Archive for June, 2022

Is this what Seattle considers an ideal QB situation?

Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

Could Jimmy Garoppolo be Seattle’s answer to Alex Smith?

In 2013 the Chiefs traded a second round pick to the 49ers for 30-year-old quarterback Alex Smith. He came in to lead Andy Reid’s offense and help Kansas City transition to a new era.

He had success and the Chiefs became relevant and competitive — if somewhat unspectacular. It provided Reid with a chance to bide his time though, waiting for the right long-term replacement to emerge.

It took four seasons to find ‘the guy’.

Simply put, that’s how long these things can take.

The Chiefs eventually traded up in the 2017 draft, jumping from #27 to #10 overall to select Patrick Mahomes. Smith continued to start in 2017 before Mahomes took over as a second-year player.

This is pretty much the textbook way to run your franchise. The Chiefs found an established, quality starter to prevent them from being dreadful when Reid took over. Having built a competitive roster, they were then pro-active to get their quarterback. They didn’t overpay either — to move up 17 spots it only cost them their 2018 first rounder.

It’s a far cry from the three picks San Francisco used for Trey Lance, which felt a lot more reckless and desperate.

It is extremely tricky to emulate and execute a plan like this. I do wonder though if the Seahawks, ideally, would like to do something similar.

Like Smith, Jimmy Garoppolo is a 30-year-old quarterback for the 49ers. He’s also in the ‘solid but unspectacular’ bracket. I think it’s clear Smith was a better player — and I suspect most would agree. Yet Garoppolo has been the quarterback for a team reaching one Super Bowl and almost reaching another.

It’s also worth noting that Smith had toiled for most of his pro-career until Jim Harbaugh took over the Niners. Before 2011 when Harbaugh arrived, he’d only started a full 16-game season once — in 2006. Even then, he eventually lost his job to Colin Kaepernick in 2012.

Acquiring Garoppolo, one way or another, would give the Seahawks a quarterback to lead them this year and for however long is necessary.

Just like Smith did for Reid’s Chiefs.

Like Kansas City, the Seahawks could trade up to draft a rookie next year. They have the ammunition to do it if needed.

They can also be a little bit more patient if (and it would be a big if) Garoppolo ended up being their version of Smith.

In the meantime, Pete Carroll could play ‘Carroll ball’ and try to build a competitive team. Whenever the young quarterback was drafted, they would have an experienced alternative if he wasn’t ready to start immediately. They could also plan a transition from one player to the other.

This could be useful for another reason. We assume Bryce Young will turn pro but he’s only a one-year starter for Alabama. What if he decides to stay for a third season? Who knows what motivates him? If Alabama doesn’t win a National Championship this year, perhaps he returns?

Will Levis will turn pro due to his age but Tyler Van Dyke has only half a season under his belt as a starter. There’s no guarantee he turns pro. Or C.J. Stroud for that matter.

What if only two turn pro and they go in the top-two picks? What if you simply can’t trade up, even if you’re a bad team picking in the top-10?

You can’t assume the answers will be there in 2022. And what if they aren’t? Are you stuck without a solution, either in the draft or the veteran market?

Having a go-between could be useful, if only for insurance and your ability to use your resources properly.

I think Garoppolo fits this bill better than Baker Mayfield for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the lack of drama that surrounds Garoppolo and the fact he’s universally loved in San Francisco. Secondly — he’s older and would likely embrace the role, rather than Mayfield who — having just turned 27 — could be more difficult and more expensive to tie down beyond 2022.

This doesn’t mean I crave to see ‘Jimmy G’ in Seattle. I just think there’s a case to be made for the Seahawks potentially seeing an attractive possibility here.

The problem would be getting him out of San Francisco.

It would be costly to trade in the division. You’d probably have to pay a ‘NFC West premium’. Given he’s coming off shoulder surgery and has a history of injuries, you shouldn’t be looking to give up the high pick the Niners would presumably ask for.

Further to that, you can’t trade for him and take on his massive $25m cap hit. He would have to take a cut or be prepared to spread that money out over three-years.

It’s possible he is cut. His big salary becomes guaranteed after week one. The Niners don’t want a $25m backup QB who could, at any time, say he needs another shoulder surgery and then he’s a $25m dead weight on injured reserve.

Equally you don’t really want him in camp to even ‘potentially’ get injured.

However — if you cut him before camp, you run the risk of helping a rival team. If you fear him going to Seattle, you’re better to wait until the end of camp then cut him before the season starts. Then he doesn’t get a month to settle in.

The problem is — Garoppolo would see this a mile off. He would almost certainly call that out, demand his release (or a trade) and make life difficult for 49ers.

It’d also be an incredibly poor look for the Niners to hold back such a popular player from continuing his career. Management would likely lose the PR battle in the locker room and that can’t be underestimated. Garoppolo is very popular among players.

It could also create a toxic environment if Lance struggles at the start of the season. San Francisco has a duty, having given up so much for their young QB, to create a situation where he’s the unchallenged ‘guy’ who has the best possible opportunity to succeed.

If Garoppolo is cut — there would be competition for his signature. There surely has to be a reason, though, why Seattle restructured Shelby Harris’ contract recently to create extra cap space this year (and less next year)? And wouldn’t it be the ideal situation for Garoppolo to join a division rival to ‘prove a point’? The ‘reverse-Sherman’ as I’ve been calling it.

It’s a complex situation, one that should — ultimately — lead to him departing San Francisco. It’s just a case of when and how.

Should it happen, the Seahawks might take a page out of Andy Reid’s playbook — at least the team building playbook — and look to acquire a veteran who can carry them to whatever the long-term future is at quarterback.

If you missed yesterday’s live stream, check it out here:

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New live stream: All of the big topics discussed

Tuesday, June 28th, 2022

Robbie and I conducted a new live stream today…

Check it out below it’s a good hour of Seahawks conversation:

I’m not buying this Baker Mayfield tweet

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

My opinion on this is… ‘whatever’

Here’s the reality with the Baker Mayfield situation. It’s not going anywhere at the moment. We’ve heard about the Panthers’ interest but they can’t work out an arrangement with the Browns.

Conveniently, this tweet suddenly emerges. The Seahawks are highly interested and want to extend him.


Why would that make any sense for the player or the team?

The Seahawks would have to take a look at Mayfield to even see whether a player who had everything in Cleveland — offensive-minded Head Coaches, a running game, weapons, an O-line — and still posted an 87.8 passer rating, is worthy of more than a mere closer look.

For Mayfield, why would he commit unless the money was obscene? He can play out a year and then hit the open market.

The very mention of an extension sets alarm bells off that this is little more than a ‘smoke-out’ from the Browns or whoever to get something moving. And the Seahawks are a convenient pawn.

I have no doubt that if he’s released Seattle would have interest in bringing him in to compete. Trading for him and extending him? I’m not having that in the slightest. And don’t see it happening. If I’m wrong, I’ll hold my hands up.

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Where’s the money gone?

Monday, June 20th, 2022

Quandre Diggs has an $18.1m cap hit next year

I was recently doing a bit of research for an article and went to check on Seattle’s salary cap situation. While perusing ‘Over the Cap‘ I thought I’d have a look at how much was left to spend in 2023.

A quick reminder. In the immediate aftermath of the Russell Wilson trade, the Seahawks had a projected $120m to spend in 2023.

One of the few plus points of the Wilson divorce was the financial boost Seattle would gain once his dead cap hit came off the books. Without needing to pay a franchise signal caller major money, they should have plenty to spend in the future.

Yet checking in this week I noticed the projection is down to a far more modest $53m.

As far as I can tell, the following cap hits have contributed in reducing the amount:

Quandre Diggs — $18.1m
Uchenna Nwosu — $12.8m
Will Dissly — $9.25m
Noah Fant — $6.8m
Quinton Jefferson — $6.0m
Charles Cross — $4.9m
Bryan Mone — $3.79m

Total: $61.7m

There’s also the rest of the rookie class, with some players still unsigned (thus, the $53m amount will drop further).

Let’s take out Cross’ cap hit because it’s irrelevant in this conversation.

Minus Cross, the Seahawks have committed $56.74m to the names in the list above.

How do you feel about that?

You could make an argument that if Fant delivers on his potential, his fifth year salary as a first round pick could provide excellent value. But that wasn’t a negotiated salary, it’s an executed process by the Seahawks based on the structure of rookie deals.

The rest, just under $50m, feels like an extraordinary amount of spending for not a lot in the way of returns.

You have a blocking tight end, a 29-year-old rotational defensive lineman, a fairly run-of-the-mill nose tackle who offers no pass rush, a rotational edge rusher who will, hopefully, play second fiddle to Darrell Taylor and Boye Mafe if they can produce as hoped, and Quandre Diggs — an admittedly talented and productive player albeit one coming off a serious injury who will cost slightly less in 2023 as the average of Minkah Fitzpatrick’s record-breaking $18.4m extension.

Is this really a good use of resources?

Or is it another example of what we saw two years ago when the Seahawks managed to fritter away $60m and not improve?

Is the Dissly cap-hit simply another puzzling decision reminiscent of giving Bruce Irvin a 32% pay rise from his 2019 salary in Carolina, despite his age, desire to return to Seattle and seemingly lukewarm market?

They saw something in Cedric Ogbuehi’s 155 total snaps for the Jaguars in 2019 to warrant a pay increase from $895,000 to $2.237m. Have we really seen enough from Bryan Mone to think in June, months before he reaches the market, he warrants a fairly sizeable extension?

Is paying what they are for Fant and Dissly going to be another case of expensive investment in two tight ends, just like when they paid Jacob Hollister $3.259m as a restricted free agent having already committed $6.9m to Greg Olsen?

Why is Quinton Jefferson set to earn $6m next year? And why will it cost the Seahawks $2m to move on if they decide he’s a one-and-done?

To be perfectly honest, this looks like history repeating.

So is it again time to ask some questions about how they spend their money?

After all — we’re all marvelling and wondering how the Rams manage to pay everyone over and over again (while managing to keep adding big names). It’s possible they’ll fall flat on their faces in the future as a consequence. Or maybe they won’t.

It’s hard not to look at what the Seahawks are doing though and think — aren’t they just wasting money? Overpaying for players. Spending too much for guys they have familiarity with. Paying second tier salaries to third or fourth tier players.

They should be going into next off-season with an absolute fortune to spend.

The Chicago Bears, currently, are slated to have $96m in cap space. They’re intending, a bit like Seattle, to make a big move next off-season to build around a new era. They aren’t paying a big quarterback salary and have shifted Khalil Mack and others to create a fresh start.

The Seahawks have only $53m and yet are not paying big money to:

— A franchise quarterback
— An experienced, quality offensive lineman
— An experienced, quality pass rusher
— A top cornerback

You’re not spending at any of the premium positions other than receiver (if you consider it a ‘premium’ position). They should have millions more.

And here’s the kicker — that $53m is going to take a significant hit when they eventually pay D.K. Metcalf a new contract.

A.J. Brown’s cap-hit next year is only $8.5m in Philadelphia. That’s a best case scenario for the Seahawks. If Metcalf signs for that — Seattle would be left with a similar amount to spend in 2023 than they had carrying the dead-cap hit for Wilson.

How is that so?

Meanwhile it’s not just Metcalf you’d have to pay or replace. Poona Ford is a free agent. Sidney Jones might start at cornerback this year — he’s on a one-year deal. What if he plays well? Both quarterbacks are free agents. Your starting centre is a free agent. Ryan Neal is a free agent. You might want to keep Rashaad Penny if he continues to play well.

It’s not a ton of holes but there could be some tricky decisions forthcoming.

There are also ways of creating extra money too, of course. The Seahawks can roll-over unspent cap. They have about $16m left at the moment and might need a fair old chunk of that next year (although how they’ve put themselves in a position to ‘need’ to do that is a wondrous thing).

They can also make savings now. Trading Gabe Jackson for a bag of footballs would be a start — clearing $6.5m for 2023.

They can also cut the following next year to make savings:

Shelby Harris — $9m
Quinton Jefferson — $4m
Will Dissly — $3m
Al Woods — $3.8m
Bryan Mone — $2.8m

All would need replacing, of course.

They can also save $11m by designating Jamal Adams as a post-June 1st cut.

In every instance though you’re collecting dead cap money — something the Seahawks have become experts at over the years.

If you are a fan who was looking forward to a spending spree in the future, you’re going to be disappointed. I’m not sure it would’ve happened anyway because, as we know, they have ‘their way’ of doing things (regardless of the track record of this ‘way’).

Yet as the Bengals have shown — if you’re not paying a quarterback, you can do some damage in the market. They rebuilt their O-line this year. Last year, they added a pass rusher in his mid-20’s who recorded 14 sacks in 2021 and added 3.5 more in the playoffs.

The Seahawks won’t be able to do anything like this with their cap space rapidly diminishing. For me, that warrants a proper discussion and challenge as to why.

One of the few benefits of the Wilson trade should’ve been the freedom to make some moves if possible. Heck — even Bill Belichick and the Patriots enjoyed a splurge a year ago, 12 months after parting with Tom Brady. They won 10 games with a rookie QB, having only won seven the year before.

The Seahawks appear to have ended any chances of doing the same only three months after moving on from their star player.

Maybe it’s time for a few questions to be asked of the people keeping an eye on the cap space?

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This is a key few weeks at quarterback

Saturday, June 18th, 2022

Baker Mayfield’s future will likely be sorted in the coming weeks

Although this is the quietest part of the NFL off-season, the Seahawks are approaching a particularly interesting part of their year.

It’s clear they wanted to get a look at their quarterbacks during minicamp and OTA’s, then reassess. So what did they learn? Are they content or planning an addition?

It stands to reason that if they’re going to add, the new QB would be in place for the start of training camp. It would be particularly challenging to introduce a new quarterback into the competition once camp begins.

Now that they have some info on the Geno Smith vs Drew Lock vs Jacob Eason ‘battle’ — they can review how aggressive they want to be.

Pete Carroll suggested at the owners meeting they would like to add another quarterback to the mix. It’s possible he was indulging in a bit of kidology there with the draft still to come. Yet in all likelihood I think he was being honest. Even if the Seahawks are playing a long game at the position with an eye on the 2023 draft, you can well imagine Carroll wanting a bigger competition.

That’s not to say it’s with a view, necessarily, of imagining the Seahawks becoming strong contenders this year. I sense a realism from the front office.

For example, for all the talk of Carroll’s age and implied desperation to compete as soon as possible — do we really think the Seahawks would be sat here in mid-June having done nothing at quarterback other than acquire Lock in the Russell Wilson trade?

Wouldn’t they have been more aggressive to go after Matt Ryan, for example? They had the draft stock to usurp Indianapolis after all. Or would they have added some other veteran via trade or free agency?

They even snubbed the entire 2022 QB draft class when other teams (Atlanta, Carolina) couldn’t help themselves and felt they had to take someone. The Seahawks have been incredibly patient throughout this process, suggesting a more long term approach.

I also think it’s not quite as black or white as trying to contend or tanking. There’s a middle ground that I think the Seahawks are situated currently.

As noted in another article I wrote recently — it’s possible to be highly competitive internally and foster the kind of culture you desire without having the optimal quarterback situation. You only have to look at 2011 for that. The Seahawks created an attitude and style that ultimately paved the way for what happened next. And they did it with Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst competing to start at quarterback.

I think this is what the 2022 season will be about. Creating something that proves to be the platform for the next couple of years.

I don’t think Carroll feels pressure to find an answer to win right away. A smart franchise, having dealt Wilson, would embrace more of a longer build over a couple of off-seasons. I think this is where they are.

The key for this team is to find a great, young quarterback. Not an average, expensive place-holder. Having spent a lot of time already studying the 2023 quarterback class, there are players in there with the potential to be a long term quality starter for this team.

Yet there is still part of me that wonders if they are, wisely or not, planning to make a further move in the coming weeks.

The Shelby Harris contract restructure felt unnecessary given the Seahawks already have ample cap space to play with. When you look across the remaining available free agents, there’s equally nobody who really stands out as a viable target for Seattle.

Sure, they could perhaps look at another receiver such as a Will Fuller. Kwon Alexander could add a bit more competition at linebacker. Yet there’s a feeling of relative completeness to the roster given the status of the team in a rebuilding year.

The Seahawks have around $17m to spend — more than enough to make some moves. So why make the Harris restructure unless it’s with a view to having flexibility over quarterbacks?

The team is making it known via the media that they won’t be trading for Baker Mayfield, for example, and it’s unlikely they’d be able to strike a deal with division rival San Francisco for Jimmy Garoppolo.

There is part of me, however, that wonders if they’ve created cap room ‘just in case’. The Panthers are said to still be in talks with Cleveland over Mayfield. The Browns are supposedly prepared to pay half of Mayfield’s $18m salary while the Panthers are still trying to barter that number down (especially given they’re already paying Sam Darnold $18m).

Are the Seahawks saying and doing all of the right things publicly but essentially hiding in the tall grass, waiting to pounce when the value reaches a level they are comfortable with?

Or could Darnold provide an option if Carolina trades for Mayfield? I appreciate it would be unattractive and highly underwhelming to many fans. Yet it shouldn’t be ignored what was being reported just over a year ago.

From an article I wrote on March 30th last year:

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune quoted a NFL GM linking Darnold to the Seahawks. Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News cited a source, claiming Pete Carroll ‘has a high opinion of Darnold’ and that people should ‘keep an eye on Seattle’.

Days earlier, Colin Cowherd also made the connection.

I suspect, had the Seahawks dealt Wilson to Chicago a year ago, Darnold probably would’ve been Seattle’s target replacement.

Their view might’ve changed given Darnold’s extremely disappointing year in Carolina. Yet if they acquire Mayfield having already drafted Matt Corral — you would imagine Darnold might be surplus to requirements and could be available for an extremely low price (he is in the same boat as Mayfield contractually so the Panthers could agree to pay a high portion of his salary to get something/anything in return).

With Garoppolo, it’s more a case of biding time. There’s no way the 49ers are going to guarantee his $25m salary by having him on the roster in week one. It makes no sense for Garoppolo to be at camp given his pending exit.

He’s better off holding out, asking for his release and telling San Francisco he will not lower his cap hit.

It’s possible the Niners would hold on to him until the end of camp in that scenario to prevent him having an ideal settling in period with another NFC team — but that would be a fairly brutal and ruthless approach.

Complicating matters will be his recovery from a serious shoulder surgery. Yet if he is released you can imagine there will be suitors — from Carolina to Houston and potentially Cleveland depending on Deshaun Watson’s status and possibly the Falcons and Eagles.

Cap space, in that situation, could be crucial.

The Seahawks might appreciate Garoppolo’s ability to convert third downs and play within structure, as he did in San Francisco. His number of ‘WTF?’ turnovers and lack of arm strength isn’t ideal but he is well suited to other aspects of the scheme.

As I’ve said a few times now, I see little benefit in adding either player.

Mayfield had everything going for him in Cleveland. Great running game, they acquired fantastic weapons at great expense at receiver and tight end, quality O-line, offensive minded Head Coaches. He has an 87.8 career passer rating and he’s thrown 56 interceptions. Drama has followed him. He has physical limitations.

Garoppolo is injured a lot and the 49ers just spent three first round picks trying to replace him. I don’t think either puts you in a position to win this year. They’re just big names.

I’d rather just have an extended look at Drew Lock for a year and think about happier times in the future.

Yet there are things working in Seattle’s favour if they truly do believe Mayfield and/or Garoppolo are worth adding. Firstly, they have the draft stock to trade up if needed next year for a young QB. Secondly, the hype train on players like Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud is OTT. If they prefer the likes of Will Levis and Tyler Van Dyke, those players might be in striking range even if you win between seven and nine games.

(Although I expect both to go very early if they continue to perform in 2022)

I still think short-term pain for potential long-term gain is the way to go. Mayfield and Garoppolo are not taking you where you need to get to — not in 2022. Not beyond.

That’s certainly the case with Darnold too.

Yet we’re reaching a point where a decision on all of these players needs to be made before training camp. With Seattle’s quarterback room as it is, these names are going to continue be connected to the Seahawks.

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NEW: Radio appearance on 710 Seattle Sports

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

Earlier today I was invited onto the Jake & Stacy show (Curtis Rogers was filling in for Stacy). We talked about Jimmy Garoppolo, Baker Mayfield, D.K. Metcalf and more.

Please check it out below!

Some thoughts on the Jimmy Garoppolo to Seattle talk

Monday, June 13th, 2022

Jimmy G has QB’d a winning team — but he’s received a fair amount of support

ESPN’s Louis Riddick threw out an idea recently that I thought might get more traction this off-season.

Jimmy Garoppolo in Seattle.

He doesn’t have the arm to really drive the ball downfield like Seattle prefers. Yet his third down passing is among the best in the NFL and he’s been the quarterback of a team that has reached a Super Bowl and a NFC Championship in two of the last three years.

Admittedly, he lost both of those games and benefitted tremendously from a productive and creative running game. Yet the Seahawks hope to create such a ground attack and would simply like the opportunity for their starting QB to blow a Super Bowl or conference championship at this point.

There’s also the angle of the team he plays for. He’d be doing a reverse-Sherman — going to a NFC West rival to try and prove a point. The 49ers traded a fortune to replace him and now appear ready to finally move on.

What better way to make a statement than playing them twice?

Part of me is intrigued by the pure s**thousery that comes with such a move. Although it really comes back to what we were discussing the other day.

The Seahawks are at the start of a rebuild. Adding someone like Garoppolo would simply give them an opportunity to be a little less bad than they otherwise will be. He’s unlikely to provide a long-term answer — just as the 49ers acknowledged with the Trey Lance trade.

You might end up copying San Francisco — using three first round picks to get someone else.

While increasingly people are talking themselves into the idea that Seattle isn’t rebuilding, let’s look at the facts here. They’re bedding in two rookie offensive tackles. They are trying to create a defensive system that works. They are looking for young players to create a pass rush (they have very little proven quality). They’re hoping a group of young, cheap cornerbacks will produce two good starters. They have just moved their two cornerstone experienced players in Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner.

You might be able to give Garoppolo some nice targets and hopefully a running game. I’d still argue it won’t be as impactful as a healthy George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. He also doesn’t get to bring Kyle Shanahan with him (or Nick Bosa, for that matter).

He’d only be added if he’s cut by the Niners. According to Dan Graziano’s league sources, that might happen. If it does, I’m sure they’d make a call. The price would have to be right though — and right now the Panthers ($25m) have more cap space than the Seahawks ($17m).

I’m curious why Seattle just re-worked Shelby Harris’ contract though to create more cap space this year. Considering they still have a chunk to play with, this wasn’t a big priority. Extending D.K. Metcalf isn’t likely to increase his 2022 salary by much (if anything).

It’s possible as time goes on they end up adding a handful of players for camp, none of which really move the needle or cost any serious money. It’s also possible, I suppose, that they’re trying to create a situation where they are financially more competitive just in case a certain opportunity emerges.

I still think they’re better off taking their lumps this year. Spending a lot of money on an average, often-injured QB to try and win games in 2022 (when the reality is you probably won’t be good enough anyway) would be short-sighted. The long-game must be played.

I’d almost rather sign him to a deal that makes him more of a bridge for 2023. He’s recovering from a serious shoulder surgery. Is it plausible to sign him now, put him on IR, with the idea of getting him healthy for 2023 to act as a bridge?

That’s probably fanciful but at least it wouldn’t impact you this year where the aim of the game should be development and draft position. You could do a lot worse than Jimmy G as a torch-passer for the future at quarterback. But he’d have to be playing the Alex Smith-to-Patrick Mahomes role. Nothing more.

I’m not sure what it would take financially this year to try and buy 12 months of patience. Especially when the Panthers might be prepared to let him start this year and re-enter the market in March. I suppose it depends on how he feels about his shoulder and readiness to play.

You can make a compelling argument, though, for that just being an unnecessary waste of money.

If, as Graziano’s sources predict, Mayfield and Garoppolo are cut, I would imagine it would be one each for Seattle and Carolina. The fact Mayfield would cost a minimal amount given his contract situation in Cleveland makes him more attractive, I would suggest. Although Garoppolo is more proven in terms of results and carries far less baggage.

Truth be told — neither is likely leading anyone to a Super Bowl in the future. And that’s why Seattle should stick not twist. Endure a year of Geno Smith and/or Drew Lock and prepare for the 2023 draft.

It might be painful but necessary for the long term health of the franchise.

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Why the Seahawks don’t need to upgrade at quarterback

Friday, June 10th, 2022

Geno Smith & Drew Lock are competing to start in 2022

They’re surely not going to run with Geno Smith and Drew Lock, are they?’

This is the kind of comment you see popping up in the media and the internet. I’ve read articles discussing Seattle’s need to find an alternative option. I’ve listened to podcasts almost ridiculing the prospect of going into next season with a Smith vs Lock competition to start.

The Baker Mayfield chatter is fairly constant. Mayfield is often portrayed as a more attractive option and some have suggested he should be acquired.

All of this kind of defeats the point though.

The brutal reality is this — the Seahawks don’t need an upgrade in 2022.

Sure — Pete Carroll will talk endlessly about competing. He refuses to use the word ‘rebuild’ despite the fact the Seahawks are, you know, rebuilding.

There are a couple of things to remember though that are pretty important and often seem to be ignored in the quarterback debate.

1. It’s mostly irrelevant who plays QB for the Seahawks in 2022. The roster isn’t remotely close to being a contender. This is a year to blood youngsters, take your lumps and set up the future. The best case scenario in terms of ‘success’ is they win a few close games and maybe sneak into the playoffs, given nearly half of the NFL qualifies for the post-season these days. They won’t make any noise in the playoffs, however, and this would only serve to spoil their draft position. Whether you win four games or eight games — the end result is still going to be the same. You won’t win the Super Bowl and you’ll still need to draft a quarterback next year.

2. It’s possible to do all of the things Carroll preaches — compete, buy-in, try to win every game — without necessarily having the optimal quarterback situation. Essentially, you can create the classic Carroll setup and also accept this season for what it is. Look at the way Seattle played in Pittsburgh last season. They fought, scrapped and played Carroll football but still ultimately lost because Geno Smith was playing quarterback. A season of those types of games in 2022 isn’t a problem. It could enable you to produce an identity, direction and still afford an opportunity to draft your quarterback of the future next April.

We need to stop viewing the 2022 season as anything other than a shot to nothing. It’s a free-hit. A chance for players on the roster to raise their arm and say ‘I deserve to be a part of the future’. It’s a development opportunity. A glorious chance to get back to the roots of Carroll’s philosophy, as he desires.

It’s not about winning and losing. Not really.

And just because the energetic Head Coach would never admit that publicly — it doesn’t make it any less true.

I think most people appreciate this — but as noted, there’s a section of fans and media that seem intent on wishing a quarterback upgrade into reality.

Here’s the stark reality of Seattle’s situation. In 12 months time they need to have a young quarterback they can build around as a priority. Therefore, the best thing that can happen this year is to make that as easy as possible.

Sure — if they win seven or eight games instead of four or five, it won’t be a disaster. They have the draft stock to trade up if needed to get a quarterback.

Yet if they can get their guy without having to do that — that’s the ideal situation. A bit of short term pain for long term gain will benefit this team.

Clamouring for Mayfield simply because he’s a bit better than Smith and Lock is pointless. I am not against adding him but it has to be the right situation. The Seahawks, fortunately, seem to view things the same way. They will reportedly only add Mayfield if he’s cut — meaning they can pay him a minimal amount and just throw him into the competition.

Why not? That’s a no-lose situation really. You get a look at him with no real commitment.

If it doesn’t happen — so what? Who cares?

The idea of watching 17 games of Smith and/or Lock might induce a few headaches. But that’s where this team is now. It’s a ‘take it on the chin’ situation. This is a year to endure, I’m afraid.

Comfort yourself by watching college football and the draft eligible quarterbacks. Get your enjoyment where you can. There might not be much happiness in Lumen Field this season.

That’s fine though. It’s all a means to an end.

Geno Smith and Drew Lock are just the middle men between Russell Wilson and the next guy. Whether that’s Will Levis, Tyler Van Dyke, Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud or someone else.

ESPN recently projected the entire 2022 season and gave Seattle the #3 and #21 overall picks in 2023. I’d snatch your hands off for that right now.

This is a process that will take some time. It doesn’t have to be years and years of rebuilding. I’d argue it’s more likely to be years and years, though, if you delay being in the best possible position to draft a talented quarterback.

So please — let’s embrace a year of Geno and Drew. Let them get on with it.

The Seahawks are not going to be winners in 2022. Let’s acknowledge that, understand what this year is and dream of happier times ahead.

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Why the Seahawks have dropped the ball on D.K. Metcalf

Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

There’s no justification for the D.K. Metcalf situation that is developing

I’ve long struggled with Seattle’s approach to contract negotiations.

Their modus operandi is to refuse to do anything before the draft — often kicking the can down the road.

I’m sure the team would argue the merits for such an approach. Yet it’s not abundantly clear to outsiders why they do what they do.

Waiting on negotiations has seemingly ended up costing them money and talent.

Seattle could’ve negotiated hard with Frank Clark after the 2017 season — preempting his breakout season in 2018. The Vikings did just that with Danielle Hunter — giving him a contract worth $14.4m a year in June 2018 after a seven-sack season the year before (his first as a true starter).

Hunter had accumulated 19.5 sacks in 2016 and 2017 and Minnesota had the good sense to recognise his talent and project ahead.

Clark had 19 sacks in the same two-year span so he was on a similar trajectory. Yet Seattle, despite being gifted a starting point in negotiations, didn’t act. They let Clark go into a contract year. He registered 13 sacks in 2018.

They were forced to use the franchise tag to retain him — worth $17.1m. Pete Carroll then spoke at the combine about not imagining life without ‘Franky’ in Seattle.

Yet when Demarcus Lawrence signed a new contract worth $21m a year in Dallas, they were caught off guard. Suddenly the defensive end market had been re-set. Now they were having to negotiate from $21m instead of $17.1m or $14.4m. They decided to trade Clark to Kansas City.

Whatever your view on Clark’s time with the Chiefs — it’s indisputable that losing him and failing to replace him properly set the Seahawks back. They spent three years trying to cobble together a pass rush, failing badly to find anyone who could offer Clark’s impact. Rather than adding and building, they were replacing.

You could argue this is hindsight, admittedly. Although I don’t think it’s so much of a stretch to anticipate the way things were going. Clark wasn’t some raw, untested talent and had as many sacks as Hunter when he signed his deal. The franchise tag provided protection but at a greater cost to the $14.4m that was the benchmark for negotiations. And with the way NFL salaries were starting to climb — a deal in the +$20m range for someone like Lawrence wasn’t exactly unpredictable — especially because he’d already been franchise tagged twice and the Cowboys had no choice but to pay him aggressively or trade him.

The Seahawks haven’t fallen into this trap with other players. They skilfully handled Tyler Lockett’s negotiations — paying him a little bit more than people expected at the time, before benefitting from getting ahead of a market explosion on both occasions.

Yet they have fallen foul with other players, not just Clark.

It’s baffling why they allowed the Jamal Adams trade to be concluded without a new deal agreed. They ceded all leverage to Adams the minute they paid New York a kings ransom to acquire him.

Having committed so much to bring him in, a contract extension was always inevitable. So why wait? It speaks to the desperation Seattle had at the time to bring someone (anyone) in to bolster what looked like a pretty horrendous defense prior to the 2020 season.

‘Just get the trade done’ appears to have been the mentality, not getting the right price arranged or fixing a contract for Adams.

They then watched Arizona re-set the market with Budda Baker. Then Justin Simmons re-set it again.

By the time they’d actually got round to having serious talks — Adams was holding out of training camp and his realistic price range was far beyond what it realistically would’ve been had they agreed a contract upon completion of a trade.

Baker blew up the safety market exactly a month after the Adams trade was completed. He earns $14.75m a year. By waiting 12 months, the Seahawks ended up forking out a $17.6m a year deal to Adams — a contract that feels like a lead weight around Seattle’s neck at this point and one, with hindsight, they’d probably rather live without.

They badly misjudged and mishandled the Adams contract situation.

This brings us on to D.K. Metcalf.

For most of this year Metcalf has spoken very positively about his future in Seattle. He even appeared at voluntary OTA’s. However — reportedly he’s skipping minicamp this week and is unauthorised to do so. He’s essentially holding out.

It speaks to a situation that seemingly could’ve been handled better.

Ever since Christian Kirk signed his obscene contract in Jacksonville, the receiver market has exploded. Several players have received whopping extensions — including Chris Godwin ($20m), Mike Williams ($20m), D.J. Moore ($20m), Stefon Diggs ($24m), A.J. Brown ($25m), Davante Adams ($28m) and Tyreek Hill ($30m).

The numbers in brackets are recorded average salary amounts per Spotrac.

It’s been well established for some time what Seattle was going to have to pay Metcalf to keep him. They’ve known the situation for ages.

So what are they waiting for?

Metcalf is well within his rights to expect a similar amount to good friend A.J. Brown — $25m a year — if not more.

So what’s the delay? Why isn’t this done?

Presumably, if they didn’t want to pay market value, they would’ve dealt Metcalf prior to the draft and moved on?

They now face the prospect of Deebo Samuel (who is attending San Francisco’s minicamp) having an about-turn and extending his contract with the 49ers to further promote the receiver market. Cooper Kupp is also talking to the Rams about an improved contract.

(Edit — Kupp has signed a three-year extension worth $80m)

And if they wait until next off-season to negotiate with Metcalf on the franchise tag, they face the prospect of Justin Jefferson re-setting the market again.

It just seems like an avoidable drama is brewing. This really should’ve been sorted pre-draft. Sit down with Metcalf, thrash things out based on the clearly established receiver market — then make a call. Either do a deal or trade him.

The fact Metcalf has been so upbeat about his future in Seattle, only to now be holding out of minicamp, feels like a turn for the worse has occurred. It suggests he’s become frustrated with talks and wants to make a point.

Unless the Seahawks get this sorted — it’s likely he’ll not be involved in training camp either. And then they face the prospect of a protracted saga that dominates (and distracts) during camp, just as we saw with Adams a year ago.

The Seahawks and Metcalf had all the information they needed to get this done weeks ago, just before or after the draft. Why it’s still not sorted is a mystery and frankly, a disappointing faux pas for the team when they need to be trying to move forward without distraction into a new era.

There’s simply no justification for this not being sorted. If you weren’t willing to pay Metcalf what the market dictates, he should’ve been dealt. Just as Marquise and A.J. Brown both were during the draft.

You committed to Metcalf by holding onto him. Now you simply have to pay him. You have no choice.

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