Merry Christmas to all of you who make up this community. Your continued support is much appreciated — both in terms of your comments, your Patreons and your YouTube Super Chats. This is going to be the 14th off-season I’ve covered. The blog has changed and evolved so much in that time. But I still think it remains the best place to talk Seahawks. That’s down to you. So thank you.
I have a key topic to discuss today on Christmas Eve and some other notes…
I have to keep stressing that my own preference is the Seahawks retain Russell Wilson, embrace the need for change in leadership and follow a blueprint similar to the one undertaken by Green Bay when they moved on from Ted Thompson and Mike McMarthy.
I’m also a realist. I think most fans, at least the ones willing to embrace reality, can see there’s an increasing chance we’re reaching the end of an era. As noted on Monday, I think we’re witnessing the final games of Pete Carroll’s run. I also think there’s a distinct possibility that Wilson is traded.
Either way, significant change is required. Ownership has to act swiftly. This isn’t just ‘one bad season’ as some have suggested. The Seahawks have been on a downward trend for some time. The reset has been a disaster, frankly. Jody Allen and co need to take decisive action and the expectation should be that it’ll happen. If not, that should be challenged. The fans need to know ownership is serious about this being a contending franchise.
Today I wanted to write about what I think fans should be rooting for, if a Wilson trade scenario is as inevitable as it’s starting to feel.
Cheer for the Jets and Texans
Albert Breer’s social media suggestion that Wilson would be the next Giants quarterback was more ‘thinking out loud’ than anything categorical. Yet it makes sense, as outlined in Monday’s piece.
At the end of the day, the Giants have the draft stock to be a viable trade partner. I keep seeing trade scenarios that are underwhelming, completely failing to acknowledge that there are desperate teams out there in need of making a big move at quarterback — with a weak pool of rookies to choose from in the draft.
Don’t be swayed by the recency bias of poor play, partly inspired by an injured finger. Teams know they’ll need to pay up for Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson and yes — Russell Wilson.
I read Bill Barnwell’s trade suggestion with the Saints earlier today. Two firsts, one this year and one next. A third rounder and a defensive back. Plus a conditional second rounder based around a Super Bowl appearance. Come on — that’s basically the Jamal Adams trade. That’d never get it done. A mid-first rounder this year and presumably a late first next year? Let’s be serious here and not swayed too much by a tough stretch of form while playing with a horrible injury.
Nobody could’ve guessed the Adams trade compensation before it was announced. Desperate teams do desperate things. There’s plenty of desperation around the league right now.
So if Wilson heading to the Giants is the trendy suggestion because of their draft ammunition, Seahawks fans should be rooting for the other team in New York City.
The Jets and the Texans are both 3-11. They currently own the third and fourth picks in the draft next year.
The Giants have the fifth and sixth picks, courtesy of acquiring Chicago’s first rounder. The Bears and Giants are 4-10.
The Jets and Texans both have weaker strength of schedule markers. So they will jump ahead of the two Giants picks if their records are the same.
For the Seahawks to truly max out the value of a Giants trade, I think they need to draft a blue-chip player. I think there are only four true candidates at the moment.
Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux will go first and second. If you pick in the top four, you are guaranteed one of Derek Stingley Jr or Evan Neal.
Stingley Jr is the ultimate athlete for the cornerback position. It’s as if he was made in a defensive back factory. He has a legitimate shot to become a generational corner, or at the very least one of the top players at a position of desperate need for so many teams.
Neal, to me, is not the franchise left tackle many project. However, I think he could be a Steve Hutchinson level player if he kicks inside to guard. You could try him at tackle first and if he performs better than I expect there, you have a long term answer at a vital position. At the very least though, I would suggest Neal has the potential to be an exceptional guard, possibly enjoying the same kind of storied reputation as Quenton Nelson.
It’s possible one or even both, during the process, would be available a pick or two later than I’m suggesting here. Especially if one of the quarterbacks, for example, elevates into a draft spot we currently can’t project.
Yet if the Seahawks really are going to end up trading Wilson to the Giants, you want one or both of their picks in the top-four to be sure.
The Jets host Jacksonville next. It’s winnable. Sadly, to get them out of the top-four, they’ll also need to win at least one of their other two games — at home to the Buccs or on the road against Buffalo.
The Texans host the unpredictable Chargers in their next game. They then go to San Francisco before a home game against Tennessee.
Unfortunately, both teams are more likely to go 0-3 or 1-2 instead of claiming the two wins they’d need to push themselves out of the top-four.
The Bears and Giants play each other in week 17, so one team is guaranteed to lose. New York’s other two games are at Philadelphia and at home to Washington. They could lose both, especially with the Eagles and Football Team in playoff contention.
Chicago comes to Seattle next and finish on the road against Minnesota.
They could easily go 0-3.
The best case scenario is the Jets beat the Jags, then pinch another win. Or the Texans can finish with a bit of a flourish and Chicago loses out.
At least then the Giants will be able to dangle the prospect of a blue-chip rookie in any prospective trade deal.
If Seattle’s able to get Stingley Jr or Neal — you could then bring in another offensive linemen with the other Giants pick (Trevor Penning, Bernhard Raimann and Abraham Lucas are intriguing options) a D-liner (Jordan Davis, David Ojabo, Logan Hall or George Karlaftis for example) or even start to move down — given the meat of this draft will likely be day two.
It might even be worth trying to drop down to acquire 2023 stock.
With your own native pick in round two, it’ll be high enough to trade (cheaply) back into the end of round one. That could be a good range to go after a Tyler Linderbaum, Devonte Wyatt or a linebacker such as Channing Tindall or Brian Asamoah (because as I’ve said a few times, there is absolutely no way you can justify Bobby Wagner’s $20m cap hit in 2022 and he should be moved). The Seahawks will also need the stock to invest in a quarterback at some point. If they move on from Wilson, they’ll need to be taking regular shots to find a replacement.
Of course, if the Giants end up with the #5 or #6 pick — it’s a harder sell. There are players I really like in this draft, such as Northern Iowa’s Penning. Yet taking them in the top-10 comes with a higher degree of risk. And that’s not the position you want to be in when you’re picking early after trading away your prize asset.
I don’t personally want to discuss this in such detail now but I feel obliged to — given what appears to be forthcoming. I want to try and inform people as much as I can about the structure of this draft and what is actually out there if the Seahawks make big moves in the off-season.
I will say this though. Too often I see doom-and-gloom about years-long rebuilds — whether Wilson stays or is dealt.
It doesn’t have to be that way — and I wish that was mentioned more often. The Patriots have shown you can transform your roster in one off-season by making the right moves. The Packers, as noted, turned their fortunes around very quickly with smart personnel decisions and a coaching change.
Yes, some teams can be mired in misery when they switch things up. It doesn’t have to be that way though. The expectation from fans and media alike should be that Seattle’s ownership is pro-active this off-season to make the moves that will get this team back on track.
Just draft Dameon Pierce
The Florida Gators have had a horrendous season. They’ve finished 6-7 after losing the Gasparilla Bowl to UCF. They’ve fired their coach and are launching yet another reset.
It’s not hard to work out why things have gone so wrong, when they make such bizarre personnel decisions.
The Bowl game was another classic case of underusing BAMF running back Dameon Pierce. He’s perfectly sized, explosive, physical and at times brutal. He bludgeoned his way for a touchdown in this game but was only given 13 of Florida’s 30 runs in the game (for 57 yards).
The Gators ran the ball well (205 yards) so it wasn’t a major issue here. Yet Pierce’s lack of carries this season has been a major head-scratcher.
For me he’s what the Seahawks lack when Chris Carson is having his annual ‘injured’ phase. Pierce might not be destined to be the next star runner in the NFL — but I think he’ll provide plenty of value in this draft and he’s very capable of doing what you need. Running for first downs, running through contact, finishing drives and establishing a physical presence with your running attack.
And how can you not love this response when he was asked why he wouldn’t be sitting out the Bowl game to focus on the draft:
“Why? Because I’m a Gator, bro. When I signed here, I signed for four good years, get my education and I’m going to rock out that way until I die, you know.”
Discussing a possible GM candidate
Not everything Indianapolis has done over the last few years has paid off. However, given they’ve not had the luxury of extra first round picks and they’ve had to deal with the sudden and unexpected retirement of Andrew Luck — for them to constantly be in playoff contention as they try and plug holes has been impressive.
Chris Ballard is clearly one of the most respected GM’s in the game. His right-hand man should get consideration for a top job.
Ed Dodds spent 10 years with the Seahawks as a national scout and Senior Personnel Executive. He was there from 2007-17. Prior to that, he was with the Raiders for four years.
Ballard poached Dodds from Seattle four years ago and made him his go-to-guy in the front office. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe it’s not — but Dodds’ departure occurred right before the ill-fated Seahawks reset began.
If Ballard respects him enough to target him specifically, it’s worth noting.
A lot of people ask for GM alternatives to John Schneider. It’s very difficult to answer that question. Unlike a coordinator, we don’t have any body of work to look at. How much input has an executive had on certain draft picks or overall plans?
Dodds, though, feels like he’s on a trajectory to eventually become a GM. I think tapping into whatever has been working for the Colts is a respectable plan. And with his ties to Seattle, it might be an appealing opportunity to come home.
If nothing else, the Seahawks’ big trades might be more DeForest Buckner than Jamal Adams — and their high picks at running back might be more Jonathan Taylor than Rashaad Penny.
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