What will the Seahawks do next?

As things stand the Seahawks have an estimated $18.75m in available cap space. A portion of that will be taken up by the unsigned draft picks and money saved for a practise squad and injured reserve. There’s still room, however, to do some business.

Furthermore, they’re currently projected to have the most available 2020 cap space in the NFL. That’s despite paying Russell Wilson his mega-deal. The +$70m they have for next year will reduce when they eventually get a deal done with Bobby Wagner and potentially Jarran Reed. They also have the room to tie down Germain Ifedi, George Fant, Ziggy Ansah and anyone else they might want to keep depending on 2019 performance.

This massive amount of cap space has come at a cost of course — the loss of Frank Clark and Doug Baldwin. Yet the Seahawks are in an enviable position with so much available spending money and 10 draft picks slated for 2020 (including five in the first two days).

So what’s next?

They don’t need to roll money into 2020 because they have more than enough already as things stand. They might as well keep building their 2019 roster.

So far they’ve added Ansah, Jamar Taylor and Al Woods in the third wave of free agency. Who else might they consider?

There are mixed reports on Ansah’s likely availability. Ian Rapoport says he should be fine for the start of the regular season. Adam Schefter suggested he could miss time. The Seahawks were in a unique position with their cap and a fierce need for a dynamic EDGE. They could afford to take a chance on Ansah’s health in a way others couldn’t. That’s why the deal got done. Securing themselves against Ansah being unavailable, however, seems like a smart move.

There are still pass rushers available on the market including Nick Perry and Shane Ray. Both players met with the Seahawks and it’s fair to wonder if either will get a shot on a modest contract to come in on a one-year prove-it deal. Even if Ansah is healthy for most of 2019 — the Seahawks have been at their best with a strong rotation on the D-line. Adding at least one more veteran to the competition seems viable.

Some have wondered whether the Seahawks would make a big trade for Gerald McCoy. I think it’s unlikely. His current contract means you’d be taking on cap hits of $13m in 2019 then $12.5m and $12.9m the following two years. Although you could cut him at any time, that’s a significant salary unless you get him for a cheap trade.

Tampa Bay currently has $182,036 in available cap space — the lowest amount in the league. At the moment they can’t pay their rookie class and save money for injured reserve and a practise squad. They have to make a move and parting with McCoy is inevitable given there’s no dead money tied to his contract.

The Bucs are in an unfortunate position though. They’ve just lost Jason Pierre-Paul potentially for the season. That’s likely leading to a delay in proceedings. Parting with McCoy is a formality though because the only other player on the roster they can make a significant saving on is Lavonte David ($9.75m salary, no dead money). Creating $13m in cap space frees up the potential to sign a Shane Ray or Nick Perry to cover the loss of JPP.

If/when McCoy is cut, Seattle could show some interest. Although you have to wonder if adding a 31-year-old defensive tackle who so far has earned $148,545,286 in his career fits the current blueprint.

McCoy plays to his own tune. He famously arrived at training camp wearing a kimono when the Bucs took part in ‘Hard Knocks’.

That doesn’t mean he necessarily wouldn’t fit in Seattle. The Seahawks have gone to great lengths though to start building through the draft — adding younger, hungry players who are buying into a competitive culture. It’s debatable whether McCoy would fit into that.

He is still producing though. His production on the stat sheet has been consistent for years. Here are his sack and TFL numbers:

2012: 5 – 9
2013: 9.5 – 15
2014: 8.5 – 13
2015: 8.5 – 8
2016: 7 – 5
2017: 6 – 13
2018: 6 – 6

If you could get that kind of production, it’d be a major positive. The Seahawks would have to be prepared to make him a focal point though. I’m not sure McCoy would want to be a rotational defensive tackle and if he becomes a free agent, you’re not going to get him on the cheap anyway. Having signed Al Woods and with Poona Ford showing well as a rookie — are you going to sideline both to feature McCoy and Reed as a starting duo? Maybe — but it seems more likely at this stage they have their defensive tackle rotation set on the roster with a sufficient number of inside/out compliments.

Any further additions could be mere competition — such as Corey Liuget on a basic deal trying to earn a job. We’ll see what happens if McCoy becomes available.

Another suggested trade target is tight end Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings are in a similar position to the Buccs. They have $871,856 available in cap space (second lowest in the league) and need to make a saving. Moving Rudolph saves them $7.6m so a trade or simply cutting him is inevitable.

They’re also stuck in the same bind. Every team in the league knows they need to save money. So every team will lowball them in trade talks or simply wait them out. Rudolph will be cut if a trade isn’t forthcoming and teams probably believe they can then re-sign him for cheaper than the $7.5m he’s due in 2019.

Rudolph is a talented player capable of making key plays in the passing game. I haven’t studied his blocking enough to comment but you don’t often have an eight-year career at tight end in the NFL if you can’t block (with some, ahem, notable exceptions).

Rudolph might be a player of interest. He might be someone they look at if he becomes a free agent. They’re unlikely to spend a pick to acquire him though given it’d be a one-year rental and they’d be forced to commit $7.5m to him in 2019. If they can negotiate a cheaper contract without surrendering a 2020 pick — it becomes more viable.

Whatever they decide to do it certainly feels like the Seahawks aren’t done. They have the money and the motivation to keep improving. Even with the loss of Baldwin and Clark — this feels like a team trending upwards. Any additions will have to fit into the new mentality and refreshed culture. Yet they have the freedom to make more moves. Working out what they’ll actually do, however, is the hard part.

I think a bold, high-profile trade is unlikely. Yet this team is shaping into contention mode in the NFC West and if there’s a player out there that can further tip the balance in their favour — why would you rule anything out? They have the picks and the available money to be pro-active.

What seems more likely, however, is the continued collection of cheaper veterans on prove-it deals — filling out the middle-class and improving the competition on the roster.

I intend to do a Google Hangout Q&A this week plus we’ll finish up the thoughts on the draft class.

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  1. Saxon

    Rob, any chance they use some of that cap room to front-load an extension for Jarran Reed?

    • Rob Staton

      They’ve never front-loaded extensions and I don’t see that happening now.

      There’s so much that goes into an extension. Front-loading Reed’s deal could severely impact the way he plays because he knows, so soon into his new deal, that he’s made a ton of money. And they it creates dissatisfaction down the road because having made so much early in the contract he’s then practically paying for peanuts (relatively speaking) later on.

      This will be a difficult negotiation with Reed because he had 10 sacks in 2018. He’ll want big money to match the sack production. Seattle won’t want to pay him what he wants because I suspect if/when he hits the open-market he won’t get mega-money offers because let’s be right here — he isn’t a game-wrecking interior pass-rusher. He’s a quality DT who added sacks to his game in 2018 but who knows whether that happens again in 2019.

      I think there’s a decent chance Seattle lets him test the market next year. And then if he gets extremely high offers — you move on. If not, you can better whatever offer he gets and keep him. There’s very little pressure on Seattle here to do anything with Reed.

      • cha

        Just thinking out loud. I wonder if the deep 2019 DL draft class pans out, there won’t be as big a market for Reed in 2020 FA. Teams might reason, why pay $12m a year when I’ve got my rising rookie draft pick ready to make his mark in Year 2.

        • Coleslaw

          On the flip side, why wouldn’t they look at it as: I’ve got my rising rookie, why not pay a measly $12M for an interior rusher to compliment him.

        • Gohawks5151

          Not sure because you never know who is gonna rise up the board (ie Quinnen Williams) but it doesn’t look near as strong. It’s odd but I don’t see any reason to rush with Reed. Let him play it out he may lose leverage if he drops back to 5 sacks and if so we can maybe get him in the Sheldon Richardson range. Money may be gone anyways if we get Clowney😉

      • Saxon

        Great points, Rob. It’s possible Reed’s 2018 sack output was an anomaly and it probably makes sense to see if he can reproduce similar numbers in 2019.

        However, if he does match or exceed those numbers then we’ve lost any chance at keeping him at a reasonable price which, in theory, is the primary reason you try to extend a player i.e., to avoid a bidding war on the open market and potentially lose an asset. I get why you are uncomfortable with front-loading a contract but Reed seems like the kind of competitor that cares more about wins than $$$, although that is purely subjective. Front loading is great for maintaining cap flexibility down the road though. Sure, we’ve got tons of cap space in 2020 but we’ve seen it dry up quickly over the years.

        But, you convinced me it’s best to wait right now.

        • Rob Staton

          I really like Jarran Reed.

          But even if he gets another 10 sacks in 2019 I’m more than comfortable letting him test the market to discover his true value.

          • Duceyq

            Love McCoy! I shutter at the thought of a healthy Ziggy, Reed, and McCoy would look like with Collier/Martin…Rotations of Ford, Green, Marsh, and Jefferson could really put Seattle into SB contention. ..I also hope the add Bailey too.

  2. Marc

    Hoping the Hawks trade Ethan Pociic for Kyle Ruldolph and sign Shane Ray. Rudolph is an upgrade over Vannett and Shane Ray gives Seattle another pass rusher.

    • Rob Staton

      There is no chance of that happening Marc.

      The Vikings just spent the #18 pick on a center, they drafted Dru Samia and signed Josh Kline. They are not in the market for someone like Pocic who has shown absolutely nothing to warrant any interest from other teams anyway.

      • cha

        Not even if we threw in CJ Prosise? LOL

      • Marc

        What about a third round draft pick? Seattle has proven it can recover lost picks. The Seahawks are a Super Bowl contender. Imagine the two tight end sets they could use…

        • cha

          No way. Way too high. Not only are the Vikings in 2019 cap jail, they’re in 2020 cap jail. They’re over the cap in 2020. They have zero leverage in trade negotiations.

        • Rob Staton

          There’s no need to spend that kind of high pick. As outlined in the article, the Vikings have less than a million in cap space. They’re bent over a barrel. Wait for him to be cut or offer a late rounder. But I’m not sure the Seahawks even want another veteran TE earning $7.5m.

        • jamho3

          Superbowl contender?

          #1 Did you factor in regression to the mean?
          #2 How do you figure?

      • RobeND

        I really like the idea of a 6’7 Rudolph at TE. He had 64 receptions last year for 634 yards. That would go a long way in replacing Douglas’s production and providing Wilson with a huge target.

        I read that the Seahawks pay Dickson 4.3m or so and would set him free if they got the 7m Rudolph. Something could be worked out here to get a proven pass catcher.

  3. cha

    “Furthermore, they’re currently projected to have the most available 2020 cap space in the NFL. That’s despite paying Russell Wilson his mega-deal.”

    That is simply incredible. That’s both being responsible and prudent.

    Jacksonville is $8m over the cap in 2020. They have 7 players on the books for $12m or more cap hit. And they’re still Jacksonville.

    • Rob Staton

      The Jags are a quiet mess.

      Loaded their salary into outside FA’s when they had a young defensive core on rookie salaries. Then hoped Blake Bortles could lead them to the promise land. Now seemingly not in a position to pay their better young players.

      But yeah, that one year in 2017 was a bit fun…

      • cha

        Chicago is in a predicament too. Over the cap in 2020 and that’s the last year of Trubisky’s rookie deal. No first round pick or 2019 or 2020 to infuse cheap talent. Do or die at this point.

        • Rob Staton

          This is why I don’t get all the hand-wringing over PCJS that has crept in the last two years.

          They were faced with a difficult transition from one fantastic era to a fresh start. And they’ve done it masterfully really — despite zero experience previously of making such a transition. That doesn’t mean they’ve got everything right but the need these days to overreact to every move is irritating.

          The Bears, as you point out, are facing major problems. They were a fun story in 2018. But what is their longevity?

          And what do the Rams do when they’re paying Jared Goff even more than Russell Wilson?

          Lots of teams are about to be bitten on the backside. The Seahawks might time the peak of their new run at the right time.

          • cha

            And the Hawks did it while logging 9-7 and 10-6 seasons.

          • BruceN

            Agree 100%. PC and JS have done a masterful job during this transition and now we have a good blend of hungry youth and veteran experience. Couple of quick questions,

            1. First on signing of Woods. Was Shelton too expensive an option? I would’ve preferred him more as a younger and a better option. I realize Woods is a good (but not great) run stuffing veteran who’s known to bring much more to the locker room.

            2. What’s the update on Dissly’s recovery?

            • Rob Staton

              No idea on Dissly.

              Al Woods is known to and liked by the staff

          • Matt

            I think a lot of it stems from the lingering idea that the post-2014 Seahawks under-achieved some what. You saw it with all the articles that have come out with Kam Chancellor and Doug Baldwin being released that brought up the Seahawks ‘almost-dynasty’. Yet, when you compare the Seahawks to many of the other franchises that were good earlier this decade, like San Francisco, Arizona, Green Bay, Carolina, none of them have had any where close to the consistency of PCJS.

    • jamho3

      It’s impressive but it’s only the foundation we’re not there yet and have a tremendously long way to go. Not only do we need talent that our roster has not exhibited yet we need experienced talent so we need these last two draft classes to play and develop FAST

    • red

      Jax is 8 mil over but they will cut Marcell Dareus and Calais Campbell and free up 35 mil in 2020 so tey can do a Yannick Ngakoue extension. Telvin Smith situation is also interesting.

  4. CHawk Talker Eric

    I wonder if they don’t find another EDGE to make a meaningful contribution to team sack/TFL totals (not for lack of trying; I agree they’re probably going to add one of the names mentioned in the post), but anyway I wonder if they’ll try to adjust by adding behind-the-LOS production through the safety/big nickel/LB positions. If they could get 7-10 sacks from a combo of Wagner, Blair, Barton, McDougald, Griffin, Wright and one of two others…that’s as much as they could hope to get from anyone(s) left in FA. They could still trade for Clowney though. I don’t think they will, but what I think means bupkis

  5. Ashish

    Rob, hawks picks up lot of players when teams trim their roster to 53. Do you see team or teams with loaded DE or DL which hawks can target?

    • Rob Staton

      It’s too early to say at the moment

  6. CaptainJack

    With Baldwin gone could they look at a vet wideout:

    Dez is available. Kearse is out there. Rishard Matthews is one they looked at a few years before.

    Just throwing ideas into the wind. No idea if they look to add a vet hedge or just roll with the young players.

    • Rob Staton

      Kearse and Matthews maybe.

      Not Dez.

      • Coach

        What about Crabtree? They say he has some of the best hands in the league and Russ just lost his security blanket. Is that a fit?

        Go Hawks!!

        • Rob Staton

          Not likely IMO

  7. Greg Haugsven

    It will be interesting to see how many guys they do decide to add to the DLine. On one hand you dont want to rely on the young guys, but on the other hand you dont want to add to many guys to stunt there growth. They need to play to get better.

  8. Greg Haugsven

    I also have a feeling that one of Kendricks or Mingo will also be gone. If Kendricks doesnt get jail time then they could release Mingo and save about $4.1 million. If they release Kendricks and keep Mingo they would save his $3 million.

    • CaptainJack

      Well they don’t really have any need to save money right now and Mingo is up after this year so unless younger guys outplay him, which is possible, cutting him for cap reasons doesn’t make a lot of sense.

      • Greg Haugsven

        I agree, but not sure how many linebackers they are going to keep. ^ is usually the max for them. Wagner and KJ arent going anywhere and they just drafted BBK and Barton and still have Griffin. You throw in Kendricks or Mingo and there is your 6.If you pay both Kendricks and Mingo that means someone is making good coin to be a back up and I dont see that happening IMO.

    • jamho3

      GH I think you’re right

  9. Nathan W.

    It’s obvious that Benioff and Weiss were just done with GoT. What a massive shame.

    • Rob Staton

      Awful final series

      • Trevor

        It is a shame. The first 6 seasons were incredibly well done but the last 2 episodes of season 7 and most of season 8 really have been a mess. Rush job trying to fit what should have been 12 episodes + into 6.

        • Rob Staton

          Completely agree. It’s been a massive rush job. There are two main problems. One — the way they’ve had to rush the conclusion, making a dogs dinner of strands that needed fleshing out (eg Dany’s switch to being a mad queen). Two — some of the writing decisions just made zero sense and made the show a laughing stock (eg zombie chains, the whole plan to capture a zombie, Dany ‘forgetting’ about the Iron fleet and practically the entire battle of Winterfell).

          • Nathan W.

            Exactly my thoughts. The character assassination for Daenerys (who had such amazing character development) is, in my opinion, worse than the character assassination that for Jamie.

            • CHawk Talker Eric

              While I agree in general about the last 2 seasons, I don’t think Jamie had a character decline. He’s probably the one character whose arc is consistent. He’s basically a good guy who did bad things for love again and again. And that’s how he went out.

          • Starhawk29

            It’s so frustrating to see them cut the number of episodes down and then rush the story. A friend and I were discussing it, and it would have made so much sense if they’d started to plan for the end 5 years ago after season 4. This way, Dany doesn’t spend 2 more seasons screwing around in Mereen, can arrive in Westeros in season 6, and we can have all of seasons 7 and 8 devoted to the Great war and the Last war. So frustrating to watch how inconsistent Dany became towards the end.

            • Rob Staton

              Agree completely

        • Group Captain Mandrake

          Which doesn’t really make sense, since HBO was more than happy to have full season rather than one split into two.My understanding is that George isn’t really part of the series anymore, and it really shows. This season has just been full of half baked ideas, bad character writing and strange plotting and ideas.Such a waste. Barry has been the much better and more fun series on HBO for the last two seasons.

      • HawkfaninMT

        I’ve been the biggest GoT apologist on here… man that was an unsatisfactory finish for the Lannister twins. I don’t mind the Mad Queen bit, and the action was visually cool. I like that they shot it from the perspective of the streets.

        Will anyone here be shocked at all if atleast 7 of these main character deaths are handled differently in the books? I’m not much of a conspiracy guy, but I gotta imagine Martin doesn’t mind the disappointment. I feel like it is going to drive up god book sales, if he ever comes out with another book!

  10. millhouse-serbia

    Doug call it a career at twitter.

    Go check it. He was and is the best example of STR.

  11. Thorson

    Regarding Ziggy’s availability, he had a labral repair in December. Labral repairs are clinically healed by about 4 months postop. It takes another 2-4 months to rehabilitate the shoulder. Even though it takes roughly a year to be completely healed, I still think there is a high likelihood he will be ready to go by the season’s opener.

    • Robert Las Vegas

      You know when the Seahawks signed Al Woods I really wasn’t all that excited about I was thinking more Corey L or Danny Shelton but I found out that Al Woods was so well respect by the Colts last year that his teammates voted him as team captain how many nose tackles are team captain. Perhaps this is why Pete wanted Al Woods I was wondering your thoughts.could his leadership be what the Seahawks are seeking on the DL

    • SebA

      Having had this surgery myself, I can say it might not be so simple (even with the undoubtedly much higher level of doctors and physios he has access to).

      • Thorson

        No doubt recoveries can differ. It’s not clear which portion of his labrum was repaired. I’m assuming it was the top but it could have been front or back as well, which has a little different prognosis. My comment as to ballpark recovery times is based on the fact that, as a surgeon whom performs labral repair surgeries on a regular basis, I’ve seen many athletic patients recover in those time frames. Still, you might be right and without knowledge of exactly what he had done, it’s all speculation on my part. We will see. For my part, I remain guardedly optimistic.

  12. Georgia Hawk

    As great an outlook as this is for the Hawks, it needs to be said:

    That GOT episode last night was absolute trash. Waited 7 years for that? That was the laziest, phone-it-in, writing I’ve ever seen. The tin foil hat guy in me says when HBO got the rights to it, GRR Martin threw in a poison pill clause that they had to completely bone the ending, just to drive people back to his books to see how it really should have ended. the show writers should be ashamed to have their names attached. The Cersei arc was absolute trash, and I wont even get started on the “battle planning” abilities of either army. Who puts your army OUTSIDE THE FREAKING GATES in a siege?

    I genuinely don’t even care what happens next week in the finale.

    • mishima

      Well, at least Cersei can stop staring out the window.

    • ZB

      I agree completely. Total trash. Best show ever with the worst final season ever. I could add about 100 more things I hate about this season but I just don’t care anymore.

    • lil'stink

      Just save yourself the time and frustration and go read the spoilers on Reddit. They have been remarkably accurate. I usually don’t care for things like that, but I’ve given up on this show so I basically said “screw it”.

    • Group Captain Mandrake

      It has devolved into hate watching for me. I’m morbidly curious to see how bad it can get.

  13. GoHawksDani

    1st option: McCoy for a 4th round pick/after being cut

    He could play next to Reed this year.

    a, If we lose Reed in FA next year: McCoy could be a decent starter. A hedge, a proven vet and a negotiating chip against Reed. If Reed asks too much we could keep McCoy for next year (and use Ford or Green inside or another rookie from 2020 draft)

    b, If Poona would play awesome, and Green could play 3T and other guys would step up and Reed would play good too, but would want too much…we could franchise and trade Reed for a 3rd round pick maybe, while keeping Poona, Green, McCoy, other rookie(s)

    c, If we could extend/re-sign Reed and other guys would play good…we could just trade away McCoy or even cut him

    2nd option: Kyle Rudolph for a 4th/5th or after being cut
    Dickson is old, Dissly is rehabbing, Vannett will be FA.
    Rudolph is not a TD beast or the best blocking TE, but he’s solid. He can catch and he can block. I think this is pretty straightforward, and I feel this is the most likely move.
    SEA TE depth is pretty mehh and we need more security blankets after losing Baldwin and as a run 1st team we need good blocking guys.

    3rd option: Sign 1-2 pretty cheap (under 3m) DL guy and roll the rest of the CAP for next year.
    I feel this year we’re competing, but the Hawks has a ton of question marks (how will be the passrush? Run D#? Who’ll be the nr2 WR? How well Iupati or Haynes or Simmons play at LG? Are we OK with the TE depth?). Next year with a huge amount of money and ton of draft capital we can really push for the SB.

    I bet a lot of these guys will be extended…but if not, we can make bigger moves in FA. These are the FAs that might be interesting for us in 2020: Clowney, Grady Jarrett, Bradley Roby, Jerry Hughes, Chris Harris Jr., Jabaal Sheard, Robert Quinn, La’el Collins, Whitney Mercilus, Amari Cooper, Van Noy, Leonard Williams, Shaquile Barrett, Jack Conklin, Bud Dupree, Vic Beasley, Trae Waynes, Shaq Lawson, Xavier Williams, Arik Armstead, Robert Nkemdiche, Timmy Jernigan, Rodney Gunter, Emmanuel Ogbah, Chris Jones, Austin Hooper, Vonn Bell.
    Not all of these are big name players, but if we could keep Reed while he’s managing close to 10 sacks/year and get Chris Jones with him also keeping 10 sacks/year, and get Vonn Bell for a true SS while McDougald could stay FS (Blair could play big nickle with blitzing and big hits near LoS) and Clowney…wow, this defense would be crazy good. This could be done with 68-70m

    Pure rosterbation, but:

    would be nice

  14. Jonathan Ullberg

    I’ve always been curious of this. I understand that other teams know the details involved in trading for someone like McCoy or Rudolph, especially for a team that has no leverage like TB/MIN, and may want to not overpay for a guy when the team might cut him. That being said, why wouldn’t a team like the Seahawks offer a 7th round pick for these guys and offer something when the team is about to have to cut him and get nothing back?

    The cost is minimal, they get exclusive rights to him as opposed to bidding against 30 other teams. Is McCoy with no cap hit worth $14 million a year + a 7th? Worse case you cut him after year one if he shows decline. But if he gets cut you now have no guarantee that he will come to your team and you have to outbid every other team that wants a Pro-Bowl DT.

    The culture fit argument makes more sense, but I’ve never understood why a team doesn’t throw out a lowball offer for a team when they will have to cut him and get nothing back.

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