Seahawks might have to be ruthless this off-season

K.J. Wright is a Seahawks hero but his cap hit of $10m creates a question mark

If you missed yesterday’s one sentence per prospect scouting reports on 105 different players, click here.

Brock Huard made an interesting suggestion on his podcast with Mike Salk this week.

He thinks the Seahawks’ front office should get together and write down the names on the defense they believe can get them to another Super Bowl.

Huard suggested Bobby Wagner, Quandre Diggs and Shaquill Griffin. After that?

It highlighted the major work that is necessary this off-season.

And that could mean some ruthless decision’s too.

At the moment they have around $50-60m available in cap space. That will go up when they cut Ed Dickson (saving $3m).

If they really want to be fully aggressive and bold they might need even more money to spend.

It’s not just the defense either. They’ll want to add a tight end. What if an appealing opportunity to acquire Stefon Diggs emerges, given his uncertain future in Minnesota and friendship with Russell Wilson? Plus they have to work out what’s going on with Germain Ifedi and George Fant.

Here are the top-15 cap hits for Seattle in 2020 (the dead cap hits are in brackets):

Russell Wilson — $31m ($52m)
Bobby Wagner — $14m (11.25m)
Duane Brown — $12.3 ($4m)
Justin Britt — $11.4m ($2.9m)
Tyler Lockett — $11.35m ($4.5m)
K.J. Wright — $10m ($2.5m)
Bradley McDougald — $5.4m ($1.3m)
Quandre Diggs — $5.1m ($0)
Ed Dickson — $3.8m ($866k)
Jason Myers — $3.6m ($3m)
D.J. Fluker — $3.4m ($500k)
Rashaad Penny — $2.9m ($4.4m)
L.J. Collier — $2.6m ($7.8m)
Shaquill Griffin — $2.3m ($189k)
Tedric Thompson — $2.3m ($168k)

Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Duane Brown and Tyler Lockett — clearly — are very secure. You can probably put Quandre Diggs in that category too.

They need to make a call on whether to extend Shaquill Griffin and Chris Carson (who is 16th on the list) this off-season.

It’d make no sense parting with Jason Myers, Rashaad Penny or L.J. Collier because the cost is prohibitive.

Everyone else though? It’s a discussion to have.

You don’t want to gut the roster. You need a middle class. Younger players — such as Cody Barton and Marquise Blair — haven’t necessarily warranted faith to step up and takeover full-time starting jobs.

When you’re paying a quarterback top-level money, however, you need to make sure the rest of your cap is working.

In an ideal world you’d keep Justin Britt, K.J. Wright and Bradley McDougald. All three are valued, experienced starters. They are leaders too. They are the types of player you want on your roster.

Yet the combined cap hit between the three is $26.8m for the 2020 season.

Cutting (or trading) all three would create $20.1m in extra cap space.

They would be three painful cuts. You’d also be removing three players who lead by example and carry a lot of respect. It’s not easy to ‘buy in’ leadership. Especially from the outside.

Yet this team is at a crossroads. It’s good enough to get to the playoffs — mainly due to the quarterback — but isn’t good enough to make a serious Super Bowl challenge. The re-set from 2018 onwards has been admirable and ideally you draft, develop and sign your own cast of characters without the need for any major re-tooling.

Spending big in free agency can be a gamble. But they’re at a point now where they either act or they run the risk of being 2-3 years down the line having let slip the best years of Wilson’s career.

I don’t think they’ll allow that to happen. Not with this GM or Head Coach. They’ve traded two first round picks for veteran players, made in-season moves galore to acquire talent and practically entertained the idea of signing any big name available over the last decade.

In order to be pro-active though, they might need all the resource they can find. If you’re going to try and create a defensive line that can rush effectively with four men — it’s going to take a bit more than simply re-signing Jadeveon Clowney and adding one other player. If you want to add weapons to the offense, retain your O-line and bring in, as Wilson put it publicly, ‘superstars’ — you need money.

That could mean some extremely tough decisions ahead. It’s possible, of course, that the likes of Wright, Britt and McDougald could return on smaller contracts if they part ways. There’s nothing preventing that from happening. It’s rare though to see players suffer that fate and then feel obliged to return while essentially taking a pay cut.

Add the $20.1m to the existing $50-60m and suddenly the Seahawks would have as much available cap space as any team in the league apart from the Colts and Dolphins. They could cut Tedric Thompson and save another $2m. Cutting Naz Jones saves another $800K.

This would create a situation where they can be as creative as possible and target multiple key additions to give the roster a lift. With six picks in the first four rounds of the draft (and the potential to add more) they could pad out their young depth.

Will it happen? I’m not sure. Cutting Britt seems more likely than not due to his injury situation. They might be able to find a ready-made veteran replacement in Alex Mack, who is a likely cut in Atlanta. McDougald might be considered good value at $5m and they really rate him internally. Wright has been so loyal, so tough and so productive for the Seahawks it’s hard to imagine them just cutting him a year before his contract expires. His potential departure rests on the market — who is available, how much the Seahawks need to get everything done and whether they can extend his deal by a season to lower his 2020 salary.

It’d be a big plus for the team if say Calais Campbell became available. He would fill two big needs — leadership and D-line production. If there was a deal to be done with cap-strapped Minnesota for Stefon Diggs and Everson Griffen — again, you’re acquiring experienced players with proven production.

Freeing up cap space could also provide an opportunity to retain Jarran Reed — someone seen as a blossoming leader on the team. Pete Carroll has already expressed his desire to bring back Mychal Kendricks. Quandre Diggs is likely to develop into the captain of the secondary while Shaquill Griffin is getting to the age where he can be realistically expected to lead. One of the main reasons I think they might target Kyle Dugger in the draft is due to his alpha mentality.

This will be a fascinating off-season when it eventually kicks into gear.

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  1. Von

    If they believe internally that Barton can play, and I believe they do, they should probably cut KJ. He’s a Ring of Honor player in my opinion, and had his moments last year, but he looks like he’s slowed down.

    If Britt is willing to restructure, and if they think he’ll be ready for the start of the season, that’s my preferred option. If not, cut and draft a center or sign a vet.

    I’d keep McD, but would surely jettison Thompson & Dickson.

    • BobbyK

      Definitely agree about Thompson. There’s no way he’ll earn that salary from the Seahawks in ’20.

    • Rob Staton

      Barton didn’t show anything to warrant any faith IMO. And while they clearly like him — Pete’s language at the end of the year made it pretty clear that they were hoping for more from him. Getting blocked by Aaron Rodgers, I can’t get that out of my head.

      • dcd2

        Ya, Barton’s rookie year was a disappointment to be sure. He wasn’t even on my radar going into the draft. I do remember talking about this guy, who was taken one pick later and had a great rookie season:

        For better or worse, it shows you how much Seattle values the 3 cone and short shuttle for LB. Okereke had better tape (IMO) bigger wingspan, bigger hands, better jumps (broad and vert), but Barton beat him out in the short area quickness.

        Also keep in mind Barton only started one year at Utah. He’s still pretty raw in terms of game experience. I’m hopeful, but I hear you Rob. For a LB to be taken out of a play by a 36 year old QB is unacceptable.

        • Mark Souza

          Totally right about a LB being taken out by an old veteran QB. Dave Wyman had a segment this week about what he loves about the Seattle Dragon’s defense. He loved their aggressiveness, particularly on wide receiver screens. He diagrammed how at the first sign of the WR screen, the corner safety and OLB would fly up and blast the receivers trying to set blocks and blow them up, then with the blocking shattered, seek out the ball carrier. The net result was usually negative yardage.

          The U of W used to be good at that too back when we had Kevin King. The corners would fly in and utterly destroy the blockers and disrupt the play. Wyman pointed out that he hoped the Hawks would take note, and I agree. I would love to see us fly downhill on these outside plays and show no mercy to anyone trying to block out there. Blow ’em up. Let the opponent know that if they go wide, it’s going to hurt, and probably won’t work.

  2. BobbyK

    I can see them moving on from all of Wright, Britt, and McDougald. However, it sure would suck to lose a loyal player like Wright… but every player in the history of the NFL is (mostly) let go at some point. Even Tom Brady doesn’t have a contract. Can Blair take over with Diggs being the leader in the secondary? They didn’t draft him where they did so he can be a bench player and he showed some flashes last year of definite skill. And it’s so muddy with Britt and his knee. Is he even worth his salary if he was 100%? Maybe, but with his health a question – I can see the cruel side of the business winning out. Something needs to happen. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

    • GoHawksDani

      I doubt they’ll cut McDougald. BUT Blair might win the starting job.
      McDougald is probably the BEST VALUE on the whole roster. He’s a solid FS and a solid SS. At 5m he’d be fine even as a backup/big nickel. I wouldn’t pay him 8-10-12 mil, but at 5m it’s almost a robbery.

      I’d cut both Britt and Wright. Too much money. Britt is OK, but not sure if even he’s healthy he’s a 9-10m C. I’d love a big, mauler, baller young C.
      I like Wright, and he can have amazing game changing moments. But tbh last year he looked more like a liability. And it hurt Bobby’s game too. KJ’s getting slow and because of that he sometimes take bad angles and miss tackles.
      Barton needs to get better. He’s raw. But he has a good attitude, and the physical talent. He needs gametime to have experience. It might be hurtful especially earlier in the season, but after that I think he can be a good LB. We can also draft 1-2 LBs just to be sure

  3. Nick

    Great article, Rob. Really highlights how many tough decisions face PCJS.

    I know it makes a lot of sense for the team to cut KJ Wright, but I just don’t think they will. His leadership and brotherhood with Bobby is a cultural piece that they clearly value. However, I am expecting them to really dig into replacements for KJ in this draft. They got to see that Cody Barton and KBB’s play isn’t so good that we shouldn’t consider drafting this position again.

    Watching the 49ers D shows how important rangy and physical linebackers matter in PC’s defensive structure. William Gay, as Rob has pointeed out, is the sort of character we should be looking for through this draft process. Because after this year, I do believe KJ will be well and truly gone.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think they will cut KJ or McDougald. But it all depends on what is possible in FA. If there are several fantastic moves to be made and you need the space, c’est la vie. They won’t just cut these guys for the sake of it though.

      • BruceN

        MacD is too valuable to our D so I don’t see he getting cut. Is it feasible to renegotiate KJ’s salary and keep him to buy time to see how Barton develops? Same with Britt regarding renegotiating. Coming off a bad injury wouldn’t give him much leverage. Mack would be a good option too plus we could pick the long term solution in the draft. Dickson and T2 are easy cuts. I agree with you about the need to aggressively address the defense.

    • BobbyK

      Barton showed definite improvement though. Not enough for me to think he’ll be the answer, but he definitely got better and better in the little time he did play. While most of us were busy talking about how bad he sucks – that improvement was significant and even moreso when you factor in that he’d never played SAM before. I have a heck of a lot more faith in him than I do Collier (who could barely crack the active roster most weeks on a DL that was terrible). If they’re going to spend big on a few areas, they’re going to need cost effective guys to step up and that might be guys like Blair, Barton, Flowers, and Amadi on defense. At least to name a few. If they retain Griffin – he won’t be cost effective anymore starting next year.

      • Rob Staton

        I can’t say I saw that much progress personally. He might not have made as many glaring, horrendous mistakes at the end — but that doesn’t mean he played well. And I don’t want to go on about it too much but getting blocked by Aaron Rodgers was just…. urgh. How the hell does that happen? Run the guy over it’s a free smash on the QB.

        • Cameron

          Purely hypothesizing here, but being a rookie in a playoff game, perhaps second-guessing a big hit on a star quarterback in Rodgers and a potential penalty hurting his team in such a big game (paralysis by analysis)? It wouldn’t be the first time a rookie mistakenly held back in such a situation (see Breeland Speaks letting Tom Brady go when he had him dead to rights in last year’s AFCCG).

          I’ve seen no comments to suggest that’s the case, just a passing thought.

          • Rob Staton

            It’s a fair point. But that in itself would mean he’s overthinking. Play with violence, young man.

            • GoHawksDani

              Agree with Cameron. Barton is not an aggro alpha to me. He’s a schoolboy, who’s always first in class and always does his homework. He might be trying to do to much and makes mistakes because of that. I think with more exp he’ll need less thinking and can be do more doing/hitting. To be honest, if we could get like Beasley and a good run defender vet DT for KJ’s salary, I’d go for it. Early season we might miss him and it might hurt watching Barton. But after 10 games I have faith he’ll pick it up and won’t be much drop-off from Wright (obviously Wright has a ton more exp and better at football at this stage of his career, but I think Barton can offset that with the athletic and speed difference between them)

  4. Von

    I believe Haynes will be the starting LG next year. Everything in his profile suggests that he will be a good player. I’d be ok with Brown,Haynes,Ruiz,Fluker(Jones), and Fant across the line. Inject some youth and reduce costs. That allows for the proper spending on the DL.

    • Rob Staton

      I think they need more experience than that, at least to start with. If the young guys win out, so be it. I don’t want a young O-line as an aim. I think they’ve benefited from being older and more experienced.

      • BobbyK

        I agree. I would be more fine if Hayes was the LG if he were surrounded by Brown and a healthy Britt – two veterans. But starting a first year guy in Haynes at LG next to a rookie C like Ruiz, even if they’re talented, is almost asking for trouble and that’s not what you want with you have a QB like Wilson (or any franchise guy).

        • BobbyK

          You’re right on that Aaron Rodgers block of Barton. WTF? lol

        • Von

          I hear ya both, and don’t necessarily disagree. I just think Wilson has always had a high pressure rate against him. I don’t think thank that’s going to change just because you have Britt in there.

          Haynes was a 4 year starter and has a year in the system. Ruiz was a 3 year starter I believe. These guys have played at a high level. Rookie Centers (1st rounders) have had a pretty good track record of successful rookie seasons lately.

          If losing Britt means gaining Hooper, sign me up. (I know it’s not that simple)

    • GoHawksDani

      I think it might come down to Haynes vs Jones. Both played OK/good as LG vs the Eagles and the Packers. I like Jones more. I think they might cut-re-sign Britt for like 2 years (this and next) 6 mil (100% GTD) and 4 (20% gtd) and draft a C early (learn first year behind Britt and probably start second year and we can cut Britt with 800K dead money).
      That way Brown and Britt could help the younger LG

  5. Michigan 12th

    It seems like we are so close but so far away right now. Cutting the names you listed may free up cap space but that just gives us more glaring holes to fill. Is it possible the Seahawks are at a place where potentially shoring up the offense and filling the holes on that side of the ball, which are far less, makes more sense this year, while trying to add one or two really good pieces on the defensive line? It would seem that if we cut more players on defense and then go seeking free agency to fill them, we will only come out with a worse product. I am not saying that you suggested that in any way, but it just seems like are offense is so much closer than our defense, maybe we should just focus on that and then continue building the defense in the draft sans a proven DE.

    • Rob Staton

      Focusing on the offense will simply lead to even more frustration in 12 months time when the defense lets everything down again.

      They need to aggressively fix this defense. It’s not even remotely good enough to contend. A piece or two will not change anything. It’ll simply lead to another wasted year in 2020. And for what? So the offense can be the #3 DVOA offense instead of #5?

      They need to add quality. If that means moving some of the middle class to get that quality, so be it.

      • Michigan 12th

        “And for what? So the offense can be the #3 DVOA offense instead of #5?”
        Very good point. Yeah well I am glad as all you are that I am not the one in the office making these decisions. We know there will be gems in the later rounds that aren’t on anyone’s radar that will come in and compete. I just want to get some guys like ADB and KJ and Sherm that just want to prove all the doubters wrong at any cost. That’s really what made that team so special, is this ragtag group of guys that refused to lose.

        • Ashish

          They will address both offense and defense. In FA we need to spend more on defense with some super start signing including clowney and atleast 2 more players. I doubt they will cut right away these players doesn’t have insane cap hit. I guess Britt is only one where we can cut apart from obvious one like Dickson, Tedric T.
          Offense we need blocking tight end with some upside of receiving to cover both Dissly and Fant. Blocking is the key. Diggs WR I like him a lot as a fit, he can change a lot in offense.

      • mishima

        I agree and fear Clowney will see it the same way, that the defense is ‘not even remotely good enough to contend.’

        • Rob Staton

          I highly doubt Clowney will view it that way. He’s more likely to see himself as part of the solution. The fact is players like Clowney see a contender as coach + quarterback and Seattle has both.

    • GoHawksDani

      I think in order to push for the SB we’ll need some guys already on the roster to step up (at least 1-2 between Green, Ford, Collier, Amadi, Blair, Barton, Homer, Penny)

      • Mark Souza

        We need some guys to step up for sure, but we need more that that. We don’t have a speed rusher to put fear in opposing QBs on our roster. Though Wilson wants more weapons, and what quarterback doesn’t, last year was the strongest offense in Pete’s tenure (until both RBs went down), even without Dissly.

        Offense isn’t the problem, defense is. It doesn’t matter how many points you can score when your opponent can score more. With the offense we had last year, if we had a top third defense, this team would be frightening. Fixing the defense should be Priority 1, 1A, and 1B. Getting Russ another weapon should be a “nice to have” consideration.

  6. cha

    Great article Rob. Good way to put a perspective on what the FO has facing it this offseason. Can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. Silver lining is, PCJS make some dang tasty omelets.

    The trade option for KJ, Britt and McDouglad is intriguing. As you said you don’t want to part with these guys. BUT if you get a valuable piece back in trade, while making it work for your cap while simultaneously lowering the draft capital you’d have to spend, you have to consider it.

    For instance, a Britt or a KJ could both be extended and the cap hit lowered. Roster hole solved and cap space cleared for more shopping. However, if a Von Miller or a Calais Campbell were in play for a trade, and a team were amenable to taking one of Britt/KJ/McDougald in trade (not saying straight up, but with lesser draft capital), you’d have to seriously consider it.

    What teams out there could be a potential fit?

    Britt and a draft pick for Campbell?

    They could work Britt in and decide to cut Linder ($8m savings) or move one of them to RG and cut Cann ($2.4m savings)

    Jacksonville saves $15m on Campbell, and take on something like $8.5 in Britt, and get overall younger and stronger on the OL, and gets a draft pick.

    Assuming Britt passes a physical.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t expect Jacksonville to be daft enough to part with Campbell but if they are and it takes a trade, they might have some interest in KJ. They need a LB.

      • Cameron

        Don’t you dangle that possibility in front of me! Don’t you give me hope!


      • Kenny Sloth

        I’d take that deal

  7. Jordan

    Really liked this article Rob. The hawks have some serious decisions to think about this upcoming year.

    Personally, I do not think they will cut KJ or McDougald. They are good leaders on this team who have done the right thing. McDougald was pretty good this year. KJ was good at times- but is so close to Bobby and has been a good role model to others (not demanding excessive money, not fighting coaches, being a good teammate, etc.). Britt need’s to be cut this offseason. He’s a great guy but not worth that cap hit. Jarran Reed should also not be brought back. As Russ said, we need superstars on this team to make the next leap.

    I believe that we should go OT and WR early in this draft. One of our three early picks should be traded for a quality DL (maybe Chris Jones is too expensive to Chiefs, Calais Campbell an option, Yannick an option, Von Miller, Joey Bosa- possibly). We can trade picks for next year too if we go all-in this year. I’d really like if they were to sign a Brandon Scherff or Joe Thuney as they will fill the veteran loss on the line. For center, we can try to get Mack or somehow trade up to 2nd or early 3rd for a quality rookie. The Hawks have a big opportunity this year to make a jump. Pete can sometimes be too loyal to a fault… I hope he can see that the Hawks need changes.

  8. Kyle

    If you look at savings from the three above mentioned players, you have to also consider replacement costs. Yes you can save $8.5 million cutting Britt, but then if you sign a veteran center like Mack for $7.5 million, is that really worth it? I suppose if Mack is demonstrably better and healthier, then yes. But that almost feels like nickle-and-diming it.

    KJ Wright saves you $7.5 million, but don’t you then need about $7.5 million to get a middle class replacement at linebacker? Unless you do buy into Barton, that seems to be walking in circles.

    McDougald offers even less savings if cut, and when Diggs is in the lineup, transforms to a potential pro-bowler. I can’t see that.

    So best case scenario with these three, as an example: Let’s say you cut Britt, Wright, and McDougald, save $26 million, but need $21 million (conservatively) for adequate replacements. If the extra $5 million is freed up for two game-wreckers on the DL (to add to the potentially $40 million or more for other big name additions), that could work. But every change of personnel is a risk. I like considering the idea, but a lot has to go right and a lot more could go wrong.

    • Von

      I certainly agree with the argument about those 3 being leaders. Big time leaders for this team. Go the Patriot way and cut guys 1 year early than 1 year late. I personally think that Barton and Blair can adequately replace those guys. If not, they were probably drafted a little too high. That saved money essentially pays for an extra big time edge defender. We shall see what they do.

    • Rob Staton

      You don’t ‘have’ to spend money to replace these players. If it’s not Barton it could be Kendricks or a rookie. If it’s not Alex Mack it could be a rookie or Hunt/Pocic or a different veteran.

      We don’t have to automatically assume that replacements will eat up all the created cap room.

      • Davido

        Do we think they will get rookies that will match KJ and McDougalds production? They might be overall more talented players but just looking at the next year. I think fitting young players into those positions will be at least a short term setback.
        The question behind all this might be: Are we still retooling or is this the year we want to attack. If it’s the second then getting rid of good starters would be very strange to me.

        With Center I am sure that Ruiz is a better C than Britt, even in year 1. I am not very high on Britt and his contract is ridicoulus.

        • GerryG

          A rookie starting LB is not a lot to ask in this league, especially if they are off the field during Nickel situations.

          Britt is a pretty darn good center, I doubt any rookie is going to our perform him, but I’m ok with moving on and going cheaper and drafting his replacement in Rd1

          • Davido

            How comes you think he is that good?
            For me he has always been overrated by Seahawks guys. He had one decent season. Except that he has always been mediocre. A mediocre center is fine but not on such contract especially given the recent injury.

            • Rob Staton

              Britt is not a mediocre center.

              Watch the center play across the league. You’ll be surprised how poor is it. Britt has been extremely competent for Seattle.

              • Maurice Lovell

                Truth. Best thung you can hear in games about your offensive lineman, is nothing at all. Britt is solid, a leader, and makes good adjustments on the line. That being said, he carries some moneybthat is useful, and had a big injury. Nothing setbin stone for sure, and Pete wants continuity. Just have to see how this plays out. And how it does, definitely plays into our draft, and draft board.
                I wonder if PC/JS see Fant as the future at left tackle. If so that plays into things as well. Im not sure, another wait and see. Fluker is cheap, no reason to get rid of him yet. Is Haynes ready, is another question? To many variables right now, as a whole for the offensive line.
                One thing for sure in my book, they have to attack free agency hard, on the defensive line. And ive seen everything, from completely gutting the team. To keeping folks that are own, and just drafting. The 2 extremes are not likely at all. Everything else is in the cards though. Im all ears this off season, its an exciting time of year for me. Thanks for the valuable content Rob, i truly enjoybthis site, and all the workntounput into it.

              • Davido

                Well, I guess we have just different judgement of his play. I have at the very least 10 Centers above him. Something along the 11-15 mark is where id rank him at positional rank. Which is slightly better than average.
                To be fair on this list would also be like 10 pretty awful ones. Having a decent starter on one position of the line is nice to have. I don’t think he is worth his contract but might be kept anyways to keep culture and leadership.

                • Rob Staton

                  Ten center’s?!?!

          • GoHawksDani

            WILL is not easy for a rookie and the WILL won’t go down on nickel formation. So with cutting KJ, you need LB talent

            • Mark Souza

              My problem with KJ isn’t his salary, it’s that he’s had numerous knee procedures and is getting up in age and it shows. These days he misses tackles, not because his tackling form has regressed, but because he can’t get in position. Unless the play is coming right at him, he seems a step or two behind. And watching him in pass coverage is painful. He used to be the best linebacker in the league at it, but now he’s a liability. Many of us are holding onto our impressions of what he was, but that’s not who he is now. Yes Bobby has a strong bond with him, but maybe it’s time to form a new bond with someone else. This defense needs to get fast again, the way it was in the LOB days.

  9. Starhawk29

    This all comes down to the development of guys like Blair and Barton. I really like McDougald, but he is an above average player on the wrong side of 30. Blair showed flashes last year. I almost wonder if this is a Lawyer Milloy/Kam Chancellor type of deal, where we simply cut McDougald and start Blair. I’d like to see Blair with Diggs over the top, it’d give a pretty good idea of what he can be at his best.

    Barton is an entirely different animal. During the preseason my brother and I had the good fortune of sitting next to his father. Outside of being a stand-up guy, papa Barton kept making jokes about how “tiny” his son was (specifically he said he had chicken arms). I wonder if an offseason helps resolve his strength issues.

    Personally I think both Wright and McDougald are safe, and anything that happens to them will occur during preseason/training camp. Wright is very expensive, but he has value left on early downs at least. McDougald is so steady and been such a gamer for the hawks I’d be sad to see him go, but I think he might have decent trade value and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the hawks trust Blair.

    • Greg Haugsven

      Yes it does. Only the people inside know if they are ready to become full time starters. We didnt really get to see enough of them for us to know. The team gets to see them everyday in practice so they have a much better idea. Personally I think both will be full time starters in 2021.This year Blair getting sprinkled in big nickel and Barton getting the starting SAM spot but only on the field half of the time with Blair or another CB in nickel.

    • Davido

      Going into the season last year with first full team training camp opened my eyes. Seeing Barton and BBK next to Bobby just reminded me how huge NFL players can be. Wagner is not the average body in the NFL but Barton and especially BBK looked like kids next to him.

  10. RWIII

    This off season for the Seahawks could be very crazy. There is so many different possibilities. Believe it or not I think Running back could be an issue.

    We don’t how serious are the injuries to Penny/Carson. I know Carson does not have to have surgery. But folks when it comes to hip injuries that is a totally different CAT. We saw where Bo Jackson had a career ending hip injury. Also I don’t know if Penny will be ready to start the season. Pete Carroll said that Carson’s injury was similiar to the one sustained by Delano Hill. Rashaad Penny torn his ACL. So in my mind (at least early in the regular season) running back will be a position of need. I would not be surprised if John Schneider dip’s his toe in the water and in the middle rounds and selects a running back.

    • Rob Staton

      They can add a RB3 though. And while you’ve opted to compare Carson’s hip injury to Bo Jackson’s career ender, it’s also possible he and Penny simply recover and are ready to roll.

      • RWIII

        Rob: It’s possible that Penny/Carson are ready to roll at the start of the season. I just said that running back could be a possible position of concern. Obviously the organization has much more information on Penny/Carson then we do. If Penny/Carson are ready to rock/n/roll that’s great. But at the moment we don’t know.

        • Rob Staton

          But Carson didn’t even need surgery. So I don’t think there’s any reason for us fans to be concerned. They’ll add a RB at some point to replace Prosise. But it’s not a massive issue IMO.

          • RWIII

            Rob: I hope you are right.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      Penny tweeted today he’s already started active physical therapy (riding the bike). I think that’s a little ahead of schedule. He’s got a long way to go before he’s ready to scrimmage but we’re also a long way from TC.

      • Thorson

        Penny had surgery on December 20. Usually patients are on the bike by 2 weeks or so postoperatively after ACL reconstruction. So, if anything, he is behind schedule if this is just an ACL tear. The implication is that he had more damage to his knee (like meniscal tearing) that necessitates a slower rehabilitation. There’s an article to this effect up at Fieldgulls. I’m not sure we can rely on Penny being available by the start of the year. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see some draft capital expended on a RB who is more than just a 3rd down back. Fortunately there seem to be decent options in the later rounds that may fit the bill.

        Regarding Carson’s injury, there are a number of areas around the hip that can sustain a fracture that have a reasonably straightforward recovery. The fact he didn’t need surgery is encouraging. Bo Jackson’s injury was much different – basically the same injury the Alabama quarterback suffered (which is why I would be very reluctant to spend a high draft pick on Tua).

        • CHawk Talker Eric

          I thought it’s been established it wasn’t a simple ACL tear that there was additional damage though exactly what isn’t public knowledge. That’s why I said riding the bike at this point is an encouraging sign. I don’t think it’s realistic he will be ready for the opener. And I agree this is a good RB class in a good overall draft class so there should be some interesting options early on Day 3/

      • cha

        I think it’s best just to assume Penny will start the season on the PUP and consider anything better than that a bonus. The description and the rehab schedule we know of indicate he’s got a lot of work ahead of him.

    • Davido

      Maybe Davis becomes available too.

  11. LAHawk

    I’m with all the other people who anticipate Britt, TT, and Dickson all being cap casualties. KJ is coming off such a good year though that I don’t really know that it makes sense, unless you somehow really need that $7.5m. You can still put Barton on the field plenty even if KJ is on the roster, either in base packages or as a sub for KJ/Wagner if and when you want to rest those guys. If they kept KJ after 2018, when he only played 5 games due to injury, I doubt they’ll move on now.

    • Greg Haugsven

      Either you need the cap space or you just want to get faster on defense. K does so many good things (especially screens) but being fast isnt one of them. He would be a tough decision.

      • LAHawk

        I guess my thing is, are you going to use the $7.5m or the roster spot to make the team significantly faster? If you’re replace KJ’s snaps with Barton or BBK I’m not convinced that’s an upgrade. If they can find a way to replace KJ with a faster linebacker who won’t be a coverage liability, I’m obviously onboard. I just don’t know who that player would be.

    • GerryG

      I never want to see Lano Hill or TT in a Seahawks uniform again. Take that 2 million plus Lano $ and use it it elsewhere

      • Davido

        as much as I dislike T2 and Lano, are those savings worth more than backups that know the scheme well? You would also have to at least spend late round draft capital to get any backup. The difference in skill between late round safeties and Lano/T2 wouldn’t be that big probably.

        • GerryG

          Blair can backup both spots, and you can draft someone

        • OregonHawk

          Even though Lano and T2 know the defense, they really are not much help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          I think we win with them being gone!

          • Davido

            I hear you guys. I also don’t want to see them on the field. I don’t remember if they added special team value before starting but I guess they didn’t because they are hella slow.
            Again, cutting them and hoping a late round rookie can be a decent backup is a gamble too. Especially on safety you typically don’t like to gamble too much.

            • GerryG

              But youre not gambling. You have 2 good starters, and young playmaking backup in Blair.

      • LAHawk

        Lano’s salary is pretty small, under 1M I think, so the savings are minimal. If you cut TT your safeties would be Diggs, McD, Blair, and Lano—pretty good! McD has had injuries so there’s a pretty good chance Blair steps in at some point, or you roll out some big nickel packages. For his price, Lano seems like a fine backup option if there’s a disaster and both Diggs and McD get hurt the same week.

  12. CWagner

    I love the idea of open up more cap but when we start talking about cutting these 3 guys it makes me think of the holes that open up or the depth that is lost. And I realize you’re just spit-balling ideas. I think, given Britt’s injuries and loss of production, that there’s a good chance he becomes a cap casualty. I’d be curious to see what sort of trade options we might have. How could we squeeze value out of a trade where will fill a hole and save money? Probably couldn’t get any high draft picks for KJ or McDougald.

  13. Matt

    Great article Rob. While this is an exciting offseason, it will be the toughest they’ve ever had to deal with for the very reasons you laid out.

    Make no mistake – one of the biggest things this team accomplished this year was creating insanely awesome chemistry and offloading headaches (couple seasons to do this). This is where the idea of cutting KJ and McDougald is especially tough. While I think Britt is a good guy – I think that’s an easy call should he not restructure.

    But KJ and McDougald really pose interesting challenges. Both a true pros and have been clear leaders both on the field and in the locker room. You risk major ripples with the good ju-ju on this team, but to your point, it creates a good chunk of $.

    It’s too bad that Barton wasn’t very good and for some odd reason Blair couldn’t crack a full time role. The only way I’m getting rid of McDougald is if you find a replacement on the field and as a leader. Is that trading for Jamal Adams? Unlikely but not impossible. Does that mean drafting Duggar, Chinn, or Delpit (if for some insane reason he falls)?

    Which brings us back to KJ…I think KJ is a prime candidate to restructure. He’s a coach on the field. His play has clearly taken a big step back, but I do think he’s the type of personality that would be open to it. If he’s not open to “finishing his career in Seattle,” then you have to make that cut, unfortunately. I think you have to trust Bobby, Russ, and Duane to pick up the mantle.

    Here’s how I see it playing out:

    Britt – Cut. Not very good. Injured.
    McDougald – Traded for a low round pick. Steady player, not a major cap hit.
    KJ – Restructured Contract. Contract is too big to trade. Have to restructure or cut.

    I’m hoping that potentially frees up ~$15M in Cap space – which to me is worth it. Nobody is trading for Britt. I think McDougald is the only logical trade candidate – and the return will probably be a conditional 6 or 7 – which is honestly worth it, IMO.

    • Coleslaw

      Britt not very good? Where do you plan on finding a replacement? A rookie?

      Britt is solid (more than you can say about most centers in the NFL). Hes only 29. We should be looking to extend him and lower his cap hit, not cut him.

      KJ is over the hump and is not very good anymore. Britt is very solid and got hurt (he doesnt have a big injury history) and should be back by the start of the season if not training camp. Hes already not in a boot or anything. Hes just healing. Extend him for 3 more years. Draft a center if you want but IMO there is no need to cut Britt.

      • Greg Haugsven

        Pete also mentioned trying to keep the band together on the OLine as much as we can. That doesnt answer the question but leans towards keeping Britt.

        • Von

          This point about Pete saying he wants to keep the continuity on OL is being a little overblown I think. What’s he supposed to say? “ We are looking at making wholesale changes this year”. I understand the point, but it really doesn’t mean anything.

          • Rob Staton

            I think it’s genuine. He does want continuity. But it doesn’t mean they’ll be able to keep everyone, as we saw with Sweezy a year ago.

          • cha

            Pete is a straight shooter at end of the year press events. While you’re right it’s not gospel, he does tend to genuinely clue the public in to his plans for the offseason.

      • John_s

        How is KJ not good anymore? He had a career high 135 tackles last year and he made some game saving plays against the Eagles.

        If you mean he’s slowing down, I would agree, but not that he’s no longer good.

        • TomLPDX

          He’s good. He’ll be back. I love KJ, he IS the man!

          I’d like to see them extend his contract in such a way that they minimize the impact on this year, spread his final payouts over the next 3 years and let him retire a Seahawk. What that looks like I have no idea…The man is heart and soul of this team…and Bobby would be PISSED!

          • Greg Haugsven

            I wouldnt say he is no longer good but if speed on defense is what the team wants his days could be numbered as that isnt his strength. Personally I like what he brings to the team and hope he is kept but you never know what you could possibly get with that extra $7.5 mill. All depends on what happens in free agency.

            • Greg Haugsven

              Im not sure they extend him again as you have to get younger at some point in time. Cant keep having a bunch of 30+ year old linebackers.

            • John_s

              My ideal is draft Kenneth Murray in RD1 and let him learn from KJ and eventually take more reps as the year goes on

            • Starhawk29

              I’d like to see us do what Carolina did with Thomas Davis, i.e. draft an explosive/speedy linebacker (shaq thompson) to support KJ and spell him. Find ways to use KJ as a role player instead of the dependable starter he has been. Could help maximize his career and his effectiveness.

        • Jamho3

          KJ is good!

  14. Greg Haugsven

    I just cant see them cutting McDougald as the savings ($1.3 million) isnt enough and Blair probably isnt ready yet. When Thompson’s proven performance escalator kicked in (non-guaranteed) that basically sealed his fate. Dickson we all know is gone daddy gone. For sure Wright and Britt are the tricky ones. If they cut Britt he would most likely get an injury settlement around $1.2 million which would not give us as much cap space for releasing him. If you guys had to take your best guess at Wright or Britt which one do you think would be gone?

    • Rob Staton

      The dead hit is $1.3m. The saving is $4.1m.

      • Greg Haugsven

        Your right, my mistake. If they think Blair is ready its a possibility. If they dont then you think McDougald stays. If I was a betting man I think he stays and Blair is the starter in 2021. Either way its a fun debate.

  15. Sea Mode

    I think McDougald is proven and cheap safety depth that we need to keep around even if we do hand the starting job to Blair. With the way Blair hits, he’s bound to get hurt sooner or later, as we’ve already seen this past season. If he or Diggs misses any time, we don’t want to be rolling TT out there again…

    The only way I could see them moving on from McDougald is if he were part of a trade package. What teams with trade targets might need safety help? Or a rebuilding team might be more interested in Blair, a piece for the future. Do we dangle him instead and look to secure Duggar early in the draft? I know they like Blair, but you’ve got to give something to get something if you are trading.

    KJ is a tough call with Bobby basically sticking his neck out to keep him around. It can’t be at that price, though. So cut or extend is a must. Definitely need to spend another pick on a LB to compete with Barton and eventually step in for Bobby down the road.

    I feel like they will extend Britt at a rather reasonable price. We’re already likely to have movement at at least one of the Guard spots and maybe RT as well. Have they learned their lesson from what happened when they traded away Unger…? Alex Mack seems to still be healthy and still playing well, but he does turn 34 in November…

    Probably the only way they cut Britt is if they think they can land Cesar Ruiz with their first pick. Possible, since R1 will feature several Tackle prospects, but Britt might be a decision they have to hold off until after the draft. For this scenario, I’ll say we keep him so that we can spend our R1 on a top WR instead of Ruiz. Also note the numbers are an APY estimate; first-year cap hit can be lower.

    – Extend Britt ($10m)
    – Extend Fant ($6m)
    – Extend Clowney ($20m)

    – Cut KJ, let Ifedi and Reed walk, and other obvious ones.

    – Sign TE Hooper ($9m)
    – Sign DE Fowler ($15m)

    R1 WR Jalen Reagor (or trade for Diggs, but then you can’t sign Hooper)
    Russ gets another weapon one way or another. Perfect compliment to Lockett and DK.

    *Trade one of our R4 to move up:
    R2 DT Raekwon Davis (or trade for Campbell and a R4 pick)
    Get Campbell himself or his closest comp as far as potential. Makes you better vs. the run.

    R2 LB Willie Gay Jr.
    Speed and wired different. Lets us move on from KJ.

    R3 SS Kyle Duggar
    Size/speed and alpha mentality, as Rob mentions. Depth at safety and ST value. Also allows us to trade McDougald if need be.

    R4 DT Rashard Lawrence
    Another dog for the DL rotation to replace Reed. Rob has me convinced.

    R5 RB Anthony McFarland
    Dobbins is tempting early on, but they will find a RB3 Prosise replacement with upside on day 3 just as well.

    R6 WR Tyrie Cleveland
    4.3 runner and ST ace. Every draft class needs one.

    R7 CB Project
    Dunno who it is yet, but we need the next project in PC’s factory.

    UDFA TE Jacob Breeland
    Just a personal favorite who I think could surprise as a solid backup TE.

    • CojackTX

      I think Lawrence would be an ok rotational player, but I have serious questions about his ability to hold up against the run and he just doesn’t seem like a Seahawks draft pick based on physical attributes (attitude aside). Saw too many instances like the below this year:

      • Rob Staton

        What? Being tripped by one blocker who’s on the turf behind him?

        That’s not something I’d linger on at all.

        He does need to test and measure a certain way but he was the #12 overall recruit once so wouldn’t expect him to be a slouch.

        • CHawk Talker Eric

          He may have tripped on a player behind him but he was getting bulldozed pretty badly to set it up. Though I agree one clip on twitter does not a scouting report make.

          I’m fairly ambivalent about Lawrence. My opinion of him as a draft pick depends entirely on where he’s taken.

          • Rob Staton

            He was being double teamed and one of the guys got behind him and fell over. He wasn’t bulldozed.

    • CojackTX

      Nice (and reasonable) mock, by the way.

    • Von

      Yeah, I like that mock as well. We don’t have a 7th round pick at the moment, but we will probably end up with one.

    • Von

      Oh, and like you, I’d rather have Raegor and Hooper than Diggs in that scenario

    • Trevor

      That offseason plan makes a ton of sense Seamode and I love the draft. If Raegor is off the board or they trade down a little Aiyuk would be another option with that 1st pick. Would also love to see Chase Claypool in the mix somehow.

    • Davido

      This is almost exactly the same as my perfect offseason scenario. I love it!
      I just don’t think we can get Reagor, Davis, Gay and McFarland all that “late”. This would be the ideal players falling all in the same draft.

    • KyleB

      I’m in love with all of this. Russ gets his weapons and defense gets unique and speedy.

      Would add I would like to see griffin be extended as well.

    • KyleB

      On second thought, I didn’t see your contract amounts for the FAs until just now. I think you’re gonna be off on Fowler, Clowney, and Hooper. I would guess closer to 20 for Fowler, 22 for Clowney, and 10 for Hooper. Hooper is the only one I see that could be around the number you provided but still a long shot I think. The cuts you made may help us get closer to this though. A lot of money for two DE but I’m not opposed to it at all.

      That said, maybe Fowler’s market will cool. Doubt it, but maybe!

      • Rob Staton

        Fowler won’t get 20

        • KyleB

          If he gets a deal with 4-5 years there’s absolutely no reason why he couldn’t hit 18.5-20 APY. If he buckles and signs an unlikely short term deal of 1 or 2 (don’t see 2 years happening) I would bank on less.

          Just out of curiosity, why do you believe that’s a far-fetched number for a guy his age and unique skill set. Doesn’t really add up.

          Also as an aside, what are your thoughts on Brockers as others have mentioned? Money is hard to predict for him, but the length sure sounds nice. Although totally different players, curious the difference in money between him and Reed.

          • Rob Staton

            Because he had to sign a prove it deal last year when teams weren’t that bothered about adding him and a productive year this year hasn’t exactly got people raving about him. Not everyone is going to get Aaron Donald money.

        • KyleB

          Forgot to add- if you are correct on Fowler and he is around 15-17m I think it’s an absolute no brainer, pay him right after Clowney gets his 22.5.

          • Rob Staton

            I think Fowler might be $12m per.

            Totally up in the air what he might earn.

  16. Rob Staton

    Big praise for Jim Nagy and the Senior Bowl for posting FULL video of each 1v1 practise on YouTube.


    You learn so much from the full video too. Logan Stenberg didn’t do as well as I initially thought. Damien Lewis was terrific. Matt Hennessy did better than I originally thought. John Simpson wasn’t as bad as I originally thought in the early stages. Confirmed to me that Tyre Phillips and Hakeem Adeniji are intriguing. Jabari Zuniga had better snaps than we saw on the minimal broadcast coverage.

    • Maurice Lovell

      Love Jim Nagy, not just because he is linked to us either. He’s done wonders for the Senior Bowl, and gives very thorough and thought evaluations. Chat here and there with him on Twitter, and give a good listen to his thoughts on prospects.

  17. Submanjoe

    Be ruthless! Please.
    Win the trenches. Spend on the o line and the d line. kJ was a wonderful player and is always among the greatest of Seahawks past. Spend that savings on the lines. They drafted Blair, let him play. I’d hope that through a season of playing, Blair and Barton could develop and by the end of next season, they’d be a bit more savy out on the field. If so, the future is primed.
    Green showed flashes. Green, Clowney, Reed, Ford, Jefferson, add 2 more (Campbell, Fowler, whoever) free agents or through trade, and a rookie or two.
    Brown, left guard, center, fluker, Ifedi. Got jones, Haynes, maybe Britt. Good draft for guards, maybe a center.
    I seem to recall 2012 & 2013 Seahawks had an expensive o line. I get everyone is tired of Ifedi, but the guy plays every down every game, he knows the system.
    Continuity on the o line. Add to the d line. And if cutting McDougald and kJ and TT and being straight with Britt about restructuring his contract gets these pieces, then do it.

    I’d love to be a fly on the wall, to hear pc and js, what their limit for Clowney and reed and Fant and Ifedi and Jefferson is. It seems to me the pieces are there, the team is close. Keeping these guys who have been developed and have shown flashes and promise, for a run next year, is much better than so much retooling which seems to be the alternative.

  18. Denver Hawker

    My first thought after reading this article was The Pats. Making ruthless decisions has won them Super Bowls (Albeit, not the only reason). They aren’t always popular with players or fans, but that’s what it takes.

    I’m all in cutting Britt, trading Dougy and KJ. I’m cutting Dickson and Thompson too. I’m concerned about the market for FA Oline and DLine will drive prices uncomfortably high for average vets- hawks will need the dough to pay the trenches.

    • Rob Staton

      I think they’ve done a good job with Sweezy, Fluker and Iupati to help fill out the OL. Until they have high draft picks they’re going to find it hard to draft top young OLers. They seem to have learnt from the Joeckel deal. And they’re drafting to develop. These are all positive signs and I think they will find an answer to the OL again this year.

      • Davido

        I think this O-Line was not that bad neither this year, at least in theory. The big problem was injuries to me.
        They never had a chance to get a rhythm going. They had Hunt starting at Center for all the relevant games.
        I really like the guy but he is just not physically gifted enough to be a starter in this league. To just name one example.

        An O-Line of Brown, Iupati/Jones, Britt, Fluker, Ifedi could have been serviceable I think. I don’t think this was a major mistake by our front office to have that going into the season.

      • Denver Hawker

        Sweet was a nice pickup and Fluker has been good value too. Iupati was a miss for me, but low risk. His pass pro was abysmal. Need a better replacement there and not sure we have it on the roster. Also still need a RT. If we pay Fant or Ifedi, might as well consider Bulaga.

        • Rob Staton

          I think Iupati had a good year all considering.

  19. icb12

    Is Stefon Diggs even in a tradeable situation?

    Vikes would eat 9 million in dead money, for 5.5 million saving. I know they are in a tight spot- but those are the same numbers as Danielle Hunter.

    • Greg Haugsven

      That is the best question to ask as I saw this the other day. I would guess it depends on how much of a possible distraction he could be. Next off-season seems to be the best time for the Vikings to deal him as they would save $9 million. He would still be very young with a good contract for the new team.

    • cha

      I’d say in a normal world, no. But the Vikings have so completely dug themselves into a hole, you have to consider eating all that dead money just to get your head above water.

    • Rob Staton

      Diggs is very tradable and there’s been a breakdown in the relationship.

      • Maurice Lovell

        Wow! The thought of Diggs, Metcalf, and Lockett, is nice. That would definitely be some star power, for Russ.

  20. Gaux Hawks

    Yes… very provocative, very thorough, and all very possible!
    Thank you, great article!

  21. CaptainJack

    Barton would really have to improve this offseason and kJ would have to fall off a cliff athleticism wise for Barton to be the better player next season.

  22. charlietheunicorn

    The one guy, I wish we knew the whole backstory, was Ed Dickson.
    He was brought in to help at TE, got hurt, then never made an impact at all. The whole designate for return from IR, then to be placed back on IR is absolutely bizarre. I’ve never quite seen a player and team work this was with each other. He was brought in with very specific purposes and the unquestioned need at the position as the season progressed also made the whole “charade” … laughable?

    • TomLPDX

      I actually do remember some plays he made…3rd and long and Russ hit him for a first. That might be the ONLY play he ever made but I believe we won that game because we got that first down. I think that PC liked him for his play-making abilities as well as his blocking…but like you said, we saw sooooo little of him.

      • cha

        He had a GW TD catch vs the Packers

    • Jhams

      He’s an older player who got hurt, tried to come off IR and got hurt again. Not sure what’s inexplicable or a charade about that. Unfortunate certainly.

  23. Von

    What’s everyone’s thoughts on who will be drafted higher? Dugger or Gay? Combine will obviously be a huge factor but what does everyone think at this time?

  24. WALL UP

    Nice perspective on the choices ahead Rob. It will be tough to make some of those decisions. Of course there’s nothing that JS & company can’t navigate through though.

    It will be interesting to see what JS pulls out of the hat this year with the draft, as well as FA acquisitions. I hope the majority of the FA money is used on the defensive side of the ball. Here’s a list that could fill out the roster:

    Clowney: No brainer at $20 mil, hopefully he agrees for that price.

    Brockers: Not much is being said about him, although he did tweet his thanks for his time spent in LA. At 6-5 322lbs with 35in arms he would be that ideal 3T that could come in that $11.5 mil range.

    Griffen: It would be very unlikely that he’s on the Viking roster with his $13.87 mil cap hit with only $800,000 of dead money. His release, or trade, would free up $13 mil. His salary last year was about $7.87 mil. Hopefully, a 2yr @ $9mil per year opportunity to win a ring, will entice him to the PNW.

    Reed: The pasture may not be so green on the other side. Last year wasn’t the best scenario for him entering as a FA. He may have to sign a prove type contract $8-9 mil one year deal.

    Woods: His presence was surely missed in the playoffs. I think he learned his lesson and will be back with a vengeance @ $2.5 mil.

    Fant: As with Reed, his market may not be as he would like. With the prospects of him going to LT in a few years, or sooner, he will be convinced to sign 3yr $25 mil contract with $7 mil salary.

    Hunt: Much can be said about him either way. But, he was there starting center who played injured, and did well enough. At $2.5 mil he could be insurance with Britt returning with his reconstructed knee and club friendly new contract @ $7 mil per year as with Fant, pending passing his physical.

    Hollister: He may have earned a FA 2nd Rd tender of $3.28 for his production over the last part of the season.

    Olsen: This would be a smart move to acquire him for $5.25 mil per season, with a player option for 2021. No comp pick restrictions and he’s still a talented smart TE to be brought in the TE room, with Dissly and Hollister. They still need another TE in the draft though. The sleeper I’m hoping will be available late, to take over some of Fant’s duties, if Fant is playing RT.

    JS & Co. should be able to shave off about 12mil to bring these additions under the cap with player cuts and KJ & Britt having restructured contracts, then still keeping the continuity Pete was calling for.

    Your previous piece was quite interesting as well. The draft presents so many variables to build on their roster. I agree with you that play makers on both sides of the ball are needed from the 2020 Draft class to help elevate them to win the division. These are a few that I agree with you on:

    Wilson: Totally agree with you on his potential. He’s a must pick in this year’s draft. I was hoping the less said of him the better. I was hoping to pick him in the 44-54 range.

    Reagor: is also ideally suited for their offensive needs to stretch the edges with sweeps and quick screens and also stretch the field vertically. I’d hate to see him in the hands of Shanahan. That’s another reason to pick him @ 27.

    Dugger: is another ideal pick for their defense in a SS/LB role, where he and BWag are pair in nickle situations. Imagine having Diggs in single high, flanked by Blair-BWag-Dugger and NB on passing situations. This could help provide that attacking defense that is needed.

    Okwara: could bring a bit of speed and length from the edge, as a secondary rusher to complement to the FA acquisition JS picks up this off season. But, you can’t have both Reagor and Okwara. In an purely dream circumstance their 1st three picks would be Reagor, Okwara and Wilson.

    Would like to get your thoughts on these picks for the draft:

    1. (27) Jalen Reagor WR (Jr.) TCU #1
    2. (50)T* Isaiah Wilson RT (Jr.) Georgia #79
    3. (77)T** Kyle Dugger SS/LB (Sr.) Lenoir-Rhyne #2
    4. (115)T** Darnay Holmes CB (Jr.) UCLA #1
    4. (130) Alton Robinson DE (Sr.) Syracuse #94
    4C. (143) Kevin Dotson RG (rSr.) Louisiana-Lafayette #75
    5. (154) Willie Gay Jr. OLB (Jr.) Miss St. #6
    6. (196)T*AJ Dillon RB/FB Boston College #2
    7. (251)T**Matt Wilkerson TE (Sr.) Edward Waters #9

    T* SEA 59, 100, 214 (416.8pts.) for CHI 50, 196 (414pts.)
    T** DEN 77, 115, 251 (269.7pts.) for SEA 64 (270pts.)

    These wear the most single digit #’s I’ve seen in a draft. Quite a few alpha on both sides of the ball. You may not share this post, since it is a bit long winded. I’d just like to hear what you think.

    • Sea Mode

      Wilson would be a great get to plug in at RT.

      *Checks notes* Who the heck is Matt Wilkerson…?

    • Spencer

      Why are you giving Hunt 7 million!?

      • WALL UP

        The 7 mil is for Britt’s restructured contract, Hunt is 2.5 mil.

  25. charlietheunicorn

    Strength of Schedule from NFL . com

    Baltimore is sitting pretty with one of the easiest schedules, very likely to get a top 2 seed.
    Pittsburg also looks like a soft schedule as well. Dallas also has a very good chance of taking the NFCE.

    On the other hand, the Miami and NYJ SOS looks brutal as all get out.

  26. charlietheunicorn

    Playing through scenarios in my mind…

    This scenario is predicated to extending Clowney ~20M/yr for 6 years
    Trade 2x 1sts to the Browns for Garrett and extend him ~ 18M/yr for 6 years
    Trade Baltimore a second (and some draft pocket change) for Judon ~ extend him for ~ 17M/ yr for 5 years.

    This takes care of the largest most glaring weakness on the defense, then spend any and all draft capital on improving the offensive weapons around RW… along with FA acquisitions. On the surface this might not work due to cap reasons, but then you know you are solid on the DL and can find cheap alternatives to fill in the holes on the DL and S and or plug in some nice draft additions at WR, TE and RB. OL could also then be a draft focus and you do what you can to shore up the position group.

    Note, this whole scenario is very unlikely to happen, but if you are going to shell out 17M for Reed or 18-20M for Garrett, I would take Garrett every day for the +3M difference in price. And this would be a completely out of left field “impact” trade(s) deal I could see happening.

    • Bigten

      To be honest, I’m not sure I could get behind this. Garrett yes, but I’m not big on Judon. Also, no way is Reed going to get 17 mill. And definitely not from us, so your rationale is flawed there. If we were to get Garrett tho for 2 first, I would personally be very pleased with that, then continue with the draft getting DT and WR weapon in the second. Imagine getting a DLine of Garrett-Raekwon-Lawerence-Clowney. Yes please. But like you said, Browns would never do that trade.

    • BobbyK

      If you were the Browns or any team that held the rights to Garrett, would you trade him for two first round picks with the first one being the #27 overall pick this year and probably being another late first round pick again next year?

      And if you’re Garrett and see a guy like Clowney getting well over $20 million per year, would you really be willing to sign for $18 million when your next contract could exceed Aaron Donald?

      • charlietheunicorn

        I understand this skepticism. I wouldn’t trade him either if I were the Browns, but if he believes that the Browns are a sinking ship and wants out… they would know that and might want to get some premium draft picks…. or they could go the Texans model and “shit the bed”… and get pennies on the dollar for their Clowney.

        Note that the he Browns changed their GM and the owner is impatient as well, so I would expect there to be at least one shocking move out of the franchise this off-season.

        If pass rush (DE) is such a premium position, then Seattle might swing the deal and pay both of them big money. Brining in a purple chip guy would signal to the team and league they are truly serious about being a SB contender in 2020. Perhaps that would also lead a few other guys to sign more budget friendly deals, just to get a legit shot at the SB with RW leading the charge.

    • cha

      The Hawks aren’t going to do 3 contracts in excess of 4 years in one offseason. Or any offseason for that matter.

  27. BobbyK

    It’s kind of crazy to think that Clowney could potentially make more in ’20 than Shaq Lawson, Ndamukong Suh, and Javon Hargrave combined.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      I think $20m apy for Clowney is wishful thinking. I think he’s gonna want something similar to Mack’s $23.5m apy deal. I don’t know if he’ll quite get it. But I do think it’ll be close.

  28. cha

    Here’s a weird little nugget: If there is no new CBA by the time the 2020 league year starts, teams can use both the franchise and transition tags for 2020.

    Now there’s a wild thought. Probably would never happen, but the possibilities are interesting. Teams that have cap room and major FA’s:

    Dallas – Dak and Amari Cooper
    Tennessee – Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry
    Tampa Bay – Shaq Barrett, Jameis Winston
    LA Chargers – Melvin Gordon, Hunter Henry
    Denver – Justin Simmons, Chris Harris

    Anyone else I’m missing?

    Again, probably never happen.

    • charlietheunicorn

      John Clayton has talked extensively about the new CBA. It is more or less done between the union and the NFL. The catch, a major one, is that the actual union rank and file don’t like the deal. They would not even allow the union to bring it up for a vote to ratify it…. so the union leadership is fighting their own union members to make it happen. It would include 17 games, with every team playing in a foreign land (theoretically) each year. It would also include future gambling revenue and would increase the players share of the pie to around 48-49%, up from the current CBA of 46% or so. The cap would then rise above 200-220M / year / team. The NFL could then possibly grow into a 20B / year operation by 2024 or so… up from the 10B or so they are right now.

  29. EranUngar

    Thank you Rob for this great full big picture article. The overall strategy will be the key for the 2020 team.

    A question:

    Gerald McCoy is a FA after a 1 year contract at 8M. He is only 31yo and could be available for less on a 2 year contract. Why do we never mention him?

    • Rob Staton

      Because I don’t think they will sign him.

      • EranUngar

        I understood that already.

        I was just wondering what are the reasons that you do not think they will be interested in him?

        • Rob Staton

          Old, locker room lawyer type who Tampa Bay moved on from. Not exactly what you’d call a hungry player who is pissed off for greatness.

          • Greg Haugsven

            But is is a possibility that they will want to sign him so why not talk about it? We dont think they will cut McDougald but it could be a possibility so we do talk about it.

            • Rob Staton

              I don’t think it’s a possibility.

              If I’m wrong you can come on and tell me I was wrong.

              I doubt I will be though.

          • EranUngar

            Thank you. Did not know about his locker room antics and the Seahawks will have none of that.

            As for “hungry”, he sure looked starved whenever we faced him….

    • JC3

      To me, signing Jones, Kgakoue, Campbell & Miller are not realistic because of resources (picks & cap) involved, and teams might have different idea and want to keep these players themselves.
      Corbin Smith did mention Javon Hargrave as a possible FA pickup from Pitts, I doubt Steelers will tag him and I think he is an upgrade over Reed. Hargrave is bulldozer that can rush the passer. Reed is a good but not great type player, I rather pay extra few millions for a game changer.

      • Rob Staton

        Hargrave is not the type of DT they have sought. Short arms, not really a one gap container. Yes he is athletic but they’ve valued size and length at DT.

        We can’t say who is realistic or not. Not many people would’ve thought Bennett & Avril was possible, or Harvin or Graham, or Clowney and Diggs. And so on.

  30. Kenny Sloth

    Is there a player or coach you revile or despise in the NFL, Rob? Or a former player?

    • Rob Staton

      Not really. I just don’t want any of the malcontents to win a ring before Pete.

      • cha

        I try to be a positive person and not joy in the misfortune of others.

        That said, Bennett getting bounced by the Patriots, Earl getting run over by Henry and Sherman getting toasted in the SB was some sweet, delicious candy.

    • Gohawks5151

      Never liked Arians. Smart man. But also seems like a dick and stole Pete’s Coach of the year.

  31. Jamho3

    What’s the decision making process on cutting MacDougald? For my $$$ he was on of the standout defenders why don’t you need to secure him?

    I totally understand that there are good safeties available in FA

    I totally get that he’s too close to 30 but at the same time he was one of 2018-2019’s best defenders on a defense that has gotten worse.

    How do you get better by cutting him?

    Remember SEA invested heavily in S’s 2017 draft and again in 2019 and we are not big fans of their play on the field? Why would you “empower” a player who hasn’t show us to be better than replacement level players?

    That doesn’t seem to meet PC’s standard of competition NOR would you gain much in FA’s do we think we can get a starting DE for the extra bit of cash we save cutting #30?

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think you get better by cutting him — and I don’t think he will be cut.

      I’m simply highlighting the possibility that the Seahawks might look at their cap situation and decide that the top end of their roster currently, there’s money that could be better spent. They used a R2 on a safety a year ago and a R3 on a safety (and traded up for him).

      Nobody’s saying ‘McDougald should or will be cut’. This blog has a track record of discussing situations when people say, ‘that won’t happen’, and then we learn down the line that it was a conversation worth having.

  32. drewdawg11

    Early in the season, KJ was struggling mightily. His lack of speed shows up when we play teams like the Rams, and anyone else who can attack us with speed to the edge. He played much better in the latter stages of the season, but he’s still who is is… An Aging OLB who can’t cover and run like he used to. I’ve been on the Willie Gay train for a long time, and as long as he’s healthy and checks out at the combine, I think securing him would go a long way to rebuilding the defense will young, core members. Will he be there when we draft in round two? It depends on the workouts. His 2019 was a wash, so interviews and testing are crucial for him. I went back and watched every piece of film that I could find on Reagor from TCU. I’m sold on this kid. We have to think that by the time he runs, etc. that he will be a possibility to be taken before 27.

  33. Bigten

    Rob, since we are discussing the possibility of cutting KJ, and most have pegged Willie Gay as the guy to go after, what are your thoughts on othe LB targets? Specifically Malik Harrison, who LZ has his NFL comp being KJ.

    • Rob Staton

      I haven’t studied Harrison. I will probably wait until the combine because we know what kind of LB’s they like. I’ve highlighted Gay Jr simply because I think he’s looked great on tape and I know he will test well.

    • Maurice Lovell

      Harrison is a very good athlete. Great downhill player, but from what I’ve seen so far. Not a guy you want in coverage. Need to look at some more tape on him myself though.

  34. greymstreet

    Did you mean to cut Naz Jones??

    • Rob Staton


    • GerryG

      Naz, TT, Hill are 4th year dead weight picks that didnt pan out, draft new ones and move on please

  35. Greg Haugsven

    Do people in here want Conklin as your RT? I have ready many articles talking about Conklin to Seattle but for whatever reason I would just rather have George Fant. Maybe its price, maybe its continuity, maybe its Fant’s versatility?

    • GerryG

      Want the player? Sure, hes good, and still young.

      Want the contract? Hell no, it’s FA, and RT have been getting near LT $, so he is most likely gonna set a new RT high. Not sure I want that considering we need to drop >50% of our cap on the DL

    • Rob Staton

      I like Conklin but not at $15m a year and not with so many holes on defense.

      • GerryG


    • Trevor

      I would much sooner have Conklin at $13-15 mil than Fant at $7-8 mil. I like Fant but he has never proven he can play a full year at OT and stay healthy much less at a pro bowl level. If they were to get Conklin it improves both the pass and run offence.

      I would much sooner spend $ on an RT than a TE.

      • Rob Staton

        Conklin is a run blocker not a pass blocker.

        If you spend $15m on him are you going to be happy when they trot out the same DL next season, perhaps minus Reed?

        • Trevor

          Fant and Hooper will cost more than $15 mil though Rob. If they have money to make those deals why not Conklin instead I guess is all I am saying. I know well DL is priority #1.

          • Rob Staton

            How do you know what Fant will cost?

            Nobody knows.

            Everyone assumes he’s going to make a ton of money. The guy played TE or sixth blocker.

            Everyone’s acting like he has 30 starts at tackle.

  36. Greg Haugsven

    What would be everyone favorite off-season trade idea (realistic)? I still like #27 to Jacksonville for #45 and Calais Campbell. Would give us 3 second rounders (45,59,64). Maybe #59 or 64 for OJ Howard? What else would you guys like?

    • Trevor

      #64 for OJ Howard if JS can make that deal I would be pumped. Then pickup Howard’s 5th year option. We would have both Dissly and Howard, a dynamic TE duo both on rookie deals. Then spend the cap space on DL / OL.

      The draft an athletic but raw high upside TE in the 4th round to develop behind those guys.

      • Greg Haugsven

        Dissly and Howard sure does sound appetizing. Very different players but both can catch and block. Would be fantastic. Also seems like a JS move as he gets to date Howard before he marrys him (long term deal)

        • Trevor

          It just makes too much sense if TB really has him on the market. It is not a great TE draft class and it allows you to spend cap $ on the defense or OL instead of for a TE like Hooper or Hunter Henry.

    • BobbyK

      You mean I can’t want Aaron Donald for a 7th round pick in 2021? 🙂

      I’d like to see the Seahawks offer LJ Collier to Indy for Paris Campbell. Neither made much of an impact as rookies and some/much of the blame can be attributed to injuries. It’s just a minor deal that I would like to see made/offered.

      Before anyone says why that stupid or whatever – Greg clearly asked us above what each of us would like to see offered. You disagreeing does nothing to change my opinion. lol

    • Simo

      Option #1: Pick #27 to Denver for Vonn Miller. He still has approx 3 good/great years left.

      Option #2: R3 comp pick to Minn for Everson Griffen. Similar to Vonn, he’s still producing at a good level and improves the pass rush.

      Option #3: Pick #59 to Jax for Campbell. Another older player with some juice left, and a step up from Griffen.

      All of these players are a bit older, but still should be highly productive for another 2-3 years. Combine one of these trades with a FA pickup of a younger edge rusher and resigning Clowney, and they are on the way towards significant def line and pass rush improvement. This also gives the young d line guys (Collier, Green, new draft picks) a chance to develop into starters as well.

    • Rob4

      Pocic + R2/64 + 2021 R2 for V. Miller + R5 178 (cha says this is to light, so might have to sweeten it some for Denver to make the deal!)

      T. Thompson + 4/143 to Cle for TE Njoku + 6/187

      L. Hill to LV Raiders for WR K. Doss (ERFA)

      • Simo

        Love the idea of trying to include some players we have no use for into these trade proposals! Although, I suspect if we no longer want them, it’s more than likely nobody else does either. I just can’t see that TT or Hill have any trade value at all, they are more likely to be cut.

      • cha

        Pocic + R2/64 + 2021 R2 for V. Miller + R5 178 (cha says this is to light, so might have to sweeten it some for Denver to make the deal!)

        pfft. That guy doesn’t know anything.

    • Henry Taylor

      The Howard trade mentioned above would be my #1, but I’d also like to see Ngakoue for 27 and maybe a 2nd or 3rd, assuming he gets tagged by Jacksonville.

      He doesn’t have the arm length or the agility testing they typically go for, but I don’t think that matters much when you’re a proven producer in the league. And at just 24 if we can get him and Clowney locked up the pass rush should be a force for years to come.

    • Maurice Lovell

      Not sure it’s enough. But a 2nd and McDougald for Dallas Goedert. They need a FS, and Goedert is rumored to be unhappy as 2nd fiddle. Just a thought though.

      • Maurice Lovell

        McDougald is likely to old, lol.

  37. Greg Haugsven

    Another question I ask is why people in here always project that certain free agents will get 5 or 6 year deals? They always do the 4 years as a max and havent given a 5 year deal since Sidney Rice and Zach Miller back in 2011 and the rare 6 year deal to Percy in 2013.

    • Trevor

      I think the deal Russ did was a 4 yrs extension so 5 yrs total. I think if they want to get a guy like Clowney or Jones they will have to go 5yrs unless they want pay a bigger guaranteed $ amount.

  38. Coach

    I just saw that Sammy Watkins might be a cap casualty and we need a wr3. What are your thoughts on Sammy being one of the best available weapons for Russ? I think if I said we could get him after week 5 this season, everyone would be jumping at the chance to sign him! I know he needs to be more consistent, but he can be a dynamic weapon.

    Go Hawks!!

  39. Trevor

    Really interesting article Rob and give us Hawks fans a ton to think about. as you hilighted all 3 players (KJ, Britt and Mcdougald) have been leaders and loyal soliders in helping Pete rebuild the culture after the Sherm, Bennett, Earl drama. Tough decisions to make on all 3 to say the least.

    My 5 cents.

    Mcdougald – His contract still looks like a deal to me. He is versitile and can play both spots. If Blair comes in and shows big improvement then wins the SS spot then at the lease Mcdougald can back up both Safety spots as well as some big nickel. I put the odds at 80% that he is a Hawk next year.

    Britt – Fans seem anxious to see him out the door but I think the run blocking in particular took a hit when he got hurt last year. He is still only 29 and has been durable except for the ACL injury. If he is healthy for the start of camp I could see them extending him 2-3 years and significantly reducing his cap hit in 2020. I put the odds at 70% that he is a Hawk next year at at reduced cap #.

    KJ – One of my all time favourite Hawks and ring of honour lock IMO. He is a great leader and had a solid season last year staying healthy as well. All that being said he looks slower and I can’t see the Hawks bringing him back at that cap # or extending him given his age. I hate to say it but I think the Hawks move on unless KJ is willing to take a pretty significant pay cut and I am not sure they would even want him to do that. I am sure it will be one of the toughest moves PC/JS have ever made but I think KJ is the most likely of the three not to be back. I would love them to find a way to keep him and let him retire with the organization but not sure how they do.

    • Volume12

      I like McDougald a lot. I can also relate to what he’s been through in life. He’s a leader, smart player. That dude is sloooow. His 4.7 40 and 1.72 10 show IMO.

    • Simo

      Nicely done, good explanation of your logic on each player’s likelihood of getting cut. It’s hard to quibble over this to much, I just think it’s a bit more likely Britt is a casualty. Like we’ve been hearing here on SDB, he not only has a large cap hit, but he’s coming off of a severe injury. I do agree that he’s a better option than Hunt, but 1) not at his current cap number, and 2) only if he’s 100% healthy, and 3) provided they don’t intend to draft a replacement center (Ruiz).

      Also, I don’t think they end up cutting KJ or McDougald!

      • Rob4q

        McD is so versatile, I can’t see them saying goodbye to him yet…and he’s not expensive at all. He’s good for the young guys like Blair and Amadi as well as the rookie they draft this year!

        I think Britt will be cut and then resigned to a 2 or 3 year deal with a much lower cap hit for 2020. That seems to make the most sense for the team and player.

        Similar for KJ, I think they will restructure his deal for another 2 years and lower his 2020 cap hit with a signing bonus. He played really well last season and was one of the best defenders on the field. Wagner on the other hand clearly was slowed by his knee/ankle injuries so lets hope he heals up!

  40. Volume12

    So that’s why some scouts are down on Minnesota WR Tyler Johnson. The factors we’ll never know or see.

    Bad character reveiws from area scouts during the season. Him dropping from the Shrine game is odd too. We have another Jachai Pilife situation?

    • Volume12

      * Polite

    • Trevor

      I was wondering what was up with him because his production was excellent and tape looked good to me.

    • Jhams

      Still crazy to me that Polite was such headcase he couldn’t even make a roster. I wonder if he’ll ever pull it together and get another shot? Still so young.

  41. dcd2

    With about a month to go before FA opens up, I went looking for some options that might fill a need. These are guys that hopefully wouldn’t break the bank, while also giving some flexibility to lean BPA in the draft. Again, these are just ‘budget’ options, that have some upside and haven’t been mentioned much, as we’ve been focusing on bigger names.

    Jason Spriggs (T, GB) Former 2nd round pick, only 25, hedge for Fant/Ifedi leaving
    Evan Boehm (G, MIA) 26 yrs, played C in college so has that exp., only gave up 1 sack last year
    Le’Raven Clark (T, IND) 26 yrs, 36+ arms! one year prove-it?

    A’Shawn Robinson (DT, DET) Former 2nd rounder from Alabama, big run-stuffer, long arms
    David Onymeta (DT, NO) Young & talented. Cost will be the issue, otherwise NO would surely keep him

    Kareem Hunt: Has stayed out of trouble, and is versatile and young.

    Bradley Roby (DB, HOU) Possible Nickel CB

    • Henry Taylor

      Spriggs was a TEF monster if I remember correctly.

    • Volume12

      Onyemata is someone that I think would be a good schematic fit. I know Trev has been bangin’ the table for him.

      DE Stephen Weatherly.

    • icb12

      Hunt just got pulled over with Weed and an open bottle of vodka, admitted on camera he wouldn’t pass an NFL drug test to the cops..

      To say he has stayed out of trouble is inaccurate.

  42. Volume12

    Don’t sleep on RT/G ULL Robert Hunt (RG Kevin Dotson is very good too) This is grown man stuff right here. Has a funky pass split which could cause some mirroring issues. However, I counted 3 or 4 pancakes here.

    Gigantic human being, plays with a ton of effort, power, turns dudes in the hole consistently opening lanes for his back, mobile.

    RT #50
    ULL O-line vs Nevada (2019):

    • Volume12

      Lol. Not Nevada that was the last guy I was watching.

      * Georgia So.

      • Mark Souza

        Good find, V12. Hard not to notice him. Did you notice RB JD King (15) in the same video. He looks a little hawky to me (5-11, 220), a transfer out of Oklahoma St who should still be there at the end of the draft or as an UDFA. Nice link.

        • Mark Souza

          Whoops, a little ahead of myself – only a junior and hasn’t declared.

        • Eburgz

          MAULER. Looks athletic enough too. I watched some games when Daniel Jeremiah posted some clips a couple months back.

          Probably a round 2 guy? Lots of good options on the OL. Rob mentioned Tyree Philips above, another good shout.

      • Mark Souza

        Not Georgia Southern either. It’s Louisiana Lafayette.

  43. vbullen65

    Hawks definitely need to make some upgrades. However, let’s not forget they were 6 points away from going to the championship game!

    • Rob Staton

      All the more reason to be aggressive to fix their crappy defense.

  44. Steve Nelsen

    Listened to the podcast during lunch and enjoyed it. I am really looking forward to the combine and seeing a group of players with Seahawk profiles develop.

    • Rob Staton

      Cool, thanks for listening.

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