the 2018 draft. I would have taken him over Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield, and I realize that I am saying that knowing that I am no expert evaluator.
For me, Darnold just has a toughness at the position that I think can be undervalued, and I am intrigued by that toughness. Give him a star running back and decent line, and quality receivers, and then judge him as a player, I say.
So, yeah. I guess I just don’t think that the Jets did him any favors at all trying to build around him over the past three seasons, and I also think there is plenty of game tape out there that suggests he played admirably in difficult conditions. When I look at that and the fact that he is only 23 years old, I can get a bit behind the idea that Seattle could be interested in him. I can see it.
I’m not going to try to convince you that it is a good idea that Seattle trades Russell and then replaces him with Sam Darnold. I’m just going to suggest that perhaps we shouldn’t completely ignore that smoke.
I will also say this. I think that if Seattle doesn’t trade Russell Wilson this off-season, I think 2021 is likely his last year in Seattle. I don’t see Jody Allen firing the man that she is entrusting to run her team and replacing him with a coach that will effectively be Russell’s yes man. This isn’t the NBA. This is the NFL and with 53 man rosters, it generally takes much more than a quarterback to win. Just sayin’, and that is not taking anything away from the talent’s of Russ.
Can a Richard Sherman reunion really happen in Seattle?
Yes. It absolutely can.
Personally, I don’t think Sherman has ever held any great animosity towards Pete Carroll. If anything, I think he was more than a bit miffed that Pete chose to hang onto the quarterback over the Legion of Boom a few years back, but I think we also could be seeing a situation where time could be heeling wounds.
Sherman’s biggest mark as an NFL player came in Seattle as a Seattle Seahawk. In many ways, one could argue that he was the face of the franchise during the 2013-2014 Super Bowl years. If we go back to that time, it wasn’t really Russell’s team. It was Marshawn on the offense, and it was Richard Sherman on the defense. Yes, there was Russ, and Kam, and Earl, but nationally, who were people really thinking about?
Richard Sherman is as big to Seattle sports as Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Steve Largent, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Griffey, and Randy Johnson. He’s a legend. He’s also the owner of perhaps that biggest play in Seattle sports history with The Tip in the 2014 NFC Championship game against the 49ers.
It’s been weird seeing him in a 49er uniform over the past three seasons. From a Seattle sports fan perspective, it wasn’t right, and I as much as I love the dude, I was glad he didn’t win that Super Bowl against the Chiefs.
I’m possessive when it comes to Richard Sherman.
He belongs in Seattle. Richard Sherman coming back to the Seattle Seahawks is like David Lee Roth returning to Van Halen. It’s too right for it not to happen, and it would be a blown opportunity if Seattle doesn’t make this happen.
Who the bleep cares if his return ruffles the feathers of Russ a bit? I don’t care one bit, frankly. And maybe Russell actually needs ruffling a bit more.
I really hope that Seattle figures a way to bring back Number 25, and that he retires a Seattle Seahawk.
I will also tell you this much. If they do something so shockingly bold as to trade Russell Wilson this year or next, they will need Richard Sherman in that locker room. They will need his strength and his voice.
If reports are true about mutual interest between the player and team, I don’t see anyway that this move does not make sense. It needs to happen.
Bring him home, Seattle. Go Hawks.