Seahawks interested in Everson Griffen, Clay Matthews

On Monday I wrote that the time was coming for the Seahawks to make a call. Come to an agreement with Jadeveon Clowney or move on and sign one of the other available options. According to Michael Silver, such a decision is imminent:

There are several things to discuss following this report.

Firstly, the mention of Clowney. This reads like a Seahawks source explaining the frustration they’ve faced with the situation. Silver reveals the value of the 2020 salary they were offering then makes reference that ‘no team’ has been willing to meet whatever his demands are.

This is the Seahawks essentially saying, ‘we’ve tried’ and ‘what else can we do?’

I also think this is one last message being sent through the media. It’s a nudge to Clowney that time has pretty much run out. If he wants to play in Seattle — for whatever salary they can offer with their remaining cap space — he’s going to need to decide now. Not in September. Otherwise they will move on.

The thing is — it seems increasingly likely that Clowney will see this through to the end. That could mean not playing in 2020. Many players are opting out. A hiatus might actually be beneficial for Clowney. He takes a year, gets fully healthy and re-enters the market in 2021. He’ll need to be realistic about the offers he’ll eventually receive though especially with the cap likely lowering.

It’s unusual that it’s dragged on this far. What does Clowney honestly expect by now? The money isn’t there. Sticking to your guns is admirable but unless he’s willing to retire unless he gets what he wants — what’s the end game?

This feels like a final dig in the ribs by Seattle. And make no mistake — getting Clowney back would be far more beneficial than the two other names mentioned by Silver.

Everson Griffen had a really solid 2019 season with eight sacks and 35 pressures. However, he was mostly the foil for Danielle Hunter. The Seahawks won’t necessarily be able to rely on him to be ‘the guy’. Not as he approaches his 33rd birthday.

Clay Matthews had a similar stat line for the Rams with eight sacks and 28 pressures. He’s already 34 though and was very much a role player in LA — where Aaron Donald and Dante Fowler led the way.

Although many have talked themselves into believing Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin can provide the foundation of a reasonable pass rush, the fact is they are both backup/role players. If you were rotating them in behind a couple of studs, that would be fine. Relying on them? That’s just not good enough. Not for a team with Super Bowl ambitions.

With Darrell Taylor on the NFI list and perhaps still recovering from his injury last season, the Seahawks can’t bank on Mayowa, Irvin, Rasheem Green and L.J. Collier.

Even the return of Clowney wouldn’t be much of a tilt from last season. Sure — Mayowa is superior to Ziggy Ansah but that’s mostly a reflection on Ansah. Irvin always finds a way to chip in and will be a useful specialist rusher and SAM. When you’re trying to transform one of the worst D-lines in the league last year into something at least in the middle of the pack though — this isn’t really cutting it.

Take Clowney away — who was among the league leaders in pressure percentage and double teams in 2019 — and the situation becomes even more critical.

Removing Clowney and rotating Griffen/Matthews with Mayowa and Irvin could easily be a step back from a year ago, as incredible as that might sound. Without Griffen or Matthews, however, that will certainly be the case. So they have to do something. If Clowney won’t come, they’ve got to look at the other options and hope for the best.

That’s where they’re at. Hoping for the best. The defensive tackle depth is remarkably poor. They have to hope that their rag-tag bunch of DE’s can scrape some plays at key moments and do just enough. There’s also a chance that this unit, ultimately, will end up costing the Seahawks any chance of serious contention in 2020.

Earlier today I read this article from 2013. People forget how important the pass rush was to the Seahawks during the Super Bowl years. It’s long forgotten now — but we were all talking about Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril being the thing that pushed Seattle over the top. That the great D-line depth played a huge role in 2013.

The article provided this quote:

We all know Chris Clemons’ value to the Seahawks defense. This knowledge is based on watching countless hours of our beloved Seahawks through crushing defeats and glorious highs. My point being… more often than not the defense relies on how Chris Clemons performs.

Despite all the talent Seattle had in 2012 — the LOB, Wagner and Wright — the defense relied on Chris Clemons because he was the only one creating consistent pressure. The arrival of Bennett and Avril delivered a complete defense.

The Seahawks, currently, don’t even have a Clemons they can rely on.

Clowney could be that person and with better support in 2020 he could be even more effective. If he’s not returning — then they have to sign a Griffen or Matthews, roll the dice and hope they get two sixes.

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  1. Aaron L

    Do you think there is a chance we sign both of them? Assuming Clowney is out of the picture.

    • Rob Staton

      Maybe. Depends on the cost. They don’t have that much money left. Having committed $6m to Bruce Irvin I doubt they’ll want anything less than that.

  2. Aaron

    Well, at least there’s some movement by the Hawks towards possibly adding more pass rushers. I wouldn’t go for Clay Matthews becuase he’s repeatedly gone after Russ to hurt him. I don’t need that presence in our locker room. I’d get Clowney and Griffin and make them the two bookends. Then our depth of Irvin and Mayowa, along with Green and Collier as the third tier. It’s not much, but it’s a start. In that scenario, I still would want one more proven person to rush the passer.

    • Bayahawk

      In that scenario, what do you do with Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson? You wave goodbye to your 2020 2nd and 5th round picks?

  3. Cwagner

    I want to be excited because they might actually address the D-line with the addition of Griffen, or Matthews, or both, but it’s yet another instance of short term solutions with older players. To be honest though, I’m surprised there are this many options this late into the off-season.

    • Rusty

      I don’t mind short-term solutions for this season. They have a stable of young ends on the roster, just need an immediate guy to provide stability for this year. Hopefully some out of Green, Collier, Taylor, Robinson steps up for 2021 and beyond.

      • Cwagner

        Yeah I hear ya, but it sure seems like a lot of short term solutions. I just keep thinking about Rob’s article about how few players we have locked up past this season. I’m excited for this season, but I can’t help but wonder about the following seasons, especially considering now we won’t have first round draft picks for the next couple years.

  4. Albert Bryan Butler

    The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that there is a scheme change coming that the Seahawks have been very secretive about. If you don’t have great edge rushers and you have lots of linebackers, you do it with numbers. I’m looking at the 2005 Baltimore Ravens 3-4 defense with 46 concepts power point presentation on Football’s X’s and O’s and thinking that a defense built around an all-pro safety and an all pro middle linebacker like that might work here. There are details in it about how to beat the spread.

    • Rob Staton

      There won’t be a scheme change.

      Pete Carroll has stuck to his schemes religiously.

      Him changing scheme would be like him giving up gum, the word ‘pumped’ and deciding he doesn’t much fancy competition any more.

      • hawkdawg


      • Pugs1

        This made me seriously chuckle. I also heard Pete is also giving up his Air Monarchs!
        I agree 100% that the Seahawks telling Clowney it’s time to bleep or get off the pot.
        I can live with the backup plans of Griffen or Matthews because they tried. The ball is in Clowney’s
        Court. We will see what happens

      • Albert Bryan Butler

        But they already did have a scheme change last year when they found out they didn’t have a Nickleback. They ran base defense more than any team in the league. It was The Genius of Desperation. Somewhere, I think there is a book by that name written by someone I know.

        • Rob Staton

          Running base defense is not a scheme change.

          • NolaHawk

            For a Monte Kiffin disciple to run mostly base without any overtures to a 4-6 alignment, I’d say that constitutes a scheme change.

            • Rob Staton


              Are you serious?

              Monte Kiffin never used three LB’s??

              Come on. Pete used base. He didn’t tap into some voodoo magic.

      • Ty the Guy

        The overall scheme will remain the same, most likely. BUT according to The Athletic, the Hawks blitzed the 2nd most last year. Which was a major shift in philosophy.

        I wish we could have done more to improve the pass rush. But I feel like we aren’t giving enough attention to how the secondary helps the pass rush. The Hawks may end up with one of the best secondaries in the league. Much like in 2012-13. I am not saying that Irvin/Mayowa/Green/Collier/Taylor are Clemons/Bennet/Avril, but I just want to remind everyone that those weren’t exactly heralded names back then either. And they were greatly helped out by the coverage on the back end. While the personnel in 2020 looks to be a wash or even a step down from 2019, the secondary help may lead to more pressure this year.

        Would love to add Clowney or Griffen. I agree that it looks like Clowney will be taking a year off. Too bad, he wont get more than the $15 mil next year either. I think he made a mistake in his FA strategy. Griffen would add to the rotation, which we will need.

        • Rob Staton

          We’ve been over that athletic article.

          The Seahawks didn’t blitz second most in the league. And even if that were true, it’s only indicative of their front four being absolutely crap and needing to find, desperately, ways to create pressure.

          It’s not a scheme change. It’s not a change of philosophy. It’s an acknowledgement of how bad the DL was.

      • Mike

        I get how you don’t think there will be a scheme change, and the reasons behind that thought. Its a solid, historically supported, and logistically reasonable prediction. Add in covid shortening the offseason, and its even more likely they repeat what they have done before for simplicity’s sake.

        But no one but the coaching staff KNOWS if there will be a scheme change.

        Offenses in the league have changed. That change is observed in the NFC west more than any other division. They often are schemed to expose a PC style defense, because that defense has been copycat-ed across the league. Pete carroll is defensive minded coach. He has come up with a scheme before. He has watched his former pupil In SF get elevated due to a scheme change that took the league by storm, that features a dominant d-line and fast linebackers.

        There is no reason why he couldn’t do it again. He is skilled enough. His scheme has aged enough. His talent composition of players has changed enough. And he is coming off a NFL career worst season for his defensive scheme. I doubt he will be content (as mr competition) with a repeat performance to last year.

        It’s reasonably possible that his solution is to change to favor the talent he has available on the team. There’s been a lack of good d-lineman, so many minimizing the number of guys you need in that group makes reasonable sense. Linebackers are cheap, and are a strength of your team, so maximizing that would make sense. This starts to sound more and more like a 3-4 strategy. It’s not unreasonable to say that there’s a chance of that happening.

        Will it? Remains to be seen. Is it likely? Open to debate, but probably unlikely, at least at the start of the season.

        • Rob Staton

          Come on Mike.

          Pete Carroll has run the same defense since forever. 95% of the discussion on Seahawks twitter is people complaining that Pete won’t change. He changed all the coaching staff around in 2018 to regain control and do things his way.

          You’re welcome to consider that suddenly a 69-year-old coach is going to mix it all up during an off-season where even getting out on the field is taking a military style operation — but you know as well as I do that a major scheme change is not happening.

      • GoHawksDani

        If there won’t be any scheme change Pete is basically giving up competing.
        Or he’s out of his mind. You can’t run base defense with old LBs, weak DL and questionable corner(s). If you don’t have the roster you gotta be creative. If you’re not you just give up

        • Rob Staton


          He’s already said they’re not going to use base as much.

          I don’t understand why people on here keep confusing what base actually is. It’s not a scheme change. Every scheme has a ‘base’ defense. Seattle just used theirs more than nickel last year. And the stats against 3WR sets backed it up. Nobody should be surprised against those 3WR heavy offenses if they use base a lot again.

          But reverting to nickel in other situations is NOT ‘a scheme change’. That’s just using nickel more often.

          A scheme change would be switching to an orthodox 3-4 which is never going to happen in a million years or start trying to be Todd Bowles or Gregg Williams. It’s not happening. If they were doing that, Pete would’ve replaced Ken Norton and surrendered play calling duties to someone like Wade Phillips.

          Pete has his scheme. It isn’t going anywhere — ever — while he’s in charge.

          Running more base or more nickel or putting a big nickel on the field isn’t a scheme change.

          I hope we’ve addressed that once and for all.

          • Rob Staton

            I’ll also add — do you know who also runs this scheme?

            San Francisco. The team in the Super Bowl last year.

            But they have an elite D-line and young, hungry quality at the second level.

    • Ukhawk

      I was wondering about this too but we done have any 3-4 personnel

      • Albert Bryan Butler

        We don’t have a dominant nose tackle.

  5. Rob4q

    Pretty sure Rob’s take is 100% on the money…the Seahawks are letting it be known it’s time for a decision or there won’t be anything left for Clowney!

    So what would a 2 or 3 year deal for Clowney look like now? If they structure it so the cap hit is minimal this season, then give him a nice bump next season with a 3rd year option. Maybe a deal that works for both parties…gets him signed at a reasonable number cap wise for 2020 and still has a number that works for him APY.

  6. Russ

    You mentioned the poor DT depth. I definitely don’t disagree and I know it’s something you’ve discussed a lot on the blog.

    Do you think we could see Collier playing more DT this year?

    I know he was always a candidate to play LDE on early downs, move inside on pass rushing downs. But he’s one of the few people on the roster with a physical profile to handle it, appears to have heavy hands, and it’d be a way to get some of the vast draft capital that we’ve spent on the DL onto to field.

    • Rob Staton

      Collier is not a DT.

      Him potentially kicking inside on third and long is just a rush package. You’re not lining up a 280lbs defensive tackle in any other situation.

      • Russ

        Pro Football Reference had him at 291, so I was thinking that + him possibly putting on some weight from his rookie year with an NFL lifting program might have him sitting around 295.

        I know that’s not the 330 that you’d have from an Al Woods type, but it could be big enough that you could at least get him out next to Poona or Reed every once in a while so you don’t have to play Mone/Christmas 25%+ of the defensive snaps this year.

        • Rob Staton

          But he’s played his best football at end. You don’t spend a R1 pick on a DE then try and convert him to a DT after one year. He is what he is. An inside out rusher.

          • Russ

            That’s a reasonable point. I’m just at the phase now where I’m trying to convince myself to find some way to make sense of this DL construction to figure out where we’re going to get DT snaps.

            If they add someone like Griffen, they’ve got plenty of players that they’ve spend solid capital on in to play the 5-Tech. They’ll have to have players spell Poona and Reed. I just can’t imagine they’re that high on Demarcus Christmas or Bryan Mone at this point.

      • cha

        Not unless you’ve got an all-world freak of nature and the best defensive player in the NFL on your roster.

        And the Seahawks…*checks roster*…are fresh out of Aaron Donalds.

        • Russ

          Dang…I could have sworn I had one of those around somewhere.

          I’ll ask Russell. Maybe he’s seen one in his backfield.

  7. cha

    I also think this is one last message being sent through the media. It’s a nudge to Clowney that time has pretty much run out.

    Agree 100%

    Wouldn’t be surprised if we heard Clowney is talking to the Jets or Browns again as a counter.

    Last song Clowney. You’re the prettiest girl at the dance without a dance partner but the Hawks are looking at other pretty girls.

    • Sean-O

      That’s the first thing I thought too when I read the report. Griffen isn’t a bad consolation prize as long as the money is right. Might even look at it as Clowney vs Griffen/& Veteran DT.

      • Rob Staton

        If those were the options I’d take Clowney.

        He wins you games, including on the road against the best team in the division and playoff games.

    • Rob Staton

      The only problem is the other pretty girls are well into their 30’s.

      And one only looks like a girl but is in fact a pretty man named Clay with well conditioned hair.

      • Rob4q

        Hahaha! I just spit coffee everywhere!!!

      • cha

        Where does Matthews even play on the Hawks defense?

        We have LEOs and we have LBs.

        He can’t be a 5tech. I suppose whatever position they call Shaquem when he rushes?

      • Sea Mode

        ROFL, Rob!

      • HAWKTALKER#1

        Please keep more of this colorful commentary coming.

    • Dawgma

      Nah – there aren’t any pretty girls left, it’s just getting late and the Hawks are drunk and desperate enough to take Clay Matthews home.

  8. cha

    One thing when looking at 2019’s defensive numbers is Reed’s absence for 6 games and his performance when he came back.

    Re-watching the SF game where Clowney was destroying the NIners OL, I couldn’t help but be struck by how the commentators kept talking about Reed and how much the Seahawks and PC loved him.

    It feels like the Hawks are putting a significant amount of their defensive gameplan on Reed. They talked about him being a guy they wanted to retain, they signed him, and they’ve not signed any other DT’s.

    Let’s hope that faith is rewarded. That said, the potential for that plan to go awry (Reed gets hurt/isn’t effective/doesn’t have a playmate like Clark in 2018) seems much more likely than him taking his game to a whole new level in 2020. It’s possible he can return to the 2018 form, but it doesn’t feel like they’ve put him in a great spot to do that.

    • Rob Staton

      Reed is the only NFL starter level defensive lineman on the roster.

  9. Simo

    I think you’ve assessed this situation perfectly– one last ditch effort to get Clowney to budge and come aboard. But unless the Hawks are able to up their previous offer(s), why would Clowney change his approach now? He’s dug in for months and does seem very willing to carry this into the season, or just sit the entire season out as you suggest.

    It still seems like bad timing for him though, with the cap most likely going down next year, how likely is he to get a top of market offer then? Who knows I suppose!

    Much rather have Griffen over Matthews if those are the two choices. Here’s hoping something happens fairly soon so the new addition can get into camp and learn the system.

    • Rob Staton

      At the very least Griffen is a BAMF. But next season they need a better plan for the pass rush because the plan this year has been a wet fish.

      And it will, in all probability, cost them.

      • Simo

        Yep, stinky wet fish!!

  10. Cortez Kennedy

    If Clemons wasn’t a victim of The Football Team’s god awful turf I have no doubt in my mind we would have beaten Atlanta.

    We gotta do something. If Griffen and Matthews are what’s left, so be it. Hopefully there is more of a plan next offseason.

    • cha

      Don’t hold your breath. We said that least year when they were prepared to enter the season with Ziggy, Marsh and Bark Mingo as their premier pass rushers.

  11. SpringsCoHawk

    Great article Rob. Couldn’t agree more.

    My guess is Seattle won’t sign anyone today with opt out deadline ending today. I expect a signing tomorrow.

    I would like to see both Clowney and Griffen but they probably don’t have money for both.

    You are probably right that Clowney will just opt out for this year unless he gets his 18 to 20 million a year offer due to a desperate team with significant injury at DE early in year and still a contender.

    Hope they don’t sign Matthews.

  12. Michael P Matherne

    I’m gonna assume for a second that the ‘Hawks sign Everson Griffen. If that’s the case, I’d be surprised if the pass rush is worse than last season. Here’s why:

    Griffen may be approaching 33, but Ansah looked like he was approaching 53. We literally ran plays with a 230 lb, one-handed linebacker lined up at DE. Irvin and Mayowa may be backup quality pass rushers, but that’s still a pretty substantial improvement over what we were running out there last year.

    I expect SOME improvement from the younger guys. Honestly, the only way Collier could possibly be worse than last season is if he started committing a bunch of penalties while he stands there getting blocked, and even though Rasheem Green has not lived up to the 3rd round pick status yet, he was better last year than in his rookie campaign, so at least he looks to be moving in the right direction. Reed will likely play more games than he did last year, which should be a good thing.

    Finally we come to randomness. The world is a crazy and chaotic place, and who’s to say the proverbial ball won’t bounce our way a few more times this season? I’m not claiming the Seahawks were necessarily unlucky last year, only that there’s always a chance (between any two samples) that our luck improves.

    None of this is to say that I’m pleased with the off-season, quite the contrary actually. I really wanted to retain Clowney and add 1-2 top tier guys to pair with him. It’s been disappointing, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still improve over last year.

    • Rob Staton

      Losing your one top-level DL and replacing him with two backups and a #2 who is approaching 33 isn’t a recipe for improvement.

      • Michael P Matherne

        I just don’t expect them to be WORSE, and there’s a non-zero chance that they are better. The recipe leaves a lot to be desired, and we’re right to critique the underlying thought process/approach. All I’m saying is that personally I’d like to take a bite before I declare that they’ve taken a step backwards. Rosters and recipes are both on paper after all.

        • Rob Staton

          I think they could easily be worse.

          They lost their only good DL.

          They’ve not adequately replaced him.

          They have no depth at defensive tackle.

          This is all problematic.

        • James Z

          ‘Worse’ is a relative term here ’cause the 9ers improved through the draft and signings, Ari improved through the draft and signings and a rookie QB with a year under his belt, and the Rams are certainly close to their previous years of success. So the SH’s might not be ‘worse’ but the other teams in the West are certainly as good if not better.

          • Rohan R

            Tbh, the only team that got significantly better was the Cardinals. Fleecing the Texans for DHop (still don’t understand how that happened), adding Josh Jones in the 3rd and getting Isiah Simmons are all MAJOR improvements.

            The Rams got significantly worse. Their O-Line is still terrible, they lost a highly effective pass rusher in Dante Fowler, their star MLB in Cory Littleton, a good (although injured) WR in Cooks, Gurley and a solid corner in Nickell Robey-Coleman. Plus, they still have to pay Jalen Ramsey despite being in cap hell due to the enormous amounts of money they invested in Cooks and Gurley. Yikes.

            Honestly, I don’t know how much better the Niners got . They added Trent Williams to replace Joe Staley and Trent has been out of football for a year. I think that’s a wash in terms of talent. They lost Sanders to the Saints and replaced him with Aiyuk. Last year, Sanders transformed their passing game. Not saying that Aiyuk can’t become a Sanders-like dude for their passing game, but he’s a rookie during this offseason, making it even harder than normal. Plus, Kinlaw just cannot be DeForest Buckner in his first year. Maybe later, but not now. The Niners return a slightly worse team.

            • Rob Staton

              The Rams certainly are a big question mark. But we’ve also seen how McVay’s offense can control games. They’ve certainly had Seattle’s number for a few seasons now. And it might actually benefit them to move on from Gurley and start afresh.

              The Cardinals are building nicely IMO.

              The Niners also, for me, got better. You say Kinlaw can’t be DeForest Buckner. Why not? He’s playing next to the best collection of DL’s in the league. It’s the easiest gig in town excelling with that talent. If anything his more attacking style might actually add a new interior rushing dynamic.

              The Buckner trade — for one first rounder — also provides context for the Jamal Adams trade. Two freakin firsts.

              Aiyuk is excellent plus they already have a lot of great weapons and an outstanding playcaller. The likes of Nick Bosa won’t be rookies any more. They are going to be fantastic again.

      • Nickhawk

        Well our “top level” DE only produced 3 sacks last year. Matthews and Griffen both produced 8 sacks each. While Clowney can be a game wrecker (9ers game in the bay comes to mind) he can easily disappear in games also; showing exactly why no team his meeting his price. I get it Everson and Matthews are “role players”but they are not elderly average back ups – they actually produce and having a short term deal is probably the best interest for the Hawks. COVID is gonna be here awhile and NFL already discussed (or already implemented) decreasing team’s salary cap. Plus you have Jamal Adams getting paid next year. I honestly think this sets the Hawks in a better situation long term not having another mega deal leaving minimal resources elsewhere with a shrinking cap. Also very hopeful that these two potential signees will absolutely make the d line better even without Clowney.

        • cha

          Clowney was the most double teamed player in the NFL last year and still produced a pressure percentage alongside the elite rushers in the league.

          Can we please stop this nonsense about how he’s not very good? Pretty please?

          • Nickhawk

            Did you actually read what was posted? Also he was NOT the most double teamed player in the league- that was Aaron Donald, a quick google search will tell you that.

            • Rob Staton

              So Clowney was double-teamed at a similar rate to Donald?

              While having a superior pressure percentage to Donald?

              But he’s no good because ‘sacks’, right?

              • Nickhawk

                I’m not arguing he’s not a great player, let’s get that straight. With the budget (long and short term) and players available this is a win for the Hawks in uncertain times and financial obligations to players next year *ahem* Adams with a shrinking salary cap. Why isn’t any team meeting Clowney’s demands? I mean he’s only asking for what 18 million. Shit if hes on the same level as Aaron Donald, Mack and Garret – 18 million is nothing but yet he’s still a free agent.

                • Rob Staton

                  Sure but I think it’s well established that the reason teams are concerned is simply due to longevity based around his health.

                  • Nickhawk

                    Even if he plays 13 games on a 18 mil salary I’d still say that’s a steal IF teams valued him as the same as Garrett but I don’t believe they do. Just my humble opinion from anonymous annoying fan. Love your blog Rob.

                  • Nickhawk

                    Antonio Brown signing with the Hawks – what y’all think of the probability of that happening?

                    • Rob Staton

                      Not very likely at all.

                      Michael Silver said as much today on the radio. And the eight game suspension makes it implausible.

                      Will probably only happen if they desperately need a boost later in the year or get some serious WR injuries.

        • Rob Staton

          Clowney never disappeared.

          He was one of the most double-teamed DL in the league.

          He had no support.

          And his pressure percentage was the same as Joey Bosa and superior to Aaron Donald.

  13. Hoggs41

    The question is which o e would we want, Griffen or Mathews? To me it depends on what happens st the WILL. If Brooks can win the WILL job that won ude KJ to the SAM and Irvin to the LEO. It would then seem that Griffen would be the more logical choice.

  14. Daniel Wayne

    Seems to me that while Clowney is the higher end talent, the amount of depth and weapons (including Adams and his 6.5 sacks last yr) should make this at least a serviceable pass rush. last year we had zero depth to the point Brendan Jackson was rushing the passer. With an improved secondary and more options on the line (assuming they add Griffen or Matthews) it’s hard for me to see how this would not be an improvement over last year’s group. Top ten unit no but middle of the pack seems attainable which may be all we need.

    • Rob Staton

      You can’t replace quality with depth.

      If you have four backup-level defensive ends on your roster, that doesn’t suddenly make it good simply because there are four of them.

      • Michael P Matherne

        They don’t have to be good to be better

        • Rob Staton

          No Michael.

          They need to be good to be a LOT better.

          Because last year they were staggeringly useless and 2020 is shaping up for more of the same.

          • Michael P Matherne

            I’m not saying that the moves they’ve made have set them up to have more success as a team. I just think it’s unlikely the D-line plays worse than last year – just from a probability standpoint. The one silver lining to being staggeringly bad is that there’s a lot more real estate on the improvement side of the bell curve.

            • cha

              You’re saying ‘it couldn’t be worse than last year because last year was so bad’ ?

              Just that? No discussion of the personnel? Statistics? We should trust PC because he’s won a Super Bowl?

              Just some glass half full philosophical principle?


              • Michael P Matherne

                It’s not a philosophical principle, just an observation. I’m not saying we should blindly trust PC/JS, nor am I saying we shouldn’t be discussing or criticizing the moves. All I’m saying is that we shouldn’t assume we know how things are going to go based on what we see on paper. It’s really not a very bold claim at all

                • cha

                  All I’m saying is that we shouldn’t assume we know how things are going to go based on what we see on paper.

                  They had a bottom 5 pass rush, lost their two best rushers, and added some marginal talent at best.

                  I’m sticking with what I see on paper.

                  • Michael P Matherne

                    I still feel like my overall point is being mistaken. I’m not saying they’re going to be good. At all… What I’m saying is that if you’re starting at 5th worst in the league, all you have to do to “improve” is be the 6th worst. To say that you’re SURE they’re not capable of that just seems foolish to me. If you care to make it interesting just let me know what metric you’d like to use

                    • Rob Staton

                      It’s not much of a point though is it, Michael?

                      Your argument is essentially they were so bad last year, they don’t have to do that much to be ‘better’.

                      But what’s the use in that if they’re sixth worst in the NFL instead of fifth worst?

                      Are we going to spend a day arguing the toss over whether a crap line this year could be slightly less crap than last years?

                      And who has said anything about being ‘sure’ it’ll be worse? I certainly haven’t. I’ve simply said it’s very possible.

                  • cha

                    Well only being the 6th worst pass rush doesn’t get you closer to contending for a SB. And compounded by entering the offseason with $60m of cap room and a raft of draft picks.

                    But OK to humor you, here’s the PFF grades from last year for the guys we’re replacing Clowney and Jefferson with

                    Branden Jackson: 55.3, Rank: 96
                    Bruce Irvin: 62.9, Rank: 70
                    Benson Mayowa: 60.1 Rank: 83
                    Rasheem Green: 57.3 Rank: 89
                    LJ Collier: 48.6 Rank: 99

                    And currently the Seahawks have no DT’s on the roster behind the two starters with real NFL experience. No one.

                  • Michael P Matherne

                    cha – I was proposing a wager. I think the Seahawks D-line will be a top 27 unit in the league. You seem to think that’s a very bold statement, so if you’re so certain that they won’t be then let’s put $5 on it.

                    • Rob Staton

                      Bloody hell… what a wager.

                      So if the Seahawks have a crap, 26th ranked D-line in the league, you’re going to claim a victory???

                  • Michael P Matherne

                    That’s my whole point. It was never a bold claim to begin with.

                  • Betaparticle

                    Rob, I’ll bet you the Seahawks field a top 16 defense this season, using points per drive allowed as the metric, as per the team statistics page.

                    If you win, I will host you at a regular season Seahawks game of your choice during the 2021 season, section 132, tickets and all the beer you can drink. If I win, you host me at a Hotspur game during the 2021 season in the club section, and buy me one proper pint of Guinness.

            • Rob Staton

              I’ll just say it again.

              If you take away your one quality DL and replace him with backups, that isn’t a recipe for improvement.

              • Alex H

                it’s all about wins above replacement. If the backups are replacement level players, the team isn’t better off.

  15. SpringsCoHawk

    Seahawks also left Quinton Jefferson go too, who provided some pass rush so they have let Clowney and Jefferson go and so far replaced them with Irvin and Mayowa.

    It is encouraging they are pursuing Griffen or Matthews and not just standing pat with rookies and Irvin/Mayowa.

    By Monday, I predict we either have Griffen or Clowney signed, probably Griffen

    • Mike

      Dont forget mr. thigh arms.

      His absence late last season made a very noticeable difference in an already bad line play.

  16. Aaron

    Does Taylor being on the NFI list mean if he’s not ready come Week 1 then he goes on PUP?

    • Rob Staton


      • Aaron


  17. JLemere

    It will be interesting what Clowney does. In roughly 40 minutes, he will lose the last of his leverage. Does he take a 1 yr 10 mil with SEA, PHI, or TEN to try to build up his resume or sit out and try to get the big contract next year with a team like BAL if they don’t feel fully committed to Judon?

    • Rob Staton

      In fairness though he doesn’t have a time limit to opt out.

      He can simply not sign a contract.

      • JLemere

        I did say that in my comment. Does he take a 1 yr 10 mil with SEA, PHI, or TEN to try to build up his resume or sit out and try to get the big contract next year

        • JLemere

          And in terms of the time limit, it refers to other players, preferably high end pass rushers in Clowney’s case, to opt out due to COVID in which case, Clowney could try and acquire all that money from the opt out on a 1 yr deal, try to build his resume, and hit the market again in 2021. But that isn’t very likely, so again its 1 yr 10 mil or SIT OUT and try to get a big contract next year with less cap.

      • dcd2

        Pretty sure you need to be on an active roster to opt out as well.

        *In case I’m wrong, I’ve submitted an email to the NFL notifying them that I am opting out of the 2020 season. I’ll let you know if my $150k arrives.

  18. Mark

    Thanks Rob! I was wondering if you could write an article about what you would have done in the off season if you were John Schneider. Thanks again!

  19. Balint

    Green, Collier, Irvin, Mayowa, Griffin, Jackson Taylor, Robinson. 8 guys already from the edge. Reed, Ford + 2 anonymous for the inside jobs. Clowney or not, the Hawks need DT, not the 9th edge rusher. Taylor and Robinson are promising prospects, it would be a shame to cut them or Griffin because JS gave Irvin and Mayowa horrible contracts… There is a huge hole inside of the line, the management should focus on that!

    • Rob Staton

      No, the management should focus on getting better.

      That means DE and DT.

      Meanwhile — Robinson and Taylor are rookies, one is currently on the NFI list, and we’ve already seen that Jackson is disposable (and not very good). Bruce is a SAM linebacker who reduces down not a DE. Mayowa is backup level, Collier has everything to prove, as does Green.

      So yes, there’s plenty of room for a superior DE.

      • Mike

        With all the DTs dropping out, you gotta figure they’ll wait to sign till after the opt-out deadline. They cant afford to sign an opt out player.

  20. Rob Staton

    The opt-out deadline has passed.

    One thing Pete Carroll is excellent at is creating a culture. The one in Seattle is elite level.

    That’s almost certainly played a part here with only Chance Warmack opting out. And Carroll will have played a huge part in reassuring players and making sure they are comfortable with the approach the Seahawks are making.

    His determination to win this strange off-season has also probably made the Seahawks the most prepared in terms of protocols and testing.

    That deserves some praise.

    • Mike

      Agreed. Compare the opt outs for the Hawks vs other teams and we seem to be winning that side of things.

      It’s a least one bright spot.

      • Sea Mode

        One clear advantage we have over the Patriots, who no longer have Brady to attract talent despite the unpleasant culture. And look how many Pat’s opted out… though I’m actually starting to believe the conspiracy theory that BB is using this to tank for a top QB in next year’s draft…

        • Rob Staton

          I would’ve believed that theory if they hadn’t signed Cam.

          It is pretty incredible though how many players have opted out. It certainly speaks to the culture there.

    • cha

      And no positive tests yet either. I think they’ve been around about a week or so.

  21. cha

    Hold up everyone Josina has weighed in.

    IG: JosinaAnderson
    Interestingly if you look at things, quietly Jadeveon Clowney’s leverage has at least pointed back in the upward direction with some teams, in comparison to a month ago, when you look at trades that have happened, opt-outs, no-shows. In that regard, patience has helped, for now.
    6:16 AM · Aug 6, 2020

    • Rob Staton

      That is hilarious.

      His leverage is pointing up??? So after months of refusing to cave to his demands, she’s trying to argue teams will now pony up?

      No. No they won’t. They’ll be interested at a price they think is reasonable. His leverage situation hasn’t remotely changed. Either he lowers his demands or he isn’t playing in 2020.

      But at least we have an answer to Seattle’s dig in the ribs through Michael Silver. Clowney still isn’t blinking. So expect Griffen or Matthews to sign in the coming days.

      • Mike

        Hahaha!! Its like if the DOW Jones crashes and loses half its value over a month, then one day it goes up a single point. Technically it’s “trending upwards”, if you are blindfolding yourself to the bigger picture.

      • cha


        I’M MRS NESBIT

  22. Gaux Hawks

    yes. yes. yes. yes. yes… so you’re telling me there’s a chance…

  23. All I see is 12s

    Hey Rob, was interested if you think Cordrea Tankersley and or MJ Stewart should be picked up by the Hawks? Looks like Stewart’s arms are just shy of 32 inches. Maybe slot competition?

    • Rob Staton

      Can’t really see it with Stewart due to the arms.

      Tankersley? Maybe. But he’s had a ton of injuries.

  24. AlexG

    hey Rob,

    Thank you as always for the constantly insightful Hawks content – the best place for it anywhere!

    Do you see them making any ‘player for player’ trades to help the DL? They need do something in addition to hopefully adding Griffen. Matthews + Griffen isn’t enough.

    Shame they didn’t make a move in the beginning for a Jurell Casey or J Hargrave
    The Eagles DL is scary

    • Rob Staton

      I’m not sure who they could afford to deal to be honest.

  25. Kingdome1976

    Super glad Clowney is off the table. Too many reasons to list. Griffin is a class act and team leader who will be invaluable to our young d-line. I could make the argument Griffin is actually a better move than Clowney but to many Clowney lovers here.


      And Clowney haters …

  26. Tree

    I think the run defense (not the pass rush) has been the biggest problem the last two years. Defenses have ran past us with sacks in 2018 and turnovers in 2019 saving the day. Go watch our D against the cowboys as Dak ran past our LBs with our safeties providing nonresistance in the playoffs or the NFC west gashing us (we could have been an inch from the #1seed but for that K drake run and AZ QBs scrambling around). We added speed and versatility in Adams and Brooks and I expect a HOF defensive minded coach to take advantage of their speed and versatility. Clowney is a great player but the pass rush was so much worse than when Frank Clark was here. I have to think a full year of Reed in 2018 had something to do with it and not having better depth pieces like Martin (and Clowney has shown over his career he is a good but not a great pass rusher (pressure % is important but sacks matter)). We have a full year of Diggs/Reed, better depth (like baseball you can come out with more sacks in the same snaps but you do have more room for error if someone doesn’t perform), better speed/quickness, high picks who should improve, a 1st LB who is fast and a good blitzer and a top 10-15 defensive player who happens to be a great blitzer along with being an all round chess piece/alpha leader. I hope we get Clowney (and the tweet nudges him along) but I still think we can win a SB without him (we are going to be adding regardless) with a top 5 offense and a better D.

    • Rob Staton

      The run defense has been bad but if you can’t create pressure you’re going to struggle on defense and Seattle were bottom five in every pass rush metric last year.

    • Ryan Purcell

      I agree with this take. Run D was terrible last year. I think they have made some moves to fix that.

  27. Hawksince77

    As a Seahawks fan, I hold out hope that Clowney gives way and accepts what Seattle is offering.

    As a fantasy player with the likes of Wilson, Lockett and Metcalf (and still waiting on Penny) Seattle fielding a sub-par defense means all the more (fantasy) success. 🙂

    That’s a glass half-full, cloud with a silver lining take.

  28. Jordan

    Great analysis Rob. Its really disappointing that Jadeveon is not happy with the 15+ million contract. Hopefully, he changes his mind soon with the threat of Everson or Clay Matthews signing… If the latter happens, hopefully we can add a Snacks Harrison / Jernigan type of DT as well. It’s not great but it may be serviceable this year. Hopefully Reed and Poona can take a huge step forward this year.

  29. charlietheunicorn

    The best fit would be Griffen. Stop the insanity and make a solid deal for a guy who can play as a starting DE in the NFL. I think Mathews is pretty much spent. Clowney wants too much money, so there is no point on signing him to a deal he would be unhappy with (if he actually signed it) during the season.

    About “Leverage”, Josina is nuts. He has already lost out on potentially 10’s of millions of “guaranteed” dollars already… and the chances he could recoup that during the rest of his career are slim. Ego (and possibly bad advice) got in the way. Too bad. The chance of him sitting out this year is increasing, as Rob has been predicting. Good call there Rob.

    • Hoggs41

      I’m also in on Griffen. Irvin can produce and be a mentor to guys like Darrell and Alton and EG can do the same for Green and Collier. Let’s just get it done.

  30. BriceN

    Rumor has it the Niners are in talks with Clowney. That DL is scary even before adding Clowney. With him they’ll be unstoppable. They have only a little more CAP space than we do. We’ll see if this is a game by the Niners to get us back for signing Reed. Or they are seriously interested in signing him.

  31. Marc

    Seattle should never have traded Frank Clark. Now they have put themselves in a terrible situation. Where’s the Tylenol?

  32. cha

    Official Kraken hoodie arriving today

    Unofficial Kraken t shirt arriving today

    Kraken fridge magnets on order

    Kraken banner inaugural season pins on order

    My credit card is smoking….

    • Georgia Hawk

      I ordered a hat with the Alternate logo and its 4 weeks out 🙁

      Unpopular opinion: The alternate logo with the anchor rising to the Space Needle is 100x better than the official logo. Its clean and you instantly know who/what it is.

      • cha

        That’s the shirt I ordered. Navy with the powder blue anhcor logo

        I’d put money on the alternate sweaters having the anchor logo on the chest.

        • Georgia Hawk

          Yup, thats what Im hoping too. I think they will find people like that WAY more. Id definitely get a sweater with that on it. Though, living in Georgia, the time frame of the year I can actually wear it and not die is limited to about 3 months…

  33. Big Mike

    Been saying for about the last month and a half the Hawks would eventually sign Griffen and Snacks. I’m sticking by Griffen but I’m waffling on Snacks. Bane seems more likely. Either him or a TC cut from another team.

  34. TomLPDX

    This just in…

    Maybe Dunbar will play after all this year.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s clearly good news.

      However, while the police have found insufficient evidence to charge, the league will do its own investigation and could easily hand him a suspension. This has happened many times to other players including Jarran Reed last year.

      • Logan Lynch

        That wouldn’t surprise me at all. Given everything that happened over the last few months and how it looked at the start though, I would take the possible six game suspension without much complaint.

      • TomLPDX

        Yeah, that’s why I said “maybe.” The league has its own standard of judgement and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is suspended for some games. How many, not sure but 4-6 maybe?

        • JJ

          The investigation could take a long time. Might be next year before we know.

          • HAWKTALKER#1

            If he is indeed innocent, hopefully it’s a situation where he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. If that proves it it’s self out, NFL discipline could be relatively light or nonexistent if he was really found to have done nothing wrong

            • HAWKTALKER#1

              When I saw the news break this morning, I was very excited about it. We could have an exceptional secondary if we can get him starting at one of the quarterback positions and flowers backing him up.

              • Rob Staton

                You will want to pump the brakes on the excitement for now.

                • HAWKTALKER#1

                  I’m going to try to stay optimistic for now. I know it might not happen, but really I’m looking for something anything positive in this off-season that has been a little bit underwhelming to date.

            • Rob Staton

              You prove guilt not innocence.

              The league gave Jarran Reed six games for charges that were not followed through.

              There’s a decent chance he will miss time.

        • Rob Staton

          I don’t understand why twitter is celebrating this news.

          The league could easily decide he misses a considerable part of this season.

          So is he going to come in and learn the scheme and technique to the fullest mid-season?

          The time to celebrate will be if/when gets the all clear.

          • TomLPDX


            I’m just glad to see he isn’t going to be formally charged since there was a lack of evidence to justify it. Considering the shenanigans of his previous lawyer, I was afraid they would charge him.

            At least the first step is out of the way and he can move to the next step.

          • hawkdawg

            Pretty obvious, isn’t it?? Reed got 6 games. 6 games is bad, but it’s nowhere near as bad as 16, especially to a team that only has the player for one season.

            As some of us predicted, the DA sifted through the evidence and decided he couldn’t make the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Glad he reached that decision before the season started. Dunbar will likely take his lumps, but they won’t be as big, or as delayed, as they surely would have been if the DA had moved forward with the case against him.

          • Henry Taylor

            Well this is undoubtedly a very good first step towards actually suiting up for Seattle.

            I’m happy for people to celebrate the possibility of him playing for us at all, which didn’t seem likely yesterday.

            • Rob Staton

              I just think it’s premature to think anything at this stage.

              Antonio Brown spent virtually the whole season on the exempt list.

              I don’t think that will happen with Dunbar but if the NFL cannot conclude their case quickly, then this will drag on and on.

              So sure — celebrate if you want. But to me it’s like celebrating a lead with 2:30 still on the clock and the other team has possession.

    • Brazilian Hawk

      Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge news.

      At least we may end up having the best secondary in the league.

    • cha

      He’s still on the Commissioner’s Exempt List

      • HAWKTALKER#1

        I don’t think that’s relevant since not enough time has passed to probably have any other action taken On making changes to that exemption list. We need to give it some time

      • Bliptai

        I don’t think it’s wrong to get excited. With all the things going wrong right now, let’s allow for a little optimism.

        Like this! “The NLPA has filed a grievance on behalf of Dunbar to remove him from the commissioner’s exempt list.”

        While not feigning ignorance here on the off-season and lack of results, (and while I fully expect about a 6 game susp.) I am choosing to let this make me happy for the day. To each their own, but we are in a closer position this morning than when I went to bed last night.

        • cha

          Call it optimism if you like, but you should know there is no grievance process to get a player removed from the exempt list.

          The new CBA changed the process slightly but the end result is essentially the same. The Commissioner has the authority to keep a player on the list for the term he deems necessary, and there’s no appeals process.

          And as he’s shown, Goodell has not had a very quick trigger to allow someone off the list. And this is a very fresh case. It could be months before the NFL gets where it needs to be to clear Dunbar to play.

          I’ll celebrate when Dunbar walks onto the field in blue and green.

          • dcd2

            Clayton said on his show today that the Player’s Association filed a grievance last week on Dunbar’s behalf.

            • Rob Staton

              Presumably he also called him Quenterrious Damber?

            • cha

              Sounds great. Maybe the PA shouldn’t have collectively bargained away the disciplinary process that gives the Commissioner so much power without any remedy.


    A question I have seen discussed a bit and when I ask myself a lot, how do we get Blair involved in our defense regularly? Would love to see him and Adams laying the lumber in the secondary.

    • TomLPDX

      Pete keeps talking about him playing at nickel instead of Ugo, or along with Ugo.

      • hawkdawg

        I, for one, don’t see this–Blair plays like a safety. I don’t see that he has demonstrated the quick hips you want to see in a nickel. But Pete is the visionary, not me….

        • HAWKTALKER#1

          That has been my opinion as well

        • TomLPDX

          This is my feeling as well but Pete has been pretty consistent about Blair and his role going forward during his interviews lately.

          • HAWKTALKER#1

            Although I don’t dispute his consistency with his message, I think we also need to weigh how often his consistent messages turns into definitive action. For example the we want Clowney back he is our number one priority we’re going to strengthen our D line. I think that was the most consistent message and Yet the biggest non-delivery to date. Just something to take into consideration when Pete says he is doing this or that. Probably not that dissimilar from the I’m pumped up about this and I’m pumped up about that thing, only to go another direction minutes later or release the player he was pumped up about previously.

            • Ashish

              Just leave Clowney out of this. He doesn’t have common sense or getting bad advice or doen’t have motivation to money/play football. No point paying someone paying way above what he is worth just to prove what he said.

              • Rob Staton

                It’s none of those things.

                He believes he is worth a certain value. Which isn’t unfair given his talent and the way other lesser players, such as Dee Ford, are being paid.

                He is refusing to sign for less and that’s his prerogative.

                But unless he is willing to retire to prove a point, then eventually he has to have an end game. For all we know though he will be willing to retire. He’s made $50m.

              • icb12

                No common sense? Bad advice?
                Dudes got 50 million in the bank, and he doesn’t want to go play an extremely violent game with fairly high risk of injury and a good chance of scrambling his brains unless he gets paid what he thinks he’s worth..

                It’s his prerogative.

                • icb12

                  Guess I should hit refresh before posting replies.
                  Rob pretty much covered it.

  36. Brazilian Hawk

    The Clowney situation is specially frustrating given how highly we’ve all been evaluating his impact around here.

    If the Seahawks had signed him for 22 mm APY, we’d all support that offer as a reflection of his stellar play for us last season.

    I don’t get the Seahawks’ evaluation of him.

    They can look like geniuses specially if it somehow ends up like the Patriots’ trading Chandler Jones, but we’ve never developed a Van Noy-type, and the only veteran we’ve turned into a positive DLer was Clemons, almost a decade ago…

    • Ashish

      Clowney market is not what he thinks and it has been proved. He is still unsigned, even though is a great player. But he is asking insane amount and probably loosing it all together. Like Rob mention number of time he already has lot of money so he is not motivate in that area.

  37. cha

    Ian Rapoport
    The #Eagles are giving veteran DE Vinny Curry a 1-year deal worth up to $2M, source said. He gets $1.3M fully guaranteed with a chance to earn the $2M with sack and playoff incentives.
    10:06 AM · Aug 7, 2020

  38. TomLPDX

    Here is a decent article from the the SI San Fran beat reporter about D.J. Reed. Thought it was interesting and gives a little more depth into the pickup.

    • Volume12

      So the 9ers lose their leverage in regards to Williams, Seattle adds a nickel or competition there, and IIRC Seattle is the only team in their division who will have some good cap space come next year.

  39. Volume12

    Micah Parsons & Gregory Rosseau also opted-out of the CFB season? Wonder how many more names are coming?

    • Rob Staton

      Feels like a snowball effect is happening.

      I hope these players are getting the right advice. Legitimate concern and doing what you think is right for your health or the health of someone close to you is one thing. Skipping a season off the advice of an agent or because you think you’re a shoe-in to go early next year isn’t a good call.

    • Gohawks5151

      Gonna be a crazy draft season. Seattle trade up in the second guaranteed next year

  40. millhouse-serbia

    We are interested in Marcell Dareus by Adam Caplan.

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks. New article up now with some thoughts on Dunbar/Dareus.

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