We are one week into NFL free agency for the Seattle Seahawks, and oh, what fun it has been, thus far. After the playoff loss in Santa Clara, the mission for this team was clear. Sign back Geno Smith, and then fix the front seven of their defense. So far, so good.
Actually, it’s been pretty damn good. Like, holly smokes good!
Plus, the best part of it is that I don’t think they’re done, and we still have the draft in a little more than a month to which Seattle has the fifth overall pick, and such. Make no mistake about it, the Seahawks are starting to sit pretty once again.
A week before free agency began they agree to a 3 year contract with pro bowl quarterback Geno Smith that is a shockingly team friendly one, and has been hailed across the league as the first true middle class contract given to a second tier starting quarterback. We can all debate just how good Geno Smith is or isn’t (I think he’s pretty good), but one think I think it is really hard to debate, even for the sharpest Geno skeptics, is how good that deal is for Seattle. It’s full of escalation clauses, and outs beyond this year. The fear of Geno regressing and Seattle being stuck with this contract is now nonexistent scenario. Bravo.
But again, that was before the March madness first week of NFL free agency began, what happened this last week is the what I think is the real fun for a lot of folks who follow this team with big passions. As we entered this week, I think most Seahawk fans braced for the reality that John Schneider was going to sit back and wait out all the big spending for initial frenzy of signings. Shockingly, he did not. He embraced an aggressiveness entering the market not felt in Seattle since the early seasons of Paul Allen owning the team.
On Monday, he signed former Denver defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones to a whopping 3 year $51 million contract full of guarantees to which, unlike Geno’s contract, Seattle is pretty locked into it. I have already written a piece on the Jones’ deal and what it all likely means for the club, but in a quick recap, I’m happy to break it down into a nutshell.
Dre’Mont Jones is going to be a significant piece to Seattle’s interior pass rush. Like Michael Bennett in past years, he will probably move around like a chess piece, playing some big end in base defense, and a lot of 3 technique DT on obvious pass downs. In football terms, he’s a gap penetrator, and he will attack with elite quickness and agility. To me, this signing signals a strong likelihood that Seattle will be returning to the more aggressive bear front again in their base defense, and that is exciting.
Seattle wasn’t done on the market, however, and on the very next day they brought back a familiar face to the defensive front in defensive tackle Jarran Reed, and that brought an immediate smile to my face. The signing was met with a little mixed reactions from fans, but I have always liked J Reed. I think he brings a nastiness a defensive front that Seattle was lacking in since he left in 2021.
J Reed is willing to do a lot of dirty work with guards and centers and tackles, can bring a violent tackling style to running backs, and has been a capable inside pass rusher in the past. Like Jones, I suspect that his signing suggests that Seattle will return to a more aggressive front, but we will see. Either way, a 2 year $10 million contract suggests that he is returning to become significant piece of the pie, and not a mere role player, and I like it.
Within the next following days, Seattle also agreed to one year contracts with former Lion center/guard Evan Brown, and former Steeler linebacker Devin Bush. Both players are only 26 years old, so there’s run to feel like there’s the potential of good upside left in their games, but the short term contracts also suggest that they are likely hedges for players they like in this draft class. That said, Brown has earned high markets as a pass blocker (especially at center), and Bush is a ultra speedy linebacker who was former top ten pick.
The addition of Bush, to me, shows that they want to add more speed to the front seven with guys who can cover the flats quickly and get on tight ends and ball carriers right away. I look at this as yet another signal to what Seattle is hoping to become on defense.
I would look at Washington State linebacker Daiyan Henley as a guy Seattle likely covets in this draft who Bush might be a hedge for. Henley is a pure cover LB who’s game is built on speed and understanding of routes due to his college conversion from wide receiver, but we will get more into draft conversations over the next few weeks.
For the purpose of this piece, let us continue with the splashy splash splashiness of Seattle Seahawk 2023 NFL free agency. After the Evan Brown, and Devin Bush signings, on Friday last week, Seattle did something a bit surprising and maybe even shocking. Seattle signed former Giant safety Julian Love to a handsome 2 year $12 million contract. Seattle was already fairly loaded up at safety with Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, and Ryan Neal, who when healthy, I think we would all say are three pretty good players.
Love’s signing brought immediate intrigue into what Seattle’s designs are. Many speculated that Adams could become a cap casualty cutting in the near future. Some reports have sorta squashed that as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times noted on Twitter that his understanding of the signing is that Love serves as insurance of Adams being ready at the start of the season coming off of his quad surgery, and when returning, Adams will play a more expanded linebacker roll with the team.
This scans to me. Adams was already in a hybrid safety/linebacker roll with this team in past years, and maybe they envision him being more exclusively a nickel weak side LB along with Bush or whoever they draft. They could also move Love into the nickel corner role and allow Coby Bryant to work exclusively as an outside corner like he was all throughout college.
At any rate, Julian Love was not brought in as a hedge for any player in this draft. He was a really good starting strong safety for the Giants last year, was a tackling machine and made plays in coverage. He’s only 25 years old, too, Whatever this team has up their sleeves in terms of further revamping this defense, they see Love as a big part of it moving forward, and that is interesting stuff.
Oh, yes. I almost forgot. Mixed in with all these interesting moves, the Seattle Seahawks brought back Drew Lock on a handsome one year contract worth $4 million dollars with incentives that could push it to $7 million. A lot of fans were pretty “meh” about this signing, but to me, it clearly shows that Seattle really likes Lock a lot, and they are willing to pay him good NFL backup money to see what is still there with him in year two of being inside Shane Waldron’s system.
This Lock signing could also, of course, be nothing more than an expensive hedge for a quarterback they covet in this draft, but it could also as likely mean that Seattle wants to go another direction with their first few picks, and they very much see a potential scenario of Lock being the quarterback of the future for this team. He’s still quite young, and Seattle has already demonstrated with success, that they approach the quarterback position differently than many other teams in this league. If anything, this signing add more intrigue in what their thinking is at this position, and perhaps that is exactly what they want at this time. Stay tuned..
So what next for the Seahawks?
I don’t think they are done in free agency yet, and that’s exciting. John Schneider went on the air last Thursday on his afternoon show in 710 Seattle Sports, and stated that they are still in conversations with more veteran defensive linemen.
My guess to that is they want to add a veteran edge rusher, if they can, and probably one more DT or nose tackle to back up Al Woods. The draft is supposedly deep with edge defenders and not so hot with DT, so I kinda suspect that there is one more interior D-liner that they want make a play for. I wouldn’t rule out a trade for that guy, either.
I think they are still going to try to bring back Bobby Wagner. If they are returning to more of the aggressiveness of a bear front, Wagz can still be a pretty good blitzing linebacker in that front, and maybe he gives way to Adams (or Bush) in the nickel. However you slice it, Wagner is an invaluable team leader, and to me, the move feels destined, but we will see.
I also think this team wants to add a proven veteran running back to mix in with Ken Walker. Rumor has it that they have made an offer to Leonard Fournette. That would be a great type of back to mix in with K9, and add a bit more physicality to the position. I think this is a spot that they also want to draft at again.
Three things are certain in life; death, taxes, and Pete Carroll wanting a loaded backfield of runners on offense. IMO, Seattle didn’t have that enough last year. I doubt Carroll wants to feel that again in 2023.
How about the rest of the league?
Outside of Seattle, I think the Dolphins and Giants are the other clear big winners in this first week of NFL free agency with the aggressive signings and trades they made. Seattle, the Giants, and Miami were all surprising teams in 2022 that fought their way into the playoffs as wildcard teams, and are all now making aggressive moves to challenge for their divisions this Fall.
For the Giants, I love that they traded little for former Raider tight end Darren Waller, and were aggressive adding and bringing back receivers. They are trying to build around Daniel Jones, and giving him a big lightening fast tight end is a fun idea.
For the Dolphins, I love the trade for Jalen Ramsey and the fact that they gave away peanuts to the Rams for him. He’s declining a bit as a cover corner, but is still pretty talented and will be playing for Vic Fangio. He will know that defense they are trying to run down there, and he will be playing across another really good corner. I love that the Dolphins are signing back their top running backs, and are going to keep players who play well in their system run by mastermind Mike McDaniel. They also brought in good young linebackers in David Long and Malik Reed.
Mark my words, the Dolphins are not going to make it easy for the Buffalo Bills in 2023. As it stands now, they are my team who I think are most likely to be what the Eagles were last year in coming out of nowhere and taking the league by surprise. I’m weirdly sorta there for it, too. Sure, the owner is a dick, but the coach is so damn likable. I’m intrigued.
Speaking of the AFC East Division, it amuses me to no end how ridiculous the Aaron Rodgers to the NY Jets saga has become. What a stupid train wreck!
The doofus goes into a darkness retreat run by a bunch of Oregon Country Fair folk for a week, and comes out ready to be convinced to become a NY Jet, has them sign a bunch of his former Green Bay buddies, and then Green Bay decides they want more than the NY offer. Brilliant!
Folks, the smug one isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, and it is playing out in real time. The Green Bay Packers hold all the leverage in this. The Jets, as a stupidly run organization would do, showed their whole hand when they hired his bestie to run their offense, balked at signing Derek Carr when he was available in favor of a trade for Rodgers, and then starting bringing in former Packers per his suggestion.
Word has it that league sources believe that a trade for Rodgers is worth a second round pick plus a conditional seconder rounder if he decides he’s going to stick around and not retire next year. The Packers reportedly now want a first round pick and change. They know they have the jets by the short hairs with the Jets owner being desperate for Rodgers.
A huge part of me wants nothing more than this saga conclude with a massive impasse that involves no trade happening, and Rodgers deciding to sit out the first eight games of the season before he has to report to the Pack in order to collect his 2023 earnings. This would be a fitting conclusion to his legacy in Green Bay and who I kinda have always thought this dude is.. a total asshole.
As for the Jets in this scenario, gee, I don’t know. Maybe stick with the young quarterback you drafted and figure out how to finally develop one instead of constantly kicking these dues to the curb for another after a few seasons in their young careers. If it wasn’t for the fact that the Jets screwed over the Seahawks in the Jamal Adams trade, I would almost feel sorry for their fans, but screw ’em! Can’t teach stupid, yo!
In other NFL musings, it’s fun watching the mass player exodus happening with the LA Rams. They went Florida Marlin big chasing a ring by making big move after big move expensive player acquisitions, it paid off, but now they are paying the expensive price. They traded away Jalen Ramsey for pennies on the dollars, can’t afford to keep other key vets, and are without any first round pick yet again this year. As Jesus once famously said, live by the sword, die by the sword. I’m enjoying watching what is happening with this team right now, and I’m wondering why Sean McVay is even sticking around. Maybe they have designs to trade for Lamar Jackson, eventually. That would be a very Rams thing to do.
Staying in the NFC West, the 49ers have terrified me with the Javon Hargrave signing to their already stacked defensive line. Seattle better have plans in this draft to land a really good center and guard combination.
Who the fuck cares what the Cardinals are doing, really. Looks like they are going to trade away their best receiver. They might trade back from the third overall pick for more picks in order to conduct a quick rebuild. If I were a Cardinal fan, sticking with Kyler Murray and building around him would make me very nervous. Ultra moody attitude and injury proneness doesn’t sound like positive traits for the most important position in the game.
I like what the Texans, the Bears, the Panthers, and the Detroit Lions are all doing in free agency and trades. These are all four teams that I’m intrigued to see how their seasons unfold this Fall.
The Raiders remain a shit show that I have no idea what to make out of. Cut Derek Carr in favor of injury prone and significantly less athletic Jimmy G? This is the team I expect to either trade with the Cardinals or Seahawks to move up for a quarterback next month, but I also could see them stay at pick 7 and take a cornerback, or some weird shit like that.
Anyhoo. Fun offseason so far!