Assessing Seahawks trade candidates ahead of the deadline

October 23rd, 2020 | Written by Rob Staton

Quinnen Williams is reportedly available for the right price

Names are being thrown around. Some are more likely than not.

The reality is the Seahawks are in a difficult spot to make a trade. They don’t have a first or third round pick next year and they only have $3.7m in available cap space.

That’s not to say they can’t be creative and they’re carrying players on the roster who are arguably dispensable.

The Rams have extended an army of players. The Ravens are now over the cap after trading for Yannick Ngakoue. You can make things happen if you have the want and desire.

So let’s look at some of the names linked and gauge the likelihood of a deal being struck.

Carlos Dunlap (DE, Cincinnati)
Like many veteran players in Cincinnati, Dunlap is unhappy with his role. He’s seen a major reduction in snaps recently. Charley Casserly suggested this week he’d be a good target for the Seahawks. He’s used to playing in a four-man front and last year he had nine sacks on a bad team. His contract isn’t overly expensive and the Seahawks could retain him next season (the final year of his contract) if he performed well. He has the size and length Seattle likes.

How likely is it?
Owner Mike Brown is the problem. He treats the Bengals like a family business and is the decision maker in Cincinnati. A year ago it made perfect sense to trade some of their ageing veterans to launch a rebuild. Brown resisted — making ridiculous demands (eg wanting a second rounder for often-injured Tyler Eifert weeks before he departed in free agency). According to a NFC Executive — once again the asking price for certain players is ‘unreasonable’. If he’s asking for high picks, there’s simply nothing you can do. This is how Mike Brown operates.

Verdict
It’d make perfect sense for the Bengals to move Dunlap and for the Seahawks to acquire him. Yet all the projections of a day three pick don’t account for the owner. Unfortunately, in his world, Dunlap probably has a first or second round value. I’m not convinced anyone will change his mind either.

Ryan Kerrigan (DE, Washington)
Quietly, Kerrigan has been one of the most prolific sack-artists in the NFL over the last decade. He has 93 career sacks — only six fewer than J.J. Watt. While he’s never achieved a level of dominance comparable to Watt, Kerrigan has been a picture of consistency. He has three sacks this year playing in a reduced role as a complimentary piece to Chase Young and Montez Sweat (although Young has missed some time). Kerrigan has the size and length Seattle likes, even if he’s lost some of the dynamic quickness he used to show during the 13-sack season years.

How likely is it?
Washington, like the rest of the NFC East, are in an odd spot. They are 1-5 and yet they’re in the thick of the divisional race. So are they trying to win the division or rebuild? They have two young first round picks at defensive end and two more first round defensive tackles. It seems unlikely that Kerrigan will be re-signed in the off-season as a free agent, so they should probably see what they can get now and rely on Young and Sweat the rest of the way. He wanted to break the franchise record for sacks and he achieved that in week one. It’d make sense for the team and player to orchestrate a deal — although in fairness he’s never sought a move despite Washington’s troubles so he might be settled. His contract would cost about $6-7m to acquire, so Seattle would have to create cap space.

Verdict
In many ways, it’d be good for all parties. There are three key questions though. How realistic are Washington prepared to be in a trade for a 32-year-old on an expiring contract? How much do the Seahawks see a 32-year-old pass rusher being able to provide the quickness off the edge they currently badly lack? And how willing are they to create $3-4m in cap space to make it happen? After all — this is likely a 2020 rental. I’m just not sure the cost will fit for Seattle.

Whitney Mercilus (DE, Houston)
Reports last week suggested the Texans were considering a fire-sale. They don’t have a first or second round pick in 2021. They need to provide an attractive proposition to potential GM and Head Coach candidates beyond just Deshaun Watson. Some have touted J.J. Watt as a trade candidate but let’s get real. He is the Texans. He’s an institution in Houston. The more likely trade candidates are Brandin Cooks, Bradley Roby, Kenny Stills, Zach Cunningham, Will Fuller and Whitney Mercilus.

How likely is it?
This is a complicated one. Mercilus only signed a new $53.5m contract last December. His dead cap-hit is enormous and would need to be spread out, causing headaches for some time. It’s the sign of a badly run franchise that you let one individual make so many significant personnel moves, then fire him. However, they are also $16m over the cap for 2021 as things stand. They need to shift some bodies. Imagine trying to coax your GM and Head Coach combo to Houston with the offer of no high picks and no money to spend. Difficult decisions are needed and players will need to be sacrificed after a 1-5 start and with the team almost certainly out of playoff contention. Mercilus is 30 and has the speed and length Seattle likes. His production, however, has dropped off in recent years. He’s not had more than 7.5 sacks in a season since 2015 (he has three sacks this year). It’s questionable how appealing he is if the price isn’t low.

Verdict
He’s at a reasonable age. He only recently turned 30 so he might have a couple of decent years in the tank. He would be expensive in terms of base salary until 2023 but you could cut him at any point with no penalty. The stumbling block, again, could be price. How reasonable are the Texans willing to be? For Seattle, they will want the flexibility to move on at the end of the season if it doesn’t work. So that would mean giving up a later round pick in order to set the ball rolling for Houston to sort out their cap. Is that appealing to the Texans? Is it worth moving him for? For Seattle, a late round pick works. I’m not sure that’ll cut it for Houston.

Kyler Fackrell (DE, New York Giants)
The Giants, like Washington, are in a strange spot. They are 1-6 yet very much contenders for the NFC East. They should’ve beaten the Eagles on Thursday to take control of the division at 2-4. Dave Gettleman — and to a lesser extent Joe Judge — need to have this franchise heading in the right direction by the end of the year. For that reason, they seem less likely to throw in the towel and siphon off assets. Even so, Fackrell has the length and size to play LEO and was a former blog favourite. He had a fantastic game against Seattle in 2018 during a 10.5 sack season. He has three sacks this year and isn’t expensive.

How likely is it?
Not very. New York’s defense, at times, has been a positive for them (see: the game against the LA Rams). If you’re trying to establish culture and a new mentality, getting rid of players who are actually producing for you isn’t wise. Unlike the Jets, Jaguars and others — the Giants don’t feel like a team that are suddenly having their heads turned by the prospect of being in position to draft Trevor Lawrence. That said, their offensive line is a shambles and if they were able to flip one player to make an O-line improvement, they might consider it. I’m just not sure how much they truly value someone like B.J. Finney.

Verdict
This could be a low-key brilliant move. Fackrell isn’t going to come in and start wrecking games for you but he has a knack of rushing the edge, getting into the backfield and making things happen. He’s only 28 and there’s no commimtent beyond 2020. However — it just doesn’t make all that much sense for the Giants to trade him unless they get a great offer.

Takk McKinley (DE, Atlanta)
Albert Breer reported recently that prior to the firing of Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons were considering dealing McKinley. He also said the situation is now unclear — with ownership seemingly willing to let caretaker Raheem Morris have a proper shot to win the job. Even so, McKinley is a free agent in the off-season and it would make some sense to get something now for a player who hasn’t delivered on his first round potential.

How likely is it?
With the report on a willingness to trade him and based on his physical profile — it feels like the most likely option listed here. It’s hard to imagine the Falcons asking for much in return. He turns 25 in November, so he’s at a great age. He has the 35-inch arms Seattle likes, LEO size and he ran a solid 1.60 10-yard split. A trade would be ideal for McKinley. He gets a fresh start and an opportunity to make an impression before becoming a free agent. For Seattle he could provide something they badly need — genuine speed off the edge.

Verdict
Provided the Falcons were willing to deal him and not hold on — it’s probably the most likely scenario. It all depends on Atlanta’s motivation. Trading McKinley doesn’t save any money for next year. If they’re only getting a late round pick — is it worth hampering Morris if they want to see if he’s up to the job? If they’re happy to just move on, then it’s worth a roll of the dice.

Quinnen Williams (DT, New York Jets)
In recent days there’s been a lot of speculation to suggest Williams is available. It very much looks like the Jets are trying to drum up a market. They’re in full-blown tank mode at this stage, with major changes imminent. Acquiring stock for next year is the key. The current GM, Joe Douglas, didn’t draft Williams. If he can get a second rounder to go with the haul he got from Seattle for Jamal Adams, he’ll probably take it.

How likely is it?
It really depends how the Seahawks viewed Williams going into the draft. During the 2018 season, he was arguably the best player in college football. He suddenly exploded onto the scene as a one-year wonder — blowing up interior lines and making plays galore. He had eight sacks and 19.5 TFL’s. He then ran a 4.83 forty at 303lbs at the combine. Williams appeared destined to be the next big thing but for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened. The Seahawks said one of the main reasons they traded for Jamal Adams was their inability to pick high enough to select players of that quality. If they think Williams is a stud suffering due to New York’s ineptitude, they might think at 22-years-old he’s better than anyone they’ll be able to draft in round two next year. Plus — the Jets will take on the bulk of his salary meaning he’ll be a bargain for two more years after this season.

Verdict
I’m not convinced the Seahawks will want to go into the 2021 draft with no picks in the first three rounds — especially now that the college football season is underway (the 2021 draft no longer looks like a busted flush). However — you’d be getting a #3 overall pick at a great age, on a phenomenally cheap salary and at a position of serious need (D-line). So how did they grade him? Did they think, as some did, that he was the best player in the 2019 draft? I don’t think it’s likely the Jets will get an offer to make a trade worth their while.

Anyone on the Philadelphia Eagles
Philly’s problems with the cap in 2021 are well known. They face a $71m black hole for next year. The only clear solution is to try and use some of their remaining $21.5m for 2020 to absorb dead money this year and get certain big contracts off the books for next season. Fletcher Cox, Brandan Graham and Derek Barnett could be potential targets.

How likely is it?
Bizarrely, they just restructured Cox’s contract and by placing Zach Ertz on short-term IR, they eliminated any shot of him being dealt per the rules. They seem, if anything, to be trying to add before the deadline. Even so — they surely have an eye on their enormous cap problem that is only a few weeks away from being a biting reality. I’m not sure a 2-4-1 team should be ‘all-in’ on an improbable playoff run simply because they have the good fortune to be in the NFC East.

One trade did happen today
The Arizona Cardinals traded a sixth round pick to the Giants for Markus Golden. Having played last night — and with him needing to go through Covid-testing — he won’t play on Sunday. However, it’s a smart move by the Cardinals. He knows the team well having spent four seasons there. They needed a replacement for Chandler Jones. He’s also the third pass rusher, after Yannick Ngakoue and Jordan Willis, to be traded this week. Players are being moved and a market is being established. So far the Seahawks, who desperately need help off the edge, are yet to make a move.

Verdict
I can’t imagine how the Eagles plan to get out of cap-hell for 2021 without doing some deals before the deadline. They could, theoretically, start cutting players at the end of the season. However — why not try and get something back in return now? It comes down to whether they want to delude themselves into thinking they’re a serious contender, rather than a franchise that needs to embrace how badly they need a refresh.

Final verdict
The issue with many of these options are age and cost. It’d be ideal to have a younger player, still on a rookie deal, with something to prove.

For example, look at the Rams’ trade for Dante Fowler a few years ago. A former top-five pick at a good age with some talent who can come in and try to earn big money in free agency.

The only comparable situation listed here is Takk McKinley in Atlanta. However — unlike Fowler he isn’t a former top-five pick.

More than anything the Seahawks need speed off the edge. A younger player is more likely to provide that but beggars can’t be choosers. If an opportunity for a 30-something pass rusher emerges, it still needs to be considered. The Seahawks are stacked with potential five-techniques but only have Alton Robinson and Benson Mayowa who can play anything akin to a LEO. That’s a big problem.

Yannick Ngakoue on a discount deal for the remainder of the season would’ve been perfect. He’d come to Seattle with an enormous chip on his shoulder, knowing he had a few weeks to set himself up for free agency. He has the quickness they need to attack the edge. He has the production (five sacks in six games) they currently miss. Unfortunately not having a third rounder in 2021 would’ve made it extremely difficult to compete with Baltimore.

Unfortunately the decision to try Stephen Sullivan at pass rusher and bring back Mychal Kendricks (who rushed well from the SAM last year) is perhaps indicative of the difficulty Seattle faces ahead of the deadline.

Nevertheless — the uncertain economic situation in the NFL could still make this a trade deadline like we’ve never seen before. There have been surprises in the past. Nobody predicted Quandre Diggs would be traded, for example.

Could it happen again?

Meanwhile Antonio Brown is set to visit with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend. Reportedly both they and the Seahawks are ‘highly motivated’ to get a deal done.

Given the controversial nature of Seattle’s interest — surely the only thing worse than actively pursuing him would be going through all of this just to miss out?

If you missed our podcast on the Antonio Brown news and the Arizona game, don’t forget to check it out…

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137 Responses to “Assessing Seahawks trade candidates ahead of the deadline”

  1. Henry Taylor says:

    Quinnen Williams was spectacular in college and the Jets has never been a great place for players to thrive, although you’d think if he was truly elite that wouldn’t have been a problem for him – see Jamal Adams. DT is also not even close to as big a need as edge, even if he could make their job easier.

    All that being said, a player of his potential, at 22 years of age, that would be exceptionally cheap for 2 seasons. I’d do it l, screw the draft picks, this would be too great an opportunity to pass for the 64th pick.

    https://youtu.be/vbT9zx72SVI

  2. dream22 says:

    My wife said a few weeks ago, “why don’t they just move someone from another position to the defensive line”. I tried to explain it wasn’t that simply. Apparently she reads the Seahawks better than me 🙂

    • Trevor says:

      That is really funny if she is like my wife she knows more about the Hawks than she ever wanted to. She has no clue about football but says it is like a reality show.

  3. CaptainJack says:

    Great article. One correction, the Giants are now 1-6. The point still stands they’re not really out of the division race yet. I watched the game last night and I didn’t notice Fackrell much.

    • BobbyK says:

      Lets not confuse Fackrell with Lawrence Taylor or Reggie White. He’s not a Pro Bowler. He’s simply a player who could/would improve 3rd and 8 or longer. And, really, he’s just one edge guy in a ‘NASCAR’ package from the edge on those money downs. Since the Seahawks currently have a total of ZERO quality edge rushers, he’d be a marked improvement. That’s it – he’s not the savior Ngakoue could have been.

  4. Gohawks5151 says:

    Takk and Fackrell seem like the only options the Front office would like. They love the draft. They will not give up that second rounder and I think the even trade it back for a 3rd and a 5th or something. I think their own 5th is their max right now. I do think they would also like to trade Finney, Hollister or a WR maybe for a late rounder. I think Takk is the best compromise they can make and they may be waiting to see him play 1 game coming off of a groin injury to make sure he isn’t still hurt.

  5. Trevor says:

    Could the Hawks basically take a punt on this entire draft classÉ

    Trade the 2nd for Williams
    Trade the 4th for Kerrigan and extend him 1-2 yers
    Trade the 5th for Dunlap and he is already signed for one more year

    If they did this they would be set on the DL this year and next year.

    Sounds crazy but it would make them NFC favorites the next two years while their key players Russ, Brown Bobby, Locket and DK are all under contract.

    • Kingdome1976 says:

      All that and add AB and I’m on board. Getting that haul right now while we are 5-0 sounds great. However JS doesn’t seem like the kind of GM to do this.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think it would be a mistake to punt on the draft now that I’ve studied it closer.

      And I think we were all premature, myself included, in assuming the next draft would be impacted supremely negatively by Covid. It hasn’t been and I kind of wish they had some high picks next year now.

      • Volume12 says:

        100% agreed on both fronts. I just can’t see JS going into the draft w/ zero ammo.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Here’s a cheeky question that will no doubt upset the masses.

          Would you consider trading Jamal Adams in the off-season for a 2021 R1 and a 2022 R2?

          Yes it’s less than you gave up. However, the Seahawks are going to need to pay him an absolute whopper of a salary. More than Jalen Ramsey, potentially. And they have no leverage in contract talks.

          After seeing this defense in action — I’m not sure the key to future success is an $18-20m a year safety.

          • cha says:

            With their haphazard, knee-jerk approach to the draft they’ve shown the last couple years? No.

            With a deep draft where they have a real, well thought out plan with options and alternatives if their top players are off the board when it comes their turn? Maybe.

            • Rob Staton says:

              I can’t decide whether to write an article about this (and then have loads of people pissing and moaning about it).

              I think it’s a topic worth discussing.

              But I’m not convinced we can have a mature discussion about it.

              • cha says:

                The question I have is ‘why would they do it?’

                If this year doesn’t make them realize they really should’ve gotten a pass rusher, what’s the sense in trading Adams?

                They’ve so thoroughly mucked up the offseason they’ve tanked their credibility. If they go into the offseason next year saying “yeah pass rush is our top need” will anyone honestly believe them? Even if they say traded Adams for a nice haul and said ‘no, for real this time. We really do need pass rush’?

                I fear they’d just be out a premium defensive player (although not at a premium position) and we’re back to LJ Collier’s and Jordyn Brooks’es and “let’s give them a year to get in shape, and a year to learn the system, and you’re just being too impatient! The third year is when they really explode!”

              • TomLPDX says:

                Let it sit for a while and let’s get Adams back on the field and some more games behind him and the rest of the guys on the D. I think we can be men about it (Mike McCarthy reference!) and have a legit discussion.

              • I think it’s definitely worth a discussion. 20 mil for a safety, or some extra free agents and draft picks sounds like a good plan, but I do wanna see more of Adams this year.

          • JD says:

            I’ve been thinking about that as well Rob. I would personally do it but the hiccup I run into is I doubt a team would offer that much. Can you think of any teams that would potentially come close to that deal?

          • . . . personally, i think pete is too in love with adam’s fire and versatility, and the simple fact that, like pete, he gets such obvious joy playing the game, and that is contagious, as pete has pointe out countless times . . . adam’s seems to have just the sort of football character that JS/PC like to commit to long term . . . i believe it was jaran reed’s football character and locker room influence that accounted in large part for his contract so many would argue is inflated, and i think it help accounts for the greg olsen signing . . .

            • Rob Staton says:

              I don’t disagree that Pete might be in love with those things — but to be honest I think he speaks quite plainly and matter-of-factly about Adams.

              • . . . really? to me it seems like pete’s pretty effusive when he talks about adams, particularly with regard to those qualities i mentioned . . . even at $18-20mil i can see the hawks paying him . . . i think we need to use his versatility more situationally, though . . . ll this blitzing is not sustainable as you have pointed out many times . . .

          • Elmer says:

            Good points. The trade is a sunk cost. Now they should do what is best for the team going forward. IMO it is more likely they lose Adams in free agency when the time comes.

          • Volume12 says:

            Interesting question for sure. I see your thought process.

            🤔 Hmmm… naw. I think you try & build around a blue chipper. Plus IMO, he’s a perfect fit culture wise as well.

            • Sea Mode says:

              I have to agree here. Bobby will move on in a couple years. Adams is the new heart and soul of the defense for PC.

              Yes, the cost will hurt, but it is what it is at this point.

              • TomLPDX says:

                Just curious and kind of off topic, but I’ve been thinking about this for awhile…

                How long do you think Bobby will continue to be a Seahawk? Serious question to the entire community.

              • Rob Staton says:

                I don’t think Bobby will move on in a couple of years.

                And I don’t think they’re planning on him replacing him as the captain of the D.

          • CaptainJack says:

            In a heartbeat

          • DAWGfan says:

            IDK about that, the franchise tag for safety won’t be more than $12 million in 2022, he is a lock for at least 2 more years and potentially 3 if they want to tag him again. He’s not going to get elite CB $$. Nobody pays the position that much. He would be better off negotiating an extension long term deal after the season at slightly more than the franchise 5 years/$72 million with $25 million in guarantees. That would still make him the highest paid safety in the league.

            • Rob Staton says:

              He will be able to ask for whatever he wants within reason.

              The Seahawks have no leverage.

              And good luck franchising him year after year with no consequences.

              • DAWGfan says:

                I think both sides want to come to an agreement. You don’t trade that draft capital without knowing what you need to invest. If he wants to play here, the Hawks will make him the highest paid safety. They can re-set the market for the position but I don’t think they would move it to elite CB range.

          • MegatronKiller says:

            Yeah, I’d definitely consider / be in favor of that. It’s less than we paid, but we’re getting/got a season out of him. Basically we would have swapped a 1st and 3rd round pick (and Bradley McDougald) for a 2nd and 4th round for a year of Jamal Adams. Sounds like a decent deal to me.

          • Submanjoe says:

            It’s too early to tell right now. Depends how this season wraps up.
            I think 18-20 mil per year is spot on, and this FO doesn’t seem interested in paying anyone that much. Theoretically, if Adams plays as advertised the rest of the year, I’d rather have Adams than Wagner. Will they keep Shaquill Griffin? Dunbar? Who will they pay? At some point they need a new younger core on defense with someone like Adams as their leader. This team is full of uncertainty on defense and they have been unable to fix those uncertainties through the draft.

          • Chris Alexander says:

            Seattle sent two #1s and a #3 to get him. Getting back a #1 and a #2 after having gotten a year with him on your team isn’t the worst idea in the world. Especially if Seattle engages in contract talks with him before the draft and realizes he’s absolutely, positively going to cost more than they’re comfortable paying. I, for one, don’t want them to do this, but it WOULD be understandable – and not completely terrible – if they did it.

            Hopefully us 12s can console ourselves with the knowledge that he helped us win the Super Bowl while he was here.

            • Chris Alexander says:

              Meant to include the thought that it would partly depend on who the trading partner was.

              NO to an NFC West team.
              NO to anyone who’s out of the top half of the draft.
              YES, probably without hesitation, to anyone with a Top-5 pick in 2021.

  6. Isaac says:

    If there are any other fantasy football owners out there I have a question.

    Do I start Metcalf? My current starting 3 WRs are Julio, Diggs, and Claypool. 1st place rests on the result of this weeks matchup, thank you!

    • Volume12 says:

      Yes. I have Tyreek, DK, Claypool, Fuller, & McLaurin. DK never comes out. I’m 5-1 in my $ league, 6-0 in my other. DK is the only guy I have in both.

    • Volume12 says:

      DK has gotten me in my $ league:

      Wk 1: 15.5 pts
      Wk 2: 15.2 pts
      Wk 3: 15. 0 pts
      Wk 4: 10.6 pts
      Wk 5: 21.3 pts

      He’s the 3rd ranked receiver right now

      • Isaac says:

        Thank you both! I will start him over claypool. Let’s hope claypool isnt the one with a 3 TD game this week.

        • TomLPDX says:

          Claypool is pretty hot right now, isn’t he?

          • Volume12 says:

            Yeah. 49.7 pts combined the past 2 weeks.

            • Isaac says:

              Yah, but I read Johnson is coming back, so he might take away from claypool current targets and almost WR1 status..but now I’m thinking start Claypool over Diggs, maybe? He hasnt been super hot recently.

              • Volume12 says:

                It’s a tough call. No matter what you do your gonna leave good amount of points on your bench.

                Claypool is just too much of a big play threat against a Tennessee defense that gives up chunk plays to receivers. At least for me. Having said that, I’d probably go w/ Julio, DK, & Diggs.

        • Uncle Bob says:

          Keep in mind that Patrick Peterson is likely going to be glued to DK Sunday night, so it could depend on how you feel about that matchup. Might be a better night for Lockett.

          • Isaac says:

            Good point. Though if nfl MVP Gilmore couldnt stop him or All Pro Byron Jones, then Metcalf can hopefully handle Peterson. Might do a lineup of Julio, Claypool, and Metcalf…

            • Chris Alexander says:

              This was my thought too. If DK “attacks” Peterson like he did Gilmore, you (and he) should be fine.

    • Darnell says:

      DK is a must start every week for fantasy.

    • Rusty says:

      Assuming it’s not a keeper league, I’d consider trading Claypool for a running back

      • Isaac says:

        My league ain’t a keepers thankfully. I have Kamara and Robinson as my RBs right now, and with Robinson averaging 17pts per game I’m feeling ok. Which RBs should I target?

  7. Ukhawk says:

    The more I think about it, the more I want them to prioritize signing Quinten Williams. We can’t get a quality player like this for a 2, he could play 3T or 5T, and is a very good price for 2 more seasons At 4.5m per. Yes they need edge, and can still afford it, but this guy would be foundational to make multiple runs in the next 3 seasons!!!

  8. GoHawksDani says:

    I’d happily take Williams for 2nd and a DE for 4th.
    But I think it has almost zero chance. I don’t even think they’ll trade for someone. Seems like Carroll is trusting in some sort of a miracle.

  9. dtrain says:

    After watching the first five games, and witnessing the multiple ways the Hawks have tried to apply pressure in the passing game—I have a theory. Just as they have made a paradigm shift offensively, with more first down throws, fewer consecutive run plays, and an actual screen game, I am starting to think they have made a similar schematic philosophical shift defensively (which, I know, contradicts Pete Carroll’s historic and staunch reliance on his simplistic, yet effective defensive philosophies). I am theorizing that the Hawks have dropped their 4-3, cover 1/3 ways and have now embraced a much different approach; relying on pressure from the back 7 and twists/stunts from the front. Maybe the Jamal Adams trade wasn’t just a chance to add a premier football player—but an opportunity to add the “exact” type of weapon they are looking for. The drafting of Jordyn Brooks, as well. These players are adept at blitzing and have the speed and instincts to cover up missed run fits (a common issue within a blitz scheme). Ryan Neal appears to fit into this scheme, and it is telling that they didn’t change their defensive plan with Adams out of the lineup. Mychael Kendricks is a late addition that fits, as he is an excellent blitzer. On the front, the free-agents they signed in the off-season and mid-season are adept run defenders and not prolific pass rushers (Irvin and Mayowa consistent, if not spectacular, at both). I think they are transitioning to prioritizing run defenders in the front four and acquiring their pressure on the back end. That is a major philosophical change (one which none of us expected to come from a Carroll-led program), but it theoretically fits like a glove with the offensive scheme shift; a blitzing/stunting defense is designed to create turnovers and sacks, handing a high-powered offense more scoring opportunities. The flip side to that defensive side is you will give up a higher percentage of big plays and field position flips. The new high-flying offense should theoretically be able to keep-up with those by sheer volume of points and the ability to flip field position through big plays. I think we might need to start looking at the Hawks defensive “needs” through a different lens. Acquisitions along the front will be run-defender first players. Back seven players must be adept blitzers going forward (If Taylor and Robinson materialize as traditional speed rushers down the line, maybe the needle moves back towards the Carroll schematic norms we have come to expect). The offense will value pass-protectors and vertical threats. If there are going to be trade deadline acquisitions, I am curious to see if they fit into this theory. Again, just a theory—tell me I’m crazy.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I appreciate the time you’ve taken to try and explain your theory but I have to say I completely disagree with it. You can’t simply set out to apply pressure from the back seven, as we’re clearly seeing, then rely on stunts. If that even was their plan, it’d be similar to asking your wide outs to play O-line.

      Neither would they have wasted much time trading up for Darrell Taylor.

      I don’t want to rehash old arguments again but I think we’ve done a good job breaking down what happened this off-season. They felt good about their intel on Clowney and thought they could get him at a certain price below his own expectations. He rejected that and held out and it completely threw them — leading to a weird situation where they didn’t know whether to stick or twist. Then they gradually chipped away at their cap space, had to use their highest draft picks to address the front seven and then before the season realised that the only significant addition they’d made to the defense all year — Quinton Dunbar, might not play a down for them due to his issue in Florida. So they traded for the impact player who happened to be available in Jamal Adams. Otherwise, the cumulative achievement on defense would’ve been Mayowa for Clowney and bringing back Bruce Irvin.

      As such they’ve been left with the defense we’ve seen and we’ve even got to see what it looks like without Adams due to his injury. And it’s a bloody mess. They deserve some criticism for this and I don’t think it’s unfair, still, to question whether it’ll undermine all that is positive about the offense down the line.

      • dtrain says:

        To be clear, I am not defending either the Seahawks off-season or the shift in philosophies on both sides of the ball. So, I’m not sure where that part of the response came from. It is quite obvious that their defensive game plans have shifted. I am just wondering out loud if that is by design or in desperation. Darrell Taylor is a 2nd round pick with an injury they knew about. I doubt they figured him for anything but a 3rd down Leo role this year even if healthy. All teams can find speed rushers pretty handy—regardless of scheme. My point is not whether you can or can’t apply pressure from the back seven—it is that they appear to be trying to do that and it looks like a similar philosophical shift as they have made offensively. There is a long history of pressure/stunt defenses finding success in the NFL, with the 46 front being aN obvious prime example that continues to resonate today (btw, the Hawks ran this front religiously against Minnesota).

        • Rob Staton says:

          “To be clear, I am not defending either the Seahawks off-season or the shift in philosophies on both sides of the ball. So, I’m not sure where that part of the response came from.”

          You posited a theory for their actions and I gave mine. That’s where that part of the response came from.

          “It is quite obvious that their defensive game plans have shifted.”

          Sure but not to the extent you’re speaking of. They basically blitzed a ton because they had to in the first three games and because Jamal Adams is good at it. Yet they got absolutely hammered for explosive plays. Since then, they’ve gone back to their more conventional and conservative approach and blitzed much less.

          That’s not a philosophical shift. It’s an admittance that the pass rush is crap and an attempt to manufacture pressure.

  10. Mike Johns says:

    What about Markus Golden? Should come really cheap, had 10 sacks last year, and really wants to earn a bigger deal after getting stuck back with the Giants on the UFA tender. Giants weren’t even using him much this year before injuries pushed him into the lineup last week.

  11. dtrain says:

    They have blitzed less (not dramatically) in the last 3 games and have run more zone coverages behind their recent blitzes (in an attempt to give up fewer big plays). They have been trying to create pressures through twists and stunts, as well (with some success). Ryan Neal has been an active blitzer while Adams has been out. Their blitz-rate in the last 3 games is still higher than last year’s rates. They had pass rush issues last year and blitzed far less than now. To me, that shows a trend in a different direction. Even with Clowney in the fold, they weren’t getting home. If they won’t go out and get prolific pass rushers to run the 4-3 that we have become accustomed to, it would make sense to do it a different way. I love your blog, Rob—as much for your posts as the for the forum in which we get a chance to interject. Thanks for the opportunity.

    • dtrain says:

      Sorry, this was supposed to be a response in an earlier thread

    • Rob Staton says:

      “They have blitzed less (not dramatically) in the last 3 games”

      I don’t have a game-by-game set of numbers to hand but since the Miami and Minnesota games their blitz percentage has dropped from 36.4% to 29.6%. That is not insignificant and they’ve gone from one of the heaviest blitzers in the league through the first three weeks to not even being in the top-10 any more. So I would contest your suggestion that there hasn’t been a dramatic change.

      “They have been trying to create pressures through twists and stunts”

      All teams do this though. Nick Saban’s defense is all twists and stunts. This is just a staple of the game — another way to manufacture pressure when you can’t win 1v1. And Seattle can’t win 1v1.

      “Ryan Neal has been an active blitzer while Adams has been out.”

      Not really. At some point well into the Minnesota game they suddenly had him blitzing as an extra rusher on one, long sustained scoring drive (I believe this is when the score was 21-13 to Seattle). I suspect this is because they couldn’t get off the field playing conservatively and tried to bring some heat.

      Officially he has blitzed seven times in two games, which isn’t all that much when you consider that one significant Minnesota drive where he might have had all seven blitzes for all I know. Jamal Adams blitzed 31 times in two-and-a-bit games.

      “Their blitz-rate in the last 3 games is still higher than last year’s rates.”

      Yes, because as we all know they were major heavy blitzers in the first three weeks. You are not going to balance that out completely in two subsequent games.

      “They had pass rush issues last year and blitzed far less than now.”

      Their current blitz percentage is 29.6%. Last year it was 26.9%. So it’s not a big difference. Especially when you consider they were blitzing 36% of the time in the first three games.

      • dtrain says:

        I think you are dead-on here. They went into the season wanting to blitz more (the percentages bare that out—especially the first 2.5 games with Adams healthy). They have tapered off of safety blitzes (7 in two games—3.5 each game) since. -6.8 pct difference in two games is significant. 2.8% over the course of a year is not, though the argument is they were with out Adams in the former number. Stunts and twists are a staple of the game—agreed!…and the Hawks are doing it…a lot. Possibly, they have shunned the available, traditional pass rushers we deemed them to covet for a different strategy. Appreciate the replies!

        • Rob Staton says:

          No, they went into the season feeling like they had to blitz. Big difference.

          They haven’t shunned anything. This isn’t philosophical. This is just how it worked out and they’re trying to manufacture pressure. There’s no need to overthink it.

  12. Volume12 says:

    Not sure if he’s an ideal fit zone coverage wise, but my goodness! Miami CB Al Blades, jr sure as hell plays like the ideal Ssahawk/PC corner. Extremely high football IQ, size, physicality, makes plays, productive, bloodlines, has that confidence/drip.

    • Gohawks5151 says:

      I love this kid. He is a Blades through and through. I just wonder what he is great at? Just kind of good at most things which isn’t a bad thing. Had a tendency to get beat over top too, but seems to be better this year. Thoughts on Asante Samuel Jr?

  13. Steve Nelsen says:

    You have given a lot of thought to this but I think the explanation for this offseason is a bit simpler than PC changing schemes or some of the “PCJS screwed up” theories.

    Seattle began the offseason with no starting SAM (Kendricks) or starting nickel CB (also Kendricks) no starting 5T (Clowney), no starting 3T (Reed), and no starting LEO (Ansah). They had an underperforming CB starter (Flowers). They had a lack of overall speed on defense and they were very poor in tackling in 2019.

    With the prospect of a virtual off-season, they prioritized FAs who were already familiar with the system. With the prospect of a reduced 2021 (and 2022) salary cap, they prioritized FAs who were affordable and willing to sign 1-2 year deals.
    They signed Reed to play 3T. Affordable 2-year deal.
    They signed Mayowa to play LEO. Very affordable 1-year deal and he knew the system.
    They chose to let last last year’s 1st-round draft pick Collier start and develop at 5T.
    They signed Irvin to play SAM. He already knew the system.
    They traded for an outside CB to compete with Flowers. He is inexpensive.
    They chose to let last year’s 2nd-round draft pick Blair start at nickel CB.
    They moved up in the draft to get the guy they considered the best LEO (Taylor) and then later added a 5T (Robinson).
    They drafted a very fast LB who could be ready to start in 2021.

    I thought they would sign Clowney even though it would stunt Collier’s development. But, Collier seems to be developing so they maybe made the right call.

    The trade for Adams was in the works all offseason and JS was just waiting for the final 2021 cap news from the league before he finalized it. I didn’t see SS as a position of need going into the offseason but Adams certainly upgrades the team speed and tackling. And he will provide a defensive leader when Bobby is gone. He gives the D some swagger.

    With 3 new starters on the DL, I can see why they chose to blitz more to create pressure; especially to start the season. It didn’t work. Hopefully they can back off the blitzes as the D-line guys settle in and get back to normal.

    The secondary has really struggled to come together (partly because of the blitzing and partly because of lack of offseason and partly because of injuries.) I hope that will improve when Adams, Dunbar, Griffin and Diggs are able to play together for a couple 2-3 games.

    • dtrain says:

      Great points and I agree on most of this. I’ll add that the offensive paradigm shifted because of the same factors. Lean on Wilson to come through in a shortened off-season format. Your workhorse RB is coming off a major injury entering a contract year. Adams is a blitzer—not a great cover guy (especially man). They know his strengths and they are building around it. I can’t see them dramatically turning down the volume of his blitzes when he returns, though. Like Kendricks at Sam last year, they have a way of hanging their hats on the personnel they have and what they do well.

    • AlphaDK says:

      I think that’s a spot on interpretation of their approach.

      Between Mayowa as a rotational Leo, Irvin as a SAM and situational pass rusher, Green or Collier taking a significant stride forward, drafting Taylor and Robinson, they really needed 2 of those players to step up. Failing to sign Clowney or another Leo they liked at the value they could get, they went for 6 EDGE players and hoped 2-3 would be serviceable. 3 have missed all or almost all of the snaps with injury. We really need less severe injury juju in the second half of the season, and we need at least one player to step up.

      I think the other part of the equation you didn’t mention was being very conservative with cap space, especially for the 2021 season. I think teams were notified early on, maybe even before the free agent signing period, that the cap would almost certainly be dropping due to COVID.

      In stadium ticket sales alone, 16 games*16weeks*66K fans average attendance*$101 avg price per ticket is approximately $1.7B of lost revenue, or about $50m lost revenue per team. Players get nearly half of revenue, so the conservative view was a loss of $25m salary cap per team, which is where the league has guided.

      There are around a dozen teams that weren’t cautious with salary cap, and we might see a pretty severe cutdown of high salary players next season. The Seahawks are well positioned to have some flexibility next year – signing 2 high priced free agents with big 2nd year cap hits could have been disastrous, even if it would have resulted in a better pass rush this year.

      I don’t know what the right answer was. They avoided cap hell, but they also avoided a decent pass rush. They were kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.

      Of course, Baltimore is spending nothing on the QB position, so they have more flexibility than the Hawks, and likewise KC has very low cap hits at the QB position for this and next year after Mahomes giant 10 year deal.

      • Steve Nelsen says:

        I think the approach to the 2021 (and 2022) cap is important. Both of those seasons will also be in Russell’s prime.

        In hindsight, some of the names we talked about would have been expensive mistakes. If Collier fails to develop or Mayowa can’t hold up with increased reps, it will be a mistake; but not an expensive mistake.

  14. Rob Staton says:

    Jamal Adams is officially OUT for Sunday.

    Not surprising and I think the right call. They need him back for the most possible games, not rushed back simply because this is the first one after a bye.

    However, one of the big risks you have when you spend as much as they have on Adams — you need him on the field. That’s three missed games now.

    • cha says:

      Jordyn Brooks is a go though, so that’s a positive. Barton to the bench.

    • Uncle Bob says:

      While you’re thinking about whether or not to open the discussion on possibly trading Adams to get back into the 21 draft early rounds, this lengthening injury out doesn’t help his value. Personally, at least at first blush, it seems a reasonable solution if value can be had and used judiciously. With the salary cap backing up, those rooky salaries will be even more attractive for the better players. Which leads to another future topic to begin mulling (though too early to address seriously); how are teams going to deal with players on expensive contracts that might not be producing commensurate with cost. Cutting them is the obvious short answer, but that hurts both parties potentially. A negotiated revaluation downward? Most players might lack the forethought to appreciate that and the player’s union would probably fight it tooth and nail. But, we don’t know enough yet to seriously weigh the options, just food for thought.

    • Big Mike says:

      Half the games now missed

    • Big Mike says:

      The fact that he’s already been declared out more than 48 hours before game time makes me highly suspicious that his recovery is not progressing at anything above a snail’s pace and that it’s likely he’s out again next week.

  15. hawkfanforetenity says:

    Thanks for the great write-up Rob. You lay things out very clearly. The thing that stands out to me is the lack of obvious trade options at DL. Unfortunately for the Hawks, trading for D-line help really feels like a challenge this year in terms attractive players that teams clearly want to move.

    I’m still a bit baffled by the Vikings trading Yannick. All the reasons you gave earlier made sense for not trading him. He’s young, productive, and could have been a long term piece for them. They knew trading for him that he’d require a big contract at the end of the year. I don’t get them trading him away, even if they are punting on the season. It feels like they took a look at him for those games and decided he wasn’t worth resigning at the end of the year and they might as well get the return for him now.

    That makes me wonder how interested the Hawk’s would have been in him for a 11 game rental. If the Vikings didn’t want to make him one of the highest paid DE in the league, I can’t see the Hawk’s wanting to either.

  16. cha says:

    Yikes.

    Adam Schefter
    @AdamSchefter
    Washington Football Team QB Dwayne Haskins was fined for violating the teams COVID-19 protocols during last weeks Giants game. Haskins made a reservation for a family friend at the team hotel which is strictly prohibited by the team.

    1:22 PM · Oct 23, 2020

  17. cha says:

    David Lombardi
    @LombardiHimself
    Shanahan acknowledges that Dante Pettis is on the trade block
    1:31 PM · Oct 23, 2020

    • Uncle Bob says:

      New England is a buyer for wr…………maybe they’ll end up leaving him there this weekend.

    • Gohawks5151 says:

      Was a reach to begin with IMO. When you start the conversation with, ” He is the best punt returner” instead of his receiving skills its a bad sign.

  18. CaptainJack says:

    The first two weeks of the season, the defense looked absolutely dreadful with a healthy Adams. Now he’s been out awhile and we’ve seen steady defensive improvement. Is there a chance he’s massively overrated and just benefited from Greg Williams scheme? I feel like the defense is even worse with him on the field, and he can’t cover. Ryan Neal can pretty much do all the things Adams can do (along with being bad in coverage) for dirt cheap. I looked at his combine scores and he’s not that athletic either. I am really frustrated with a lot of things, his injury, our bad this defense is, how much draft capital we gave up to acquire him. Sorry for the negativity, but I can’t help but feel this is another busted John Schneider trade, a la Jimmy Graham, Sheldon Richardson, and Percy Harvin. No wonder Wilson wants to do whatever he can to improve the team and sign AB. John Schneider hasn’t been able to move this roster forward in a positive way in years.

  19. Rob4q says:

    So if it comes down to Kerrigan or Dunlap both being available, which would you prefer if the cost was relatively equal? Which one fits our defense better and why?

    I do think we could see the Seahawks try and move some pieces (Hollister, Finney, Flowers, Barton, Ursua/Moore?) either as part of deals or just to recoup some late round picks.

    • CaptainJack says:

      Move Hollister… with Parkinson healthy again.

      • Uncle Bob says:

        Hollister probably has the highest value of those on that list, Flowers might be lowest, below even Ursua.

      • Hoggs41 says:

        I go Kerrigan. He is more of a Leo type then Dunlap.

        • Rob4q says:

          Yeah, and Kerrigan probably has more pure pass rush skill as well while Dunlap is the more complete DE. Age is about the same and both have been productive recently. Either one would help no doubt, but Kerrigan is probably the most likely…

  20. Hoggs41 says:

    Just feels like Takk might be the guy. Maybe a 5th?

    • Rob4q says:

      Falcons management just came out and said Raheem Morris is getting an 11 week try out for the HC gig and they will 100% support him to win as many games as possible. So, I would think he would be the one to say whether he wants to hold onto Takk or let him go…will be interesting to see what they do with him. Still young and some potential there…

      • Uncle Bob says:

        The Pres/CEO guy said in an interview today, paraphrasing, “We have no plans to have a fire sale, but we will take calls and listen to offers.” 🙂

  21. cha says:

    PC Friday press conf

    “First week back after break, fun week of practice, guys like working together. Prep for Arizona, have to. Dangerous FB team. Have to be ready to adjust, halftime be a big deal this week.”

    [bob condotta] Adams out? “Really close, want to make sure we get it right. Anticipate he’ll practice next week. One more good weekend of rehab and prep and get him next week.”

    [ben Arthur] Sullivan as a DE in practice? “Good experiment. He’s in the running for this thing. TE don’t need him yet. Next week important for him. Be in pads. Looking seriously to see where he fits. Know he can play TE, love him there.”

    [corbin] Brooks in lineup or Barton? “Wait and see, had a great week. Full speed. More reps as the week went on. Definitely play considerable snaps in game.”

    [] Your Knee? (oh brother)

    [michael shawn] Pete, were you a multisport athlete in high school? (oh brother pt2)

    [Curtis crab] Snacks practice this week? Possibly Sunday? “Progress, one week at a time. Home this week. Rehab and conditioning work, still on the road back.”

    [Gregg bell] On sidelines? “Right.”
    [Gregg] Brooks on Murray? “Ready to play. Really excited about helping our D out. Great hits during practice this week. Ready to go.”

    [Joe fann] Dorsett? “no practice this week.”

    [brady] You said Snacks is rehabbing? “In shape and conditioning. Working on weight. It’s a process.”
    [brady] Green? “Great shape ready to come back. Chance to practice soon.”

    [tim booth] COVID?

    I’m going to miss the rest…will catch it up later.

  22. Sea Mode says:

    Ian Rapoport
    @RapSheet
    ·37s

    The #AZCardinals bring back a familiar face: #Giants OLB Markus Golden is going to AZ in exchange for a 6th-round pick.

    • CaptainJack says:

      Personally, I would have signed off on that in a heartbeat.

      • Sea Mode says:

        Meh. Like Rob said, they already passed on signing him.

        For me, the positive in this is that it hopefully sets the tone for a bunch of trades for similar cost. (late rd. pick)

        • CaptainJack says:

          Well, he had 10 sacks a year ago and 12.5 sacks in 2016. For a sixth I take a flier on that. They already passed on everyone in free agency anyways.

          • Sea Mode says:

            Fair take. I’m just hoping they have at least something up their sleeve.

            • Lewis says:

              My fear is that they don’t. We all look at the team and see a glaring need for speed on the edge…but do they see it that way

              • TomLPDX says:

                Ditto. I’ve decided to throw all logic out the window when trying to figure out what JS is going to do. It makes no sense to me so we are in different logical universes.

  23. Big Mike says:

    So I was thinking that the 4th rounder Seattle got from the Jets was for the upcoming 2021 draft meaning that in reality the 3rd we traded would be nothing more than a move down between like 1 and 6 or 7 spots considering where the two teams are likely to be in the draft order (Jets first couple of picks each round, Hawks low in each round). But no, the 4th the Hawks received is a 2022 pick meaning no extra round 4 this upcoming draft.

  24. Rob Staton says:

    Antonio Brown is meeting with Tampa Bay this weekend.

    https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2020/10/23/antonio-brown-to-visit-buccaneers/

    Apparently the Buccs and Seahawks are ‘highly motivated’ to sign him.

    Imagine dredging all this up, actively wanting him and then missing out.

  25. TomLPDX says:

    AB is visiting the Bucs…there you go, Brady!

  26. jopa726 says:

    [Music playing: The Imperial March]
    Finally, Tom Brady is revealed to be Emperor Palpatine. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will sign Antonio Brown.Tom Brady will win his seventh Super Bowl. Feel The Power of the Dark Side!

  27. […] If you missed the earlier article on trade deadline targets, you can check it out here. […]

  28. Gaux Hawks says:

    please bring me back down to earth…

    …williams for a second, fackrell/talk for a fourth/fifth?

    • Gaux Hawks says:

      that would be a good looking defensive line:

      collier/green/bullard
      reed/harrison
      williams/ford
      takk/mayowa/alton

  29. Lee says:

    I wonder If the Jets would take Collier and/or Green with a draft pick for Williams?

  30. Cortez Kennedy says:

    “Yannick Ngakoue on a discount deal for the remainder of the season would’ve been perfect. He’d come to Seattle with an enormous chip on his shoulder, knowing he had a few weeks to set himself up for free agency. He has the quickness they need to attack the edge. He has the production (five sacks in six games) they currently miss.”

    *long sullen sigh*

    Beggars can’t be choosers. We could have been choosers back in the spring. We chose poorly, so now we have to beg (if the right opportunity presents itself)