Firstly, if you missed today’s live stream with Jeff Simmons — I would highly recommend checking it out:
The Minnesota Vikings have today extended the contract of Kirk Cousins, removing him as an option for the Seahawks.
Meanwhile, the Deshaun Watson story is trending a certain way. New Orleans appear to be the frontrunners with Carolina eager to make a big move.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported earlier today:
“Seattle has checked in on the situation, but most people I talk to don’t expect the Seahawks to be seriously in the Watson mix.”
There seems to be this grand assumption that due to Pete Carroll’s age, the only plausible option is to aggressively build this off-season. Yet it’s unrealistic to believe there’s any shot of this team being a threat when you look at where they are.
Yes they have picks and cap space — but right now, they don’t have a viable quarterback and the following players are out of contract: LT, RT, C, CB1, CB2, FS, RB. They also just cut their starting middle linebacker. There were existing holes on the roster to begin with anyway — plus areas that needed upgrading.
There’s simply no realistic option other than to build over time.
A quick reminder that Bill Belichick also turns 70 this year and he has just embraced a big rebuild. The Patriots took a year in 2020 to take stock then spent rapidly in free agency 12 months ago. They didn’t force the situation at quarterback and eventually drafted Mac Jones in the middle of round one without trading up.
It remains to be seen whether the plan works — but it’s not totally ridiculous to think Carroll, like Belichick, realises there’s a lot to do.
After all — the Seahawks don’t just exist for Carroll’s career. He has a duty to protect the franchise’s interests. That means building a good team, reaping the benefits, then passing it on to the next person to continue the work.
Seattle’s immediate priority should be to create a core. If that includes a quarterback — great. Using all of of your cap space and picks on one player denies you an opportunity to build a core, though.
The Seahawks need building blocks, not a quick fix. As we’ve been saying for weeks — this is a draft class that can produce a foundation for the future.
For that reason, I hope Seattle’s biggest move at quarterback this week is to merely add competition for Drew Lock and Jacob Eason. A Tyrod Taylor type or Marcus Mariota, for example.
You’re not contending for a Super Bowl in 2022. Setting yourself up to do so in future years has to be the key.
So when free agency begins on Monday at 12pm (EST) — these are the rules I would set if I were the Seahawks:
1. Reinforce the trenches
2. Create a physical, intimidating defense
3. Invest in players at the right age
4. Don’t reach for a quarterback
5. Don’t trade for/sign older players
I would prioritise the offensive line in free agency and use the money available to try and craft a group that can be together not just in 2022 but for the next 3-4 years. I would try and steal from the Rams — hurting a division rival and helping yourself by adding players who know the scheme you wish to install.
Joseph Noteboom, Brian Allen and Austin Corbett would be on my radar.
I would stick to trying to sign players in their 20’s. A rebuild doesn’t just have to take place in the draft. In 2011 they signed Sidney Rice and Zach Miller — they should try for more moves like that.
They have money to spend. They should be prepared to pay big salaries to acquire talented young players.
I suspect they will also feel the need to draft a hedge at defensive end. You can’t risk missing out at #9 and being left with another year of bad pass rushing play. Spending a bit on a pass rusher isn’t a problem — you can never have too many. It shouldn’t prevent you from still taking a Jermaine Johnson, Kayvon Thibodeaux or David Ojabo.
I think defense should be the primary target early in the draft with a linebacker added in round two. I’d make a strong case for Nick Cross at safety, too, if Quandre Diggs departs. Otherwise, an offensive lineman such as Abraham Lucas, Cole Strange or Cam Jurgens would also make sense in the second frame.
I also think Carroll should lean into his philosophy. He’s leading this rebuild so he might as well. Add a running back like Zamir White or Dameon Pierce (if available) in round three to complete your circle — whether you bring back Rashaad Penny or not (and I would, you can afford to).
This might all seem underwhelming to some people.
For me, it feels like a necessary start ahead of a new era.
However, I would look to draft a quarterback. Just not early.
The Seahawks should now be in the business of adding a young QB every year until they find ‘the one’. In this draft, I’m not sold on the players projected to go early. So I would be patient, wait for next year when better players (Will Levis, Bryce Young) will be available — and take a flier on a day three prospect this time.
For me, it should be Notre Dame’s Jack Coan.
I’d never argue he’s a future franchise quarterback. He has limitations — but his limitations are no more severe, really, than the players projected to go much earlier.
He has a decent arm. He’s not a totally useless athlete. He does a good job throwing to all ranges and I like the way he attacks the seams (although it helps playing with a future top-10 pick at tight end).
I think he’d be a welcome option in round four to compete with your other quarterbacks in camp.
I mentioned on the stream a particularly interesting note on Coan. Notre Dame were playing Virgina Tech. They were leading. Brian Kelly introduced freshman Tyler Buchner to give him some experience. He threw a pick-six, then another interception. Instead of leading, the Irish were now trailing by eight points late in the game.
Coan re-entered with four minutes left and immediately led a touchdown drive then improvised to nail the two-point conversion. Tie-game.
They got a stop on defense and then Coan led a field goal drive. The winning kick was scored with 17 seconds remaining.
Little moments like that stick in the memory.
You might quibble about the fact he was taken out in the first place, purely to give the new guy a shot. Well — Coan was a bridge himself at Notre Dame, having transferred from Wisconsin.
And as for being replaced — let’s not forget NC State once picked Mike Glennon over Russell Wilson, leading him to transfer.
Coan came back in, with barely any time left, to clean up somebody else’s mess (Kelly’s arrogance and the struggling freshman’s performance) and win a game. That showed some serious character.
I would rather build up the defense and O-line as a priority and add Coan later on, then force anything at quarterback this year. I can’t see my opinion changing before April either.
There’s no quick-fix I’m afraid. It took the Seahawks three years to build a Championship roster from 2010. We need to expect that to be a reasonable time-frame again.
One other final note — Notre Dame receiver Kevin Austin Jr is stunningly underrated. He is an outstanding player with major potential who appears to be coming into his own. As I was watching Coan, I couldn’t believe how impactful Austin Jr truly was.
For me, a good team could justify taking him in the late first round. I think he’s certain to go in round two.
And if he’s there in round three — Seattle should seriously consider adding him based on talent alone.
Tomorrow I will be making an announcement about the future of the blog.
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