Before we get into this, if you missed the Sea Hawkers podcast appearance posted earlier don’t forget to check it out. The draft talk starts after 30 minutes:
Thoughts on Luke Joeckel & free agency so far
Taking a flier on Joeckel would be one thing, but the Seahawks are paying Joeckel like he’s a solid guard, with his $8 million cap hit more than the rest of the Seattle offensive line combined ($7.5 million).
It’s understandable why there might be a negative reaction to this deal given his underwhelming career to date and recent knee injury.
That said, let’s put the $7m guaranteed into context. The free agent offensive tackle market exploded this year. Russell Okung, Matt Kalil, Riley Reiff, Mike Remmers, Andrew Whitworth and others all got paid more (considerably more in some cases) than anyone expected before the start of free agency.
People like John Clayton were talking about Seattle potentially signing Reiff on a $6-7m type deal. He got $11.75m a year from Minnesota. Apparently there was interest in a return for Okung. The Chargers gave him $13.25m a year to be the highest paid left tackle in the league.
If you told fans before free agency that Seattle would miss out on Reiff and Okung and sign Joeckel for $6m less — most would say ‘fair play’.
The Joeckel contract, in context of the situation, is modest. Matt Kalil was also terribly disappointing as a top-five pick and he too was injured for most of the 2016 season. Even he got $11m a year from Carolina.
Free agency rarely provides answers and solutions for teams. The Seahawks were priced out of the market for good and average offensive linemen. They move on.
They’re not alone.
Dallas, for example, don’t have the room to make major moves to help their defense. The Patriots have been active — but they’re willingness to give away Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins (plus potentially Dont’a Hightower) has enabled them to sign other players. The Falcons have been quiet, the Steelers have been quiet, the Cardinals have lost several key defenders.
When analysing Seattle’s one move so far — and the moves they haven’t made — context usually provides a dose of reality.
They will have to keep managing and developing this offensive line. It doesn’t mean they won’t make further moves in free agency or the draft — and it doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t improve.
Going back to Joeckel, there’s no doubt his career to date has been a let down. He would’ve been the #1 pick in a bad 2013 draft but for the sudden rise of the more athletic Eric Fisher. Joeckel was a technician, capable of handling stunts and deception. He’d worked in a pro-style and spread offense, protecting two different quarterbacks in Ryan Tannehill and Johnny Manziel.
Physically he wasn’t as good as Fisher and ultimately that’s why he went at #2 instead of #1. He was still highly regarded and a consensus top-five pick throughout the 2012 college season leading into the draft process.
It’s possible the lack of elite physical skills are too much of a problem to overcome and at this level, he doesn’t have any compensatory skills (mental or physical) to counter the deficiencies. Yet he has shown, even in Jacksonville, that he can be serviceable. A blocker who can properly identify a stunt? That alone will be a boost for Seattle.
There’s very little to lose from the deal. Here are possible scenarios:
1. Joeckel excels and you have a 25-year-old quality tackle with a shot to retain him as a possible core player moving forward.
2. Joeckel excels and you have him for one year before he signs one of those $10-12m contracts, giving you a third round compensatory pick on a one-year rental.
3. Joeckel is average but that in itself might be enough to upgrade the position he ends up playing.
4. Joeckel is awful or gets injured and you have no commitment to him beyond 2017.
This is a Seahawks type of move. He has a point to prove, something at stake. Possibly his last real shot at making a career out of this.
If they can turn a seventh round former defensive tackle into a $6.5m a year guard — they have a shot to resurrect Joeckel’s career.
What happened with T.J. Lang?
According to these tweets, Detroit technically usurped the Seahawks:
Lang said the Lions countered with the offer that he accepted on Sunday
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) March 13, 2017
You have to have a limit. Seattle likely stretched their’s to get up to the $8m range. Who’s to say if they’d matched Detroit’s offer ($9.5m APY) it still wasn’t going to be enough? The Lions might’ve gone to $10-11m.
Getting into a bidding war was never going to put the Seahawks in a position to get this done. They have to move on. And they will.
Sidney Jones falling?
After hurting his achilles during the Washington pro-day, Tony Pauline believes he could fall into day three of the draft. That would be a titanic fall for a player who would’ve otherwise been a top-15 pick.
It’s hard to imagine why he would fall that far. Yes he likely won’t play in 2017. The injury could also linger or impact his performance going forward. However, Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack both only fell into the early second round a year ago. Smith is now having to deal with drop-foot for the rest of his career. Dallas still rolled the dice.
The deep cornerback class could work against Jones but is there a team in rounds 2-3 that would be willing to take a chance? His talent and attitude warrant that level of faith. He seems like the type of character that will be highly motivated by an injury/draft fall.
If he drops into round three, 31.5 inch arms or not, I hope the Seahawks consider taking him. With three picks in that round it’d be a chance to get a possible future star at a bargain price. Jones is special. This probably won’t hold him back.
Daniel Jeremiah’s big board
It’s difficult to read into these things. Jeremiah, in his final top-50 before the 2016 draft, ranked the following players far lower than they were eventually drafted:
Sheldon Rankins — ranked #26, drafted #12
Will Fuller — ranked #29, drafted #21
Taylor Decker — ranked #31, drafted #16
William Jackson III — ranked #32, drafted #24
Karl Joseph — ranked #33, drafted #14
Josh Doctson — ranked #36, drafted #22
Keanu Neal — ranked #46, drafted #17
Artie Burns — ranked #49, drafted #25
In his latest top-50, Jeremiah has the following ranked within striking range of Seattle’s pick at #26:
#20 Garett Bolles
#22 John Ross
#26 Haason Reddick
All three could/should go in the top-15.
Meanwhile Marlon Humphrey is ranked at #43, Kevin King at #44 and Obi Melifonwu at #46. It’s possible one or two of this trio won’t be there at #26.
What it does highlight though — even if these players go earlier than they’re ranked on Jeremiah’s board, the options are going to be really good at #26. Several players are going to be very appealing when Seattle is on the clock.
Veteran running backs still on the radar
Jamaal Charles will be in Seattle Wednesday and Thursday to visit Seahawks, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2017
Source: #Seahawks meeting w/Adrian Peterson has gone well. Physical was conducted and SEA is also still considering Lacy, Murray and Charles
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 13, 2017
Ian Rapoport mentioned today that Jamaal Charles is the preferred option in Seattle. It’s possibly no coincidence they’re meeting with him after Adrian Peterson, Latavius Murray and Eddie Lacy. Get a feel for the rest, then close in on the one you want.
The Seahawks are a shotgun offense these days. Charles fits that the best. Unless they’ve been highly impressed by Peterson, it’s possible Charles could be the player they opt for by the end of the week. Either way, they’ll be looking for value.
It’s unlikely Seattle wants to be the team setting the market for veteran running backs. They’d probably rather have someone else do it for them. Yet if the options for Charles, Murray, Lacy and Peterson remain limited — their value is going to be impacted as a consequence.
Melifonwu visiting Seattle
Aaron Wilson notes the UConn defensive back will take a trip to the North West. This follows reported interest and possible meetings between the Seahawks and Melifonwu at the Senior Bowl and Combine.
There’s no doubting Melifonwu’s physical talent. Learning about the man and how he fits into Seattle’s alpha-male locker room is the key to determining whether he’s an option at #26.
Seahawks meeting with Jared Cook
This is the time to find value in the (somewhat delayed) second wave of free agency.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 13, 2017
Cook is looking for a new home after the Packers chose to sign Martellus Bennett.