Uchenna Nwosu is injured, out for the season and the discussion among Seahawks fans and media has turned to the possibility of additions.
I don’t think the Seahawks are going to be active. Not unless they suffer further injuries this weekend.
For starters, it’s a simple cap issue. They have $7.4m to spend this year which is more than enough to take on a reduced veteran contract now that we’re nearly halfway through the season. However, that $7.4m is already accounted for.
The Seahawks have rolled money into next year by re-working various deals. It means they currently only have $4.7m in effective cap space next year. The $7.4m exists in 2023 purely for serious emergencies, otherwise it is being saved to roll into 2024. Without that $7.4m rolling over, Seattle would be $2.7m in the red next year.
If you trade for a veteran on a rental basis in 2023, you will create a major cap headache in 2024. Equally, if you trade for someone with the intention of extending them (eg a Brian Burns type), how are you paying for that? The money simply isn’t there in 2024.
Here’s the other side of this. The Seahawks have a large number of free agents at the end of this season. This includes:
Mario Edwards Jr
Darrell Taylor will also be a restricted free agent and there are a number of depth players who are either out of contract or can be retained using the ERFA tender. There is an incredible amount of work to do to retain or replace players and virtually no money, currently, from which to do this.
Making a rental or long term trade at this point, to try and win in 2023, simply doesn’t add up. The money isn’t there.
The only plausible situation is to be ultra-aggressive — essentially acting like the Rams in 2021. I don’t think the Seahawks are in a position to do that. It’s not ‘2023 or bust’ like that season felt for LA.
I appreciate there are levers that can be pulled next year to provide some relief. The obvious one is Bryan Mone’s $6.4m cap-hit which can save $5.9m (how it ever came to be that Mone is earning this much, or why there’s dead money attached to this deal, I’ll never understand). There’s also Geno Smith’s contract, plus they’ll need to do something to reduce the remarkable combined cap-hit of $49.1m for Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams next year.
This is all money, however, that is needed to retain or replace the long list of free agents named above.
I don’t think the Seahawks are buyers. Even signing Frank Clark to a minimum contract takes money away from next year. Could the Seahawks use another pass rusher with Nwosu out? Sure. Yet they’ve already invested three second round picks in Boye Mafe, Derick Hall and Darrell Taylor. Mafe (#40), Hall (#37) and Taylor (#48) were all top-50 picks. The investment has already been made here. The logical thing to do is to promote Tyreke Smith and trust in the young players you drafted.
I also think it speaks to where the Seahawks are as a franchise. It’s clear for everyone to see that they’ve drafted very well the last two years and have created a talented, young team with a lot of promise. Given their cap situation, they need to stay on that path.
Firstly, there’s a probable desire to keep building on their draft success with another great class in 2024. Their plan and approach to the draft has been excellent the last two years. If it isn’t broke, don’t try and fix it. Stay on track.
I wrote about the upcoming draft and how thin it is looking currently. That is true — but there’s depth at the positions the Seahawks might be most interested in (defensive tackle, O-line, quarterback).
Secondly, it’s the QB situation. I won’t rehash previous arguments about Geno Smith but the fact is he is going to be far more expensive next year and his performance so far this season fits somewhere between ‘good not great’ and ‘streaky’. He is showing, in my opinion, to be a very adequate bridge quarterback to whatever comes next. He is not, however, the long-term answer.
It’s time for the Seahawks to invest in a quarterback. They may even wish to be aggressive to do so, if they see someone good enough to be the tipping point to Championship glory on a fantastically beneficial rookie contract. Lest we forget, the Chiefs moved up 17 places in the 2017 draft to select Patrick Mahomes. They were aggressive then and nobody should be shocked if the Seahawks follow suit. Perhaps John Schneider will finally find that player he ‘has to have’?
I’m not even sure he’ll feel he needs to move up. There are players I think he’ll like, such as Quinn Ewers and Spencer Rattler, who might be available for the Seahawks without a bold trade. I do sense, however, that this is building towards a crescendo where the Seahawks are more likely to draft a QB than they have been in some time.
Right now it feels important to be restrained, keep your picks and wait until the off-season. This keeps all options on the table. The Seahawks don’t feel like they’re in the airspace of making the big, aggressive move — whether that’s financially or in terms of roster construction. Neither does a rental fit into their current situation.
It’s a time to see what this group can do against the gauntlet of tough opponents they’re due to face in the coming weeks. That’s information you need for the off-season as you plan the next move.
The Seahawks have some cap headaches to contend with and it should leave them relying on their rekindled mojo in the draft to continue growing as a team.
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