Month: July 2023

Monday thoughts: Injuries and trade talk

I can’t see anyone to trade for

I noticed on Seahawks twitter a bit of love thrown the way of Danielle Hunter when he was briefly on the trade block (before signing a new contract in Minnesota). I don’t think that was ever likely given how much Seattle has invested in the pass rush position already. Fans talked about it though.

Neither does it feel like they’ll end Jonathan Taylor’s Indianapolis nightmare because of a couple of running back injuries (see below).

I spent some time yesterday scouring the OurLads depth chart website, looking for someone who might fit Seattle’s roster.

We know they need a proper nose tackle, for example. Yet running through potential trade candidates the only name I could project was Johnathan Hankins.

The Dallas Cowboys spent a first round pick on Mazi Smith so theoretically, Hankins might lose his job. However, Cowboys fans are anticipating a chunky rotation between the two. Plus, Hankins is cheap. There’s very little reason for Dallas to give him away.

I couldn’t find anyone else.

I’m still not sure why Seattle couldn’t find a way financially to keep Al Woods. Maybe he is older and finds it a little bit harder to stay out there? He wasn’t that expensive though. Put him on the roster today and that D-line looks a lot better. You buy time to find a long term solution. Instead they’re left trying Jarran Reed at nose and hoping for the best, with Cam Young clearly needing a bit of time.

I know I run the risk of people groaning in the background but it still seems incredible to me that this team is committed to giving Jamal Adams $18.1m this season when there’s no clear evidence of when (or if) he’ll be able to play. If he does get back on the field from the horrifying injury he suffered a year ago, nobody knows how he’ll play or if he can stay away from further injuries.

He is the most expensive player on the team and a complete unknown. Given their difficult cap situation in 2024, a parting next year seems fairly inevitable short of a miracle turnaround in his Seahawks career.

For the price of a post-June 1st cut this year, they could’ve afforded to keep Woods and Ryan Neal. To me, that feels a much better use of resources than continuing to have $18.1m tied to a player who has become a bit of a meme in Seattle.

Even if you don’t cut Adams, there surely had to be a way of working with him to reduce his cap hit? He was never going to get $18.1m on the open market. He might get nothing as a free agent this year, given his injury situation. It’s hard to imagine there wasn’t the possibility of getting a deal done to save some money in Seattle. If Adams was so opposed to that at a time when the team desperately needed wiggle room, surely that just makes the cut option more acceptable?

After all, plenty of players take pay cuts in similar situations. And as I mentioned, it might not even be a pay cut for Adams if the alternative was being let go.

The Seahawks now retain a player who may be available at some point this season but have an Al Woods-sized hole at the heart of their defensive line.

While the last two drafts have thoroughly warranted A+ grades —- Seattle’s cap management continues to leave a lot to be desired.

What’s with the injuries?

We can all appreciate that the NFL is a sporting war of attrition. Injuries happen. Yet to not even be a week into camp and be hearing of Seattle’s growing list of absentees is a little concerning.

Zach Charbonnet is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Ken Walker has a groin problem. Noah Fant has just come off the PUP list. Olu Oluwatimi has a wrist problem. Damien Lewis is sick. Then there are the longer term issues.

They haven’t even put the pads on yet.

The biggest concern has to be at the running back position. It was supposed to be an area of depth and strength this year (and that could still be the case). Losing RB1 and RB2 early in camp is far from ideal. Hopefully it’s a precautionary thing for now.

Uchenna Nwosu signs contract extension

Uchenna Nwosu has committed his future to Seattle

It feels like there are a few layers to this news.

On the one hand, it’s perfectly understandable to extend the contract of a player who won’t even turn 27 until late December. He’s a good age, appears to be emerging as an influential contributor and he produced 9.5 sacks last season.

The other side of it though will be the timing and the raw numbers. $32m in guarantees and $59m total over three years looks steep but we’ll need to see what the reality is. If we’re being honest, Nwosu is a good not great player at a position where they’ve heavily invested through the draft.

Having spent three second round picks on his position recently, this further investment is interesting. Nwosu will presumably tie up one of the outside linebacker/EDGE spots now at this cost. He will need to justify the salary — and the Seahawks will need to find a way to get the most out of their investment particularly in Boye Mafe and Derick Hall if both are set to be rotational cogs.

The timing, too, is notable.

At the start of the year his 2023 cap hit looked like a clear lever to create more cap space through an extension. However, coming off a productive 2022, it also felt like the player had all of the leverage.

An extension now feels slightly odd for both parties. The Seahawks will probably get some cap relief but without any obvious ways to improve their biggest flaw (interior D-line). A deal done in March, however, could’ve provided much needed money to spend.

Nwosu, meanwhile, doesn’t get to feel the benefit of reaching free agency and testing the market. Another productive year could’ve sky-rocketed his value even further.

It’s possible both parties have simply reached a happy medium. Nwosu eliminates the risk of having a down year and reaching free agency with a reduced market. The Seahawks retain a player they like now without any chance of him going somewhere else next March.

This will significantly impact the Seahawks’ cap space for 2024. They only had a projected $23.1m available before this deal was announced. There are ways to make savings (Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Geno Smith, Will Dissly) but it’s worth noting that, already, they’re going to be up against the cap next year.

If there is a decent financial saving in 2023, it will open up the possibility of a roster move over the coming weeks. It’s just really difficult to identify a hulking defensive tackle who can solve what is clearly Seattle’s biggest need — a veteran nose tackle presence. That makes me think the Nwosu extension is simply a sign the team really rates him and sees him as part of their core group moving forward, with the timing of the deal being an irrelevance. It happened when it happened — and it’s not likely to be a precursor to anything else.

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