How the rest of the league stacks up (pass rush)

Today I went back and had a look at what was being said in the build up to free agency by Pete Carroll and John Schneider. On reflection, it’s even more surprising that they haven’t done more to upgrade the pass rush — and it’s also pretty clear that the entire off-season has been impacted by the Jadeveon Clowney stalemate…

There were so many clear references to fixing the pass rush being a priority. Which is understandable — you don’t need me to reel off the stats again.

Yet there aren’t any minced words on Clowney either. They wanted him. I suspect they had a great deal of confidence in their position. They likely knew they had the best offer and expected, after a period of reflection, that he would simply take it. I think his agent Bud Cook probably also felt that would happen.

Clowney didn’t take it. He still hasn’t taken whatever their best offer is. He remains a free agent. And both parties are in limbo.

It could’ve been so different. Imagine if Clowney signs in that first week on a deal that was cheaper than anyone expected pre-free agency. Instead of trying to wait him out you’re likely negotiating to see if you can bring in Everson Griffen as a book-end. Suddenly players like Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa look like reasonable complimentary pieces rather than a solution.

Yet there’s little point blaming Clowney as we’ve been over dozens of times. It’s his right to say no to a deal he doesn’t like and if he wishes, risk losing millions to do it on his terms. He’s already made his fortune. Equally the Seahawks can’t really be blamed for refusing to be the only team willing to meet his demands.

The argument against their approach is their unwillingness to move on and make a significant alternative signing (or signings). They’ve embraced the stalemate. Again though, that’s perhaps understandable because Clowney is by far the most dynamic option available on the market. He was at the start of free agency too.

But by not moving on they’ve put all their eggs in one Jadeveon Clowney shaped basket. They run the risk of a bad pass rush being even worse next season if he doesn’t eventually agree to terms.

Thus, here we are. It won’t be a massively successful off-season for the defense even if Clowney returns. It’ll be what they had in 2019 but with a first rounder replacing Mychal Kendricks, better depth at defensive end (albeit in the form of journeymen and rookies) and, depending on the outcome of Quinton Dunbar’s legal situation, one new cornerback (who missed 14 games in 2018 and 2019).

Without Clowney — it’s ugly.

But how bad is it truly?

I went through each team and made a note of any key defensive linemen or pass rushers, recent notable additions or high draft picks on each roster.

They have a star in Chandler Jones but their depth and support is otherwise unremarkable. They’ve also not added any significant young pass rushers, unless you want to classify Isaiah Simmons. Jones is a game-wrecker though and a player who has to be game-planned for every week. Jonathan Phillips was a significant addition for the interior.

The Falcons spent money on Dante Fowler this off-season to go with their previous investment in retaining Grady Jarrett. They also used a second round pick on Marlon Davidson and traded for former first-round bust Charles Harris.

The Baltimore defense is set up to be creative and create pressure from different areas. Even so, they can boast a future Hall of Fame player in Calais Campbell and they used the franchise tag on Matt Judon. They also signed Derrick Wolfe and used a second round pick on Justin Madubuike.

The Bills used a top-10 pick on Ed Oliver a year ago, signed Miles Addison in free agency and drafted A.J. Epenesa in round two. They also retain Jerry Hughes and invested in two other former Panthers in Star Loutlelei and Vernon Butler.

The Panthers have pumped resources into their D-line — using first round picks on Derrick Brown and Brian Burns, a second round pick on Yetur Gross-Matos and they still have Kawann Short.

The Bears have one of the best pass rushing units in the league with Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and now Robert Quinn.

The Bengals have drafted younger linemen over the years but their D-line is still anchored by the ever-reliable Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap.

The Browns have spent money on Sheldon Richardson and added Olivier Vernon but their pass rush star is clearly former #1 overall pick Myles Garrett.

The Cowboys gave Demarcus Lawrence a huge contract and have now added Gerald McCoy to the interior. They’ve also added Dontari Poe and drafted Neville Gallimore. They’re taking on Aldon Smith as a reclamation project in 2020.

The Broncos have Von Miller and former top-five pick Bradley Chubb. They also added Jurrell Casey from the Titans this off-season.

They spent big money on Trey Flowers — who was more scheme fit than spectacular starter. They don’t have a lot else and drafted Julian Okwara in round three this year.

Green Bay
The Packers have made major moves to improve up front. Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith were signed in free agency a year ago — then they used the #12 pick on Rashan Gary. They also retain Kenny Clark at defensive tackle.

The Texans have long relied on JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus. They drafted Ross Blacklock in the second round this year.

The Colts used the #13 pick on DeForest Buckner but otherwise have a collection of young unproven players and Justin Houston.

They’ve used first round picks on Josh Allen, Taven Bryan and K’Lavon Chaisson in recent years. They also, for now at least, still have Yannick Ngakoue.

Kansas City
Chris Jones and Frank Clark were vital pieces in the Super Bowl success.

LA Chargers
Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram provide a dynamic duo. They used a first round pick on Jerry Tillery a year ago and signed Linval Joseph to anchor the interior in free agency.

LA Rams
The Rams have lost most of the support class but will always threaten with the NFL’s best defensive player (Aaron Donald). Getting Michael Brockers back was a plus but they don’t have a dynamic EDGE. Leonard Floyd hasn’t shown enough as a pass rusher in the NFL.

Las Vegas
They used the #4 pick on Clelin Ferrell a year ago and found some production from Maxx Crosby. Maurice Hurst has been worth taking a chance on.

The Dolphins spent high picks on Christian Wilkins and Raekwon Davis and signed Shaq Lawson to be their ‘Trey Flowers’. They also paid big money for Kyle Van Noy.

The Vikings have Danielle Hunter and Anthony Barr but the group just looked better when they also had Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen. They’re a bit light.

New England
They’ve added a bunch of their types to make up for losing the likes of Trey Flowers and Kyle Van Noy. This year they drafted Josh Uche. Last year it was Chase Winovich. They spent money on Lawrence Guy in free agency and spent day two picks on Derek Rivers and Anfernee Jennings. They have a lot of talent in the secondary.

New Orleans
Cam Jordan, Sheldon Rankins and Marcus Davenport are all first round investments.

New York Giants
Strangely they’ve gone all quiet and more or less ignored the EDGE positions this off-season. They spent a first round pick on Dexter Lawrence last year and traded a third for Leonard Williams. They’ve used the new fangled tag to try and retain Markus Golden.

New York Jets
They have the 2019 #3 overall pick Quinnen Williams… and not a lot else. They drafted Jabari Zuniga in the third round.

This off-season the Eagles added Javon Hargrave to Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett.

They have a good group consisting of TJ Watt, Cam Heyward, Bud Dupree and Stephon Tuitt.

Jarran Reed is the best D-liner on the roster. They drafted Darrell Taylor to go with a collection of underachieving younger players and journeymen.

San Francisco
Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, Solomon Thomas and Dee Ford. Depth and talent.

Tampa Bay
Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh, JPP and Shaquil Barrett make up Tampa Bay’s underrated D-line.

They’ve used high picks on Harold Landry and Jeffery Simmons but overpaid Vic Beasley this off-season.

They’re trying to emulate the Niners with Ryan Kerrigan, Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne.

At the moment it’s hard to argue against the Seahawks being in the bottom five in terms of talent on paper. Their depth isn’t as bad as some other teams. Yet they clearly lack the star power to compliment the players they do have.

They need an interior rusher of quality and a top defensive end. Add those two players and it elevates the entire defense. That’s been a problem for a while though — especially the interior rusher.

The big problem is Seattle’s defensive scheme relies on a four-man rush to get home. Otherwise the secondary is exposed and that was an issue last season (eg Matt Schaub throwing for 460 yards for Atlanta). Is the current defensive line capable of creating enough pressure to rush with four? Even if you add Clowney — is there enough pure talent to make this defense tick?

When they had Bennett, Avril, Clemons, Irvin, Clark et al back in the day it wasn’t a problem. Looking at the current collection of players — it’ll be an issue without some late moves between now and the 2020 season starting.

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  1. Marc Edge

    Let’s face it, as disruptive as he is, Clowney won’t be a big sack contributor even if he returns. The Leo position is where our sacks come from. Bruce and Benson are back to fill that position in the short term, and we drafted players in the 2nd and 5th rounds to develop long term. This is typical PCJS strategy of throwing resources at a weakness. Along with continued improvement from Rasheem Green at LDE and a return to form of Jarran Reed at DT, our sack total could be considerably improved this coming season.

    • Rob Staton

      Jadeveon Clowney had a pressure percentage that was 1% less than Myles Garrett.

      He had twice as many pressures as Benson Mayowa in 2019.

      This isn’t just about sacks. It’s about consistent pressure and making life uncomfortable for a QB. Rasheem Green is not going to do that.

      • NolaHawk

        Isn’t it a bit premature to rate Green’s ceiling as having been reached? Factoring his age and the strides he made from year one to year two and I like his chances seeing his production increase exponentially. Pressure percentage is all well and good but it doesn’t factor in if it resulted in a negative play or not.

        • Rob Staton

          No. We’ve seen what he is. We’ve had two seasons. He doesn’t play with any fire.

          • DAWGfan

            Way too premature to count out Green. It’s not that he doesn’t play with fire, he is hesitant and and appears he doubts his feel for the system. Green just turned 23 years old and is still one of the youngest players on the team. I do think this is a make or break year for him with the Hawks. He has been compared to Michael Bennett in the past and if you look at the two, Green is farther ahead development and production wise than Bennett was at the same stage of their careers.

            • Rob Staton

              People are going to be saying ‘he’s only 20-odd years old’ right up until the point he’s released.

              He’s shown practically nothing. I’ve seen him play and to me it’s pretty clear he doesn’t play with fire.

              As for him being further ahead in his development than Bennett… come on. Bennett lit up camp when he was a rookie UDFA and it’s still a joke Tim Ruskell cut him to retain a backup kicker. Green might have more sacks but it doesn’t mean he was further ahead or had shown anything like Bennett’s potential. Because he hasn’t. And after two years in the league, I’m well within my rights to pass judgement on him.

              • DAWGfan

                More sacks, tackles, TFL, QB Hits, assists and games started. Sorry but he is flat out farther ahead development/production wise than Bennett at the exact same stage of their careers. Ruskell was a incompetent GM no doubt about that. But Seattle wasn’t the only team who gave up on Bennett, Tampa let him walk without an offer after 2012. You are within your right to have your opinion of Green, I just don’t fully agree with it. I believe he can and will have a big year, if not I don’t expect him to be around Seattle long.

                • Rob Staton

                  No he isn’t.

                  You can’t box score this into affect.

                  He’s shown practically nothing. Bennett looked exciting from his first camp.

                  • NolaHawk

                    Bennett was over 23 years old when he entered the league and it took him til his third season (27years old by the completion of the season) in Tampa before that “fire” translated into actual on field production. Will he ever be as disruptive as Bennet? Doubtful. He also won’t be a liability by gifting opposing offenses 10-20 yards a game in offsides penalties either.

                    • Rob Staton

                      Behave yourself.

                      Anyone who even tries to compare Michael Bennett to Rasheem Green needs to stop.

      • Lewis

        Agreed, though I would imagine we’d see his sack numbers go up with a better supporting cast.

      • Marc Edge

        I agree that Clowney got close a lot. I just wish he got home more often. And I agree that pressure can be as important as sacks. Brooks looks like a good blitzer. And don’t forget how young Green is. He had 4 sacks last year in his second season, and he was still only 22. That’s younger than a lot of guys who were just drafted. Think what he could be when he matures in a few years.

        I wonder how much of our lack of sack production is scheme or strategy. I notice that our ends often just crash into the opposing OTs for the first three quarterswithout much effort to get to the QB. Then they start doing some different things in the fourth and get home more often. This is what I call their rope-a-dope strategy of saving everything for the final quarter, which is when they figure games are won.

        • Rob Staton

          I think the lack of sacks is a pure talent issue and it’s one that currently won’t be rectified.

          • EranUngar

            Is that about Green’s 4 sacks last year or about Clowney’s 4.5 sacks in his 2nd year and 5.3 sacks a year average over his 6 years career?

            • Rob Staton

              It’s nothing to do with Clowney.

              It’s everything to do with Green and co not being good enough.

  2. cha

    I really fear that Jarran Reed is being asked to carry more than he’s capable of.

    At the moment he has no every down partner in crime to work with like he did in 2018 (Frank Clark) when he had his best season.

    PC has really talked up Green sliding inside on rush downs but Clowney/Griffin/Irvin/Mayowa aside, they badly need some interior beef.

    • Hoggs41

      Reed just feels like a Robin. Not sure where he’ll produce without a Batman.

    • Rob Staton

      Well, he mentioned Green in one interview for that role. I wouldn’t say he’s really talked it up.

      And right now they’d have no choice.

      • cha

        I’m not following.

        PC said Green can slide inside on rush downs after they drafted him.

        And repeated it the last year after camp.

        And repeated it again this year after the season was over.

        But then again they also said pass rush is a priority and they really want OL continuity going into 2020 so what do I know.

        • Rob Staton

          Well he’s a 275lbs rusher. Of course he would say that.

          That doesn’t mean he’s pencilled in for a significant role there.

  3. Troy

    Man a bottom 5 unit pass rush…that is rough. But considering Jarran Reed (a guy who had one good year for pass rush) is currently our best player, I think its fair.

    With Clowney, we are probably like bottom 10-15…if we add Griffen then we are probably above average.

    Going into next season with a bottom 5 pass rush would SUCK! PLEASE FIX THIS JS!


      This whole lack of pass rush thing feels a little bit too much like Groundhog’s Day to me.

      We just can’t wake up year after year and experience this over and over.

  4. Denver Hawker

    Great analysis Rob.

    I’m still perplexed by what Pete has said and what they’ve done. “Continuity on the O-line” was also desired, yet they wouldn’t offer Ifedi more than a vet minimum.

    It really makes this entire offseason a head scratcher.

    • Rob Staton

      Very much so.

    • mishima

      Agree with the sentiment, but do we know what they offered Ifedi? Maybe Ifedi burned himself.

      • BobbyK

        Based on the underwhelming 1-year contract Ifedi got in Chicago – pretty much nobody wanted him. People sure wanted his back up though!

        • James Z

          I think Ifedi just wanted out. He’s taken so much heat from fans, sports writers, coaches and Frank Clark over the past 4 years. I also think he knows by now his skills are more suited for the right guard position. A new start in a different location and position can only be a positive step for hm.

          • mishima

            I think Ifedi overvalued himself, passed on better offers and got burned. No one was waiting around for Ifedi.

  5. Gaux Hawks

    thanks, really enjoying the format of this article… helps put the current “situation” into perspective.

  6. Bigten

    I’d be curious how we would rank on every position group. Outside maybe LB, and Qb obviously, I’m not sure we would rank above average in any group.

    DBs- Without Dunbar, we have Griffen and Diggs. Not much depth, and contrary to whatever potential people want to apply to Blair, I didn’t see a whole lot from him last year. McD is okay, but not anything to write home about. Flowers looks like the converted safety he is. And both Griffen and Diggs have their moments of good and bad.

    Oline- we have Brown, and bunch of unknowns.
    RB- bunch of injury prone backs. They could be good to great, but fumbling and not being able to be available is killer.
    TE- old, injury prone, or unknown.
    WR- Our only other real shot at above average, but really only is Locket and Metcalf. Dorset is a league min. Moore is who He is, which is a flash in the on type. Everyone else is unknown.

    I guess if you count ST we have a punter one year removed from a pro bowl season. And same with K. But both struggled last year. and our ST coverage wasn’t anything to write about either.

    As many have said, without Russ, we are a bottom third team. I’m not sure what we could have done to change that. As much as I like the players we got, especially Brooks, not sure how the last two drafts have helped us. And not like a ton of players at a good price have become available. Losing the McDowell draft, really did hurt us, as it set the stage for the preceding drafts. I’m hopeful that we can get a surprise contribution by committee from our rookies like Raiders saw last year, but even if we get 18 sacks between 2 rookies, we still have a lot of issues that could hurt us

    • Michigan 12th

      If Taylor and Robinson hit then this years draft will be a huge help and success for building the team. I understand that is a really big if, but if they hit on both those guys and they produce like Bennant and Avril then this off season would be a huge success. I do not have high hopes it will happen, but maybe. Then at the end of next year we are talking completely different about this team. We will still need to shore up the secondary though.

    • mishima

      Similar exercise/question: Would you rank anyone on the defense top 10 at their position? For me: Wagz and that’s it.

      • Big Mike

        Diggs when he’s healthy?

        • BobbyK

          I’d say he’s top half but not top 10. Really a sad situation when looking at it that way. Even worse, I’d say a majority of the returning defensive players are bottom half in the NFL at their position.

          There are 64 starting CBs in the NFL and I would say Griffin is a little better than average. Reed is a bit above average DT, but certainly will never be mentioned with any great DTs). Maybe McDougald is about average but he’s trending in the wrong direction (injury/age) and KJ used to be pretty darn solid but age/injuries have slowed him down (never mind he’s making $10 million to not be a difference maker).

          This really creates pressure on Taylor and Brooks to make an impact as rookies. The opportunity is definitely there for them.

          I’d say Blair is the only non-starter capable of being in the top half of players at his position on the team.

  7. charlietheunicorn

    The word on the street is that no team is now offering more than 10M/year for Clowney.
    If this is true, talk about a huge whiff at market value and taking the best deal available (not necessarily with Seattle either). Titans, Browns, Eagles and Seahawks are the only reported teams that were interested or possibly made significant offers. The argent, Clowney or both misjudged the market, now who knows how this will play-out.

    I know many are trying to crucify JS more not signing him, but he must have had the market pegged pretty close to not make a significant over-pay, such as the ridiculous MEGA deals handed out to Gurley by the Rams a few years back or Mosley by the Jets… which more or less turned out to be disasters cap-wise.

    Perhaps he will return, which would be the craziest ending to the story of a crazy 2020 offseason.

    • Rob Staton

      Who’s crucifying JS?

      I just want the pass rush sorted. It didn’t matter who. Just sort it.

      It isn’t sorted.

    • Simo

      Hard to imagine Clowney’s value is $10m or less. I feel confident he will get more than that once his situation settles out, he’s just to good of a player. He clearly over valued himself though, as teams just don’t see him as a top 5 DE and consistent double digit sack master.

      I do worry that Clowney will decide to take a prove it deal somewhere else though. He must be a bit embarrassed by how things are playing out, and if he has to accept a low ball offer to continue playing why not do it for a team with a strong DL. This way he pads his numbers and if he stays healthy, he could be in line for a nice payday next year.

  8. SpringsCoHawk

    Rob, thanks for the work summarizing defensive line resources for other teams. I agree with your premise that what they have accomplished so far isn’t complete as Clowney is the prime piece missing.

    Who do you think Seattle should have signed once they realized Clowney wasn’t going to sign? Quinn, Brockers, Fowler? Would you sign any of them while totally giving up on Clowney. ?

    If they resign Clowney, I would say the overall situation at defensive line is significantly better than last year. You concede it was their plan to resign them Clowney but he is holding to his demands that no one else is willing to pay. As you mention, how much can you fault Seahawks for not over-paying for Clowney?

    Bruce Irvin fills two needs as SS LB replacement for Kendricks and Leo pass rusher on 3nd down. Mayowa is probably your R side DE on early downs. How did they do with Clowney last year without a Leo? I think Schneider should get more credit for signing Irvin and Mayowa and then drafting Taylor and Robinson. They already have Collier and Rasheem Green for 5 Technique.

    I don’t think the way you wrote up what Seahawks have done is equal to way you described other teams. They did invest a first round pick last year in a DE (Collier), Mayowa, Irvin, Darrell Taylor, and Alton Robinson. They resigned Reed. You just summarized their offseason by saying they signed under-achieving young players and journeyman. A little harsh.

    Yes it appears they are still hitching their future to Clowney eventually signing with them.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s not harsh at all. That’s what they have. Underachieving young players and journeymen.

      • Big Mike

        LJ Coller “underachieved”? You mean being a healthy scratch for what 5 or 6 games as a 1st round draft choice is underachieving?

        • Rob Staton


  9. Paul Cook

    What really sucks about it all is that we didn’t even get RW at least one potential new star-like talent in a draft that was loaded with them in the first two rounds at WR and RB. The best we did was Olsen, a signing I liked, but he’s on his last legs in the league.

    I would have rather traded up just a bit in the draft and come away with someone like Lamb or Jefferson or AIyuk or Reagor than have drafted a LB, even though I like him. Let’s face it, as it stands now, we’re going to have we’re going to have to rack the points next year.

    • Paul Cook

      PS> Like many have mentioned, the no edit ability gets me a lot. LOL

  10. pdway

    to be fair – if we’re comparing against the other teams noted – – it’s not totally like we haven’t tried to improve/supplement the D-line:

    ’20 – 2nd round pick
    ’19 – 1st round pick
    ’18 – 3rd rounder
    ’17 – 2nd round pick (McDowell at #35, our first pick of the draft)
    ’16 – 2nd round pick

    Plus there was a high pick traded for Sheldon Richardson.

    We just haven’t been too successful at it. And we’ve never had anything close to a top-15 pick during the above era.

    Result is the same, I suppose. But it’s not exactly a lack of emphasis.

    • BobbyK

      Right. Just poor scouting and decisions by the decision makers.

    • Donovan

      I think this is spot on. They’ve tried, and largely failed, to address this thru the draft, absent Clark (who they let go) and Reed. This felt like the year where with lots of cap space they could address this thru FA. But they spent their money elsewhere – which has been pretty bewildering, given as Rob states it’s a bottom 5 unit upon which the success of Pete’s scheme is predicated.

    • Big Mike

      Bingo. Here is the problem in black and white etxt.

  11. James

    I see less than a 5% chance that John signs Jadeveon. At a minimum, they would have to cut KJ for the cap space. And why would John bid against himself if Jadeveon’s market is around $10M? You never pay a player what he wants, you pay a little more than the next highest bidder. And most important, the NFL cap is expected to be down between $40-$70M in 2021, due to lost revenue. A big Jadeveon contract beyond a one year deal would wreak havoc with the 2021 roster. That ship has sailed, and Jadeveon was at the helm.

    • dcd2

      Naw, they wouldn’t have to cut KJ. We’re currently at around $16M in cap space. Hollister, Moore, Jackson & Hunt could all be cut with no dead money. That would free up between $7-8M. Take out $4M for PS/IR and maybe $2M for a DT and you still have $17M or so that could go to Clowney. That’s before you get into re-structuring existing deals or cuts that have minimal dead money (Pocic/Bellore/etc.)

      There’s another $1M that will come from rookies making the team and displacing: Fuller/Neal/Wheeler/Roos/Allen/Willson.

      The cap space isn’t robust, but there’s enough to work with to get him done without needing to cut KJ.

      • Bigten

        I’m with Dcd2. As Rob and many have pointed out, fitting Clowney in will not be a problem. I also doubt that the cap will go down the amount you project. And to add, the ship has not sailed on Clowney by any means. If anything, this all shows the more likely he is to sign with us. It’s not going to take us giving into his demands to sign him. He will eventually come to terms with the fact we are his best option. And for all we know, there could be a clause in his contract (tied to the no tag clause) that he will give the hawks the ability to match any offer he receives, at which point he will sign with the Hawks. In theory he thought it was a blessing, but in reality he basically tied himself to the Hawks. Other teams know this and are not going to try to get him. At the end of the day, my money is on Clowney to return. However, as Rob points out in the article, even with Clowney, we aren’t that much of a better team.

        • dcd2

          Also, how ironic is it that Clowney’s one demand was that we not franchise him? Now he’d be doing backflips for 1 year $17.8M fully guaranteed deal. Careful what you wish for.

          • BobbyK

            Hadn’t thought of that! lol

          • cha

            I suppose. But he certainly knew the risks when he worked that into the trade.

            But he’s proving that a few million isn’t as valuable as having the freedom to choose what he wants on his terms. I really doubt he’s lost much sleep over it.

    • Lewis

      I don’t think there’s a chance in hell the cap goes down. For one thing, gambling revenue is expected to be massive. Next, new tv deals are coming, as early as this year. Third, the teams couldn’t possibly plan for that. It would wreak complete havoc with every team. The more likely scenario is that it simply won’t increase in as year there was expected to be a massive jump.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s much more likely than 5% come on.

  12. Bankhawk

    Liked the artcle and the way you laid it out a lot Rob. A couple of open questions here:

    -using last year’s 11-5 regular season as a baseline (and acknowledging differences in the schedule), how many would take ‘the over on this year’s record? The under?

    -what do people genuinely expect JS/PC will do to address the situation between now and September? And what weight of confidence do you give it?

    -anybody care to add your ‘jaw-dropper’ move that would be their unexpected response?

    I take the under (9-7?). That is just a gut feeling and without any really close study of the schedule. And I am going to say Clowney will torment us a bit longer, but will eventually sign.

    • Hoggs41

      Feels like another 11-5 season. I feel like we have the potential this year to average 28-30 points a game, the question is can we give up an e average of o ly 20-21? I think a decent acquisition will be made near the end of training camp whether it’s a cut or a trade.

    • Aaron

      I’m not Rob, but to answer your questions…

      – I see them as a 10 to 11 win team again. They won so many close games last year and haven’t really done much to get significantly better.

      – I would place a bet on a veteran DT acquisition before camp but that’s about it for the defense. I don’t see any big acquisitions for the offense.

      – A jaw dropping move? I’d say a trading Wagner and a 3rd to the Texans for JJ Watt.

      • Rob Staton

        They can’t trade Wagner. Look at the dead money on his contract.

    • dcd2

      I’ll take the under. I just don’t see many areas where we’ve improved and we were pretty fortunate to win almost every close game we played last year.

      I expect John to hold out for Clowney as long as it takes. Then move on to EG or see what happens with cuts for a DT and potential DE. Maybe sign Lamar Miller, Carlos Hyde or Lesean McCoy if they’ll do a vet minimum. Otherwise keep Marshawn on speed dial.

      Jaw-dropper is that we sign Larry Warford, because: why have only 18 OL when you can have 19? That effectively takes us out of the Clowney running and we use the money marked for DE on Anthony Chickillo.

      • BobbyK

        My prediction for 2020 with current roster and other NFC West starting QBs in charge of this team:

        R. Wilson as Seahawks QB: 10-6

        J. Goff as Seahawks QB: 3-13

        J. Garappalo as Seahawks QB: 5-11

        K. Murray as Seahawks QB: 6-10

    • Bigten

      Barring any unforeseen teams being good (giants, Miami, or jets) it seems as though out schedule is very favorable. However, this is a double edged sword. We are likely good enough with the easy schedule to win 10 games and get a wildcard, but not good enough to win a playoff game. Probably best possible schedule to get, while still being in the NFC West, but we haven’t progressed enough to put us into tote contention. And we will end up with a pick in the 20s again next year and be in the same boat.

    • Logan Lynch

      Who knows if it’s even going to be a full season this year?

      Either way, I think SEA wins the division. It’s understandable that people are underwhelmed with the offseason so far. Since I can’t control it, I don’t spend much time thinking about it honestly. We’ll see what happens when (if) the season actually rolls around and they start (maybe) playing games.

    • mishima

      Under. At some point, the wheels fall off.

    • Big Mike

      -If the law of averages even out all the one score games we’d be like 8-8 but Wilson gets us 2 more Ws over that.
      -Clowney eventually signs with Seattle for like 1 yr/13
      – no jaw droppers

  13. God of Thunder

    I’ve seen a LOT of “sign Clowney, just sign him now!” — a steady drumbeat of this, in fact — around the interweb.

    I’d like to see more of this: “Sign Clowney, but not at any price.”

  14. Rashi

    Man our offense next year is going to be so good. We will have prime Russell Wilson, with year 2 DK Metcalf, and Tyler Lockett hitting his prime. We vastly improved the TE situation, Greg Olson probably has another good year in him. Parkinson is an immediate red zone threat with his size. And Dorsett is a solid 3, plus he fits really well in Seattle’s offense with his 4.33 speed and deep ball capabilities. Might get to watch some crazy shootouts this year, so excited to watch them play.

    • Group Captain Mandrake

      They also lost 3/5 of their offensive line and didn’t really replace it with anything better. On top of that, the team is already missing training. Every team has to deal with the same thing, but offensive line continuity could be a huge problem. They can score a ton of points if Russ gets time to throw. There also has to be hope that the RBs remain healthy. The offense struggled a bit without Penny and Carson.

      • GerryG

        Im in the very worried about the offense category for the reasons you mentioned. I see the OL as an absolute disaster, and it has little to do with talent, but their inability to gel this offseason. They also did nothing to mitigate the loss of DK or Lock for any period of time.

      • Jacob

        They didn’t “lose” 3.5 of their offensive line, they decided to move on from them, huge difference. The amount of consternation on this site about losing Ifedi, Britt, and Fluker none of which has proven more than being average is highly amusing to me.

        Also, I’m glad that you know that they didn’t replace them with anything better, what makes you so confident in that opinion?

  15. Ashish

    Great article Rob. Do you think we are missing something? May be they have plan to sign missing pieces before season starts? I certainly hope so. Very good analysis of each team.

  16. Ukhawk

    Hi Rob

    Thanks for continuing to beat the (right) drum.

    For one, I am ok with it and not really surprised. Not ecstatic nor in panic. And defo not surprised.

    In 2010 JSPS turned over the roster with over 1000 moves and they continued to do so heavily through 2013. I’m convinced they are at it again. And should be based on the roster.

    Why? Given how quickly and disappointingly the previous Super Bowl team unwound, and the unfortunate fact few younger players stepped in, it is no surprise that the cupboard is bare. I would’ve expected some remnants of it to remain and some more vets to stay but it wasn’t to be. But for career ending injuries, No Kam nor Doug nor Avril on a veteran friendly contracts. But for money, no Earl, Sherm, Bennett, Clark, etc.

    No, I’m not surprised as it previously took 3 years of turnover and a number of fortuitous moves. Do I see many now, no… not yet.

    If Clowney had signed by now, we would’ve all said they’ve been “aggressive” on the pass rush by adding depth and competition including 2 vests and 2 rookies to an already crowded albeit unestablished group. They are again playing the numbers and the competition game.

    What of the moves, Irvin and Mayowa were the best moves to fill real gaps for this type of a season. I genuinely don’t think anything better could be had on a short term deal. I also speculate that given the draft and their position, Taylor and ARob are the best they could’ve done. What are the surefire alternatives to this approach? Every free agent had warts, and a locked in commitment. Other rookie prospects were similarly unproven or unattainable.

    And the non-moves, well at least they know they want. Clowney is a difference maker and that has rightly been their focus. But it takes 2 to sign a contract. And so we wait.

    I also broadly like the approach on the O line. The depth, competition level and age of the unit has dramatically improved and is setup for the medium term if they can coach them up.

    I like what they are doing and think they are spending in the right areas to build a winning team. But it takes time (I know RWs time is going). They are also buying optionality and keeping long term money aside for some key players once a good core is established and they know their gaps.

    Hopefully it works out but we weren’t a year away last year…

  17. Sea Mode

    OMG what a comeback by OBJ, though I have to say Miles set him up perfectly:

    • mishima

      Stephen A. using a GIF of self to comment on Myles’ comment…

      It’s a meta meta world.

  18. Bankhawk

    As per above, I figure there’s a fair chance Clowney signs-but when? Not so sure. What I do think for certain is that they won’t ‘stand pat’ with the pass rush as it currently sits.

    But as to the who or the when? My crystal ball is clouded on that count. A lot of hard-to-predict stuff between now and September. I mean, if I had some premonition about the Clowney trade last year, my memory is failing me as to when it hit me.

    • Rob Staton

      I would imagine it’ll be the week before camp.

  19. EranUngar

    To me, it’s all about Clowney right now. The complementary pieces are in place veterans, young ascending players, rookies, we have them all, a mile deep. We just need the key piece on that DL and right now it’s Clowney or bust.

    They will need to add the run stuffing beef at DT but they always did that late and cheap. I am sure they’ll find their man for it.

    I feel fine with the rest of the unit. It won’t be a top 10 defense but it should be league average with Clowney on board.

    My only worry is “Ivan the terrible”. The Seahawks signed Ivan Lewis as their strength & conditioning coach last year. He was part of PC’s coaching team at USC and this is what was said about him:

    “For those who may not know: Lewis is commonly known as “Ivan the Terrible” by fans, and is generally reviled by both UW and USC fans for his poor results and especially the amount of injuries suffered by players under his coaching.”

    At the time I trusted PC’s judgement on a guy he worked with. After the avalanche of injuries last year, I am not that confident any more…

    • cha

      Agree. I get the sense one of the factors with all these “padding depth veteran signings” is a hedge against another crazy rash of injuries.

  20. Matty

    with Clowney chasing a big salary and with Seattles decent offer, I believe theres a possibility Clowney just goes through he motions next season and is less productive if it comes down to another one season deal. I say move on regardless as I feel Clowney has no interest in staying around despite a few nice words about the organisation and will only be at Seattle next season if no other offer comes round. Theres no unity there, I would predict the Seattle Seahawks W/L record for the up and coming season will be no different with or without JD (I read JD is lazy at training and he is clearly lazy at the negotiating table – move on – no value left in this guy)

    • Rob Staton

      He played his arse off with a sports hernia, weeks before he knew he was going to test the market. I don’t think there’s any concern about his effort.

      • pdway

        totally agree w that. for some reason there’s this ‘he takes plays off’ commentary about him. did not see that at all last year.

    • cha

      He’s not lazy at training. He does however have to manage his load due to the microfracture surgery he had years ago.

  21. Tree

    When KJ signed his deal everyone including him called it essentially a one year deal. I would be surprised to see him back this year on his current contract especially since our lack of speed at LB contributed greatly to our inability to stop outside runs or cover. I think he will be restructured, cut or retire (he had surgery, expensive vets get cut all the time after a team drafts their liked replacement, etc). Although I prefer Clowney now that we have 4 quicker/faster edge rushers in that 250-270 range which we completely lacked last year, I think we have the cap flexibility to do all sorts of impactful additions on the Dline and secondary via FA, trade, or cap casualties. More than anything, I just want to let the young guys play absent clear upgrades and take their lumps with the upside of having a playmaking, faster and tougher defense. Collier was drafted to stop the run. Let him do it. Ugo is a playmaker. Let him do it. Barton, a former safety, is good at coverage. Let him do it. Green is an inside rusher. Let him do it. I don’t think we can write off every young guy that barely played (of course some will ultimately fail) and the Hawks are actually good at developing players. I could see a defense with Blair and Brooks being better than average by the end of the year. I just can’t see that with KJ and Bmac unless they are simply rotation pieces.

    • mishima

      “…the Hawks are actually good at developing players.”

      Who? Griffin and Flowers?

      • Volume12

        Come on. They just developed one of the best rookie wideouts. Have got back-to-back 1,000 yd seasons out of a 7th round pick at RB.

        • mishima

          Yeah, kind of a harsh take, but I don’t think they ‘developed’ Metcalf and Carson? Metcalf was a top 20 talent that dropped due to injury. Great character, should take the next step. Carson was undervalued coming out; still fumbles, durability issues.

          Would consider Britt, Flowers, maybe Ifedi as players that have been coached up a bit.

          Who am I missing?

          • Logan Lynch

            Dissly (when healthy), Lockett, Reed, Dickson.

    • BobbyK

      There was a time when the Seahawks were good at developing players. However, those players they developed were more talented that what we’ve seen in more recent history. Much comes down to talent acquisition and, unfortunately, our coach/GM have been failing, overall, at adding an above average amount of quality players through the draft to develop for about a half decade now (though their worst draft was probably 2013).

    • Volume12

      KJ had nothing to do w/ Seattle’s struggles in coverage. He’s still great there. He’s lost a step for sure, but makes up for it instinctually. Why would you not want Brooks to soak up as much as he can from him?

      Not having a true LEO or a wide rush led to Seattle having spacing issues on defense last year.

  22. Bankhawk

    Yeah-week before camp sounds right to me, as far as Clowney goes. Memory check here: is there a more-or-less modal pattern to when they have tended to add their ‘traditional veteran run-stopper? Is it usually before camp? Pre-cuts? Post-cuts? Given the shelter-in-place thing, no doubt I’m even more fidgety about wanting things to start taking shape than usual-and it’s not like I’về ever been a paragon of patience.

  23. Jeff108

    Miles Addison plays soccer. Mario playing in Buffalo.

  24. Jeff108

    Griffin Twins on First Take right meow.

  25. pran

    We were not better with Clowney last season. We are not going to be better with Clowney unless we add another serious threat. Problem with Clowney is injuries, he missed 2 games on average every season (excluding his rookie season where he played only 4 due to injury). Injuries can happen to any player but there is a history here compared to other elite players who rarely misses games. Clowney is healthy like for half(?) the last season and Seahawks cupboard is bare forcing Clowney to play through injuries.

  26. Logan Lynch

    Nick Nelson got waived yesterday? I wouldn’t mind seeing him brought in for nickel competition.

  27. drewdawg11

    In hoops they say “ball don’t lie”. In regards to the pass rush, you are either harassing and suppressing passing games or you’re not. Our defense showed almost nothing most of the time, and it’s fair to question any and al personnel decisions made in that regard. We aren’t getting an instant impact from Taylor, although he’s basically our great hole moving forward. We can’t count on Pete to adjust the scheme to take advantage of the speed they have in brooks, Blair, etc. the league has sort of figured out the hawks when they can’t get home with 4, and it’s probably too much to ask of this group to perform at a top 12 defensive level, based on their current roster and scheme. Offense had better take it up a notch.

    • Volume12

      When BWagz is gone is when Pete Carroll adjusts that defense.

      • Rob Staton

        Pete Carroll will never adjust his defense. Not significantly.

    • drewdawg11

      I meant to say Taylor is our great HOPE.

    • BobbyK

      I think the defense schematically is fine. It’s just that it doesn’t look fine, like any defense doesn’t look fine, when you have too many bad players.

      • WALL UP

        The missing component is speed, players flying to the ball, as in the earlier years of Pete’s defense with the Hawks. Younger players are thinking more than reacting to the play.

        With the addition of Diggs, Dunbar (hopefully), and Brooks who excels at firing to the ball. This should give a boost to the defense to pull the trigger and get after it. These could rejuvenate BWag, KJ and others to just go fly around and yet not be caught up with SF, or LA’s misdirection used against that speed that they need.

        • Rob Staton

          You also need your D-line to protect the linebackers and keep them clean. And quite frankly — the current D-line is nowhere near capable of doing that.

          • WALL UP

            I’m glad we agree on something again Rob. That is something that they will address eventually, as with Clowney, before camp starts.

            I’m sure Diggs has been in Harrison’s ear about the possibility of joining the squad. The talk of retirement was based on wanting to get out of Detroit more than anything. The possibility of getting a ring should give him motivation to get after it as in 2018.

            Adding these two to the existing squad would make it a solid defense that could help win the NFC West.

            • Rob Staton

              1. Harrison’s still available for a reason. You can say the retirement talk was ‘just to get out of Detroit’. Well he’s out of the league as things stand. The NFL might decide he’s retired anyway.

              2. Clowney & Harrison does not make them a solid defense. In that instance the only differences to last years defense is Brooks over Kendricks, Dunbar (and who knows what’ll happen with him), the Irvin/Mayowa and some more rookies. That’s not enough to go from bad to solid. Sorry, but it isn’t.

              • WALL UP

                I hope it ‘s ok to disagree with you Rob. There are many players that are not signed by a team could be categorized as “out of the league.”

                Griffen, and Mebane, to name a few, are much older but still have something in the tank. For a 1Tech, such as Snacks, to consistently played all 16 games over the last 8 yrs, and has averaged 80 tackles the past 6 except Detroit’s dysfunctional 2019 yr, then averaging (3) sacks the past 3yrs still has something left in the tank.

                Some people just need the right situation to play in. He could be a good fit for the Hawks defense. Frankly, no really knows how they gel as a unit until the suit up together and play. Hopefully, there will be an opportunity to find that out. I think Mr. Harrison may be playing somewhere, if they are allowed to play. We’ll see.

                • Rob Staton

                  Players who are still available at this time of year are available for a reason.

                  None of the moves Seattle can make, including Clowney, can turn the 2019 defense into a ‘solid’ unit. They need to try and bring Clowney back to basically avoid getting worse. They missed the boat.

                  • Bertelli

                    Rob – curious if you have any suggestions of what else they can do to get to be a “solid” defense if they were to sign Clowney and say someone equivalent to a Snacks? I’m no cap expert, but I don’t see enough room to get anyone else with our current other needs (RB, possibly CB) Can they pull of a deal for Yannick using next year’s draft capital and structure his contract where we can fit it in for 2020? Can we afford to get a Griffen AND Clowney? If we did either of those two moves, would consider it a solid offseason?

                    • Rob Staton

                      Maybe. But I think they’ve missed the chance to turn around the defense.

                • WALL UP

                  The players that we’re discussing are cap released vet players, that aren’t willing to accept quite a bit less than their previous pay. Saints recent released All Pro guard, Watford is another example.

                  The reason for not being signed, in Snacks case, just may be of that nature. Where he was set to make $11.25 mil, but was released to say $6.25 mil from DET’s cap.

                  Players like that are still viable players to be added to a roster. But, it’s just a matter of at what cost. Like Clowney, Warford and Griffen, some are waiting it out in order to be in the right situations, and try to gain as much as possible. I’m sure the Hawks wouldn’t mind having either of these players on their squad. Obviously, cost is the factor.

                  JS & Co can be quite resourceful in tinkering with the roster. I wouldn’t say the ship has sail as yet. There may be some surprises in the near future.

                  • Rob Staton

                    No… the players released were cut because the teams didn’t want them any more. And they remain available for a reason —- either because they’re no good or want too much money.

                    The Seahawks have missed the boat on significant improvement. We have to be honest about the situation not use rose tinted specs.

  28. Cortez Kennedy

    “Is the current defensive line capable of creating enough pressure to rush with four? Even if you add Clowney“

    Unless they made a(n) astoundingly good pick with Taylor and/or Robinson no. Not at all.

    Why did we pay Reed and invest so much in linebackers if we were going to ignore a bad defensive line? I don’t get it, and frankly I’m done trying. Whatever the plan was, it failed.

  29. EranUngar

    The Seahawks did not “spend” 12M on Moore, Hollister, Jackson etc. They were tendered and can be waved at no cost at any time. If they make the 55 men roster, it will become “spend”.

    The same applies to the 18 offensive linemen. They are just camp bodies. 10 at most will make it into the final roster. Also, since new OL additions replaced Britt and Flucker cap space, The Seahawks did not spend money on the OL, they actually saved money on the OL.

    The Seahawks did spend 25M on the defense so far signing Dunbar, Reed, Irvin & Mayowa and will probably spend more on it before all is said and done. They also invested their top 2 picks on defense.

    It may not be the plan everyone hoped for but it’s their plan and until we have the 55 men roster I’m ok waiting to see how it all comes together.

    • Rob Staton

      Come on Eran stop being a politician.

      Yes they spent that money on them. It doesn’t matter if they can be cut. The fact is that money wasn’t available in free agency because it was being taken up by those players. And who’s to say they will even be cut!?!?

      This is spin that stretches the bounds of seriousness.

      If you are willing to bury your head in the sand or put your fingers in your ears that’s up to you. Blind faith is never a counter argument to the serious and legitimate concerns raised in this podcast and the recent articles. And neither is spin or hoping for the best.

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