I’m not sure I remember a day like this.
At least not since I started writing about the Seahawks.
When’s the last time multiple players departed this franchise, and it just felt weird?
Think about it. Golden Tate is going to be catching passes from Matthew Stafford.
Not Russell Wilson.
He’s going to be playing in the NFC North. He’s going to be waving at Green Bay defensive backs. He’s going to be making improbable catches as a team mate of Calvin Johnson.
Breno Giacomini is going to be the right tackle of the New York Jets, playing for Rex Ryan.
Chris Clemons — Seattle’s best pass rusher during the Pete Carroll era — is probably going to be finishing his career in Jacksonville.
Like I said, weird.
And Red Bryant isn’t going to be wearing a Seahawks jersey any more…
It all kind of doesn’t feel right.
It feels dirty. Unclean.
These are our guys.
Clemons symbolised everything this front office achieved in the early days. They found a player with an edge, who fit their scheme and became a star when nobody else really wanted him.
Big Red was the leader in the dressing room. The father figure. The inspiration.
Tate was an early draft pick who epitomised this teams ability to get under an opponents skin. To really piss off the opposition and their fans.
Giacomini just loved to smack people around. And he did it well.
A significant chunk of Seattle’s soul just left the building.
I’ve skimmed through some of the reaction on Twitter. It’s a mix of extremes.
On the one hand, some people are upset key players are moving on. They want to know why they didn’t make more of a push to re-sign Tate. They wonder how this team will be able to replace two or three key starters.
Others have unwavering faith in the front office and their ability to make replacements. Piece of cake. No worries.
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
Losing important players isn’t the end of the world. It happens to all of the good teams.
But replacing them isn’t easy, either.
Unlike the 49ers, they don’t have a treasure trove of draft picks. They’ve only got two picks during the first two days of the draft.
They also have to make better use of their early picks.
In fact the Seahawks have to make this years first round pick at #32 their best since 2010.
James Carpenter (2011) hasn’t worked out as planned. His position on the roster is probably only secure because of the lack of depth on the offensive line right now. He’s played inconsistent football, he’s been injured and he’s struggled to nail down a starting spot.
Bruce Irvin (2012) was drafted to be the ‘ideal LEO’ and yet after one year he was moved to linebacker where he had an unspectacular first season. He’s 27 this year.
Last year the Harvin trade provided a minimal regular season impact while Christine Michael, a second round pick, barely saw the field. He might have the most breakout potential according to Carroll, but how realistic is that while Marshawn Lynch remains the bell cow?
If they keep hitting on late round picks, great. This is a deep draft. They might find a starter or two later on.
But how likely is it that they keep doing that consistently?
The Seahawks need to start hitting with these early picks. Whoever they take at #32 — in a deep, talented draft — needs to have an impact.
Here are the biggest needs right now, as we close out day two of free agency:
– Wide receiver
– Offensive line (tackle & guard)
– Defensive line
I suspect they’ll continue to hunt for defensive linemen in free agency. The re-signing of Tony McDaniel retains some consistency there. That’s a big bonus.
I’ve soured a little on Jared Allen following his near threat of ‘pay me or I’ll retire’. He’s a good player, but I don’t think you need to be held to ransom like that.
If Allen wants to play for a contender and win, do it and take what’s on offer. If you want to retire, do that. It’s pretty simple.
Jason Hatcher had his visit in Seattle but appears set to move on to other teams. He could be expensive for a rotational cog.
In the end the best thing might be to bring in some lesser known depth and roll with Benson Mayowa, Greg Scruggs, Mike Brooks and co.
It’s a stretch to think you can replace a veteran like Clemons on the cheap, but the options in free agency aren’t exactly of the Avril and Bennett variety this year.
It’s a poor draft for pass rushers. I’m willing to think the top two picks (#32 & #64) are being saved for a receiver and a tackle.
That’s the strength of this draft class anyway.
And the relative lack of urgency in trying to keep Tate and Giacomini could be a sign of Seattle knowing exactly who they want from a group of 3-4 players at each pick.
Losing Giacomini creates a debate we need to have going forward. What do you do at right tackle? Do you draft a player early to fill that role, knowing you’ve failed once to draft a right tackle in round one (Carpenter)?
Or do you trust an Alvin Bailey or Michael Bowie to earn that spot?
We’ve talked a lot about Joel Bitonio recently. He can play tackle. He excelled as a blind side blocker for Nevada.
Yet physically and on tape you can’t help but make the comparison to Logan Mankins. If he has the potential to be a ten year starter at guard and play at a similar level to Mankins, wouldn’t he be wasted at right tackle?
Who’s the last great right tackle the NFL has celebrated? I’m sure you can name at least 4-5 left guards.
If you did draft Bitonio (or someone else) to play tackle — what happens at guard? Do you simply continue the rotation from last year? Do you challenge a Bowie or Bailey to earn the left guard spot?
It’s a great draft for receivers, but what are the options going to be at #32 and #64?
We know Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans will be long gone. I’d expect Odell Beckham Junior, Brandin Cooks, Marqise Lee and Kelvin Benjamin to also be off the board.
Are you willing to gamble on a Martavis Bryant or Brandon Coleman in round one?
And yet at #64 there’s at least some chance those players will be gone. Others — such as Allen Robinson, Jordan Matthews, Paul Richardson, Davante Adams and Jarvis Landry — will either be off the board or don’t really fit Seattle’s penchant for big plays and winning the red line.
The more I think about it, the more I think Bryant could be a legitimate option for Seattle. Tall, fast with all the physical tools. He’s a better fit for the Seahawks than the Clemson offense. But the character concerns and attitude are a worry.
Would he make it to #64? Doubtful. Unless the red flags are a major turn off — which begs the question — would you even want him in that situation?
He at least shows some evidence of making the most of his athletic talent. The more Donte Moncrief I watch, the more frustrated I get.
They need to replace depth in multiple areas so it wouldn’t be a big shock to see them move down once or even twice from #64.
If that happens, they’ll have to make it work better than their last move from round two back into round three.
In 2011 they essentially passed up the chance to draft Randall Cobb and Justin Houston to move down and grab the now retired John Moffitt.
The biggest concern for me is the offense. The defense still has the L.O.B. — it has Bennett and Avril, the linebackers and the opportunity for further additions in free agency.
On offense there’s increased pressure on Percy Harvin to stay healthy (that would exist anyway with a team-high $13.4m cap hit in 2014), the offensive line is going to get younger and will be tested, while there’s also the possibility of swapping out Zach Miller for Jermichael Finley.
Lynch is a year older.
It’s nothing a good draft can’t solve. But they probably need to hit on those early picks in a way they haven’t done since 2010.