Curtis Allen’s off-season positional reviews: DL

This is the seventh part of a guest-post series written by Curtis Allen

#7 defensive line

Players under contract for 2021: Carlos Dunlap, Rasheem Green, LJ Collier, Alton Robinson, Darrell Taylor, Jarran Reed

Players under contract for 2022: LJ Collier, Darrell Taylor, Alton Robinson

Restricted Free Agents: Poona Ford

Unrestricted Free Agents: Benson Mayowa, Damontre Moore, Brendan Jackson

Exclusive Rights Free Agents: Bryan Mone

Players Signed to Futures Contracts: Cedric Lattimore

Salary Cap Notes

2021 Cap Commitment: $34.6 million (19.4% of $178m cap)

Carlos Dunlap’s entire salary of $14.1m non-guaranteed

Jarran Reed’s $8.475m salary non-guaranteed ($5m cap hit if cut or traded)
Available Free Agents

2020 Season Overview

The defensive line provided a decidedly uneven performance in 2020.

In the interior, Jarran Reed again proved he is in the ‘good but not great’ group of defensive linemen. Early in the season, he had a strip sack against Dallas to give the Seahawks some easy points and a dominant half against the Vikings. Absent those highlights his first few games were uninspiring. He struggled to elevate his teammates. However, his play blossomed in the second half of the season.

Poona Ford took another step forward. The Seahawks moved him around the line a bit and he provided some nice interior pass rushing. He is an easy choice to tender and may even garner an extension if the front office feels he has more room to grow and wants to get him locked into a contract before he takes another step in 2021.
Brian Mone rewarded the team’s faith in him with some fine play. He was stout at the point of attack but added some occasional pass rush quickness for such a huge man, which was a bonus. The team felt good enough about him that they chose him over Snacks Harrison late in the season. He has a spot locked down for 2021.

Snacks Harrison spent more time on the practice squad getting into shape than on the field and did not contribute very much.

On the outside, Benson Mayowa was acquired to help but with early season injuries and some strange game day roster choices, he was forced to play a high volume of snaps and faltered trying to take on that much work after a career of being a part time player. He returned to his normal standard of play when relieved of the bulk of the snaps by Dunlap.

Alton Robinson contributed four sacks and did some nice things in the run game at times in his rookie season. He displayed a knack for sacking the quarterback in key situations, which is a confidence-builder for anyone, let alone a rookie player. 

Most of his plays were cleanup type sacks, coming off his blocker after the downfield coverage has caused the quarterback to hold the ball. He needs to develop into more of a ‘pressure creator’ but the start is encouraging.

Darrell Taylor was a disappointment, not seeing the field for a single snap due to his health. He did get on the practice field at the very end of the season and was praised by his coach for looking like he belongs, for what that is worth.

L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green had the occasional notable play at the 5-Tech position but overall did not do enough to inspire much confidence. The position was a real weak spot for the unit in 2020.

Damontre Moore showed some decent play in spots but had his season derailed with a suspension.

Carlos Dunlap was manna from heaven. He recorded five sacks and 18 pressures in eight games and lifted the entire unit. Particularly enjoyable was watching him terrorize Kyler Murray in the Week 11 Arizona game with six pressures and two sacks. He sacked him to finish the game the week after Murray had pulled off a last-second miracle against Buffalo.

A big picture look at the season totals from this defensive line group show some superior numbers over the prior season:

– An increase in sacks, from 19.5 to 30.5 in 2020

– An increase in pressures, from 99 to 124 in 2020

– Team rushing defense dropped a full yard per carry, from 4.9 to 3.9 in 2020

But if there were ever a need for context to understand the numbers, it would be this season for this position group. Because the truth is this group had an extremely difficult 2020.

A good chunk of these numbers did not necessarily come from better play. They were rather a direct result of the opposition exploiting the Seahawks’ poor offseason in constructing this unit and their weakness in the defensive backfield.

How did this come about? 

Early in the season, the Seahawks’ offense was blazing and applying some serious pressure on opposing offenses. Struggling to keep up, they took to the air. The result was they often were able to score just as easily and at times even more quickly than the Seahawks could. No lead was safe. This exposed the defensive line and the backfield and modelled a plan of attack for the rest of the league’s offensive coordinators to tee off on. 

Across the entire season, offenses called a remarkably high rate of passes on this defense. Even run heavy teams were abandoning their scripts and chucking the ball downfield as much as possible.

The opposition threw the ball an incredible 63% of plays. For some perspective, even in the pass-happy NFL, few offenses called for passes at a higher clip than what the Seahawks defense faced.

As a result, the running game was shoved into the background and opportunities for pressures and sacks dramatically increased.

What does a closer look reveal about how the defensive line performed in these two areas?

Rushing defense

The defensive line faced the seventh fewest number of rushing attempts and yielded the fifth fewest yards per rush last season.

But were they truly successful? It was a real mixed bag this year.
There were some fantastic run stops at times on defense:

– Week 2 vs the Patriots. The goal-line stand to win the game.

– Week 5 vs the Vikings. Stopping a two-point conversion and a key stop on fourth down to give the offense the ball back. Both plays were the difference in the game as the offense drove the field to win it.

– Week 11 vs the Cardinals. Holding them to only 57 yards on the ground in a right-the-ship win.

But for every successful performance, the run defense experienced a critical failure:

– Week 5 vs the Vikings. The Special Teams unit twice pinned the Vikings’ offense inside their own five. Is the defense able to keep them pinned and win the field position game? They are not. Both drives feature the Vikings bludgeoning their way out of trouble with their running game and driving down the field to score. Alexander Mattison filled in for the injured Dalvin Cook and proceeded to run just as well on this defense. Rushing yards allowed on those two drives alone — 91. Unacceptable.

– Week 7 vs the Cardinals. The defense has held the Cardinals to 109 rushing yards in regulation. Not bad. In overtime, the Seahawks’ offense is stymied and punts. The Cardinal offense comes out and runs for 47 yards on three rushes to get into field goal range for the winning attempt.

– Week 13 vs the Giants. In the third quarter, Seahawks are behind 8-5. The offense attempts to convert a 4th and 1 that fails at about midfield. The Giants take possession and gain 42 yards on four rushes and score the winning touchdown.

– The playoff game vs the Rams. Los Angeles comes in starting a backup quarterback with Jared Goff behind him with a busted thumb. Clearly the Rams were going to rely heavily on their running game. The defensive line had no answers as the Rams gashed them for 164 yards on the ground.

While this unit had some success this season, the fact that they were fifth in the NFL in yards per rush should not be pointed to by anyone to prove that this was a top unit. They had some good overall numbers and some important stops. But they also had some aggravating collapses in key moments. 

So, were they good or bad? The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Pass rushing

How well did this unit rush the passer in 2020?

The defensive line’s pass rush performance this season is best compartmentalized into 2 sections:

Games 1-7 Before Dunlap (BD) and games 8-16 After Dunlap (AD)


– Average blitzes per game BD: 26.57
– Average blitzes per game AD: 23.00
– Average defensive line sacks per game BD: 1.14
– Average defensive line sacks per game AD: 2.45
– Average defensive line pressure rate BD: 14.0% pressure rate
– Average defensive line pressure rate AD: 22.1% pressure rate
– Average team sacks per game BD: 1.71
– Average team sacks per game AD: 3.70
To summarize, after acquiring Dunlap they cut back their blitzing 10% across the board, doubled their defensive line sacks, the defensive line was 50% more effective in getting pressures and they doubled their overall team sacks. That is some serious in-season improvement.

While we may not be able to chalk every single increase in pass rush success to Carlos Dunlap’s arrival, the line of delineation is so clear it is obvious that he had a significant impact on the defensive line’s ability to create problems for the quarterback.

Jarran Reed in particular came to life:

– BD: 1 sack / 7 pressures in seven games
– AD: 5.5 sacks / 15 pressures in nine games

He also added two sacks and three pressures in the playoff game vs LA.

Poona Ford likewise put up dramatically better numbers.

Again, there were more factors than just Dunlap. The defensive backs getting healthy and getting a jolt from D.J. Reed, a defensive accountability meeting that seemed to energize the unit and playing some teams with passing offenses that are not world class in the second half of the season were all contributing factors.

There is no doubt though — having a real live force at pass rusher unlocked all kinds of channels and allowed the other players to not constantly have to face double teams they cannot handle.

Offseason Questions to Address

1. How will the team attack the passer in 2021?

The Seahawks blitzed an incredible 403 times in 2020. The defensive line frequently relied on outside sources Jamal Adams, Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright to provide pressure.

After acquiring Dunlap, the Seahawks reeled back Wagner’s blitzing to more normal levels. Let us not kid ourselves though. They still blitzed at a higher clip with Dunlap then they have in recent years. They continued to send Adams just as much as they did before.

Was blitzing this much an intended use of their linebackers and safeties? Or was it a product of necessity after being unable to secure talent on the defensive line that can get push without regular assistance?

All three of their blitzers in 2020 will have their futures with the Seahawks considered this offseason. Wright is a free agent. Wagner has a major cap hit in 2021. Adams will want a huge contract extension.

If the Seahawks are considering moving on from any or all of them, where is the pass rush going to come from? 

From their replacements continuing to blitz? 

From the improvement of the defensive linemen already on the roster? 

Or from bolstering the defensive line with new acquisitions? 

Likely it is some combination of all these things. 

Who stays and who goes? Who provides production at the best value?

This is a critical determination that needs to be made. It could plot the entire course of the offseason. 

2. Will the front office finally change its offseason mode of operation for addressing the defensive line?

After witnessing the defensive line be such a team liability in 2019, it was particularly encouraging to hear from the Seahawks leadership that they intended to address the issue as a priority in the offseason.

Hope slowly and agonizingly turned to despair with the realization that the defensive line moves they made strongly resembled the moves they made the previous offseason and foreshadowed another dreadful performance from the group:

– They did not return their best pass rusher from the prior season (2019: Frank Clark / 2020: Jadeveon Clowney)

– They overpaid a past-his-prime speed rusher who had little effect and spent most of the year hurt (19: Ziggy Ansah / 20:Bruce Irvin)

– They banked on young players making a real contribution and were left wanting (19: L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green / 20: L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green)

– The team reached for a lineman on a high draft pick due to need and counted on him contributing right away. Unfortunately, he was severely limited by injury and ended the season as an unknown for the following season (19: L.J. Collier / 20: Darrell Taylor)

– They scrambled to fill their roster at the position and resorted to bringing in replacement-level players (19: Branden Jackson / 20: Branden Jackson, Damontre Moore)

The Seahawks began the season with one of the NFL’s worst position group units, after fielding one of its worst the prior season.

Legitimate questions asked by the press about this group were met with unsatisfactory answers:

– Lower tier free agents were given healthy raises. The sack numbers they recorded for other teams in the prior year as rotational players were half-heartedly pointed to as proof they could be centerpieces of the pass rush effort

– Young unproven players were being discussed as real contributors

– Excitement about the Jamal Adams trade was proffered as evidence the aggressive attacking energy was back in the building

Then the season started.

The results were predictable, just as they were in 2019. 

In the first seven games the defensive line was able to produce only eight sacks on 328 passing attempts for a miniscule 2.4% sack rate. Teams were burning this defense at an all-time record pace.

Even teams with poor offensive lines were emboldened to drop their quarterback and have him regularly throw downfield. A banged up defensive backfield was powerless to provide adequate coverage. The talented linebacker group was trying to hold the defense together with both hands. They had no counter.

Every bit of joy generated by the offense’s brilliance was automatically tempered with dread that the defense would quickly concede just as many points.

A bold gambit to trade two prime draft assets to acquire Darrell Taylor generated excitement that the team was making a serious investment in the pass rush. It slow burned into frustration as his injury recovery dragged into the season and felt like sandpaper rubbing an already sore pass rush spot raw.

Coaches were conducting therapy sessions in broad daylight, assuring reporters, fans and probably themselves that the defense could not possibly be this bad. 

It was a ticking bomb that threatened to implode the season.

Then one of the most fortunate bounces of the prior season bounced the Seahawks’ way again in 2020.

They were bailed out of a disaster of their own making by the grace of a star player falling out with his team. Carlos Dunlap became the 2020 version of Jadeveon Clowney.

Once again, the Seahawks were able to take advantage of a team desperate to unload an impact player and willing to settle for less.

One area where the seasons differed though? The Dunlap trade did not come until after the Seahawks had already played seven games. In some ways the Seahawks would spend the rest of the season trying to recover and rebalance the team after a disastrous defensive start.

The Seahawks cannot count on this kind of luck three seasons in a row. They must act more decisively to address such a critical unit this offseason.

They must restore balance to the defense.

A fortunate bounce like this should be the thing that sends this team on the path to a top seed and a Super Bowl. Not the path to minimum acceptable adequacy.

3. What will they do at the 5-tech position?

Rasheem Green and L.J. Collier were penciled in as a rotation at the spot and were counted on to hold down that side of the defensive line.

Their combined numbers in 2020: Five sacks, 29 pressures and 32 tackles. Nothing to write home about.

Their versatility to be able to slide inside and play the 3-tech position on passing downs was frequently pointed to but neither of them were able to take advantage of the newfound effectiveness of their line mates in the second half of the season to really put a stamp on their roles.

Rasheem Green is a free agent in 2022. He endured a neck injury that appeared to be very serious and lost six games. After recovering, he slowly but surely was given more snaps than Collier but lacked a real signature moment or any kind of flair to show that he was going to regularly be a factor on the defense.  Will he ever be able to reach the potential the team saw in him when they drafted him?

L.J. Collier had some notable moments early but as the season wore on and Green got healthy, his role started to be reduced in the lineup. Are the Seahawks considering 2020 his ‘rookie season’? Can they honestly expect a big leap in 2021? Collier has yet to show that he will ever provide first-round production on the field.

What do the Seahawks do at this position? Do they bank on these two players for the third year in a row? Or do they commit more resources there?

Would the team consider having Carlos Dunlap or Alton Robinson spend some time on that side?

Will the Seahawks make an investment in the draft or free agency?

Whatever route they decide to take, the 5-Tech position must be better in 2021.
4. What does the future hold for Carlos Dunlap and Jarran Reed?

Both players have large 2021 cap hits and are out of contract in 2022. 

It might make sense to look at these two players as a matched pair. The options then are keeping both (maybe even extending both) and making some adjustments to the other spots on the line or jettisoning them and rebuilding the whole unit from scratch.

There will be a strong pull to stay with the familiar and for good reason. A complete tear down would be too much to bite off for one offseason and these two cannot be easily replaced. But nothing should be off the table.

Carlos Dunlap clearly had a major impact on the defense. It will be very intriguing to see what he can do with a full offseason and a full season with the team in 2021. There are a greater number of potential positive outcomes with Dunlap on the team in 2021 than with him not. 

His entire salary in 2021 is not guaranteed, which gives the Seahawks all kinds of options. Given their minimal outlay to acquire him (a 7th round pick and $1m of dead money from BJ Finney’s contract) the Seahawks could entertain every possibility:

– They could release him and save the entire $14m salary (unlikely)

– They could pay him his full salary, see how Robinson and Taylor develop and decide in 2022 how much to offer or let him go

– They could extend him now, reasoning he has been very durable, has had a fantastic effect on the team and fits what they are trying to do in Seattle

– There is a fourth option. They could see what Dunlap could fetch in the trade market. Given their lack of cap room and draft capital, it might be wise to listen to offers and see what is available to them. $14m of cap room freed up and some added draft stock could provide the Seahawks more flexibility.

Would he generate much of a return in trade? The odds are not strong they could land enough to consider it.

If you trade him you are back to depleting your most needy unit again. It would be a risk for sure. However, if the right deal comes along, in this climate the Seahawks would be foolish not to listen to what is out there. It does not cost anything to explore a little.

What about Reed? He is the 18th highest paid interior defensive lineman in per-year average.

It would appear he does not have the skill and profile to consistently create disruption on his own. However, he can regularly take advantage when he is lined up next to other players who demand attention and that is not inconsiderable.

The Seahawks clearly love his leadership and the way he carries himself. 

It also needs to be factored that Reed eats snaps for breakfast. He can consistently take 75% of the team’s snaps. That is not an ability you can just get anywhere. A potential replacement like Poona Ford has only handled 58% of the snaps at the most in his career. The gap between 58% and 75% is bigger than it appears. If they part with Reed, they will likely need two players to share the workload he provides.

Is that worth the $13.475m cap hit that he is on the books for in 2021?  The Seahawks need to create some cap room and $8.475m of his salary is not guaranteed. 

Do they consider trading Reed and eating the $5m cap hit? Would they get a strong enough return to offset losing a big piece of their interior?

Or do they look at keeping him, reasoning a full year with Dunlap and improvement from the other young players can elevate him back to a 10-sack season?

5. How much can they count on Darrell Taylor in 2021?

This question will linger all offseason. We will very likely hear plenty of positive news emanating from VMAC about his recovery and progress off and on all summer. Do not let yourself get sucked in and develop oversized expectations for the upcoming season.

The Seahawks were not able to get a single look at him in game action in 2020. Two or three practices are better than nothing but it does not give the team a solid basis for hope that he can have an impact next season.

Even if he is physically ready to play, he will still have to go through all the rookie adjustments and prove he can handle the rigors of playing in the NFL. Just like any rookie he will have to justify his high draft standing.

It is possible no single thing would help the Seahawks more in 2021 than Taylor breaking through and terrorizing the edges. 

It would complement the interior rush and help the defensive backs. It would also reduce their dependence on blitzing. 

It would enable them to be aggressive in the 2022 offseason building their roster. 
Taylor rewarding the investment the team has made and the patience the fans have displayed would be a fantastic success story for next season.

But given what they know of Taylor, right here and now, is it not the course of wisdom to prepare for him to not have a major role in 2021? Or to anticipate that there might need to be some managing of his snaps for the first half of the season to assure he is fully healthy?

It may be worthwhile to have Benson Mayowa’s phone number saved. Bringing a part time player like that back in adds depth and takes some pressure off the situation. If he comes back at a reasonable price, he may be a worthwhile hedge against the young talent on the roster.
Rob’s thoughts on the draft class and potential targets

At defensive tackle, the numbers have been depleted with several big names opting not to declare for the 2021 draft. That said, some intriguing options remain.

Alim McNeill is an outstanding athlete with the ability to play nose or three technique. He has star potential and a personality to match — as evidenced in my interview with him.

Frankly, whoever lands McNeill will be counting their lucky stars.

Levi Onwuzurike will likely go in the top-40 as a penetrating three-technique with a great motor. Daviyon Nixon is a master disruptor who racked up TFL’s for Iowa.

Christian Barmore had a hot and cold spell at Alabama but ended strongly enough to give his stock a boost ahead of the draft. Jalen Twyman and Jay Tufele are forgotten men in this draft after opting out of the 2020 season. Tommy Togiai, who I’m due to interview this week, is an incredibly powerful, dynamic interior presence with great energy and effort. Darius Stills, who I’ve already interviewed, could be a mid-round gem.

There’s a chance to find value within this group. Some good players could last well into day two. Seattle’s lack of picks, however, makes for a frustrating outlook.

Milton Williams, who I also interviewed recently, is a nice inside/out project.

In terms of defensive end and EDGE talent, expect Azeez Olujari, Jaelen Phillips and Kwity Paye to leave the board quickly. Gregory Rousseau opting out has hampered his stock slightly, while Carlos Basham’s lack of length and strange use at Wake Forest tempers some of his obvious talent and athletic potential. Joe Tryon also didn’t play in 2020 but possesses a fantastic frame, knows how to win with his hands, power and speed and he should also be a top-45 pick.

All of that group would be appealing if the Seahawks were picking in round one. While it’s true that a lack of testing is creating a great unknown, the athletic potential of all five players is unquestioned. There’s no mystery there. Phillips was once one of the most coveted High School recruits in recent history, Paye and Basham were on Bruce Feldman’s freak list, Rousseau just looks the part, Olujari’s play is reminiscent of Cliff Avril and just look at Tryon during our interview, published yesterday.

Pairing one of these players with Carlos Dunlap would’ve created quite an exciting prospect for 2021. Alas, it isn’t to be.

In terms of options later on — sadly Patrick Jones’ poor Senior Bowl and short arms make him a less attractive option even though he was excellent at Pittsburgh.

Notre Dame’s Adetokunbo Ogundeji might be appealing. He’s 6-4 3/8 and 256lbs with 35 1/4 inch arms and an 85 3/8 inch wingspan. He ran a 4.21 short shuttle at SPARQ.

Janarius Robinson made headlines during Senior Bowl measurements with an insane 87 inch wingspan. He’s 6-5, 266lbs and also has 35 3/4 inch arms. He ran a 4.27 short shuttle at SPARQ. However, he’s so raw he’s a steak tartare.

This feels like a pass rush class where taking a player early would be the wise thing to do for any team in the market. With Seattle’s desperately low number of picks, it’s perhaps more likely they will focus on the offensive line with their first selection, then look at the deep receiver and cornerback class after that on day three — with running back another option.

And while it’s a very valid point that this draft is highly unusual with no combine and limited interaction with prospects, there’s still a long list of players I’d want to take a chance on who could go a long way to provide the Seahawks with young, cheap talent — which is what they need with so many holes and very little cap space.

If you missed my interview with Joe Tryon yesterday, check it out below…

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  1. Sea Mode

    C’mon, Cha, you had it so set up…😉

    Games 1-7 Before Dunlap (BD) and games 8-16 After Dunlap (AD)

    Before Carlos (BC)
    After Dunlap (AD)

    • cha

      //smacks forehead

      You’re right!

      • charlietheunicorn

        Some people just have a knock for marketing products. Sea Mode is onto something here…..

        As for marketing, Shamwow guy….. he was a classic.

      • Elmer

        Dunlap is a tough decision. You have shown that he makes a measurable difference. Without him the D line could revert to its BC self and SRB (suck real bad). On balance it seems to be in the team’s best interest to keep him, and find other ways to create cap room.

        • cha

          I lean that way as well Elmer.

          I’m flabbergasted with these other offseason plans that consider trading Reed and Dunlap and using the savings on other positions. It’s like these people have wiped the first half of 2020 out of their memories.

          • Rob Staton

            It’s as if the starting point for off season plans has to be…

            ‘How do I make sure I don’t have to consider making difficult decisions about Wagner and Adams?’

            Rather than…

            ‘What’s best for the Seahawks?’

            • cha

              The belief in the magical powers of a pass rushing safety is taking the fanbase to some strange places.

            • Elmer

              Absolutely right. Trying to make this omelette without breaking eggs will very likely result in (a) failure, (b) pushing the problem back into future years, or (c) both.

  2. Mick

    Nice writeup cha. Given that we have more urgent problems, I would hope that D. Taylor proves to be effective enough and if the first few games show otherwise, go for a cheap vet (Mayowa?). I wouldn’t be surprised though if Alton ends up with more snaps than Taylor. Reed and Dunlap I’d keep both, and Green and Collier, to be honest, I’d replace both if I could. Probably that’s not possible, so one should do, Collier seems a better bet longterm while being more expensive. Ford and Mone are both must-keep.

  3. pepoandart

    The D-line was unacceptable before the Dunlap trade, decent afterwards. I think with the limited cash and draft stock you need to keep Dunlap. Collier should back up Dunlap and kick inside on obvious passing downs, you cannot go in to 2021 with Collier as a starter. If healthy Talyor along Robinson should be able to provide some much needed speed on the line. Hopefully being around the team this last year will help ease the rookie growing pains for Taylor. That said this line is still a piece away from being a unit that we can have confidence in going to the playoffs. The O-line is getting the coverage (with merit), but attention has to be paid to the D-line as well if we really are going to get to that next level.

  4. Rob Staton

    I was so unhappy with my horizontal board the other day, I’ve committed the whole weekend to watching as many players as possible. Reviewed about 15, then watched a whole bunch I hadn’t got round to on my list.

    The difference is already enormous and I’ve got three more players to do tonight.

    • Sea Mode

      I have mad respect for your grind, Rob. Honestly, until we get back a couple more pics this year, I’m hardly motivated to watch any players at all (hoping that will change once pro days come around). I’ve really been leaning on you and the community to have some idea of the prospects this year.

      A big thanks again for everything you’ve created here and the extra effort to keep it coming throughout the pandemic is truly appreciated. Keep following that passion and showing you can put out content in ever-improving formats and good opportunities are bound to come your way.

      • RWIII

        Rob. Don’t know where you get your information. This article is fantastic.👏

    • charlietheunicorn

      Imagine the hurdles and staff each NFL dedicate to this process.
      Keep up the good work. The rabbit hole is deep and vast this draft.

    • TomLPDX

      Your horizontal board is my favorite part of the offseason from you. It helps me to put all of these players into perspective from someone with an educated view of how all of these players fit together. This, to me, is time well spent and I really appreciate the effort you put into it (and the interviews, and articles, and opinion pieces, and …).

      Thanks Rob!

      • Rob Staton

        The new horizontal board is a lot better. I’ve gone to round four now. At the moment there’s exactly 120 prospects on there (simply a coincidence). I’ll never be able to do a proper board because without combine testing and measurements I can’t add or remove certain players. So it’s less of a Seahawks-centric board and more of a general board based on what I’ve observed.

        • Rob Staton

          In fact I’d say this is the most productive weekend of evaluating players I think I’ve ever had.

          • TomLPDX

            And we get to reap the benefits of all of your hard work. As I said…really appreciate all you do, Rob. Can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with.

  5. Simo

    Nice work Cha, very thorough and informative! You and Rob make a great team, there just isn’t better analysis of Seahawks football anywhere!

    I sure hope they figure out how to bring Carlos Dunlap back, he proved to be a valuable addition. Maybe a short extension works for both sides, and something like 3/30 would get the job done. Maybe same goes with Jarran Reed, as they just don’t have anyone else at DT that can get to the QB. Also nice to see Poona Ford making strides, he’s a no brainer second round tender.

    We all better hope Darrell Taylor comes back healthy and ready to roll this year. He has a lot of ground to make up, but on the bright side he should have fresh legs! Robinson looks like a nice late round pick and a solid contributor, if not a guy with star potential.

    The rest of the current guys are just Jags really. There’s some decent role players, but no stars in the group of Green, Collier, Mone, Moore, et all.

    I would support bringing back Mayowa, and even Bruce if they are willing to take $2m contracts!

    Again, nice work!

    • cha

      Wow, very kind. Thanks Simo.

  6. Rob Staton

    Salary cap expected to be $182-183m only

    • cha

      There’s still a month to go.

      This feels like sabre rattling more than solid information to me. Any team sore that the cap should stay at $175m instead of say $185m is just seeking a competitive advantage.

      Florio paying his bills for access.

      But I could be wrong.

      • TomLPDX

        Florio doesn’t just blow smoke (although sometimes I wonder what he is smoking!). He’s hearing something from his sources and I personally don’t discount anything this former lawyer prints on his website. You can dislike the man (I don’t) but he is careful about what he posts.

      • charlietheunicorn

        178-180M has been discussed pretty much from the get go on the cap for 2021.
        There was a rumor a few months ago they (owners) might borrow some money from a future year, to pump up this cap slightly. So that is where the 185M number was coming from….. from my understanbding.

        Will it happen? Who knows… but teams are kind of caught until they put out the number so they can negotiate deals and fill out rosters in early FA / prior to FA (deal with own guys) and what the tenders are actually going to be…. 1st, 2nd, RFA, ERFA, etc.

  7. TomLPDX

    Thanks for this, Cha. You nailed it.

    • cha

      You’re very welcome!

  8. Martin

    Thanks Cha! Another great, insightful article with lots of food for thought.

    • cha

      Thanks for reading.

  9. Rob Staton

    John Clayton man…

    • cha

      I’m guessing the Seahawks didn’t ‘sign’ him for 2021. The source of the confusion is whether his 2020 contract tolled. I’m guessing it does since he got suspended under the drug policy.

      • TomLPDX

        But does it toll? I thought the only contracts that tolled last season were the ones where players opted out due to COVID. I’d love to have Josh as an option but I think he is done for good now.

    • STTBM

      Is he senile or just lazy nowadays?

      • bmseattle

        Feels like he is out of the loop and just kind makes crap up these days.
        He certainly acts sure of himself though.
        I used to like listening to Clayton, back in the day. But I can’t bear it anymore.

  10. Ukhawk

    Agree the DL was subpar and there is no standout difference maker <30 yo. Alongside the DL, this is a very high priority IMO.

    Im hoping to draft a good DT in R2 either McNeill or Nixon, if available, which is right around our pick range atm according to PFN. If not Twyman or Stills later on. Prefer McNeill who has a bit more of an anchor.

    Also love Ronnie Perkins at LEO and who flashes Frank Clark traits as well as LaBryan Ray as a later round possibility on the strong side /5T.

    • Ukhawk

      Alongside the OL…

    • Mick

      I think drafting a defensive player with our highest pick is the safest way to get Wilson annoyed. Pick #56 should go for an offensive lineman or for a RB.

  11. SpennyDunks

    The comparisons between the 2019 and 2020 plans to address the DL is shocking, and I hadn’t realized it until you put it so succinctly. They literally went at it the exact same way to the exact same results.

  12. Sea Mode

    Have you already recorded with Corbin? Can we offer ideas?

    • Rob Staton

      No it’s recorded on Wednesday

  13. Sea Mode

    All 31 teams in attendance at the Senior Bowl had the chance to do a 15-minute speed-dating interview with the Alabama quarterback, but maybe the most interesting anecdote I could possibly give you on him from that week in Mobile comes from his Heisman Trophy winning receiver DeVonta Smith. One team asked Smith, point blank: Tua Tagovailoa or Jones? The question was barely finished before Smith answered: Mac Jones. He was bold and definitive about it, as I heard it.

    • Rob Staton

      Not surprised at all

      Felt like I was watching a different player. The Tua hype train was bizarre

      • Roy Batty

        I have a buddy still living in Ewa, after his last stint in the Air Force. He said the island pride shown toward Tua was nowhere near what it was for Mariota. Both are injury magnets, which possibly soured the hype for Tua on-island.

        • cha

          Probably has something to do with his family upbringing.

          That ESPN piece where his father discussed beating Tua with a belt for throwing INTs doesn’t represent island pride in any way.

          • Roy Batty

            And his father and family followed him to Alabama, also.

            Creepy stuff.

  14. GerryG

    Thanks Cha! Great write up.

    This review, like all the others brings me to the same inevitable feeling many/most of us have: we have no resources fix these problems! The lack of draft capital is staggering, and honestly, I just DGAF about Jamal Adams. I never liked it, and never will. He’s not the difference between being a contender or not.

    Looking forward to the horizontal board Rob.

  15. Rob Staton

    Update on what’s coming up on the blog:

    Interviews with the following…

    Benjamin St Juste
    Darius Stills
    Cade Johnson (recording today)
    Tommy Togiai (recording Wednesday)

    Podcast with Corbin Smith (recording Wednesday)

    New horizontal board with a sentence or two on every player (there are over 120 players on the board)

    • Gohawks5151

      Gonna be a great week! Thanks for all the work man!

    • cha

      Would you please tell Corbin congratulations on getting engaged for us?

      • Rob Staton


    • GerryG

      Podcast with Corbin should be great, you two usually have differing (not drastically) perspectives that should bring up some good conversation. I enjoy the pods he does with Rob Rang

    • Bankhawk

      Rob, I’m just looking backward in this year of ‘life in times of Covid’ trying to think of anything, or anyone that has risen to the challenges of current times and met them as squarely as you have here in the blogosphere: you have truly kicked ass in the past 12 months!
      I hope this comes out the way I mean it (as comparing content output of a of a football blog to governmental responses to Covid seems, perhaps a risky analogy to draw) but if such comparisons were to be judged permissible, I’d reckon that it would make you the New Zealand of content creators! 👍

      • Rob Staton

        Thank you 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  16. cha

    Ian Rapoport
    The #Steelers did a basic conversion restructure on DL Cam Heyward’s contract, source said, and he’ll still make $10.5M this season. But roster bonus and base were converted to a signing bonus and created about $7M in cap room.
    8:08 AM · Feb 22, 2021

    $19m to go…

  17. Big Mike

    Starting with Malik McDowell never playing a down in the NFL and then having to spend a 2nd on a one year rental of Sheldon Richardson, the position group has been easily the biggest fail by Pete and John in the last 5 or so years. Trading Frank Clark and basically replacing him with LJ Collier followed. Then the unbelievable failure to address the problem last offseason happened and boom, you get a desperation move to trade for a Safety that doesn’t fit your scheme to try to manufacture pass rush at a an utterly unbelievable cost leaving you with nearly no capital to address any needs including a still sub-optimal position group if Dunlap can’t be resigned (average at best if he is). On top of that, we may well see that mistake compounded by resigning #52 ranked Safety himself to a large contract leaving not enough cash for other positions of need over the next couple of years including your o-line which may in turn piss your QB off to the point he wants to be traded. Furthermore, they made the situation even worse by spending 2 picks on a guy that never played a freaking down for the team last year. But wait, Pete said he looked great in those 2 whole practices he participated in so hey, no worries right?

    That is what’s known as the butterfly effect. Trade Adams and you get the butterfly into a net and maybe, just maybe you can stop the downhill roll this franchise appears to be on. IF you do that and IF you choose wisely with the draft choices that would come your way, it would go a long way toward making that happen.

    Thanks for the write up cha, even if it did depress me and make me angry all at the same time.

    • cha

      Thanks for the write up cha, even if it did depress me and make me angry all at the same time.

      My work here is done

      • Big Mike


  18. sonicreducer

    Mike Iupati has retired per the Spokesman Review newspaper in Spokane. Always seemed like a good dude. Said his goal was to play 10 years and played 11.

    • Rohan Raman

      Hell of a career. Injuries definitely plagued him towards the end, but the ultimate NFC West guard. Man played for the Niners, Cardinals and Hawks.

    • TomLPDX

      Good for him! When he was healthy he was a force to recon with and I wish him the best.

    • uptop

      Almost all of our big runs were sprung by this guy over the last few years. He’s the kind of player that you only really expect to play 10 games a season, but when he does, he plays good. Good luck to him in retirement.

    • Simo

      Nice pro career for a guy who went to the football powerhouse that is the Univ of Idaho! This is a good opportunity for the Hawks to upgrade the LG spot now, with no more loyalty concern of bringing your guy back!

    • Big Mike

      When he was at U. of Idaho I watched him a couple of times and his feet were something else, very quick and he was very light on them. That was pre-injury of course.
      Enjoy your retirement Mike.

  19. cha

    Michael Silver
    are staying quiet in the wake of Russell Wilson’s recent comments… but that isn’t stopping teams from calling to see if he’s available…


    Silver says a third of the teams in the NFL have reached out, and he’s hearing three first round picks is the starting price to even discuss it. But also notes Seahawks not inclined to trade RW.

    • Rob Staton

      So it’s still in the news and another reputed journalist (although a weirdo one) is legitimising this story.

      But you know, Gregg Bell also said it’s no biggie

      • Big Mike

        Didn’t Danny O-Neill and Dave Wyman say the same thing?

        • Rob Staton

          Danny did, yes

      • cha

        The Brock and Salk ‘5 questions’ podcast left a strange taste in my mouth.

        The guy who is Mr Goodie Two Shoes, the most positive and team-forward guy they’ve probably ever come across, whose interviews have been described as robotic and full of no information….you don’t think it’s noteworthy exploring why he felt it necessary to go to this level?

        But no, let’s just slam Russ for ‘right message, wrong delivery’.

        • Rob Staton

          I’m a big fan of Brock & Salk but that podcast didn’t deliver. They didn’t properly analyse any of the potential issues or consequences. They kept swerving off in different directions too.

    • Scot04

      If 3 1st rounders is a starting point, i guess that would mean they’re listening. Imagine if Jaguars gave us an offer like we gave the jets. #1 overall plus their next 3 1st round picks.
      Or Jets of Darnold plus their next 4 1st round picks. Gotta believe the Seahawks atleast consider both

      • Rob Staton

        Yep… the dynamic has shifted from..

        ‘not inclined to trade him’


        ‘three first rounders is the starting point’

        • Pran

          Blitzing SS – 2 1sts
          Franchise QB – 3 1sts

          i don’t like the trade….

          • Spectator

            The difference is that at least one of the 1sts is likely to be needing to be a high pick, ie Dolphins, jets, Panthers, Jags, where as the 2 firsts for the safety are likely to be later (at least that was the presumption when the trade was made). I dont think that the 2 firsts+ was a good trade for Jamal, but its not apples to apples with the picks you elude to here.

            Additionally, should we get a high-ish pick for Jamal, say Dallas at 10, it could be argued that it is equal value to what we paid. That is my hope at least. Having Dallas’s 10 would be fun.

  20. cha

    Front Office Sports
    EXCLUSIVE: Jeff Bezos has been interested in NFL team ownership for some time.

    Bezos’ attorney spoke with Baltimore-based sports investment banking firm Moag & Co., which led the effort to sell a portion of the the Washington Football Team.

    • John_s

      “Bezos, 57, announced on Feb. 2 that he would step down as Amazon’s CEO by the end of 2021. In the past several years he’s developed a wider footprint in and around the nation’s capital: In 2013 he purchased The Washington Post, and in 2017 he tapped Arlington, Va., as the location for Amazon’s second headquarters.

      A message left with The Washington Post by Front Office Sports on Monday was not immediately returned. Messages left with Paul Dauber, one of Bezos’ longtime lawyers, were also not returned.

      Bezos purchased a 27,000-square-foot mansion in Washington in 2016 and spent $12 million to renovate the residence. CBS Sports reported in November 2019 that Bezos spent time with Snyder since his move to Washington, and that other NFL owners were more than willing to welcome the mogul into their ranks.”

      • BobbyK

        It would suck so bad if that shitbag bought my favorite team.

        • Big Mike

          Sounds like he wants to be in the DC area permanently tho.

          • TomLPDX

            fingers crossed that is the case. He can have the WFT.

            • pdway

              why is this bad?

              • TomLPDX

                Rob, feel free to delete this…

                Do you really think Jeff Bezos would give a rat’s ass about the Seattle Seahawks football team? Seriously?

                • pdway

                  just know that he is someone who likes to win, and demands accountability. money also obviously not an object, and there are likely some benefits for being affiliated w the biggest company in town, and a massive entertainment entity as well.

          • BobbyK


  21. Hoggs41

    Report is the Seahawks are interested in Jonnu Smith. Seems like it would be a good signing depending on the money.

    • Rob Staton

      Can’t wait to see Jonnu Smith’s 250 yard, two touchdown 2021 season

      • JJ

        I think Bridgewater could get him up to 350 yards on the hawks next year.

      • Scot04

        1st they plan on Dumping Reed and Dunlap to free up cap space.

        • Big Mike

          And then when we have zero pass rush they’ll hint that it’s Wilson’s fault for demanding o-line help and weapons. Never mind that they paid Adams 16 mil and drafted Malik Taylor.

    • dcd2

      I think this is just the kind of guy we would need to go after.

      He’s young, likely cheap, very athletic (better short shuttle than any TE we’ve ever drafted), was a high pick, had more TD’s than our 4 TE’s combined last year on a run-first team and he graded out highly on PFF, right next to TJ Hockensen.

    • BobbyK

      I’m so sick of how they waste money and resources on the TE position for it to only suck and be non-productive year after year. How about getting a stud LG or C. At least with ponying up for a guy like Sherff or Linsley is that they’re going to be productive 100% of your offensive snaps, opposed to some underutilized bums who rarely make an impact at TE.

      Also, can this guy block? May as well sign another pass catching TE and try to make him a glorified offensive tackle.

  22. Rob Staton

    I know I say this a lot at the moment.

    But Cade Johnson… Wow.

    You are going to LOVE this guy.

    He is Tyler Lockett. Play and personality. Mirror image.

    Natural born pro.

  23. cha

    CBS Sports Network
    “I do way too much on the football field to take a discount, it makes absolutely no sense.”

    he would love to finish his career in Seattle but won’t take a hometown discount to do so.

    Good luck out there KJ.

    • TomLPDX

      I don’t blame him one bit! I’d hate to lose KJ, but if he gets a chance to cash in on his last couple of years then more power to him! He will always be the ultimate Seahawk player in my eyes and he needs to be part of the ring of honor when all is said and done. I have a feeling that Seattle will only offer him $5-6M on a 2-yr deal each year, with only one of those years guaranteed.

      • Jordan

        Agreed. He’s got a Super Bowl, a Pro Bowl and a secure legacy/reputation in Seattle. I’d be happy for him to to see him cash in at this point, especially somewhere warm and sunny.

    • Big Mike

      But, but…….gotta pay Jamal to play 3/4 of the games and be hurt to the point of being ineffective and making “busuness decisions” for several others.

    • Scot04

      I wouldn’t doubt alot of these guys look at Adams comments about being more than a safety in regards to $. But can’t blame him, that’s what the Seahawks said when they traded for him. So not only do they over pay to give him leverage; they say they view him as more than a safety when they make the trade. Brilliant just Brilliant.

      • Big Mike


  24. Denver Hawker

    I know this is a Seahawks blog, but have to say, being a Mariners fan is the worst.

    • Ryan

      Huh – I’m not familiar with that team.

      Is that the one that plays after the Kraken and before the Seahawks?

  25. Big Mike

    Sad sack franchise. So bad they almost make the Lions look at least semi-competent. Assume you’re referring to the Kevin Mather fiasco?
    I live in Vancouver, WA, just across the river from Portland, OR and I can assure you if Portland ever got a MLB team I would switch my allegiance instantly.

    Sadly Seattle is a place quality players develop their game to star elsewhere.

    • Denver Hawker

      Yes, but clearly a systemic problem across the entire organization, top-down. Mather resigning won’t change anything. Ownership is more focused on maxing profit, and gives two shits about fans, players, or winning. We’ve all known it, but to be so arrogant to say it out loud is a whole new low.

    • TomLPDX

      I stopped paying attention to MLB in the mid 90’s when the strike hit, I was done.

      I have so many baseball stories from my youth…I adored that game! Saw Mickey Mantle live and in person at an exhibition game with the Yankees vs. West Point cadets at West Point in the late 60s (no bleachers, just families sitting on the ground along the baselines, was a HUGE Atlanta Braves fan (even golfed with Craig McMurtry during the strike and he was the coach of my daughter’s Basketball team), went to atleast 10 games a year to see my Astros when I lived in Houston (when they were still part of the national league), blah, blah, blah. If PDX gets a MLB team, I will rejoin the club. Portland used to have a triple-A club here for a while and they were fun…

      ok, I digressed…carry on!

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