Why the Seahawks still need a big target, could go after VJ

Good luck overthrowing Vincent Jackson

We spent a lot of time before the last draft debating Seattle’s need for a taller, bigger target — either at tight end or receiver. There weren’t countless options in the draft, but there were enough. Seattle went against the grain — as they often do — to draft 6-0, 183lbs Paul Richardson in round two after trading down. And when I write 183lbs, that’s now. He was lighter in college.

We all cursed our mistake after the draft. Of course! This is a Seattle type of player. He’s fast, explosive. Comparisons were made to DeSean Jackson. They were looking for speed and difference making athleticism. They had Percy Harvin and that was the future.

In the aftermath of the Harvin trade, I think it’s pretty obvious what the team is now thinking. They need that bigger target after all.

According to various reports they tried to trade Harvin to Cleveland, Denver and Indianapolis for Jordan Cameron, Julius Thomas and Coby Fleener respectively. That’s two of the most dynamic taller pass-catchers in the NFL, and Coby Fleener.

The Seahawks have converted 30 of 75 third down attempts (40%) this year — good for 20th in the NFL. They’re 58% in the red zone — right in the middle of the pack. There’s an improvement to be had in both areas. With teams game-planning to contain Russell Wilson in the pocket, he needs an easier outlet. Imagine if he had a fade option to a 6-4/6-5 receiver matched up against a smaller defensive back? Imagine if he had a target capable of winning over the middle against a linebacker? Imagine if he had a situation where he doesn’t have to be brilliantly accurate — he can even deliberately overthrow a receiver and let them go up and get it?

Think back to the Pro Bowl after Wilson’s rookie year. He was throwing darts to Larry Fitzgerald and Vincent Jackson. And boy did it look good.

This is no disrespect to Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. Seattle started the year with Harvin and Sidney Rice and both are gone. It’s a sheer numbers game if nothing else.

Admittedly it isn’t Seattle’s greatest need at the moment. Yesterday’s productive second half possibly changed a few minds in the front office. They’re struggling for depth on the defensive line and at cornerback. But it’s very unlikely the Seahawks are going to be able to work a deal for a dynamic pass rusher before the trade deadline. Some positions are just easier to fix mid-season.

So can they work a deal?

According to reports over the weekend Tampa Bay are at least willing to discuss a move for Vincent Jackson. This is exactly the type of player Seattle needs. In terms of taller, dynamic receivers — Jackson has been a true #1 for several years. The Seahawks showed some interest when he was a possible trade option in San Diego. Could they take another look?

The issue here is age and cost. Jackson is slated to earn $12m in 2014, 2015 and 2016. He’s also 32 in January. It’s quite a commitment to a player who might be past his peak as early as next season. Seattle has extra cap room following Harvin’s departure, but this would be a sure-fire way to make life more difficult to retain multiple players in the off-season beyond Wilson and Bobby Wagner.

There’d surely have to be a compromise in terms of compensation — and Tampa Bay would have to concede some ground to save some cash. They drafted Mike Evans in the top ten this year — a similar player physically who comes at a much cheaper price. They’d be well within their rights to ask for a third rounder for an impact player who can contribute quickly. I’m not convinced Seattle could stomach giving up yet another mid-round pick, especially given the financial investment they’d have to make on a player in his thirties.

And yet, as mentioned, he’d be ideal for this offense. He’d be the red zone target this team has lacked for a long time — he’d be a huge boost on third downs. He can also make big plays downfield.

How about this angle — could he be Seattle’s answer to Anquan Boldin? A solid, veteran presence who is consistent and makes key plays. For the last season and a half Boldin has been a terrific addition for the 49ers. You can pretty much guarantee he’s Colin Kaepernick’s first (and sometimes only) read on third down. In the red zone he shares attention with Vernon Davis. Boldin is 34 and still playing at a very high level.

Seattle could get Jackson until the age of 34. He could end up being just as significant for the Seahawks. But he’d cost approximately twice as much per year on his current Tampa Bay contract. San Francisco spent a sixth round pick to acquire Boldin. It’ll cost more to get Jackson.

It might be that the stars simply won’t align for this deal. Seattle’s front office will be aware that they can’t keep plundering good draft stock on veteran receivers without getting a return. Have they got one more gamble in them?

Or is it a case of going with what they have after a much more productive second half performance in St. Louis? The Seahawks need a good 2015 draft where they hit on several players. Having as many picks as possible gives them the best possible opportunity to do that.

Alternatively, maybe acquiring Vincent Jackson gives them the best possible opportunity to move on from the Harvin fiasco and get back to the playoffs? And isn’t that the more pressing need? This is Seattle’s window, after all.

If it isn’t Jackson, it could be someone else. After all, they seem active — as the interest in Cameron, Thomas and Fleener indicates.

The NFL trade deadline is October 28th.


  1. AlaskaHawk

    I vote we quite overpaying for players outside the organization. Boldin and Welker, two of the best receivers in the league, were aquired for 6 million a year. Tate could have been retained for the same amount. Keep it at 6 million.

  2. Jarhead

    I have thought about this one too. Jackson still has size and runs great routs, and ask yourself this: is Boldon asked to take the top off the defense with an explosive first step and blowing by whoever is covering him? Or does he run a crisp rout, ON TIME, and use superior size and length to reach a ball that is thrown only where he can catch it? I think that while Jackson’s days of running go routes and being 2 steps behind a DB are gone, but we don’t need him for that. We need a guy on 3rd and 7 who can get to the sticks on the sideline and out reach a DB to keep drives alive. Or to catch a fade/jump ball at the 8 yard line amd going in. His price tag makes this deal pretty yeeowch to swallow, but this could be the most appropriate piece that we could most quickly and feasably add. I will say that our best decision would have been to draft Kelvin Benjamin from jump street and had it been a done deal

    • AlaskaHawk

      I think our most serious needs are offensive linemen and cornerbacks. Maybe a second middle linebacker – when Is Wagner coming back?

      • CC

        Sounds like Wagner is out for several weeks – Pete said “a while” – pass rusher is my position of need right now. Maybe Irvin lines up at LEO a bit this week or spies Cam.

      • Jarhead

        That is a macrocosmic problem. We won’t fix that with a quick mid season trade. That will have to be fixed with an effective draft, some wise free agent signings and an enite offseason and training camp to gel. What we are talkimg about is a quick bandage to add maybe a score or two a game. And we have yet to lose a game by more than a score for that matter (San Diego benefitted from a last second field goal due to our last turnover on downs). We aren’t fixing big picture problems with a mid season trade. As for Wagner, the guy is the leader our defense and its heart and soul for that matter, especislly with ETs regression this season. We couldn’t replace that period

      • Rob Staton

        The kind of upgrade people want on the OL isn’t going to happen with a mid-season trade. And neither will it automatically be solved with yet another high draft pick.

        • mrpeapants

          why not rob? if we had lineman who didnt f up as much we probably would be 5-1. reciever should be the last thing on there mind as for right now. in the draft sure(in the later rounds), but to give away picks or big money for someone like vincent (who ive seen give up on plays) just seems wasteful.
          next years draft should be:
          1 ot/dl
          2 ol
          3 dl
          4 dl
          this is what we need to me, kearse and lockette can fill the big reciever role rw just needs some time to get it to them uinless someone like watkins is available(as far as the draft goes) then lineman should be first priority.

          • Rob Staton

            Special teams cost us the win against the Rams. Failing to deal with a 3rd and 20 cost us against Dallas. We lost to San Diego because Philip Rivers is awesome.

            • mrpeapants

              weve had alot of big plays and tds nullified because of oline penalties. the games, other then sd cause philip is awesome, would have been different.

          • Arias

            The only way the oline is going to be fixed imo is through free agency. Drafting and developing offensive lineman has proven to be a losing strategy. We’re watching the results and it’s not impressive.

    • neil

      I don’t think it would make a difference if we do get him. Lets face it the cards are stacked against the Hawks this year and I have stats to prove it. Yes their play has been sub par the last couple of games, but you cannot deny the tighting of the pass interference rules was not directly pointed at the Seahawks. why did this occur?) I will get to the stats in a minute) It seems to be simply payback for the Super Bowl. I believe the NFL front office was rooting for Manning to win another ring before his retirement, would have made a great story. When the Hawks defense shut down the #1 offense completely, they didn,t like it at all. I believe the ref,s were told to not give the Hawks the benefit og the doubt in any close call. NOW THE STATS. I got this from ” FIELD GULLS PENALTIES A BETTER ANALYSIS’ Last year the Hawks led the league in penalties ( of course) #! their opponents cumulativly finished 17/18. This year so faar the Hawks are #1 again but their opponents have fallen to 30th a drop of 13 places!! So call me crazy if you want, but I believe the Nfl front office is being vindictive and esacting it,s revenge.

      • Rob Staton

        I don’t believe in conspiracies. We just need to get it going again. Get a win this week and watch out NFL.

        • neil

          For me the stats speak for themselves. I can,t think of another valid reason the penalties on our opponents would drop so drasticly. We will just have to see how it plays out the rest of the season.

        • JeffC

          We still need a pass rush before we scare anybody

      • AlaskaHawk

        I just read that KC’s Salvador Perez wears perfume because the umpires like it. I wonder if Wilson or Baldwin wore perfume if we wouldn’t have less calls against us? I’m just saying….

  3. kevin mullen

    I think we all have been clamoring for this since the end of 2012. Both VJ and RW looked great during their time together at that Pro Bowl, connecting on that 5yd red zone fade in the back corner.

    If Tampa is really serious about moving VJ, then asking for a 3rd rounder is a bit steep and could shy away any bidders. I certainly hope SEA doesn’t bite on this, it’s too much for an aging WR at $12mil/yr.

    That being said, if he’s available 4-6th rounds then pull that trigger. Although Harvin was a headache, at least everyone knew whenever he stepped on the field that he was a threat to take it to the house, best athlete on the field so to speak. And if he was dealt for a conditional pick, VJ shouldn’t be any more valuable then that range. His age works against him, as well as his cap number.

    I’d love the idea of bringing VJ to Seattle but not at any more than a 4th, with conditions.

  4. SunPathPaul

    No way! Let P.Rich and Norwood Grow this year and shine! They can!
    Paul Richardson is technically FASTER than percy. Just draft one more WR next year, a big BIG guy!

    Save the cap space for DL/OL/CB.

  5. CC

    I thought about that when I saw that he was trade bait. I certainly think Seattle would look into it – not sure we can afford him though.

    We don’t need him to be a burner, but someone who can go up and get the ball and stretches the field with his length and width.

    At the moment I think we have bigger needs – pass rusher – and I doubt anyone is trading one of those…

  6. cliff

    Intriguing option, especially considering how they were willing to trade for him in the beginning of the PC/JS era. But I think it’s interesting that they only asked about TEs. While Cleveland has the cap room for Jordan Cameron, Denver probably won’t for Julius Thomas given their recent spending spree. Could we make an offer this off season when Thomas is a FA? Good chance we’ll at least be in that conversation.
    I think the same could be said for DT with Suh, Fairly, and Dareus all expected to become FAs. Fairley and Dareus have both been called out for their work effort but that could mean a short term deal unless they’re tagged. Suh is Suh and I don’t even know if I want him on the team to be honest.

    • John_S

      Denver’s cap situation is really, really good. Right now for 2015, they are at $107 million so they have lots of room to re-sign both Thomas guys.

    • Arias

      JT is a franchise player. No way Denver doesn’t make a very strong effort to re-sign him and use the franchise tag if they have to.

  7. CC

    Austin Pettis was cut by the Rams – he might be worth a waiver claim. Boise State guy – punt and kickoff returner. He might be an idiot – was late to a meeting, but it wouldn’t cost us anything. 6’3″ 210 – I wonder what his SPARQ would be based on his combine.

    Again, not sure he’s worth it – but might be worth a look.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve always seen Pettis as just a really average player.

  8. Forrest

    Hmm…VJ would be interesting…but if they trade for anything I think they should go with D-Line or O-Line, because those are the weakest parts of the team right now (both trenches are weak). If they can get him cheap (draft pick) then he’s a steal, and maybe a FB (Lynch did not look good with Turbin at FB).

    Next off-season if Suh is available, they should jump on him, say what you want about his character, but the guy is a beast, and him next to Bennett or Mebane O_O

    Draft wise: DL, OL, TE, and then quality depth (mainly on defense). Maybe a GOOD LEO (Marsh needs time, but still looked good).

  9. Cameron

    Hey Rob, nice write up. I am curious as to when you’ll be starting to throw out some names of CFB players out there to monitor for the Seahawks. Also wondering what you are thinking in terms of draft priorities. Seems like we need a LEO.

    • Rob Staton

      To be fair we’ve already started throwing names out Cameron. Check through the archives over the last few weeks — there’s some good finds in there (I think).

  10. connor

    Its definitely worth the discussion, and if it wasn’t for VJ’s contract I would say it would make a ton of sense. But I don’t see this team spending that type of money on a receiver for a while. I think PCJS realized that money is better allocated to an extra pass rusher. Orakpo is a FA after this season, and is now out for the season with his 3rd torn pec. Wouldn’t be surprised if they try to recruit him on a Michael Bennett esque prove it deal, play for a contender rebuild his stock in hopes of a bigger long term deal.

    • Arias

      Hard to get too excited about Orakpo when he wasn’t exactly lighting the world on fire before his injury.

  11. Michael M.

    Not interested unless V-Jack is gonna restructure his deal and we give up a 4th rounder or less (so that the Jets pick is guaranteed to be higher). I’d rather see what our rookies can do, and save the money for our home grown guys.

    V-Jack probably isn’t the locker room/off field problem that Percy apparently was, but remember that it hasn’t been all smooth sailing throughout his career. Longer than normal holdout in SD and a DUI suspension on the record already.

    Overall this kinda move sorta seems like losing all your cash in your pocket at the blackjack table, then running to the ATM to pull out more before your wife can find you and realize what happened.

  12. Michael M.

    Rob, what do you think is the most likely move to replace Derrick Coleman now that he’s probably out for the year? Bring back Kiero Small? Give Mike Rob a call? Do they think about keeping Turbin there and letting him grow into the role?

    • John_S

      Kiero Small was signed to the active roster by Cleveland. I’m surprised that it’s such a big deal because they are more effective out of a one back set.

      I think Turbin actually has found his true position. He had some good blocks. I would leave Turbin at FB and be the 3rd down and 2 min RB and let Michael be the regular backup.

    • Arias

      MRob is a no go after his NFL Network broadcast where he spoke about breaking up the Harvin-Tate fight. After saying all options were on the table the day before, after he gave that interview Carroll spoke how MRob seemed to be doing a great job in his new broadcast job and seems comfortable there. He was obviously pissed.

  13. Dumbquestions

    Agree with Michael M. A move to grab VJ will look desperate, and it would be desperate. It would be an admission that PCJS outsmarted themselves in the draft. I’m becoming very curious about how that went down now, despite the protestations that they always wanted Richardson, oh never any doubt.

    Is that true? Does it seem true now? They could have had Bitonio. Wouldn’t that be nice right now? They didn’t take him. They could have had Benjamin, an acknowledged fit for the stuff PC likes to run. They didn’t take him. Who was making the final decisions?

    The reports suggest that the chemistry problems with Harvin dated back to last year. So they were aware before the draft. What was the calculation? Did they assume Bryant, Clemons, McDaniel and Tate would stick around to be nice?

    I begin to wonder if all is well in PCJS land.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      I don’t see how the FO cares what the rest of the League thinks about them or their moves. Based on your logic, just trading Harvin was a desperate move – it’s as much an admission that they screwed up as you could get, but they still did it.

      As for PRich, too much thinking about it. They drafted him simply because he was their highest rated WR still on the board, not to be Percy 2.0 if the original didn’t work out.

      • Dumbquestions

        Perhaps I was unclear – I wasn’t suggesting that FO cares what the rest of the league thinks. I’m sure they don’t. I’m only talking about what I think, and I’m sure they don’t care about that, either:)

        Also, I wasn’t suggesting that PRich was intended to be a Harvin replacement. I never got that sense. I was more interested in why they chose him over Bitonio and Benjamin, who both appear to fill needs that now look glaring.

        • Michael M.

          Benjamin would have required jumping up the board ahead of the Panthers at #28. Would have been well worth it from what we’ve seen so far. I really really wanted Bitonio (like many on this site) but will reserve judgement at least until we get a chance to see what P-Rich is made of.

  14. Dumbquestions

    This is my last comment on Harvin. I promise.

    I have no insiders to buttonhole, no one to tap for locker-room knowledge. So I’m going to plead with someone – anyone reading this site, but especially Rob – to find someone who can answer this question:

    Why wouldn’t the Hawks throw downfield to Percy?

    Does anyone know?

    At Grantland, Bill Barnwell referred to this in a short take on the trade. Here’s the key quote:

    “I went back and watched each of Harvin’s plays as a rusher or receiver from this season and saw the same few concepts: shotgun sweep, jet sweep, shallow cross off the jet sweep motion, quick hitch, screen.1 His only 2014 touchdown came on one of the few exceptions to that bunch, a 51-yard touchdown on a pitch with Harvin lined up as an I-formation tailback.

    “Virtually every one of Harvin’s touches in the passing game came within five yards of the line of scrimmage. I only counted four passes past the sticks to Harvin in five weeks: a deep crossing route that went for 33 yards, an interception on a deep out (on what looked like a coverage misread from Russell Wilson), and a pair of passes negated by penalties, including a 41-yard touchdown pass up the seam, one of three Harvin touchdowns wiped off the board in Washington. Harvin was otherwise never thrown a go route or even a deep curl against teams scared of his speed. Crucially, there was never a play where Wilson improvised, got out of the pocket, and found Harvin for any sort of downfield pass.”

    The same question just popped up at Field Gulls, in different form:


    The key quote:

    “It’s now coming out that Percy didn’t like his role of being the guy who just ran jet sweeps and bubble screens and wanted to make big plays downfield. And this raises the question of, ‘why wasn’t he thrown to downfield?’

    “He runs a 4.3 and is an incredible athlete and yet Bevell limited him in the game plan the whole time he was here. That just seems crazy to me.”

    That’s two posts – one from a national writer – and I still haven’t heard a thing from the local sites that attempts to answer the question. It nags at me.

    The fact is, Harvin caught passes in Minnesota. Anyone who suggests receiving wasn’t Harvin’s game is ignoring the record. And this isn’t about deep balls (though a few would have been nice). It’s just as much about midfield stuff. And now we get reports saying Harvin *wanted* to catch the ball downfield. So again, the question: Why wouldn’t the Hawks use him in the passing game?


    • Morgan

      I think they thought of him as part of the run game, used more to soften the middle for Lynch than for plays downfield. I think they thought having him test the edges would keep opposing defenses wider and shallower.

      It was obvious he could make plays downfield. It was idiotic to stick so steadfastly to something that had only occasional benefit. As far as I’m concerned Bevell blew it with Percy, just absolutely wasted the scope of his talent as a playmaker and it pisses me off.

      • JW

        If he gets that worked up over not getting the plays he would prefer, only 5 weeks into the season, good riddance. No one to blame but Percy.

      • Rob Staton

        Cable and Carroll have as much input, if not more, in how this offense is structured.

    • CC

      Speculation on my part, but I’ve heard several “experts’ including Michael Irvin talk about how Percy doesn’t catch the ball like a WR. He doesn’t high point the ball – and Irvin mentioned he had “alligator arms” – Hugh Millen said he saw the same thing.

      Also noticed that at times Russell had to tell him where to line up – some discussion that maybe he hadn’t learned the playbook.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I had the same question about using him as a wide receiver. At least line him up as a decoy. I can only speculate that he couldn’t catch the ball, but they did use him as a receiver in Minnessota. He really wasn’t worth 10 million a year as a running back. Because basically as a speedy back he is no better then Sproles and other small speedy backs. Many of them can be picked up in the draft each year because most teams think they are too light to last long.

    • Arias

      I asked Condotta this question yesterday in his live chat. He said he didn’t know but that the question came up last week in a Carroll press conference. Pete said they wanted to get him the ball more deep and tried a few times against Dallas but just weren’t able to do it.

      It still defies reason to me that trying to get him the ball deep would be only comprised of “a few times” in his final game played for the team. That sounds like too little too late and such a colossal waste of not even attempting to maximize his utility while he was with the team.

  15. red

    Actually VJ contract is not horrible in the long run. His contract should be ok this year. 12 mil against the cap next year and has 2.8 dead money on his last so you could let him go after 2015.

  16. Cysco

    I have to wonder if the hawks would consider including christine michael in a deal. I know players rarely get swapped, but there’s some real value to michael and I could see a team like CLE or TB being interested.

  17. AlaskaHawk

    I know we want to have a big receiver, but we already have them in our tight ends. We under utilize them compared to teams like New Orleans or New England does. So that is down to route planning and using them more then once or twice in a game. Look what happens when we throw to someone like Helfet, good things happen. Might also point out that it isn’t the size of the player, it is the height of his vertical jump and being able to high point the ball that count.

  18. Mark

    I’m kind of tired of the Seahawks’ perpetually gimped passing attack. Or at least it seems that way to me. For whatever reason, it just seems like no matter how good a receiver is they never can do all that well in Seattle. Part of that is expected due to an emphasis on the run. But part of it is the play designs.

    Golden Tate is thriving in Detroit. I’ll be more frustrated if Harbin really takes off with the Jets.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I have to agree with you. The receiver routes are vanilla and don’t get altered the way a team like Denver does. Manning talked about working about a new play on Friday with his receivers. Need some coaching help in that area.

      • Mark

        And to be honest, I’ve felt this to be the case ever since I really started watching the Hawks seriously around 2007. I guess deep down inside, I just wish we had more of a gun-slinging team sometimes. Or at least an effective passing game that is consistent. But I still love the running identity we have…when it works. I just have to remind myself that it’s easy to forget the successes, which were ample in 2013 and occasionally during 2012.

  19. MJ

    Great read Rob.

    And really, this has got me thinking about them possibly targeting a guy like Devin Funchess in the draft. Yes, he’s a bit of a tweener, but I think if you can get a potentially elite RZ and 3rd down/chain moving target; it would be totally worth it.

    Thoughts on Funchess? What’s his draft stock, in your opinion? I really do think we are a big body pass catcher away from an Elite Offense. We could be deadly on 3rd down if we just got a big guy who can move the chains. Added bonus is that he does have really intriguing athleticism.

    • Rob Staton

      I think he’s wildly inconsistent. More so than Ebron. But perhaps a better all round athlete. I just get the sense he’ll be an enigma.

  20. Jeff M.

    We wouldn’t be paying 12m a year for VJax–that’s his cap hit including prorated portions of bonus money already paid out by the Bucs. If we were to trade for him it would be just like the Harvin deal for the Jets, where dead money would accelerate onto the Bucs cap and we’d only be on the hook for (unguaranteed) base salaries moving forward, 10m in 2014 (of which we’d pay the last 5 or 6m) and 9.7m each in 2015 and 2016.

  21. JC

    Jackson has a bad and declining receptions to targets ratio, a bad contract, and let’s be honest, the Seahawks at 3-3 and perhaps having the NFL’s toughest strength of schedule, if you are being rational, should not be trade deadline buyers, at least with nothing more than what you received for Harvin.

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