The three free agents I would target for the Seahawks

Since the end of the season almost all the talk has been about Geno Smith’s future and what the Seahawks should do with the #5 pick.

It’s time to talk about free agency.

The Seahawks have been frugal spenders in the Schneider/Carroll era. They tried to accelerate their initial build in 2011 by signing Sidney Rice, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery. They’ve dabbled with big free agency moves since then (T.J. Lang for example) but haven’t made a splash. They’ve not been afraid to make big trades, though.

It says a lot that Uchenna Nwosu’s two-year, $19m contract is the most expensive per-year that they’ve given an outside free agent.

Is it time to return to 2011 and make some big moves?

You’ll hear people insist the Seahawks ‘won’t’ spend in free agency ‘because it’s not what they do’ without actually considering whether it is something they should do.

The evidence shows the best teams in the league make good moves in the market.

Cincinnati completely revamped their defense with the key additions of Trey Hendrickson and D.J. Reader in 2021, helping pave the way for a Super Bowl run.

The Eagles intelligently added Haason Reddick ahead of the 2022 season, before making further moves for Kyzir White and James Bradberry. Trades for A.J. Brown and Darius Slay also injected quality into the team.

The Chiefs made a splash for their offensive line, signing Joe Thuney to a massive contract in 2021. They also signed Justin Reid and aggressively traded for Frank Clark and Orlando Brown.

The 49ers made smart moves acquiring Trent Williams and Charvarius Ward — and their trade for Christian McCaffrey now looks inspired.

The Seahawks almost certainly aren’t going to be able to just draft their way to glory. Seattle’s Super Bowl winning team, after all, relied a lot on free agent signings Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril — while Rice and Miller were also part of that team and there were also big contributions from veterans that were acquired (Marshawn Lynch, Chris Clemons and, in the Super Bowl at least, Percy Harvin).

I appreciate there isn’t much money to spend ($19m in effective cap space) and a lot of what is available is going to be spent on keeping certain players — most notably Geno Smith and/or Drew Lock and Ryan Neal. They’ll get $6.5m more when they cut Gabe Jackson. I would also cut Quinton Jefferson (saving $4.5m) and Bryan Mone (saving $2.6m).

I would call time on Jamal Adams’ career in Seattle — making him a post-June 1st cut and saving $11m for 2023. Time for a fresh start for team and player. They shouldn’t be committing $36m in 2023 to Quandre Diggs and Adams.

I’d also lean into the $98m in effective cap space Seattle currently has stashed for 2024. Any deal with Geno Smith is likely to be backloaded with a small 2023 cap hit. I’d like to do the same to add some key free agents. This team needs an injection of talent. The Seahawks need to go and get their answer to Thuney, Reddick, Hendrickson or D.J. Reader.

The veteran market is bloated and it’s the place where good players get great salaries and average players get good salaries. That’s why you’ve got to box clever and make bold, direct moves for a small pool of players. You’ve got to be prepared to spend a little bit more than you’re comfortable with to get quality.

Over the years the Seahawks have gone for depth over quality. They’ll sign a lot of players on modest contracts. It hasn’t worked. It’s how you end up with Benson Mayowa as your DE1, an anaemic pass rush and an offensive line that up until 2022 was pretty awful.

This isn’t a free agent class with tons of great options but some exist.

These are the names I would target…

Lavonte David (LB, Tampa Bay)

A lot of people are going to look at his age (he turned 33 in January) and dismiss this. Don’t. David remains one of the absolute top linebackers in the NFL and would be a huge get for anyone who can lure him away from the Buccaneers.

At the moment Tampa Bay has the worst cap situation in the league. They are $58m over the cap. They will receive $24m in relief with Tom Brady retiring. Otherwise, they’re going to need to go down the same route as New Orleans and restructure a bunch of contracts. They are a veteran group without the scope to blow things up and rebuild.

One of the things they’ll need to do is sign a quarterback. This is the one other destination where you can imagine Geno Smith making sense. Head Coach Todd Bowles worked with Smith in New York and this week, they interviewed Dave Canales for their offensive coordinator job. Thomas Brown from the Rams is also another strong candidate and he comes from the same scheme in LA.

What I’m getting at is something has to give. A saving will need to be made somewhere. Despite David claiming he wants to finish his career in Tampa Bay (as you’d expect) it might not be financially viable.

The Seahawks should be primed and ready with a two-year deal that is good enough to persuade David to come to Seattle instead.

There isn’t a more violent, aggressive and dynamic linebacker in the league. Even at this stage in his career, David is flying to the ball like he’s in his 20’s. He’s constantly in attack mode and he continues to help set a tone on defense. His PFF grade of 85.1 ranked third among linebackers in 2022. If you’re wondering about his legs — his coverage grade of 88.0 ranked second only to Tremaine Edmunds (90.0).

He could lead the second level of the defense if Jordyn Brooks misses time as he recovers from an ACL. Otherwise, pairing Brooks with David would give the Seahawks a good-looking duo at a position that requires an injection of talent.

A contract worth $22m over two years could get it done. I’d be willing to go higher if needed. Whether David would have interest moving to the other end of the country remains to be seen. You just know what you’re getting with him.

Sell him a dream. Let’s see those recruiting skills put to work, Pete. This isn’t a great draft at linebacker so getting proven quality in free agency would be a huge get. There isn’t anyone like David out there, who can provide quality and leadership.

Trade for DaRon Payne (DT, Washington)

Seattle’s biggest weakness is up front in the trenches on defense. Rather than hope a rookie can come in and solve this problem — it’s time to be aggressive.

I can’t imagine any situation where the Commanders let Payne just walk off into free agency. Even if they only get a third round pick in return, it makes sense to franchise tag him and seek a trade. People talk about a future compensatory pick but you only get those if you don’t make a comparable move yourself in free agency. Making a trade for Payne, rather than gambling on getting a comp pick, makes 100% sense.

With 11.5 sacks in 2022 and an 11.8% pass-rush win-rate since 2021 — Payne would provide the impact Seattle needs. He can create much-needed disruption. If you do a deal for him early in the off-season, you’ve addressed one of the biggest areas of need before you’ve even got to the draft. Then, if you wanted to add Jalen Carter or another defensive tackle, you add to what you’ve already got. You’re not just relying on rookies.

It won’t be cheap to sign Payne but who cares? If he costs $20m-a-year, that’s only $2m more than you’re paying Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs in 2023. Signing people like Quinton Jefferson for $5m isn’t getting it done. Adding someone with the proven ability to get sacks from the interior would be a huge help for the defense.

I’d seriously consider giving up a day-two pick for Payne if/when he’s tagged. He doesn’t turn 26 until the Summer. He’d probably cost as much as Javon Hargrave who’s just turned 30. If the Commanders want a first rounder, that’s a bit too rich for me. If they’re realistic about what they’re going to get in return — adding Payne would be a big plus.

Going into next season with Payne, Al Woods and Shelby Harris plus an impressive rookie rotating in would give you the platform for a better year in the trenches.

Garrett Bradbury (C, Minnesota)

Sometimes you just need a change of scenery. Look at Ethan Pocic. He received the third highest grade for a center in 2022 (79.0) according to PFF.

Bradbury hasn’t been a disaster for the Vikings, he just hasn’t justified the #18 pick in the 2019 draft. He’s been alright. Frankly, I’d settle for ‘alright’ at center in Seattle. His 67.5 grade in 2022 was good enough for 11th at his position. In comparison, Austin Blythe received a 51.9 grade.

I don’t think this is a center draft that will provide obvious solutions for the Seahawks. John Michael Schmitz is becoming a bit overrated. I have him graded in round three pre-combine and will explain why in more detail when I publish an updated horizontal board tomorrow. I don’t think it’s an exciting centre class. The one player I would say was worthy of a top-40 pick — Georgia’s Sedrick Van Pran — opted not to turn pro.

I would happily take a chance on Bradbury who has the ideal physical profile for Seattle’s scheme. He’s a squatty 6-3 and 306lbs with great athleticism. He ran a 4.92 at his combine and added a 4.53 short shuttle. His body control and low center of gravity work well in leverage battles.

He’s familiar with Seattle’s scheme having worked for Kevin O’Connell in 2022. The terminology, therefore, will be similar. Bradbury had the best pass-pro grade of his career playing for O’Connell.

He turns 28 in June so he’s at a good age. PFF suggests he could earn a three-year deal worth $6m a season. I would pay that to see if he can upgrade from Blythe and produce a base-line consistency that is ‘decent’ at the position. They paid Blythe $4m in 2022 so it’s not a massive difference. If Bradbury produces his 2022 form for the next three years, it’ll be a good investment.

With these three additions, you would have the flexibility to take a quarterback at #5 if you wanted to (and I believe this is a much stronger possibility than most people in the media think). You could also keep adding to the defense. You wouldn’t need to spend a pick on a center and could focus on adding a right guard (there will be viable options in the middle rounds). More than anything, I’d argue you could focus on BPA with a lot of your picks. That’s one of the reasons why the 2022 class was such a roaring success.

I think the Bradbury signing is very realistic. I am less confident about David — who might simply take any old deal to stay with the only team he knows. It’s hard to be confident about adding Payne. Every fanbase in the country seems to want him. Micah Parsons is actively pushing for him to sign for Dallas. If he’s tagged, you’d have to be the team that outbids the others. It’s complicated.

There’s not much point writing an article, though, where you talk about free agency and don’t aim high. The goal should be to claim impact players. Your Reddick or Hargrave. Your Hendrickson or Reader. Your Thuney.

Trying to nickel and dime free agency hasn’t worked for the Seahawks over the last few years. There are always risks dabbling in the market but at what point do you just have to try something different? Especially when your defense was exposed as badly as it was in 2022.

These three signings alone won’t send you to the top. It’s about combining good drafting with good veteran additions. Both will be required.

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  1. no frickin clue

    Thanks Rob! Your content this year has been amazing.

    I’d like any of those three guys, and I’d probably rank them as 1) Payne, 2) David, 3) Bradbury

    Incidentally, on the topic of offensive linemen: what do you think of Cody Mauch? I saw someone compare him to Mitch Morse and wondering if you think he’d be a candidate at C, even if he didn’t play that in college. Maybe his size would make him better at Guard in this offense?

    • Rob Staton

      I think Mauch’s ideal position in the NFL is center. He looked the part when he played there in Mobile.

  2. Cysco

    @Cha or anyone else – happen to know the key dates for free agency and tagging players? Just curious when we’ll know the fate of DaRon Payne.

    • Osprey

      February 21
      Beginning this date through 4:00 p.m., New York time on March 7 clubs may designate Franchise or Transition Players.

      March 7
      Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

      March 13-15

      Negotiation Period. During the period beginning at 12:00 noon, New York time, on March 13 and ending at 3:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 15, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2022 Player Contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 15.
      During the above two-day negotiating period, a prospective UFA who is not represented by an NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor is permitted to communicate directly with a new club’s front office officials (excluding the Head Coach and other members of the club’s coaching staff) regarding contract negotiations.

      No prospective Unrestricted Free Agent is permitted to execute a contract with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 15.

  3. PJ in Seattle

    Great targets that would address clear needs.My only concern with Payne is that Chicago could target him as well. WIth their draft capital and cap space, they could price us out of contention pretty quickly if they make a serious run at him.

  4. Roy Batty

    A rebuild needs vets to mentor the rookies. They need more mentors.

  5. cha

    Sign David to the Bobby Wagner deal.

    $2.5m cap hit first year
    $12.5m cap hit the second, with $7.5m dead to escape
    Loaded with options and low dead cap to get out after two seasons

    • Rob Staton

      I think David will have a better market and will need more convincing

  6. Peter

    Carrying on from last thread and an option I had not considered. But DC1234 mentioned a report that the bears would trade Fields and draft qb #1 overall.

    Which would be interesting because Houston is not likely to trade with indy for anything. Leaving indy left to deal with either to trade even Hardee with whomever Houston might make a trade with or AZ who is stuck (set?) With Murray. If it’s true that irsay likes young that could set us up well with either levis or Richardson.

    Or Chicago doing Chicago things and move off of Fields for as an as raw prospect in Richardson leaving Stroud possibly there…..

    • DC1234

      Irsay is not being coy at all. Tweeting “my relationship with chicago bears goes back more 60 years…”. And included a pic of himself when he was a kid in chicago.

      He wants the #1 pick. So maybe the Bears get a offer they cant refuse and keep Fields.

      Houston telling potential HC candidates they will pick qb at #2

      So im guessing the draft order might be:

      1. Indy: Stroud
      2. Houston: Levis
      3. Arizona: Anderson
      4. Bears: Carter

      Arizona with a defensive HC will want the best defensive player on the board.

      Bears pick Carter because they believe the seahawks will pick defense and dont want to trade back again and miss out.

      • Rob Staton

        If Carolina doesn’t sign Derek Carr as a hedge

        I can’t see them not trading into the top-four

        • DC1234

          Panthers do have lots of draft capital from the McCaffrey trade. Hoping Carr want to work with Reich and Caldwell and picks the Panthers then.

        • Denver Hawker

          I’ve suspected Reich secured assurances from Tepper that he would get a QB before taking the job- especially after what Irsay limited him to in Indy.

  7. Peter

    Great stuff Rob.

    What do you think about making a run at Hargraves? Significantly older than Payne but Spotrac has his value nearly the same as Payne.

    For those keeping watch Spotrac has Geno at 39 million. Yikes. Hope he gets it just not with us.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m less keen on spending massive money on a 30 year old

      • Peter

        I do like the idea of a DT in free agency. But it is a rough looking market.

        I wonder if Gaines could be someone who might be a valuable piece. I’m not sold that he’s much better than anyone else on the roster.

        • Rob Staton

          Gaines has very short arms so is unlikely in Seattle

          • Peter

            Ahh thank you. Did not know that.

  8. Simo

    Another nice article Rob, and spot on again. They clearly need to add some quality veteran talent, especially up front. No more band aid linemen on the cheap please! This is definitely not working.

    I’m also on board with the cap cuts you mentioned, although I’m curious whether or not Shelby Harris remains on the team. Although he was pretty productive in 2022, I recall his 2023 cap hit is fairly high. Any chance he’s let go to create more room as well? Or perhaps they can restructure his contract and keep him around, while reducing his cap hit.

    I just worry that they’re going to need more available cap space if they intend to sign several quality free agents, in addition to Geno as the bridge QB.

    Thanks for all the great work!

    • Rob Staton

      I would keep Harris. One of the few defenders who actually played well

  9. Old but Slow

    Yes, yes, yes to this article. And, while I like the choices that you have mentioned, Rob, are there one or two alternatives to consider if they are unable to make a deal with these guys?

    A defensive lineman who can push the center, a dynamic linebacker and a center. Bam!

  10. Jordan

    I like the positions identified here.

    I think it is important to add at least one competent veteran starter at interior dline, interior oline, and lber prior to the draft. That keeps you from feeling the urge to force a need in the draft; and I think part of what made their ’22 draft so successful was that they could stick and pick good players as the opportunities presented themselves rather than fighting the board to address a need.

  11. Zeke

    Seeing your article with the point Hugh Millen brought up about the amount of turnovers Geno should’ve had, I’m just hoping they roll the dice on a cheap FA QB like Lock, Minshew, Mayfield, Darnold ect, use #5 on a QB, then spend big filling out the rest of the roster.

  12. Big Mike

    Great food for thought article Rob. When you said “Over the years the Seahawks have gone for depth over quality.” you really nailed it. A move for David in FA or trade for Payne would be the opposite of what they’ve done. Color me skeptical as usual. Even if they just signed Bradbury it would be a step in the right direction as you’ve outlined. Here’s hoping……….

    • Big Mike

      Oh and needless to say I couldn’t agree more with your proposal to make the pompous peacock a post 6/1 cut. What would you put the chances of that happening at? To me I’d say >10%. Other folks, what say you?

      • HawkfaninMT

        I know he has the reputation of being “me, me, me” and he’s earned it to an extent (over-celebrating routine plays, the LV coffee cup, etc)…

        But he seems to genuinely like the culture and team of the Seahawks. Given his injury and history since joining the team (and the league wide perception that I’m sure comes along with that), I wonder if there is an opportunity for a restructure here that gives him some security but also gives the team some cap relief?

      • Ashish

        No surprise SDB members wants peacock to be gone, it will battle between JS and PC. PC being optimistic to the core hoping coming year he will perform Vs JS who wants to rebuild the roster.

      • TomLPDX

        Less than 1%.

        For some reason I think Adams is a point of pride for Pete. Wishes in one hand and crap in the other…

        • Big Mike

          We are on the same page about how Carroll views the guy Tom but to me, that “point of pride” is actually a desperate attempt to save some sort of face for the horrible trade.

          • TomLPDX


      • cha

        Big Mike you can buy JA one of these:

        Or two? One for 2023 and one for 2022.

        • Big Mike


        • Big Mike


      • 509 Chris

        I’m actually optimistic that they’ll cut JA. As much as we’re sitting around fretting over cap space, I imagine Pete and John have been fretting more. They see both those safties and almost 40 mil and have to know at least one has to go. I wish they’d cut them both but I really think they’ll at least move off of one, adams making more sense because he’s been hurt so much.

        • Big Mike

          I do hope you’re correct. You definitely have logic on your side.

          • 509 Chris

            I will say I always get too optimistic this time of year though. Rob always writes a few articles at the start of off-season similar to this and yesterday’s that lay out a good path to travel. Then we talk about it for a couple months and it’s like I get it in my head that we’ve found the absolute only logical way to proceed so of course this is what they’ll do, and I get crushed when the team goes a 180. Last year was a good start though so this year’s optimism does have some rational thought behind it I think.

            • Peter

              I feel this.

              Every year Rob brings up so many scenarios I think great there’s a few good paths let’s do it.

              Then they draft McDowell and I think this is the one person Rob said not to draft.

              Cross. Good value.

              Mafe. Will probably be a good pick when we stop playing Irvin

              K9. Need. Value. Showed up.

              Lucas. Excellent value.

              Woolen. Awesome find.

              More of this please.

      • Lord Snow

        A buddy of mine gets tired of me bagging on Pete all the time. Then I say forget all the horrible mistakes over the past decade let’s talk about the Adams trade. He tells me it was a good trade at the time. And I’m like you gave up two first rounders a Third and a starting safety for a box safety in a devalued position plus you force yourself to sign him to a ridiculous crippling contract. Then he says but he was a superstar.

        There is no way to properly debate this issue when people make up their minds like that.

        • Peter

          I try to listen to a lot of hawk talk. And its a lot of “we’ll get em next year,” with adams and a few others.

          Sometimes I think this site is talking about a whole other team. Pundits telling me about how Barton is due a good year. Brooks is super valuable. Diggs is just fine ( on the wrong side of 30 plus contract), bluthe showed a ton of leadership….etc, etc.

          I used to be that fan. Now I just think it’s okay to let players go. I want our team to be amazing. I’m not interested in the “feelings,” or whatever of guys who are making anywhere between 500k up to 20 plus million dollars more than I ever did at that age to play a game.

          If they aren’t good it’s okay. Tons and tons of players aren’t good and that’s why teams move on. This endless desire to rah rah for our specific guys is mind boggling.

    • Ben

      The trade for Payne doesn’t seem just like the trade for Sheldon Richardson?

      I agree they’ve gone for depth or quality in free agency in recent years, but it feels like they’ve trade to acquire all sorts of players with picks over time as well.

      Harvin, Richardson, Diggs, Clowney, Adams, Brown, Lynch, Graham… I’m sure I’m missing a bunch more.

  13. Eduardo Ballori

    Hey Rob,

    Your Geno to Tampa suggestion alongside with chatter about a Raven’s Lamar Jackson contract impass, AND BOTH TAMPA AND BALTIMORE HAVING INTERVIEWED DAVE CANALES, got me wondering if the interest in Dave Canales is more of a disguised interest in finding out what Geno’s QB coach says about Geno Smith. Baltimore might be hedging their bets and Tampa kicking the tires on the Mr Smith? Thoughts?

    P.S. I’d throw Demarcus Walker’s hat into the ring. He chad success all while being underutilized by the Titans and could be a great value play similar to Uchenna last year.



  14. Ben

    The devil is in the details. Post June 1st cut on Adams isn’t 14.2M in dead cap space. Freeing up 9-10 mill on Diggs this season then frees up the whole salary next season.

    These are choices that could be made if they’re aggressive about cleaning up the salary for the team not just this year, but next year as well.

  15. Starhawk29

    Lost a little bit of respect for Bucky Brooks today. Generally, I think he’s a better scout of guys already in the league, and I like his breakdown articles on why some guys are succeeding based off of the tape. He’s never, in my opinion, been a very good draft scout, but that isn’t really why I liked him. Until I saw his big board today. Yuck.

    Hendon Hooker as QB3?????? Whatever Bucky’s on, I’ll have some of that please. Cause no way does a sober person watch Hooker and think “Yeah, this guy is better than the freakish Levis and Richardson, so much so that I’ll overlook the ACL and college system he played in.” That’s just not something I can rationalize. I know this is not his lane (at least not the one I tend to care about), but this is either sensationalist bull**** for clicks or just irrational bias.

  16. MoBo

    For everyone interested in spending too much free time into Roster Building and different possibilites. I’ve spent way too much free time into making a simpler version of the OTC Calculator in one Excelfile.

    In principle it is the same approach as OTC: Take the Total Cap and subtract the Top51 salary caps, dead money, Incentives. But I would say I made it much easier, to just calculate the 2023 Cap Hit if you resign your RFA, extend own FA, restructure coontracts and add FA from outside and play with the numbers.
    I also added a list of possible FA, some stats of 2023, PFF grades, combine results by specific traits and projected cap Hits by sites like Spotrac and PFF. The biggest difference is you can save your numbers and compare possible rosters simply by checking one box by the name of the player. The downside is that my projection for the 2024 Cap is not as precise as OTC but good enough imo.

    For everyone who wants to give it a try. I uploaded it into my Onedrive:!AjFJlttotF0EgRTLDvUIYQJvPnao

    Have fun and pls give me some possitv or negative feedback

    • Peter

      I love that the community does stuff like this.

    • no frickin clue

      This is quite impressive. I thought I knew my way around Excel and…yeah.

      One thing I can’t figure out, there are references to a ‘Calculation’ worksheet, but can’t actually see that. Is it hidden? Rationale?

      Also, Brissett on the roster for $6.7m as a bridge? I can’t decide if that’s reasonable or not. 🙂

      Nicely done.

    • cha


  17. Volume12

    I like Tyree Wilson a lot and see some similarities between him & Travon Walker in that they’re both incredibly raw/high upside guys. Yes they’re 2 different styles, but I think I like Will McDonald IV more than Wilson. GD travesty what Iowa St did to him last year having him line up @ 4i. Love the way he fires off the EDGE

    • Volume12

      Great UOH, nasty spin move, good footwork, actually has counters. Just needs to put on some mass. Wouldnt surprise me 1 bit if he ends up being the best EDGE from this class

    • Trevor

      Agree completely about Will McDonald I think he will be a stud. Watching him at the Senior Bowl he was playing at a different speed than all the other edge guys. Actually think he has more upside than even Will Anderson. In 2-3 will be a perennial double digit sack guy I think.

    • Nick

      As you and many others note, he is exactly what Seattle loves. Based on his tape, I’m assuming he will break into the 1.5s for 10 yard split.

  18. hoggs41

    If we are going to get a new center and a new right guard would people rather it be guard in the draft and center in free agency or vice versa?

    • MoBo

      Cut Gabe Jackson and use the 6.5M for:
      FA Center: Pocic or Bradbury (3y, 6-7M APY)
      Low cost FA Guard: Haynes or Eluemunor (1y, <3M)
      Draft a Guard (2-4 round)

  19. Sea Mode

    It still hurts every time…

    • Bballin

      I can’t believe how many people are up in arms about the least important position in the Seahawks offense.

      • DC1234

        Cant imagine how seahawks fans feel if they pass on a qb this draft and he becomes a star. If Creed Humprey miss gets fans this upset.

        Im numb to the pain from being a Mariners fan for decades.

      • Peter

        It’s weird that it’s not an important position so much so that the superbowl Champs went and drafted him.

        Checks notes….and we’ve been cycling through them like it’s nothing and getting exactly that back in return.

        Also I know just corollary but weird that we haven’t had a steady line including center since unger was traded.

        • DC1234

          There are certain positions team are good at drafting and developing. Like WRs for the Steelers, Oline for the Patriots

          Pete Carroll era doesnt seem to focus on center. He didnt even draft Unger. He was drafted 2009.

          • Peter

            What scares me?

            Seattle sucks at drafting interior dline talent. Jarran Reed. And then they couldn’t retain him.

            Should be pretty interesting come draft time and may be a reason to shovel some cash at Payne.

            • DC1234

              Not just Dline, its the whole defense. The Seahawks have been terrible at drafting defense since 2012 draft.

              9 years you got pro bowls from Frank Clark, Jarrad Reed, Woolen. Jury is still out on DTaylor, Mafe

              I dont want to check, but I think this is the worst in the entire league

              • DC1234

                *I forgot one pro bowl year from Shaq griffin. Also jury is still out on Jordan Brooks. (IMHO, i dont think he is a pro bowl level player)

              • Peter

                Agreed. If you look at the last nine years it’s legitimately abyssmal.

  20. Sea Mode

    Uh oh.

    Jeremy Fowler

    The Bucs are expected to hire Seahawks quarterbacks coach Dave Canales for their offensive coordinator job, per sources. Canales helped get best out or Russell Wilson and Geno Smith, now set to oversee Bucs offense.

    • Sea Mode

      Mike had it first.

      Mike Garafolo

      The #Buccaneers are hiring #Seahawks QB coach Dave Canales as their new offensive coordinator, sources say. After 13 seasons as an assistant on Pete Carroll’s coaching staff, Canales heads to Tampa to run the offense for Todd Bowles.

      • ShowMeYourHawk

        Lord, I’m not a religious man but I’ll definitely consider against blaspheming your kid’s name in traffic for a solid week if you ship Geno off to Tampa. Amen.

      • jed

        Also an interesting idea from The Athletic’s Bucs reporter. Lock instead? Fun hire for Seahawks QB speculation over the next few months.

        As Bucs eye veteran QBs to pair with Kyle Trask, one new (and inexpensive) option that makes sense with Dave Canales on board as OC is Seahawks backup Drew Lock, who is a free agent.

        • jed

          *formerly Ari the Athletic, now at Fox Sports.

    • Denver Hawker

      I mocked Geno to the Bucs mostly in jest yesterday- but I did think he’d fit that offense nicely if the Hawks don’t reach a deal before free agency. This definitely moves the odds.

  21. Hawkhomer1

    I want DaRon Payne so bad. We need a game wrecker on the inside to push the pocket. Carter may be a guy that can do that but Payne has shown he does and would do so for a long time. 5 years $130 mil backloaded.

    What do you think about Denzel Perryman as a linebacker Rob? He will cost a lot less and be a big improvement over either of our guys.

    Bradbury might be a good fit for the right price. I would just hate to invest too much into this position. What about bringing Pocic back for just over the veteran minimum.

    Thanks for all you do Rob.

    • DK

      Center is one of the most underrated positions on the team. He is the making the line calls and then makes the changes based on any audibles the QB makes or shifts on the defensive front. I’d argue the Hawks haven’t been the same since they dealt Max Unger. Britt and Pocic were barely serviceable.

      Bringinf Pocic back in the league minimum just to go cheap at a position that needs an upgrade isn’t the way to go. Having Creed Humphrey right now instead of Dee Eskridge would improve the offense way more than even if Eskridge could stay healthy.

      • Peter

        Pete and John don’t care about centers.

        But they need a real long look in the mirror about how doing ext to nothing at the position for almost a decade has ACTUALLY been a problem.

        It’s not so so. It’s not just okay. It’s been very bad. Has created huge consistency issues along the line. There’s no leader. The center acts like a secondary general to the QB.

        If they were getting occasional success I might say different. If like dbs they could get after thought late rounders to ball out I’d shut up.

        But. Every. G–d— year we need an upgrade at the position. Every year. All of them.

        • Hawkhomer1

          Not to get in an argument fellas but I am not the only one who thinks that center is the least athletic guy on the line. There is a reason Pocic and Britt started as tackles and ended as centers. If you look at PFF Blythe was the worst center in the league so Pocic is actually an upgrade. I was also taking into account the very problematic position we are in with the salary cap. Sure, Bradbury is better. Heck, why settle. We could go after Bozeman or McGovern and get a top ten center. But that would come with a 12+million dollar cap hit. We have 19 and no quarterback on the roster.

  22. no frickin clue

    This is quite impressive. I thought I knew my way around Excel and…yeah.

    One thing I can’t figure out, there are references to a ‘Calculation’ worksheet, but can’t actually see that. Is it hidden? Rationale?

    Also, Brissett on the roster for $6.7m as a bridge? I can’t decide if that’s reasonable or not. 🙂

    Nicely done.

  23. Denver Hawker

    There’s just something too poetic about drafting the next great franchise QB at #5, a pick acquired from Denver in the Russ trade- like it feels written in the stars.

    It would cement a legacy for JS/PC and epitomize the incompetence of the Elway leadership contingecy (yes I know he isn’t GM anymore).

    • Peter

      Alternately not much more would show these guys are just riding out their contract if they trade out of five and the final two qbs go #5 and #9.

      [Insert “this is fine” dog having coffee in a burning room meme]

  24. Mr drucker in hooterville

    Wish I owned a team for two reasons. Having that kind of money. And I could hire Rob for my personnel staff and watch the league mess their drawers.

  25. Old but Slow

    A mystery. This being mock draft season, every pundit has to come up with one. A good number of them will list “team needs” for each team and supposedly use that as a basis for the choices. O K so far.

    The mystery is: is the repeated omission of QB as a Seattle need (sometimes with 4-5 needs listed), a matter of laziness, ignorance, or just stupidity? I am actually shocked when I see a writer list QB for us.

    Thank you again, Rob, for helping us keep our heads above water.

    • Peanut

      No need to draft a QB if we resign Geno, superbowl here we come!

  26. Justaguy

    Superb writing as usual Rob. The ideas you bring to this community are so incredibly underrated. Thanks for being such a valuable fan of our team.
    My pre-combine Seahawk round 1-3 draft hopeful list;
    R1.5 Will Levis
    R1.20 Michael Mayer
    Trade – SEA R2.6 & R4.2024 to CHI R2.22 & R3.1
    R2.21 Kayshon Butte
    R2.22 Keeanu Benton
    R3.1 Luke Wypler
    R3.20 Israel Abanikanda

    • Hawktalker#1

      Nice work. I like this kind of thinking.

      Also think a lot about trading down from #20 for more picks as there are a lot of good options in R2 and R3.

      Go Hawks Draft.

  27. cha

    Thinking about LD made me wonder if the Seahawks would also bring in Devin Bush on a Pete Carroll First Rounder Reclamation Project type move.

    The Steelers didn’t 5th year tender him and essentially benched him for the last two games of the year. He’s all but done in Pittsburgh.

    He’s good in coverage. At least, far, far better than Brooks or Barton have been. (Brooks gave up 5 TDs in coverage last year, QBs completed 86% of passes when targeting Barton – Bush gave up 1 TD and his completion when targeted was 75%).

    He worked both positions in a 3-4 and his combine numbers are within parameters of what the Seahawks like at LB (although his combine 3-cone and short shuttle are at the higher end of their range).

    So why are the Steelers not going to have him back? From reading the Steelers fans input and my conversations with my Steeler-fan friends, the thinking is his speed has returned from the knee injury in 2020, but the putting it together and playing with physicality hasn’t.

    He didn’t seem happy in Pittsburgh and that blue-collar-town type atmosphere did not work for him. Benching him for the last 2 games pretty much sealed it.

    He might be done. But a change in scenery, that free-spirit Pete Carroll style and a chance to fly around a bit and reclaim some confidence might provide the Seahawks with a nice value play. They could flex him back and forth between the two spots and get ‘good enough’ play until Brooks gets back and then package him in a situational role like the Neal/Barton platoon.

    If he isn’t scooped up by anyone early on, a very basic contract might be a smart camp try.

    • DriveByPoster

      Interesting that you mention it, cha. The discarded first rounder reclamation projects seem to be one of the things that the ‘hawks have quietly put a pin in over the last year or two(?). At least, I don’t recall them bringing in anyone of that ilk recently.

      • cha

        They brought in Johnathan Abram and Laquon Treadwell in 2022.

        • Rob4q

          Yes, I can totally see them bringing Devin Bush in as a reclamation process! He fits a lot of what they want at the position and just hasn’t been a fit in Pittsburgh. Maybe a change of scenery is what he needs?

          And I’d like to see them bring both Abram & Treadwell back as I think both offer some experience and upside. Abram in particular had some good moments when he was on the field.

          • Rob Staton

            The Steelers fans think he’s broken physically

        • DriveByPoster

          I stand corrected!

  28. Mick

    Interesting stuff, Rob. Would you go LB in free agency because you are not happy with the options in the draft? I’m not sold on using 20 on Drew Sanders and I think he’ll be gone in the second round. Payne is a no-brainer, and I would also prefer starting an experienced guy not named Blythe at C.

  29. Julian L

    Isn’t it this week that the Seahawks have to make a decision on whether or not to cut Quandre Diggs? I haven’t heard much chatter on whether or not they should do this?

    Would seem like the sensible thing to do to me, his current contract would take up 8% of the cap and they’d be a $14m saving by cutting him?

  30. Ukhawk

    Great narrative building through your recent articles, Rob!

    IMO I think one factor which helped the Eagles build a successful team so “quickly” was their emphasis on the trenches. They already have for some time a bunch of difference makers on the DL. KC also invested heavily in guys like Clark and Jones.

    I’m hoping PSJC attack it aggressively and sign/trade for a Payne or Buckner alongside taking a shot at drafting some potential cornerstones. This defense badly needs some leaders and star players in the front seven.

  31. Mel

    Hey Rob!

    Great article and insights. I wanted to get your thoughts on Dre’Mont Jones. Seems like he could fit the bill as a poor man’s Payne. He’s just as young and has decent pass rushing ability as well.

    • Rob Staton

      He’s more of a specialist rusher or five technique so a different player

      • Julian L

        Not sure he’d be much of an upgrade over Quinton Jefferson in this regard. I’d be for keeping QJ for his strength rushing from the interior. I think we need to be adding to the group. Teams such as Cincinnati and Philadelphia had eight or nine interior lineman on their roster, Seattle had six.

      • Mel

        Thanks for the response! Hadn’t studied tape on him, but he seemed to fit the physical mould of Payne with decent sack numbers. Payne is the prize I hope we figure out a way to land.

  32. Julian L

    Should the Seahawks sign Jordyn Brooks 5th year option? If not, they don’t have any starting calibre linebacker on the roster in the years to come. This might persuade me to try and get a younger guy in Free Agency (even if Brooks 5th year is taken up). I think Germain Pratt would fit the profile? Good player, young, scheme adaptable and coming off a team in a salary cap situation, with, other priority players to sign, which means they can’t keep him.

    • Rob Staton

      They shouldn’t take the fifth year option

      But they also don’t need to make an investment this year to cover for the future

      They can make that call in a year

  33. Sea Mode

    Have you guys seen this? Within the past month or so, now Panthers QB coach Josh McCown did scouting sessions with Josh Norris on Stroud, Young, and Levis. It seems Richardson was next but unfortunately they didn’t get to him before McCown was hired six days ago.

    Panthers QB Coach Josh McCown Scouts CJ STROUD

    Besides the excellent, NFL-level breakdown of their play, perhaps this could also give insight on which QB the Panthers might target.

    At 8:49 McCown compares Stroud’s physical skillset (frame, arm talent, movement ability, surgical drives, pocket operator with subtle mobility, enough athleticism to move outside the pocket when needed) to… Joe Burrow! To even make that comparison already says a lot IMO. At the end he says he thinks Stroud will continue closing the gap between him and Young in consensus opinion.

    At the 27:00 mark, Norris offers an interesting PFF stat about how well Stroud eludes sacks under pressure. (career 11.5% pressure-to-sack conversion rate).

    Anyways, I enjoyed this and will check out the videos on Young and Levis soon.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m not surprised by that comp to Burrow

      The way he throws with touch and accuracy to all levels of the field is reminiscent of Burrow

  34. Martin Blank

    I’d love to see Tremaine Edmunds and Dalvin Tomlinson as free agent targets. Edmunds is not yet 25, so he’s still on an upward trajectory. He could be good for a number of years, rather than short term like David. Buffalo also has cap issues, so may not be able to compete.

    And Dalvin Tomlinson as a DT target makes sense. He was move to DE in Minnesota, but may be better off going back to Nose. He would be a natural successor to Al Woods.

    I also really like Isaac Seumalo from the Eagles as a target for the O-Line. Might be too expensive if there’s a rookie guard they like, but he would really solidify this line with all the younger guys already there. Also, he’s an Oregon guy, so he may like the chance to come back to the Northwest.

  35. SchadyHawk001

    Haven’t done any research for scheme fit really like Azeez Al-Shaair‘a story and potential, anyone have insight on if he’s someone we should look at for LB

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