Thoughts and predictions on Seattle’s off-season

January 27th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Everything I think about the forthcoming off-season in one post…

KJ Wright will get big money somewhere else

There are teams with millions to spend. Indianapolis has $115m in cap space for 2019. The Jets have $96m. Buffalo $80m. Oakland $74m. If someone is willing to pay Zach Brown $8m a year, Benardick McKinney $10m a year and Alex Ogletree $11m a year — someone will pay to add Wright. Yes he missed a lot of the 2018 season through injury. If you have $115m in cap space, you don’t worry too much about that. Not when you’re adding the consummate professional with years of production. Wright will get paid and Seattle will be priced out.

The Seahawks won’t make a free agency splash

A lot of people are talking about Seattle’s cap space. It’s currently set at about $55m for 2019. That’ll rise because they’ll save money on Kam Chancellor’s contract. Here’s the reality though. Nearly $30m of that alone is going to go on Frank Clark’s contract extension or franchise tag plus the usual amount you need for injured reserve, the practise squad and a draft class. With only 47 players currently under contract for 2019, they simply don’t have the ability to go out and throw major money at a Jadeveon Clowney, Demarcus Lawrence or any of the other big names out there. They’ll need to be calculated, wait for the market to settle and seek value. It could be a very similar free agency to last year.

The priority will be retention not addition

I’m not sure Seahawks fans realise there’s a significant issue on the horizon. Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Jarran Reed are all out of contract after the 2019 season. If Frank Clark receives the franchise tag, he too will be out of contract in 12 months time. The only way to guarantee you keep all three for 2020 or beyond is to have at least three signed to extensions before the end of this year. That’s a huge task. Clark will probably be the easiest to agree terms with. The tag plus the next contract Demarcus Lawrence signs will shape his market. The Seahawks will probably be open to making Wagner the highest paid linebacker in the league (Luke Kuechly only earns $12.3m a year). Reed is tricky because he’ll want to be paid as a 10.5 sack defensive tackle despite only having one year of production. And then there’s the pending Russell Wilson saga. There’s no doubt about it — the priority this year likely isn’t who they can add. It’s who they can keep. Re-signing three vital players in less than a year isn’t easy.

What happens with Russell Wilson?

The Seahawks will be highly motivated to get a deal done. If Wilson takes a franchise tag in 2020, the process starts where he can do so for 2021 and pocket $66m in fully guaranteed salary. That’s manageable to an extent. The year after though he’d be due $43m. At that point, he either agrees a new deal or he walks as a free agent. So the Seahawks likely have a two-year window to sort this out. We just don’t know what Wilson and his agent Mark Rodgers are thinking. A hostile and long-winded saga occurred last time Wilson and the Seahawks talked contract. Last time the Seahawks had some leverage because Wilson was only earning $1.5m in 2015 due to his third-round rookie contract. There’s no such leverage this time. Wilson can ask for $110m fully guaranteed until 2021 because that’s what the tag will pay him. The Seahawks are unlikely to agree to that. This is destined to be the storyline that dominates Seattle sports for a considerable length of time.

They will seriously consider drafting a quarterback

As a right-minded and well run football team, they have to. Everything I said about the Wilson situation above is true. And if they can’t strike a deal in the next two years (a very real possibility) — they have to be prepared for a scenario where Wilson leaves. A poorly run franchise would sleepwalk into that situation. They’d end up scrambling around in free agency, giving $20m to Sam Bradford and another $8m to Mike Glennon. They’d feel obliged to take a rookie QB in round one. Just look at the mess the Cardinals are in because they failed to plan for the inevitable end of the Carson Palmer era. The Seahawks can at least work to avoid all of that by drafting or acquiring a quarterback as insurance. Someone they believe can start, eventually, in the league. Someone they can turn to if indeed Wilson departs. That’s not easy to find, especially outside of round one. But you have to try. You have to attempt to develop someone.

So is Wilson’s departure inevitable?

No, no no. Let’s make this clear. I’m not saying Wilson is off soon and the Seahawks need the next guy. I’m saying a well run team plans for it being a possibility. It’s why John Schneider attended every quarterback pro-day a year ago. It’s why he travelled to watch Oklahoma vs West Virginia in person. It’s why he was spotted closely watching the QB’s at the Senior Bowl. The Seahawks are looking for the next guy because they might need him. If anyone thinks that would be a wasted pick — you’re wrong. It’ll be one of the best and most reassuring picks they’ll ever make. Covering yourself at quarterback is never a bad idea. Especially with the forthcoming situation with Wilson’s contract.

Who could they draft?

That’s the difficult question. None of the Senior Bowl quarterbacks were particularly impressive. That makes it more likely Kyler Murray goes early, plus Dwayne Haskins. I’m currently running through the QB class to form proper opinions on all of the players. I’m starting with Jarrett Stidham. His 2018 tape was mixed (like Auburn’s season) but he played very well in 2017 with a highlight performance in a key win against Alabama. A final quick point on Murray. I love the guy. I think he’s the most talented player in the draft. But he’s 5-9 and it’d be naive to think that won’t matter to some teams. So while I think he should (and will) go in the top-10 — just be ready if he falls.

Anthony Barr will be interesting

If there’s one player in particular I think they might look at in free agency it’s Barr. He’s their type of athlete. He’s 6-5, 255lbs with 34 inch arms. He ran a 1.57 10-yard split. He ran a 4.19 short shuttle and a 6.82 three-cone. He’s explosive with a 34.5-inch vertical and a 10-5 broad jump. For whatever reason Barr’s career in Minnesota stalled. He’s never had more than four sacks in a season featuring mostly at linebacker. He would probably benefit from a fresh start. It’s hard to predict what his market will be like. He may still get decent money and thus the Seahawks could be priced out. Yet if there’s a potential Michael Bennett/Cliff Avril type ‘prove-it deal’ candidate out there, I think it might be Barr. Sign him to a good-not-great one or two year deal. Promise him more pass-rush opportunities. Let him go after a big contract in the future.

They will trade down from #21

It’s inevitable. They only have four draft picks. They need more. They could trade down multiple times. Last year a move from #18 to #27 netted a third and sixth round pick. A similar trade down about nine or ten spots should net the same return. From that point they could move down again. They’ll probably be looking for 6-8 picks at least. I get the feeling they might see this as a draft where it’s worth having a fair amount of day-three stock. It feels like that type of class. If they do move down and acquire an extra third round pick — that could be an area where they target a quarterback.

Forward planning could be important

Aside from needing to think long-term at quarterback (just in case) they also need to think about the future of the offensive line (Germain Ifedi is a free agent after 2019) and at receiver (how many more years does Doug Baldwin want to play?). Clark and Reed have expiring contracts on the D-line. Duane Brown is 34 in August. Some of these issues don’t need to be addressed with early picks but extra depth, competition and forward planning could be a priority.

They like their safety’s more than you do

It’s common to see the Seahawks paired with a safety in mock drafts. It’s a rotten year for the safety position. As Bob McGinn notes: “This class of safeties lacks quality and quantity.” It seems unlikely that’s what Seattle will do with their first pick. Regardless, I think Pete Carroll likes his guys. Bradley McDougald has developed into a key player. Tedric Thompson is only a one-year starter. Carroll was quick to praise Delano Hill at the end of the season. Hill was playing very well before getting injured pre-playoffs. The Seahawks were very lucky to be in a position to draft Earl Thomas and benefit from his talents for many years. Let’s not forget though — Philadelphia traded above them in 2010 and we all thought it was for Thomas (it ended up being for Brandon Graham). They were extremely close to never having Earl Thomas. They wouldn’t have found a similar player in 2011, 2012, 2013. Any subsequent draft. There is a world for Carroll without an Earl-level safety in his defense. I think he’s pretty comfortable moving on and thinks highly of the guys he has. Could they add more competition? Sure. But probably not in the early rounds.

Earl Thomas is done in Seattle

This is almost as inevitable as the ‘trading down from #21’ thought. We all know it. Earl Thomas will be moving on in the off-season — quite possibly to the Cowboys. We’ll never know what motivated this decision. It’s probably something to do with the injuries. But the Seahawks were willing to part ways with Earl a year ago and now it will happen in free agency. It’s just a bit strange they weren’t able to work a deal in 2018 to avoid losing him for nothing more than a possible compensatory pick.

Mychal Kendricks will re-sign

I’m not a legal expert but I do think it’s unlikely Pete Carroll would’ve talked so openly about bringing Kendricks back if he didn’t have some indication that a jail term is unlikely. And it’s very likely that Carroll has communicated with informed individuals on this situation.

They’ll keep D.J. Fluker & J.R. Sweezy

Neither player will be expensive. Both players loved playing in Seattle in 2018. Pete Carroll said several times he wants to keep them both. He even told me when I asked in London that he sees them as part of the ‘new core’. It doesn’t mean they’ll get long-term deals and be seen as multi-year fixtures. But they’ll be back in 2019. It’s a no-brainer.

The first draft pick won’t necessarily be a D-liner

I made a mistake at the start of the off-season. I kept saying Seattle’s first pick would be a pass rusher. I still think it’s their biggest need. But I’ve spent time studying the class and I think there’s a very real prospect that they look elsewhere with their first pick. Once they’ve traded down from #21 — possibly into the early second round — a lot of the defensive linemen will be off the board. There could be a scenario where the strength at that point could be receiver, tight end, linebacker or offensive line. Plus there’s enough good D-line depth this year that they could wait on the position. I’m taking a more open mind going forward. Their biggest need is more pass rush but their first pick could be one of many different positions.

Washington trio make an impression

Congratulations to three players from the state of Washington for the way they performed at the Senior Bowl. Andre Dillard, Drew Sample and Kaleb McGary were all excellent and among the best players in Mobile. It’d be fun to see any of the three playing for the Seahawks.

Montez Sweat in the top-10? Not so fast

I rate Montez Sweat. There aren’t many players with his length, quickness and pass-rushing skill set. It’s very possibly he could be a high pick — especially if he has a great combine. However, there are still questions to be answered about his departure from Michigan State. He’s inconsistent and showed that again in Mobile. On day one he had that great rep against Tytus Howard but then he had some rough moments on day three. In the game itself he had a great first quarter but was handled the rest of the way. Sweat will appear in the top-20 in pretty much every mock draft you see this week. I still think he could be in play for Seattle when they pick — even if they trade down.

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87 Responses to “Thoughts and predictions on Seattle’s off-season”

  1. Elmer says:

    Rob,

    Excellent summary. Concise and provides a really good framework for thinking about the coming offseason. I have two questions (not disagreements) for you.

    1. I don’t believe that I have seen it analyzed, in your opinion how good is Kendricks compared to K.J. Wright? If we sign Kendricks and lose Wright I wonder how big the drop-off is.

    2. Retention is a goal but I wonder if there are some players who were contributors that they won’t want to retain? Names like Brown (WR), Mingo (LB), and Dickson (TE) come to mind. Personally I really liked Ed Dickson though.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think Kendricks and Wright are both exceptional players. Both underrated. I think it’ll be a massive shame to lose either but as long as they keep one it should be fine.

      There’s definitely a chance they could cut some players. But I’m mainly thinking about retaining their core. Dickson, Mingo, Brown etc are not part of the core.

    • Eli says:

      My thoughts regarding your second question Elmer, is there really a purpose served to cut those players? They would free up approximately $8.8 million and leave approximately $3.8 million in dead money. But then we have to go and replace those players, and that’s going to either: 1) cost roughly the same if we’re aiming for similar quality types (and I guess if we spent more than $5 million on those three new players we’d technically have increased the cost), or 2) cost less at the sacrifice of either quality and/or experience.

      If we get some UDFA’s or cap casualties in here that usurp them then I’d be fine moving on, but really there is nothing lost by keeping them on the books. They’re as useful as they need to be.

      • GerryG says:

        Lets look at each player individually (re cuts)

        J Brown- 4th wr, He definitely made the most of his opportunities (TDs) but his total number of targets was not worth his $$ imo; 5 years in the league now, he doesnt have much upside at this point. We had some younger guys on the PS, and promoted a few times during the who would be much cheaper. We also wound up getting Darboh back, who went on IR, so he is still an option. Plus the draft.

        Mingo- We could draft a guy that could contribute what he did. No brainer savings there.

        Dickson- This one depends on the draft, and Uncle Will’s recovery. He seems the best bet to stay unless we draft a TE.

        • I wouldn’t mind if we drafted TJ Hockenson. Dude is a monster player with great hands who looks as much at home running routes as he does pancacking DEs. He may be gone by the time we get to pick, but man would he be a great addition to our offense.

    • GoHawksDani says:

      I think they’re roughly around the same talent. But different kind of talent. KJ can hit hard, but he’s more adequate in passpro. Kendricks can passpro but he’s more of the FF, sack, hard hitter, TFL kind of guy.
      As for me it would be the most awesome thing in the world if they could get a surprise steal in the 3rd/4th round for a Van der Esch kind of guy (obviously not the same as VDE was a first rounder) who can fly and play WILL Bobby could man the middle and Kendricks could play SAM. That would be hands down the absolute best LB corps by a wide margin

  2. Cameron says:

    Rob, let’s say that Kyler Murray ends up falling to #21. Do the Seahawks take him right there, particularly if it’s apparent that he will be taken before any available trade down opportunities? If so, how might you see the remainder of the draft playing out, given Schneider has always been one for quantity in any draft?

    I’m curious that in such a scenario, whether the need for negotiating leverage and insurance for a potential Wilson departure supersede the need for draft capital to bring in a sufficient size draft class. Do they then consider leveraging future selections for quantity this year?

    Thanks for all the insight in outlining the broader perspective on the whole Wilson contract situation.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s a very difficult question to answer. I think they would still trade down because you’re working two things at once. The need to be prepared at QB but the need to also be competitive. But if he falls to #21 he might keep falling. So they might be able to trade down and take him.

      • Rik says:

        I could see a situation where Seattle drafts Murray at 21 only to turn around and trade him for more picks than they could have gotten for their initial 21st pick. Other front offices won’t expect Seattle to take Murray in the 1st since we already have Wilson. But once we have Murray, others who were waiting for him may race to make a desperation trade. And smart folks love trading with desperate people 🙂

        • Cameron says:

          If the stories can be believed that teams were calling about trading for Penny the moment we took him, it wouldn’t be without precedent that such could happen in the scenario you described.

          • Rob Staton says:

            I can’t imagine a scenario where a team calls a player, tells him his dream has come true that he’s been drafted… and reveals his destination… only to trade him moments later. That is such a rare scenario. I think it’s more likely a deal would be struck in the process of the pick being made.

  3. Eli says:

    Whew, way to churn out the content lately Rob. You’re on another level right now, and it’s much appreciated.

    The more I have thought about it, the more I hope T.J. Hockenson is the Hawks first pick. I just think with his aptitude in all facets of the offense he would help to solidify the offensive identity we’re aiming for – a pounding run game and explosive chunk-play pass game. I think he also fits in terms of value for the team at this point – we’re a bit low on picks and will have to trade back, and need to identify players who not only have a high ceiling but a high floor as well.

    I would think realistically the highest he could go is #19 to the Titans – Mariota could desperately use a safety valve like Hock – but they do have Delanie Walker and a couple young guys already. Only other places I could really see a fit right now are Oakland at #24 and then perhaps Green Bay or New England at the end of Round 1. I think if we traded back to to 30-36 range we’d have a good chance of getting him.

    • Rob Staton says:

      In my next mock, T.J. Hockenson will be the #11 pick to Cincy.

      • Eli says:

        I thought about Cincy as a landing spot, but talked myself out of it on account of they have a somewhat solid tight end group as is – C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Kroft, and Eifert if the poor guy could ever catch a lucky break and stay healthy – and that their new coach is coming from Los Angeles where the tight end wasn’t an especially featured option.

        Also a possibility that some teams might 1A/1B him and Fant and decide Fant is a more exciting pick (hopefully)

  4. Adog says:

    Have to think that line backer is the biggest/crucial situation in the off season. Do they extend Bobby? Resign Wright or kendricks? Draft a linebacker or two in the first five rounds? Seattle has had a great luxury at the linebacker position with the proficiency of Wagoner and wright… yet hello this is the end. Carrols defense is held together by the two positions Wright and Wagoner play. I expect them to draft three linebackers this year.

  5. Picks says:

    Rob, what are your thoughts on trading Baldwin? Any other player they might consider trading to get picks? It feels like that’s a move that could come this year with the few picks we have now. Baldwin is still an elite slot receiver, but likely not much longer (assuming he stays healthy too). It would free up some much needed salary cap, and maybe get an early third rounder plus some change?

    • Rob Staton says:

      They can’t trade Doug. They don’t have the alternatives to do that.

      • Picks says:

        Let me rephrase this way: would you rather have Baldwin or resign a core player? The $10 mil or so they would save would go a long way in resigning Reed. I think it Seahawks brass has to co wider the idea

        • Rob Staton says:

          I don’t think the two are linked. Having the money to pay Reed isn’t the issue. It’s defining what he’s worth.

        • Dale Roberts says:

          Picks, what makes you say Baldwin isn’t a core player? With Chancellor gone Baldwin, along with Wagner, is the heart and soul of this squad. While I don’t see the Hawks issuing another Chancellor contract I do think they greatly value Doug’s leadership. If his legs don’t betray him he’s still one of the best receivers in the league.

  6. Hawksince77 says:

    Rob,

    Fantastic, great summary. But you beg one massive question: if this off season is about retention (and even losing Wright), and it’s a struggle to achieve that, what is the basis for moving this team off high-mediocrity and into a championship club? It won’t be through the draft with four picks, no matter how often they trade down. It won’t be free agency, based on your assessment. How do they get better, let alone stop from getting worse, through loss and age?

    Where is the off-season calvary?

    • Pickering says:

      Perhaps further improvement from the players taken in the last two draft groups. Perhaps J. Jones, Dissly, Darboh and Prosise (don’t laugh) return, play solid and stay healthy. Perhaps 2 or 3 new guys from the coming draft are major contributors. Perhaps a reclamation project or 2 picked up in free agency have career years. Maybe not SEAL level (staying with your metaphor) but enough to augment the core.

    • C-Dog says:

      I think getting young players already on the roster taking bigger steps forward is key. In 2018 we saw Reed do that. Maybe in 2019 Rasheem Green grabs the DE role opposite Clark and runs with it. Maybe Delano Hill and David Moore take bigger steps forward. Maybe Jacob Martin builds himself into something other than a rush specialist. At some point, you have to probably lean on development.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s development from within, which Carroll has cited himself

  7. charlietheunicorn says:

    If you are going to be a ground and pound rushing attack, you need to have a full compliment of RBs and TEs…. which Seattle might be 1 short at each spot. I also think you can’t over look a WR in the second round. This has happened a few times along the way for Seattle… grab a guy with incredible production in the 2nd round from a smaller school or a less well known name.

    Some valid points about the LB spot, which coincidently could be the hardest position to restock via draft and FA, unless you go 1 year deal for a certain GB LB or CAR LB… getting into the twilight of their careers.

  8. cha says:

    “I get the feeling they might see this as a draft where it’s worth having a fair amount of day-three stock. It feels like that type of class”

    What makes you feel that way? The talent levels are deeper? Lots of prospects with more upside than production?

  9. Darnell says:

    Barr’s career has stalled? He’s made 4 straight Pro Bowls, every season but his rookie year. If you’re citing sack totals for 4-3 outside linebackers you’re always going to be underwhelmed.

    • Rokas says:

      Yeah, would love if we managed to snag Barr, but he is gonna cost > 10 mil/y and he is gonna cost more than KJ. In other words, there is a higher chance we stand pat at pick21 than we can afford Barr.

    • Rob Staton says:

      KJ Wright made the Pro Bowl this year.

      The Pro Bowl is even less indicative than sack totals.

    • Georgia Hawk says:

      32 alternates made the Pro Bowl this year.

      That’s like guys on the freshmen team getting a call up in the last game of the season on Kick Return so they can be a “4 year varsity” player when they graduate.

    • Cameron says:

      Those familiar with Vikings players (I have a coworker on my team who’s a Vikings fan, and so hear a lot more than I otherwise would) know that despite his pro-bowl selections, he’s underwhelmed in total. The biggest critique I hear is inconsistency, that he’ll make occasional splash plays, but disappear often. Presumably it’s those splash plays that catch the attention of pro bowl voters.

  10. EranUngar says:

    Half a year before the last draft I found an interesting article about Connor Cup. Here is another interesting small school name to follow:

    6-2, 207, UC Davis Keelan Doss.

    “Electrifying small school Burner Looks to Fly up Boards.

    Keelan Doss of UC Davis is big physical wideout that will win the 50/50 ball battle.

    Runs flawless routes has quick body movement works his way open or just out jumps the competition with his awe inspiring grabs and his incredibly strong reliable hands. Can split the secondary with his athletic tough style, make the big plays in tight coverage with his quick short area movements great handwork , perception along with tremendous timing. Great vertical can highpoint the ball out jumping defenders or just plain outclassing them. Size speed combo every OC is in search for. Long arms, amazing extension too pluck balls out the air. Can also go down low to make the tough grab on underthrown passes or on come back routes.

    His production exploded in 2017 and he will look to improve on his amazing JR season. Plays with a Chip on his shoulder because Cal Davis was the only College to recruit him out of H.S.

    Can play the sideline well with tested hands & rapid footwork. This big WR can be moved all over the X, Y and Z positions. Can be a red zone nightmare with his size, long arms strong hands & laser focus. Can reposition his body go up with his beastly frame and high point the ball. Out maneuver DB’s has a real good vertical game . Really quick in and out of breaks has the burst to get seperation. Turns on the jets with the ball in his hand has insane breakaway speed & can shake defenders with his agility movement skills to match.

    Strong tough physical player that can muscle his way thru tacklers or pull defenders a couple extra yard. Absolute beast tough as nails mentality play style, size, speed & intelligence make Doss an exciting addition to any offense.”

    • Sea Mode says:

      Showed quite well at the Senior Bowl.

      • EranUngar says:

        That is why I felt he is up to the challenge against better competition.

        He is the type of receiver they like – size, speed & intelligence + long arms strong hands & laser focus + tough as nails mentality + quick short area movements great handwork + tremendous timing + Runs flawless routes + out jumps the competition with his awe inspiring grabs and his incredibly strong reliable hands.

        Sounds like a perfect day 3 candidate.

  11. millhouse-serbia says:

    Rob, where does Barr fit at seahawks scheme? Avril’s role? Or Irvin’s?

  12. H says:

    The area I want to see targeted in FA is safety. Like you say the draft at that position is lacking, and I think they need to add some competition there. And, given the market, there may be a bargain out there to be had. Similar to McDougald.

    Earl and Landon Collins are the big names you expect would still manage to get big deals. But some other names really intruige me if we could get a team friendly deal done: Ha Ha Clinton Dix, LaMarcus Joyner and (My personal favourite if for nothing else than a long held affinity) The Honeybadger himself Tyrann Mathieu.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Personally, I’d rather see if Delano can develop than go down that route.

      Hill ran a 4.47 at his combine. Good speed there.

      • H says:

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to give up on Delano or T2 for that matter. I also don’t want to rely on them and depth is never a bad thing. Especially given the recent proclivity for using 3 safety formations. Mathieu could potentially play slot as well.

        The three players I listed are talented but have had up and down careers and could possibly be had for a discount, that would be worth a look imo.

      • GerryG says:

        The week they put Delano on IR, me a Hawk buddy were discussing letting BM play FS and Hill shift into SS what with how much better Hill looked, and we thought it was strong possibility of improving the D.

        Hill started playing much faster, he really looked comfortable, and to my admittedly untrained eye, showed upside we just don’t see with TT. TT to me a decent backup.

    • GoHawksDani says:

      Gimme HaHa Clinton Dix. Dude has a cool name, has 3+ picks in every of his last 3 seasons, 1-2 TFLs each year, 6-7 PDEFs, 3 total FFs, 62-64-80 total tackles and played in every game of his career. 26 years old, 6-1 height, 208 weight. Got a one year 3 mil contract from the Skins, give him an 8-9 mil APY 4 year contract. This guy can play. Put him next to McDougald and we’re set.

      Trade back twice in the draft, get 2 3rd round picks and a 6th. With the first pick get a playmaker (WR or Hock), with the 3rd rounders, get an LB and DL, with the 4th get an OG, 5th DL, 6th kicker and we’re good I think.

      Front 7 is far from bad. Yeah, production is not there yet. But we have Clark and Reed who are great. And we have really young guys (Martin, Green, Poona) and some youngish guys (Jefferson, Jackson). I’d bet one or two will step up. If we can get value from the draft later (Martin was drafted in the SIXTH round! Green 3rd round, Poona UDFA, Clark and Reed mid-late second rounders) then our front 7 will be fine. If we can keep Kendricks our LB position is set with Kendricks and BWagz and the 3rd round LB can give us good depth and competition (Martin can also do that)

      Griffin is a question mark, Flowers has potential, McDougald is good, Coleman is good. I’m not sold on T2 or Hill. Both had some playing time. Neither is awful but only mediocre. And I see a ceiling with both of them.

      Offense is OK. OL is fine, we could use some depth (hence the draft pick). RB group is good. Top 2 WRs are awesome, TEs are fine? We could use some playmakers or at least a viable 3rd option at WR. Dissly is interesting, Dickerson seemed a valuable security blanket, Vannett was OK. So if we can add a playmaker TE/WR our offense will be alright I think.

      Maybe I just reaching and safety is not that big of a need. But I really like HaHa. He wouldn’t command an ETIII like contract. He’s a McDougald with more name recognition. Those guys would ball out next to each other

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      I would consider Curtis Riley (FS NYG). Seems like a budget type FS option. CB convert to S at the pro level. Very good measurables. Seems like a ‘buy low’ kind of player.

      Some fits:

      1. Price
      2. Measurables https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/curtis-riley/
      3. Age (27)
      4. Requisite 32″ arm length

      Got into the doghouse in NY late last year for tackling issues. Of all the sins that Pete is able to correct, that might be at the very top.

      Seems like he could be a McDougald type of addition this offseason.

    • Dale Roberts says:

      I doubt Taylor Rapp would be available but he would make a fabulous interchangeable piece. He’s 4.4 fast, quick, smart, a strong hitter, and good blitzer. I’d love to see him brought in to take Coleman’s spot then be able to move him around to create mismatches. Think Budda Baker only bigger. If he forced the Hawks to play him at free safety because he’s that much better than Thompson that’s not all bad is it?

  13. Eric says:

    Hey Rob, great write-up as always.

    Just wondering about your thoughts on the delay to Kendricks’ sentencing and whether that will impact the seahawks ability to resign him. When he was due to be sentenced in January, I could see how he could figure in the plans for next season. Now, with the sentencing delayed to (I think April) this might be less likely?

    Am I right in thinking Pete’s statements on Kendricks were all before his sentencing was delayed?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t think it’s an issue personally. I’ve listened to the different arguments and don’t think he’ll be sent to jail. So, eventually, he’ll return IMO.

  14. Bob Venera says:

    If the goal is to win the Super Bowl (and not be just competitive)…..does anybody think that is realistic this upcoming season? Personally I don’t because of lack of draft capitol/lack of cap space with core free agents needed signing. And I don’t think in general we have Super Bowl talent across the board.
    So I have no problem if the Seahawks treated this like the 2012 season. Draft a small elusive QB in Murray and let him grow through this 2019 season. Then the 2020 season is the year for a Super Bowl run. We do this by finding a trade partner for Russ IF it’s high enough to land Murray.
    Now we have the draft stock for more Super Bowl level talent and the cap space to retain the core (Reed, Wags, Clark) plus whatever holes they envision for that 2020 run.

  15. McZ says:

    Rob, great summary. Thanks for sharing.

    I think, it’s utterly unrealistic to have Murray falling to #21 or even later. He is the Heisman-winner, and Giants, Jax and possibly Miami are in the market for a starter. Murray is the safest bet you can get this draft season. Maybe even Arizona will take a deep breath and draft Murray.

    What I’m not sold on is the Wilson situation.

    The central question to me is: if Wilson will gain $110m without effort, and the Hawks cannot agree to what is basically the floor of what the Wilson-side is expected to call, how is the prospected leverage of drafting a QB in 2019 changing the equation?

    I also have a hard time thinking that Russell Wilson will play for less money, because Paxton Lynch, Kyler Murray, Will Grier or any other guy may take his seat in 2020. Honestly, there is zero leverage to gain, it’s all about being able to carry on if the shit hits the fan.

    So, with all due respect, Sir… you are basically saying, there is no way of keeping Wilson apart from paying the man.

    Keeping that in mind, the only actions the Hawks could take is one of those:

    1.) Make a trade prior to the 2019 Draft, possibly returning three first round picks (only the Raiders have the picks and the cap space to entertain this)
    2.) Play a one-last-hooray season in 2019, then franchise Wilson non-exclusively to test the market; they could then decide, if they match the offer or let him walk for two first round picks.
    3.) Pay the man $130m for three years, regardless the pain; in that case, we have to take a deep breath and analyze, if Wilson is indeed a top-5 QB, especially in our system.

    I’m sure, they will take option (2), for a lot of reasons including fandoms backlash.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think Murray will go in the top-10 and I’ve been mocking him at #1 for weeks. But I also think he’s 5-9 and it’d be naive to think that won’t matter to some teams. Not everyone wants the unconventional, unpredictable short QB. He won’t drop to round three like Wilson but is it beyond the realms of possibility he goes later than I think? Not at all. It could happen. I don’t think it will but it definitely could.

      The point on leverage is a small part of the equation. I feel like I explained it in detail in the previous piece and I want to avoid simply repeating myself. I’d recommend reading through it again.

      I am not saying there is no way of keeping Wilson apart from ‘paying the man’. I’ve never even touted it as a minor thought. I’m saying that currently Wilson has all the cards and if one party has all the cards in a business negotiation you’re up s**t creek without a paddle if you’re the other party in negotiations. So Seattle has to not only insure itself in case they have to move on but they need to find ways to gain some leverage.

      I feel like I’ve been very clear on this in the two recent articles.

      • Doug says:

        I can see why Murray (or Russ, for that matter) would not be every OC’s cup of tea so to speak. Every OC has a basic framework they like, and an improvisational QB early in his career is going to throw a lot of that framework out the window by bailing on the play design in favour of looking for something else. It is one of the things we love about Russ but is also one of the things that makes him exasperating to watch at times.

        So I do think there is a universe where Murray falls down the boards a bit–any QB choice tends to define a coaching staff/HC and OC particularly. Who is going to bet their career on taking Murray top 10? While it seems like a no-brainer to me, I do not have anything at risk in the decision.

      • GoHawksDani says:

        Do you think Rob if Russ wouldn’t be in the league (playing baseball or whatever) then Murray would fall? Is Russ the reason more GMs might consider a short, unique style, improvising QB? I know Brees is short too, but he’s not THAT short and a whole different universe of playing style.

  16. clbradley17 says:

    Great work and so much fantastic detail the last few weeks here Rob. Great point this week about we have to sign at least 3 of RW, BW, FC and JR the next few months. Have been so busy this month working 6-7 days a week and reading/posting about the Shrine game/Senior Bowl that I was wondering the last week or 2 how we were going to franchise tag Frank, then sign all the other 3 if we wait. Thought we would lose at least 1 or 2 if we franchise Clark, then maybe have to franchise RW next year, and since we can only do one a year, that could turn out to be disastrous for keeping them all.

    Everyone on all the Seahawks articles and podcasts for months has been saying just franchise Frank no problem. It is a Big problem, since we can’t franchise him again next year if we need to franchise RW. But of course the best option is to sign them all with Frank’s contract starting this year, and signing the others to extensions starting after the 2019 season since their contracts last until after next season. Have confidence in JS, but what a thread the needle task this year between re-signing these 4 core guys plus the necessary UFAs/RFAs and acquiring more draft picks.

    Totally agree on all the other points that KJ will find a big contract elsewhere and that we will re-sign Kendricks, won’t re-sign ET, and will trade down several times. One other thing, rather than draft one, hope we spend a decent amount on a 2 to 3 yr. contract and sign a very dependable veteran kicker like Robbie Gould of SF. He’s rarely missed over the last couple years, and as a side benefit, would take an excellent kicker away from a division rival so he can’t beat us in the future.

    The Shrine game and Senior Bowl showed that there are many mid-round options on the DL and OL, WR, TE, all positions that can contribute either part-time like Penny or Jacob Martin did, or maybe even in a major way like Flowers did last year if only we had more picks. Really want to draft McLaurin at WR, Saunders and/or Mack at DT, Charles O and/or Collier or Cowart (or Hollins from the Shrine game) at DE, Okereke or Hanks at LB, and Sample or Wesco at TE. Lots of other players at most positions will be available on day 2, 3, and UDFAs. Only one part of the process though – 1 month until the combine and we can see their speed and explosiveness in the testing there.

    Draftanalyst.com posted Tony’s new esti-guesstimation on where players from Senior Bowl week will be drafted on how they performed there. There are a lot on both offense and defense that I hope we bring in as UDFAs. Tony had Poona Ford as a UDFA before last year’s draft and was correct.

    First the offense: Reviewing & Grading the Offense
    http://draftanalyst.com/draft-analysts-podcast-episode-34-reviewing-grading-offense

    And the defense: Reviewing & Grading the Defense
    http://draftanalyst.com/draft-analysts-podcast-episode-35-reviewing-grading-defense

  17. Morgan says:

    It seems Schneider has been reticent to sign players beyond the current bargaining agreement, as it seems everyone is expecting a 2021 lockout (though I have a hard time seeing games missed as there is just too much money at stake for both sides). Franchising RW for a year and then revisiting after the new CBA could be genius or risky, depending on the outcome. This could also make new contracts for Reed, Wagner, et al to look pretty interesting.

    And totally outside the box of what we’re discussing…lets say we are able to work out a deal for Reed without franchising him. Is there anything stopping us, other than the bad optics, from tagging ET strictly to guarantee compensation for a subsequent trade? Probably unlikely but this does happen occasionally, and I’m just reaching for ways to get more draft capital.

    • GerryG says:

      Data shows that the league is getting younger, due in part (or mostly??) to the 2011 CBA which made rookies so affordable. Now the middle to lower class NFL vet is finding it harder to keep a job. At the same time, the rapidly rising cap has seen an explosion in QB salaries, with pass rushers not far behind. The dire need of OL has seen some crazy $$ dished out too.

      In light of all of this I am wondering if some tweaks get make in 2021. Could we see a max % of cap that could be allocated to a single player? Are there other adjustments that could help the middle class vets? I know QBs dont want their earnings restricted, but I’m not so sure the rest of the players see it that way. Personally, I think it would help overall roster strength if QB salaries can be leveled off some.

      Considering this, I could see a team being nervous about handing out the next big QB deal, and potentially being stuck with the next “Bradford deal” the Rams had from 2010 and lived with for 5 years of the new CBA

      • Doug says:

        Imagine if the next CBA said all contracts are 100% guaranteed, like the NHL or NBA. An agreement like that could not be made retroactive (you would think) but there would definitely be a huge impact on the way teams evaluate their players and the contracts they offer. There would be a lot more 1-2 year deals instead of 3+, and the ‘franchise tag’ might disappear completely. What would that do to the APY of longer contracts for top-end talent? It is crazy to think of the impact but the players will likely be taking a proposal for 100% contracts to the next bargaining round.

    • mishima says:

      Tag ET and probably lose Clark.

      What value does a franchised ET have? 30+ years old, coming off an injury, at a devalued position. If you can’t work out a trade, he’s an overpaid roster distraction.

      IMO, let him go, wish him well, take the comp pick.

      • Morgan says:

        Well the caveat was only if we signed Clark ahead of time. This was mostly just to guard against losing the comp pick, depending on our FA moves. I figured there was some line somewhere between being shrewd and saying heck with it, have a good life ET.

        • GerryG says:

          Pretty sure they have to have the cap space to tag him in that scenario, which if they do some extensions, cap space could be eaten up, or the ET tag may preclude them from making other moves because it is eating up ~10M.

          I get what you’re saying though, it would be nice to get something, anything for him.

  18. John says:

    Rob,
    Regarding the D-Line as the first pick… Last year when they drafted Rasheem Green, there was discussion about how he would have been a top-10 pick had he stayed in school one more year and played the right position at USC. Is it possible that PCJS think they have already drafted their high end D-lineman from the bounty of riches at the top of this class? That would support them going another direction with their first pick. Sure it would be ncie to double dip, but I wonder if the presence of Green takes a little pressure off. Your thoughts?

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      This.

      I always wonder how they rate players we haven’t seen in live reps. Adds lots of variables to roster needs

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think it’s very likely PCJS believe Green can take a big step forward (just as Frank Clark did after year one). But I doubt they think he alone is enough. You need multiple pass rushers in this league. They were at their best with Bennett/Avril/Clemons or Clark. They need more than Clark and the hope Green takes a step forward. So I think at least one EDGE addition (FA or draft) is likely. And given the strength of the DL class I could see a couple of D-liners added.

      • John says:

        Yeah I really meant top of the draft. I think for sure they need more D Line but it might not be the 1st Pick.

    • C-Dog says:

      Not Rob, but this is something that I’ve thought about myself. I think it’s possible they might feel that.

  19. Nathan W. says:

    Off topic… but damn. All the WRs are jumping ship from USC

  20. Dale Roberts says:

    Rob, if the Seahawks called you today and granted you the opportunity of an one-on-one interview with either Pete Carroll or John Schneider who would you chose?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Great question.

      I’m fascinated by Pete. I’d use the interview to learn something. In a weird way I’d want to be coached, if that makes sense. I’d see it as a unique opportunity to be in the presence of a brilliant leader. Whether that would make for a great interview or not. I doubt it. But I wouldn’t be able to resist that opportunity. I’d want to ask questions that consciously I could take some value from. I’d want to learn.

      With John I’d want to be a complete draft geek. I wouldn’t ask questions I know he wouldn’t or couldn’t answer. I’d try and find ways to ask about scouting, the draft, the experiences. I’d want to know what it’s really like being a GM. I think that would be a more entertaining conversation for everyone else.

      But man, having the opportunity to speak to either would be an absolute privilege. I was happy enough to ask Pete a question at each of the London press conferences.

  21. Sea Mode says:

    Jim Nagy
    @JimNagy_SB

    I need to take this opportunity to tell everyone that @TheTerry_25 is a complete stud of a human. He’s a very good and underrated WR but what separates him from most college prospects is that he’s already a pro. I was blown away by his maturity. He could be a CEO someday.

    Terry McLaurin
    @TheTerry_25
    All I ever needed was an opportunity! Thank you @seniorbowl @JimNagy_SB 📈🔋

    5:37 PM – 27 Jan 2019

    • Rob Staton says:

      And that’s another reason why he’ll go early. As noted pre-Senior Bowl, his interviews are fantastic. Detailed, technical and well spoken. He’s a stud in every sense. Athleticism, technique, speed, character. Gruden was in love with him.

  22. Sea Mode says:

    Great summary, Rob. I agree with everything.

    Would just add that with Earl and possibly KJ and Coleman (hope not) moving on, this might be an off-season where we start caring again about protecting our comp picks. That could be a R3-R4 for Earl and a couple R4-R5s for the other two perhaps.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think there’s a strong chance of that. Especially if the focus is on retaining their own.

      But they’ll need to add some players. So unless they target cut players it’ll be tricky to get those comp picks.

  23. HTB says:

    Do you think they could trade Britt for pick(s)? Hunt played well in his one start

  24. […] I think there’s a strong chance the Seahawks will draft a quarterback this year. I discussed the reasons in yesterday’s thoughts and predictions piece. […]

  25. Dingbatman says:

    Ok Rob. You’ve done a great job of outlining the precarious nature of our cap situation vs the “big four” whose contract situations will need to be dealt with. I’d love to know your opinion and plan as though you were the gm. What would you do? Starting with Russell Wilson. What contract would you offer and what are the implications if he accepts or refuses? I think that is the crucial question moving forward.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t really have an answer as to what I would do. I don’t know for sure what each party is asking for.

      I think my approach would be this. Franchise tag Frank Clark in 2018 and wait and see what other players like Demarcus Lawrence get on the open market. That should set the parameters for a deal. And with Clark still on a second round rookie contract, that should be achievable. He will be motivated to get a new contract sorted and receive some security in terms of his first big pay day. But he probably has to get the tag first and free agency needs to be somewhat played out to set the market.

      I would make Bobby Wagner the highest paid LB in the league. That would mean giving him $13m a year. I would hope that would be enough. I’m not sure what else Wagner could realistically demand. The LB position hasn’t seen the top-tier growth in terms of salary that some others have. I think it’d be $13m well spent.

      That leaves Reed and Wilson. I don’t think Wilson and the Seahawks will come to a deal because there’s no motivation to compromise yet. So it all comes down to Reed. That’s going to be so difficult to work out. What is his true worth? He’s a 10.5 sack defensive tackle but he only has one year of production. He can ask for big money but are you giving it to him? I think what you do is this — if he’s asking for mega money you start the season and see if he has another great year. If by November he’s playing lights out again you pay him big money. If not you play it by ear. It’s not ideal but it’s probably sensible. You do risk losing Reed but you also don’t overpay too soon.

      So that would be my plan. Pay Wagner to be the highest paid LB. Tag Frank and then work out a deal. Play it by ear with Reed. Save the tag for Wilson.

  26. Abraham Abdolhosseini says:

    Great read thanks man ! Quick question , would you consider trading Russell Wilson?

  27. […] player in this draft class. If the Seahawks are considering taking a quarterback early this year, as we’ve discussed a lot recently, Murray and Will Grier might be the two most likely […]