My Very Good World Championship Wishlist For The Seattle Seahawks

Well, the 2022 Seattle Seahawk season came and went like a flash, and now so have the playoffs. We learned a lot about this team, and a few of these other playoff teams I think, as well.

We learned that John Schneider can still draft really well, and we learned that Geno Smith can quarterback pretty well after all. We also learned that Pete Carroll can still coach up a young team.

Additionally, we learned that year two of Shane Waldron’s offense looked a lot more promising than year one did. Let’s hope that in year two of Clint Hurtt’s defense in 2023 finds the same good step forward because, let’s face it, year one of his D was a hot mess akin to a 26 year old thespian trying to shake their midwest roots in New York City.

We also learned, and maybe most importantly learned, that a surprise team from last year who went 9-8 and snuck into the playoffs interestingly enough had themselves a very aggressive offseason last Spring, and have now earned themselves a Super Bowl trip. Yes, I’m talking about these Philadelphia Eagles, and let them be a model for these Seattle Seahawks, and how to attack their offseason this year.

The Eagles kept with their quarterback who many still had questions about, designed their offensive further around him, added more around him, and then completely loaded up on their defense. Therein lays the blue print for which I think the Seahawks should follow, and here is my wishlist for them as follows.

Extend Geno Smith to a reasonable multi year deal

I want Geno Smith back. I think too many fans are trying to convince themselves that he isn’t very good and that largely has to do with the sticker shock of the quarterback market along the other needs on this team. That’s fair to a point.

For me, I think Geno Smith is proven to be a really good quarterback in this offense, and don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the desire to draft a young quarterback. I just don’t know if that quarterback needs to be taken high (or this year).

I get it that a golden ticket in this league is to get a talented passer on a cheap rookie contract. I just don’t think that Seattle’s roster is built up enough with blue chip players to which a rookie passer is going to find the same success that Russell Wilson did when he was a rookie.

I also don’t frankly know if there is a quarterback in this draft who will truly be better than what they already have with Geno Smith, and I’m the sort who would lean more towards the known commodity over the unproven, especially at this position. Call it fear of the unknown, if you will, but I personally think there’s an advantage to having good insight on the known commodity.

In short, if the Seattle Seahawks want Geno Smith back, I’m taking that as a positive sign that they believe they can win a Super Bowl with him. Why else would they want to sign him back?

Having said that, I also think that the big caveat to this idea is that they want to sign him to a deal that will allow them to spend money at other positions to give him the best possible roster to work with. In other words, I don’t think they want to get sucked into another big inflated quarterback contract that forces them to play musical chairs with the rest of the roster like they’ve done with Russell Wilson over the years.

My gut tells me that means they don’t want to sign Geno to a Dak Prescott type of contract. I think they probably want to sell him on more of a team friendly deal in the spirit of what Jimmy Garoppolo signed a few years back with San Francisco; one that will have multiple years, will offer security for the player, stability to the position, and affordability so the team can acquire and retain other really good players around him.

I don’t know what the market will hold for Geno, if he tests it. I could see a team step up and offer a big contract for sure, but I could also see GMs being nervous about Geno’s situation, given his age, and only having one year of success. Would they offer a guy who will be 33 in October a multi year contract significantly greater than $30 APY and sell their fanbase on him being the guy to lead them to a Super Bowl title after seeing how expensive and older Ryan Tannehill fizzled out in Tennessee and expensive and older Derek Carr fizzled out in Vegas?

I’m not so sure.

There is a real possibility that Geno’s best deal available is in Seattle, and I would be completely comfortable if Seattle signed him to a three or four year contract. I won’t get caught up in the dollars. He said that he wants to return and finish his career here, and Pete Carroll and John Schneider say that they want him back.

I also won’t get too caught up on his age either. I think there’s every bit the chance he’s like the 1993 Ford F-150 that your uncle keeps in his shop and drives three times a year to go fishing and hunting with. He’s older, but his mileage is low, and he’s got good tread on his tires.

Maybe most importantly to all of this, the locker room wants him back, and if Seattle trots out Drew Lock and, say, Will Levis next Fall, there might be a mutiny amongst players, especially if Geno Smith is balling out elsewhere while Lock or Levis is struggling. So, I do very much believe it is in Seattle’s best interest to reach a fair deal with him.

They like him, and he likes them. He knows this offense, runs it well, and he gets what Pete Carroll wants. He likely won’t be a headache moving forward, and can be a great leader moving forward.

What I am really hoping for is that they will find a solid middle ground, and this will get done. I completely get that Geno needs to do what is best for himself, but my hope is that Seattle offers him enough money and years so that he feels like he is reasonably compensated, and in turn, he offers enough of a deal so that they can utilize free agency enough to solidly build around him, and not just depend on hitting with every pick in the draft every year.

My hope is that this is the sweet middle ground both sides reach with each other. So, let’s get this one done, and get to the other big task at hand.

Fix this defensive scheme, improve the talent up front, and be like the Eagles!

Pete Carroll talked about needing more in the front seven of their defense, and that to me suggests that they would absolutely love to draft a Jalen Carter or Will Anderson at five overall if either lands there to them. I think there’s also a chance that they are glued into many other front seven players in this draft, as well. There could be multiple players they want in the first, second, third, and into the middle rounds.

This means little to me, though, if the Seattle defensive coaches don’t better sort out their scheme. By the words of Carroll, it sounds like that not only did they perhaps not use certain players the right way, they also put too much on their plates in terms of doing too many different things.

Can’t have that. Can’t win with it.

In terms of defensive scheme, I’m going to say this plainly. Be like the Eagles!

Watching the NFC championship game, I could not notice how much it appeared like the Eagles ran a lot of bear looks (aka 5-2) against the 49er offense, and took them to task. The Seahawks ran this style of defense against the 49ers the last couple years of with pretty decent success. They just had better players at certain spots like Carlos Dunlap, and Jarran Reed making impact plays.

Seattle started this season out moving away from it, and were terrible on defense in result, but shifted back to this front during their four game winning streak last year. Then weirdly, they shifted away from it when they started losing again.

It’s been a total mystery as to why this all happened, but judging from Carroll’s own words about wanting to go back to being heavier up front again, it makes me think he wants to dump the whole 2-4-5 thing they used with way too much frequency, and get back to more bear. Praise be the Football Gods if that proves true for the 2023 season because that front drove me nuts as a fan.

My super big hope is that they will, in fact, run more bear again, and this Eagle defense has to be the model for them to follow. Make no mistake, the Eagles front seven is a LOADED group.

In order to run this style of defense, you need really good 3 technique defensive tackles and bad ass nose tackles, as well. You have got to be LOADED UP FRONT. Jalen Carter would be the dream in this draft, but I think it will probably be unlikely that he lands to Seattle at pick 5. This is partly why I think we likely see a trade back.

What might be available for Seattle a little further down in the draft is a talented DT like Clemson’s Bryan Bresee, who is young and raw, but also has undeniable physical tools for an interior defensive lineman. They could also be compelled to select Michigan’s Mazi Smith later on, who is a huge athletic guy that might be the perfect fit for Hurts up front if they want to run more bear fronts.

Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson will get talked up about a lot as we near the draft, and is increasingly intriguing. He’s a 6-6 275 lb long freaky dude who projects to play inside and out like Michael Bennett did. Some think he’s got the frame to add more weight to play inside. If he’s a big combine tester, he might be the guy to watch for Seattle over anyone else. He honestly might be “their guy” right now with the way he can be moved around, and how much Carroll loves that sort of versatility up front.

In terms of free agency, there might be a few decent young-ish DT types on the market who could attract Seattle. KC’s Khalen Saunders could be an interesting young get, or Denver’s Dre’Mont Jones. Seattle could take a dip here, and double up in the draft like they did last year at edge with Uchenna Nwuso in free agency, and Boye Mafe in early round two.

In terms of edge players, I actually kinda like what Seattle has brewing with Darrell Taylor, Nwuso, and Mafe, but in no way do I think this position group is set. I think they have to continue to draft this spot, and if Will Anderson happens to land at 5 to Seattle with Carter off the board, I don’t know how you pass that up. Will Anderson can be lethal in this league as an edge rusher, and would probably be the ideal fit for Seattle.

In terms of linebacker, I think Seattle has to look at free agency and the draft. Jordyn Brooks is coming off a serious knee injury that might not have him ready for the start of the season, and Cody Barton is a free agent.

I don’t know how invested Seattle would be with Barton. I think he’s better than what some fans suggest, but I don’t see him as any major difference maker. I also think Tanner Muse is probably just as good and might become better if given the opportunity, and Seattle has club control on Muse.

If I were Seattle, I would probably try to bring in a veteran from the outside who could be a real thumper for a more aggressive front seven. I would try my hand at Pittsburgh’s Devin Bush because of his youth and speed, but I might settle for Miami’s Elandon Roberts who showed nice production but is a bit older and probably way more affordable.

In terms of the draft, if Oregon’s Noah Sewell ends up picked by Seattle at some point, I wouldn’t scoff at that selection. Sewell looks like a classic old school thumper at middle linebacker.

The real linebacker draft target for Seattle might be Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders who might remind Carroll of some of his old USC linebacker, Clay Matthews. Sanders can play off ball, cover and hit, and he can line up as a rusher, and I have to admit, the idea of landing Tyree Wilson, this cat, and a freakishly athletic big bodied DT like Mazi Smith has me salivating. That’s a lot of size, speed, and strength added to the front seven on rookie contracts.

Regardless of how this all shakes out, Seattle needs to improve the front seven and better simplify the scheme. Get better and be better at it. Defensive tackle, edge, and linebacker need to be major targets in the draft, MAJORLY.

Be like the Eagles!


Notice I did that heading in caps. Weird that this isn’t top of the list by the aggressive nature that I typed this out. Truthfully, this is a majorly major need for me, as well, and it directly ties in the importance of Geno Smith.

Geno Smith needs a better pocket to throw out of, y’all!

This cannot be over stressed. If Seattle is going to sink a decent amount of cheddar on this dude and call him the franchise quarterback for the next few years, protect him better up front; plain and simple. Schneider did an excellent job drafting two starting tackles last year. Now, he needs to go get a really good center and guard.

My preference is that they invest more in a proven quality veteran center, and then use one of their top picks on a guy coming out of college who will project towards being a really good guard. This, in my mind, is what Mike Holmgren would likely do, and I’m for it.

One veteran center who might be hitting the market is former Seahawk center Ethan Pocic who Pro Football Focus graded out really well this year. Twelves will scoff at this because of his time in Seattle blocking for Russell Wilson, but Seattle obviously knows him well, and he’s still young enough to think that he can stick around for a while and maybe solve the revolving door issue in a second stint. He’s also a player who won’t likely break the bank in a signing, and Seattle can still take a shot at a center in the mid rounds of the draft this Spring. Oregon’s Alex Forsyth could be a decent option.

One thing’s for certain, though, and that is Seattle needs a better situation at right guard than an aging gimpy Gabe Jackson, and an injury prone Phil Haynes. Haynes would be alright to bring back as an inexpensive edge for drafting someone there, but they need to draft high at least at one of these interior offensive line positions, and my vibe is that maybe pick twenty is the sweet spot for that to happen, if they take defensive line with their first pick.

However they go about it, I want Seattle to get better here, and if they decide to spend most of their remaining free agent dollars on two good young vets to solidify center and right guard, I will not be disappointed. More dollars spent on the offensive line probably means more draft picks spent on the defense, and this might actually be the best way to go.

Get K9 a running mate

Ken Walker III is an exciting player for the Seahawks moving forward. There can be no denying that. He could easily blossom into the best player on the team next year, and that’s saying something.

Having said that, I did find myself rather desperately wishing Seattle had more behind him at running back as last season wore on. That’s taking nothing away for DeeJay Dallas, either. I like Dallas, but I want to see Seattle returning back to being more of a dynamic running team. I think it’s going to help Geno Smith out at quarterback, but it’s also going to greatly help out the defense next year.

I would not mind seeing Seattle bring in a veteran who isn’t likely going to be very expensive. I personally don’t know how much Seattle can rely on Rashaad Penny coming back, but if it’s for a cheap deal, I would be fine with that. I would still want them to draft the position, though.

I think my actual preference is for Seattle to draft the position again, and if UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet is sitting there for them in round three, I would be through the roof with excitement if they drafted him. He’s a big fast tough runner who could easily be the thunder to K9’s lightening and that would be fun to watch for years.

Figure out the third receiver and build more depth behind DK and Tyler

Right now, Seattle has one of the best receiver tandems in the league. So, I get it if some think this is a selfish ask out of me, but I can’t help but feel greedy at this spot.

I just think Seattle needs more behind DK and Tyler. Dee Eskridge has yet to really show much, and I know a lot of that is due to injury, but even when he’s been healthy, he just hasn’t really seized anything. I don’t even know what he is. I assumed a slot receiver but maybe he’s just a Percy Harvin type of gadget guy.

He’s got to take a big leap forward in 2023, or the funky little 2021 draft class is going to look like a massive disaster.

Behind him isn’t much, but I do like Dareke Young’s potential as a run after the catch guy I assumed Eskridge was supposed to become. Young is a big physical freak too, and could blossom into a role that can be used in multiple ways like a Cordarrelle Patterson type who’s a receiver and a running back.

But that’s kinda what Seattle has on the roster right now behind their superstars. A couple of guys with interesting potential, but are still unknowns.

This might be the single biggest reason why I wouldn’t mind seeing Seattle drop out of 5 into the back half of the top ten. If they get an offer from quarterback needy Carolina to drop back to 9, and get picks 37, 60, and their first round pick next year, Seattle still might be able to land a really good defensive lineman at 9, and then have two extra picks in round two that would make taking a receiver at some point early-ish a fun luxury. Plus they would have two first round picks next year, if they want to pursue a young quarterback in 2024 to groom behind Geno.

Also, this draft appears to be loaded at receiver and it would be wise for Seattle to take advantage of that. The best way to Seattle to take advantage is after a trade back.

The type of receiver that I would love to see Seattle grab is a pure route runner with good quicks and sure hands. In short, I want another Doug Baldwin.

As I watched Geno this year in this offense, I couldn’t help but think how much Doug would have enjoyed playing in this style of quick passing. Tyler feasted well this year in it. Doug would be devoured. There looks like their are players in this draft that fit Doug’s mold as a quick short area pass catcher.

Be selective on who to bring back in 2023 and be prepared to make tough decisions

Days after their season ended, Seattle locked up their pro bowl kicker, and that was a wise move. Their pro bowl quarterback should come next.

I think Seattle should also bring back Ryan Neal at safety because he’s a leader and a good player. I think Seattle should bring back restricted free agents in cornerback Michael Jackson, and linebacker Tanner Muse. Both have performed well enough to think they can be a part of this thing in the future.

After that, I don’t know who else feels like a need to be brought back. I don’t know if Poona Ford and Coby Barton fit this scheme any longer. I think they might be better served in more of a traditional 4-3.

I’ve already said that I would prefer this team to bring in a better center option than Austin Blythe. I don’t need another journeyman center situation. Spend more on a better player, and have him be the guy here for a few years.

At right guard, I think Gabe Jackson is a likely cap casualty, but I don’t know if Phil Haynes warrants more than a veteran minimum deal to return as a hedge for someone else in the draft. Haynes has teased as being a decent player, but has never been able to stay healthy, and he clearly wasn’t good enough to beat out Jackson at right guard. Is it important to therefore bring him back? I dunno.

Shelby Harris was a good player for Seattle but is he worth $11 million next year? It would be good to keep him around if they can add an extra year or two to his deal in order to drop his 2023 salary down, but maybe he becomes a cap casualty if the want to sign a younger DT on the market with more upside.

The massive elephant in the room is, or course, Jamal Adams. As talented as he is, he’s expensive and has never stayed healthy enough in Seattle. Do they try to rework his deal or designate him as a post June 1st release if the Geno Smith contract is pricey?

There’s other elephants in the room like Will Dissly’s expensive contract, and Bryan Mone’s, as well.

I’m not saying that Seattle to slash the contracts of all these guys, but Geno Smith won’t likely be cheap (even if he does cut Seattle a deal), and if Seattle wants to invest in some free agent solutions to fixing their front seven, they’re probably going to need to open up more money somehow. There’s going to have to be decisions to be made, and maybe some tough ones.

Make the tough decisions, Seattle!

In conclusion, how likely is it that Seattle can fulfill this my wish list?

I honesty don’t know. I think it’s going to be a real challenge.

I recently posed a question to Seahawk beat reporter Corbin Smith on Twitter for his podcast as to how Seattle can sign Geno Smith and still replicate the Eagles defense in 2023. His response on his podcast was that it would most likely have to be done by nailing the draft again, and that after a Geno signing, it’s unlikely Seattle will do much big time shopping in free agency.

In short, they probably won’t go after the big name DTs on the market like Fletcher Cox, Da’Ron Payne, and Javon Hargrave. At best, they might move enough money around to find a decent mid tier DT, maybe a younger guy like Khalen Saunders who was rotational with the Chiefs but showed promise, sign him to a moderate two year deal with a chance to establish himself as a quality starter and hit the market again, and hope to hit on another DT in the draft.

The key is finding a good comprised ground with Geno Smith, and therein lies my hope. Of course I want what is best for him whatever he decides it to be, but my hope is a reasonable.. let’s just call it what it is; a “team friendly” deal in Seattle.

If he is unwilling to entertain this, and wants to max out his earnings, and finds a better deal elsewhere because Seattle was unwilling to go beyond a certain number, then of course the team needs to have a solid plan B in place. We will discuss Plan B options in a later piece, as I’m sure many others will or already have, as well.

Assuming that they do reach a contract with Geno, though, if all Seattle does in free agency is add a decent center, linebacker, and defensive tackle, that should be enough to set this draft up nicely to start picking good players without feeling the need to be desperate for a specific position. This draft will have good defensive linemen and edge rushers, and it will have guards, corners, receivers, and running backs.

But it all hinges on finding that sweet middle ground with Geno. Hopefully, they get that done.

I’m here for it. I eager to see this offseason get underway.

See the Eagles. Be the Eagles.

Go Hawks!


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