2023 Seahawks: At a Crossroads

DanoooME

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Heading into the free agency season after a surprisingly successful 9-8 season with a playoff appearance, the team is at a bit of a crossroads. Trying to build for the future with the #5 and #20 picks in the draft and lots of holes to plug, especially on defense. But also continuing to try to win in the present. Balancing those two time frames is the tricky part and is something Pete and John are surely spending a lot of time on.

There's been a lot of speculation around what they will focus on in the draft and what they are going to do with Geno. First, Geno. If they do tag him for $32 million or so, that will eat up all of their cap space and then some. According to OTC, they currently have $24 million in cap space. They would need to cut or restructure multiple players just to get below the cap. They have very few candidates to do this. Their top 4 cap hits in 2023 are Adams, Diggs, Lockett, and Metcalf. None of those are able to be cut this year (and they wouldn't want to) and restructuring any of them makes the future cap hits untenable. The next highest cap hit is OLB Nwosu, and he's their best pass rusher. They could negotiate an extension, so that's a possibility to create 2023 cap space at the expense of the future. The next two cap space possibilities are DL Shelby Harris (maybe) and OG Gabe Jackson (adios). Jackson will save $6.5 million with a $4.7 million dead money hit. Harris saves almost $9 million on the cap with $4.7 million dead money. Beyond that, the next best options are DL Quinton Jefferson, DL Al Woods and DL Bryan Mone. Note that Harris, Jefferson, Woods and Mone are all DL, so that would create a major hole that would need replacing with multiple players. Cutting those 4 DL saves $19 million. Can they replace them for that price? Not likely. Anyone else cut would save less than $2 million. If Geno gets tagged, it puts the Seahawks in a bind to have no room to maneuver during free agency or they have to cut multiple players that will cost more to replace. I could see a Nwosu extension, a Jackson cut and maybe 1 or 2 of the DL going, so they might get $10-$15 million in cap space. $8 million comes off the top for the Geno tag, leaving them $2-$7 million to play with.

If they truly want to keep Geno, it's going to require a multi-year deal with a low base salary and high signing bonus, which will hamstring them in future years. And some of the numbers being kicked around in the media are not realistic. Here is an excellent article running down what it would likely take to sign Geno to a multi-year deal. A lot of people talk about a $25-$30 million "mid-tier" for QBs that doesn't really exist. There are 9 veteran QBs making $40 million or more past 2023 (Watson, Prescott, Murray, Stafford, Mahomes, Allen, Rodgers, Wilson, Goff). Beyond that, for veterans, there isn't much being spent. Geno would be establishing that mid-tier and the Seahawks are one of the least likely teams to set that tier. Geno could even make an argument he should be included in the $40 million group because, Goff. It's not likely Geno is coming back.

And all that ignores the draft. With the #5 and #20 picks in the first round, they are going to have to shell out a lot of guaranteed money just to those two. Kayvon Thibodeaux and Kenny Pickett cost over $45 million total last year, which will go up a little this year. Their cap hits for 2022 were about $8.25 million just for those two picks, plus they have 2 2nd rounders as well. Estimated cost of signing their draft picks against the cap for 2023 is somewhere around $13 million, which they need to account for in the cap. That's one more reason why Geno is not getting tagged.

Beyond cost, it seems most mock drafts are assuming one of two things: They will re-sign Geno and use the #5 pick on defense or they will use #5 on a QB. Both of those assumptions are likely false. I (and that article) just outlined why Geno isn't coming back. So that leaves drafting a QB. They have drafted 2 QBs since 2010, when Pete and John took over: Russell WIlson in the 3rd in 2012 and Alex McGough in the 7th in 2017. Granted they didn't really need to draft a QB during most of that time, but if it was really important, would they have taken the chance of letting Wilson fall to the 3rd? Unless there is someone they really LOVE at QB (like they allegedly loved Allen and Mahomes in their draft years, but didn't get a shot at them), they probably aren't taking a QB. To me, Young is the only guy worth using #5 on in this draft. And he's probably gone at #1. They've never traded up in the first round before, and the cost is sure to be exorbitant, so with so many holes needing to be filled, they aren't moving up. The rest of the QB prospects being hyped all have flaws and might be a little better than last year's QB class but not by much. Maybe Stroud is worth a late first rounder. Levis is all over the place with his accuracy and Richardson is a major project that Pete won't want to undertake. If Stroud is available at 20, maybe they take him. Most likely they go defense with #5 and #20, unless Bijan Robinson falls to #20. Their major needs are pass rush, run stoppers, ILB, WR, C, G in that order. They need a QB, but I'm not convinced Pete and John see it that way. They could also deal one of the first round picks for lower picks and/or a first next year. I'd love to see them get a 2024 first for one of those picks.

It's certainly going to be an interesting offseason.
 

j-man

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added DE D Jones for his number is a steal he can rush the passer from a DT or DE spot and is athethic will be the only FA denver will miss this year

if geno repetes last year and u guys stop the run better seattle couild make a super bowl push
 

DanoooME

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Pete and John must really like Jones, because they rarely dip into the FA market during the first wave. They desperately need DTs because the guys they had were awful, particularly against the run. Most of them can be cut and save cap room (as detailed in my previous post) and Poona Ford is a FA and unlikely to return. I'd say Woods will probably stay and Jefferson maybe at a lower rate, but Mone is probably gone and Harris is already gone.

The real weakness is ILB, where Cody Barton is gone to Washington and Jordyn Brooks is coming off a torn ACL. It looks like a lot of good ones have gone off the board, but maybe there's a chance Bobby comes back. They would still need an ILB that can cover a TE, maybe in the draft.

The Geno deal is basically one year with options like Derek Carr's last Vegas deal was. I'm fine with that.

C Austin Blythe retired so they will have to replace him, but that's the only OL not returning besides Jackson, who is toast. Cross, Lewis, Haynes, and Lucas all return.
 

DanoooME

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Seahawks busy yesterday, re-signing backup QB Drew Lock, signing C Evan Brown from the Lions, and LB Devin Bush from the Steelers.

RB will be on the team's radar with Rashaad Penny signing with the Eagles and Travis Homer going to the Bears.

As for RFAs and ERFAs, backup LB Tanner Muse was not tendered, but S Ryan Neal, CB Michael Jackson (hee-hee), LB John Rhattigan and DL Myles Adams were all tendered.
 

j-man

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i watch a lot of pitt games my dad is a fan bush lost his starting job like midway throuh the season hopefully he is a good fit
 

SMU_Sox

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Former GM Mike Tannenbaum is mocking Hendon Hooker to the Seahawks at 5 with Anthony Richardson still on the board. Noted idiot Chris Sims likes Hooker as much as Bryce Young.

How would you feel about getting Hooker at 5? I see Hooker and Levis as round 3-4 kind of prospects so I think this is crazy.
 

DanoooME

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Former GM Mike Tannenbaum is mocking Hendon Hooker to the Seahawks at 5 with Anthony Richardson still on the board. Noted idiot Chris Sims likes Hooker as much as Bryce Young.

How would you feel about getting Hooker at 5? I see Hooker and Levis as round 3-4 kind of prospects so I think this is crazy.
Idiots gonna idiot. Guys are really getting desperate for attention at this time of year.

I think it's much more likely the Seahawks don't draft a QB at all than Hooker or Richardson at 5. I agree with your assessment of Hooker and Levis (I haven't done a ton of work on them, but think I prefer Hooker to Levis) and would be okay with either of them at #123 and would be on the fence with them at #83. But there's little chance of that happening.

My thought is that unless Stroud or Young falls to them at #5, they go defense there or trade down. It would be completely out of character for them to trade up for one of them. I'd like to see a deal where they trade down from #5 and pick up a 2024 first, depending on how far down they have to go and who the other team is (kind of like the Eagles last year with the Saints falling into a top-10 pick this year). They have Geno and Lock for at least one more year, and maybe more. QB is not a priority this year unless it was the right guy. Next year looks to be a better class, or at worst, the equal of this one.

I see them going defense for the first pick, WR or Bijan if he fell to them at #20, and then an edge guy at #37 and ILB/edge/DT at #52. All of that is dependent on trades and I could see them trying to find a couple of late picks in this draft, and load up some more in the 2024 draft.
 

Oil Can Dan

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I heard on the radio that Seattle has 5 of the first 84 picks in this draft. If the brain-trust continues hitting at an overly high rate the Seahawks future looks very bright!
 

DanoooME

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3 days until the draft, can't wait to see what Santa PetenJohn leave under the tree this year.

They could trade up (highly unlikely), they could trade down (any of their picks). One thing I will guarantee is no first round QB unless by some miracle Bryce Young doesn't get picked first by Carolina. I think they are happy with Geno & Drew for another year and won't invest much capital in QB this year unless they can get a steal of a deal on Hooker or DTR.

A lot of what will happen will depend on deals at the top and, particularly, what the Texans do. I could see Houston taking defense with the #2 pick or moving down and picking said defense and waiting to see how things shake out at #12 or #33. My guess is they end up with Carter at #5. The backup plan is trading down or Devon Witherspoon at #5. Their priorities are likely DL, EDGE, WR3, iOL, CB, RB, LB. I'd love to see them make a deal for a 2024 #1. It remains to be seen if that can happen.
 
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Justthetippett

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I'd be surprised if they drafted a DB. They've had so much success finding those guys later in the draft. I think it's Wilson or Carter if they keep the pick, but a trade back is also likely.
 

DanoooME

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LB Jordyn Brooks to come off PUP after his ACL tear on January 1st. Looks like he could be ready for week 1, which would be a huge boost to the LB corps.

Both first round picks (Witherspoon & Smith-Njigba) both look good in camp and are the favorites to be the starting nickel corner and 3rd WR respectively.

If this team can get a pass rush, stop the run, Geno stays the same or improves, and they stay healthy, they could really be a factor in the NFC this year.
 

DanoooME

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An absolute disaster of a second half leads to a 30-13 loss against the hapless Rams. Offense missed many opportunities and just fell apart in the second half. The run defense was better, but the pass defense got picked apart mostly because of the complete lack of any pass rush against an OL that had 4 new starters and none of them were really any good. I'm not quite sure how they are going to fix that. Special teams was pretty good except for one FG that hit the upright.

Next week at the Lions, where I would expect they get slaughtered unless Pete lights a fire under the team.
 

DanoooME

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And they've won 3 in a row, against those tough Lions by 6 in OT (their only loss), the hapless Panthers by 10, and the maybe even more hapless Giants by 21. They tied a team record tonight with 11 sacks in the game. Injuries were a significant story, with Jamal Adams returning after over a year, playing 9 plays (and very well in fact - he almost got the 1st sack of the night) and leaving with a concussion. The OL was already missing both starting tackles and proceeded to lose both starting guards during the game, so the only regular starter (Evan Brown at C) had to move to G for the backup C (Olawitimi). All in all they held up pretty well, with RT Jake Curhan giving up the only 2 sacks for the Giants to Kayvon Thibeadeaux. Geno Smith got dragged down on a borderline tackle on the sideline and left for a series at the end of the 1st half, he did return. DT Jarran Reed left with a shin injury and did not return. He's been their best DL. Devon Witherspoon had his break out party on Monday night with a bunch of tackles, big hits, 2 sacks and a 97-yard pick-6.

Next week is Seattle's bye week, then they had to Cincinnati to face the struggling Bengals and then back home to face the Cardinals. Hopefully they get to take advantage of both teams' struggles and get to 5-1.
 

DanoooME

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Since we last met, Seattle had their bye, lost a tight game in Cincinnati and beat the Cardinals but far from handily. They sit at 4-2 awaiting Cleveland's tough defense coming to town. This begins a brutal stretch for the 'Hawks, with CLE, @BAL, WAS, @LAR, SF, @DAL, @SF, PHI. If they can get out of that 4-4, that would be a hell of an effort sitting at 8-6 and a decent shot at a playoff spot.

OLB and top pass rusher Uchenna Nwosu was lost for the season during the Cardinals game with a torn pec. Today they signed FA and former Seahawk Frank Clark to help replace him. I don't have any confidence Clark will be anywhere as close as effective, so it's time for Mafe, Taylor, and Hall to grow up and step up even more. The rest of the team is slowly getting healthier, with Charles Cross back (but not 100%), the secondary getting healthier and better. What isn't healthy is Geno's decision making, which continues to suck and is going to hold back this offense unless he can turn things around. If he doesn't, we may see Drew Lock sooner than later.
 

DanoooME

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An update from the last time. The Hawks managed to squeak by Cleveland, got pummeled by Baltimore, barely beat the WFT, choked against the Rams, and got clobbered by SF at home. They are 6-5, barely holding on to the 7th playoff spot and head to Dallas for a Thursday game (not a short week for either team, since both played on Thanksgiving), followed by heading to SF for another drubbing then home against Philly. They are staring hard at 6-8, needing to sweep @TEN, PIT, @ARI to make the playoffs. Not bloody likely the way they've played lately, especially the offense, which has scored exactly 1 offensive TD in the last two games and that was their first drive against the Rams. This is clearly a team that is less than the sum of its parts. Special teams is the best part of the team. Defense is hit or miss, but generally good. It's the offense that's the mess and maybe it's time for Waldron to go.
 

DanoooME

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They managed to lose to Dallas, get pummeled again by the Niners, but somehow beat the collapsing Eagles to get to 7-7. They managed to squeak by the Titans, then got steamrolled by the Steelers to get to 8-8. The season came down to needing a win against Arizona and a second season in a row needing the Packers to lose their last game (this time against the Bears) to back into the playoffs. They escaped against Arizona after the Cardinals missed a 50+ yard FG. A Packers loss happened last year, but didn't happen this year. So they go 9-8 again, but miss the playoffs this time.

Mediocrity is not doing anything for this franchise. The offense was 17th in scoring. They ran the fewest offensive plays in the NFL, with 995 (the Titans and Patriots were next at 1002 and 1020 respectively). Rushing offense was 28th in total yards, and 20th in YPC, that despite investing 2nd round picks in RB the last two years and a bunch of draft capital in the OL. Passing offense was 14th in total yards, and 12th in AY/A. They actually had the 5th fewest turnovers as an offense with 17 (5 fumbles and 12 INTs) - only Dallas, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh (16 each) and Houston (14) had fewer. It's clearly a group that's playing below its capabilities, given they have 3 good WRs, a decent TE group and the aforementioned RBs. Geno isn't supposed to be bad, but he took a big step back from last year, and his decision making is not good.

Defensively, this team collapsed. In the first 5 games, they were 5th in total defense, although a lot of that is probably due to who they faced (Rams, Lions, Panthers, Giants, and Bengals - mostly the Panthers and Giants). By the end of the season, they were 25th in scoring defense and 30th in total defense. They were on the field for 1147 plays, the most in the league (Colts were at 1137, Commanders at 1117). They were 21st in pass defense, and 31st in rush defense. The rush defense in particular was appalling, given that they completely revamped the DL, brought back Bobby Wagner to play next to Jordyn Brooks at ILB, and brought in Julian Love as a 3rd safety. They gave up 24 rushing TDs (tied with the Giants for 30th, one behind Carolina). It's even worse than last year's defense, which was in the bottom third of the league.

Special teams were good as always. Punt coverage team was 6th in fewest yds/return. Kick coverage was 12th. K Jason Myers was okay, converting 83.3% of his FGs and all of his XPs. He only had 64% of kickoffs go for touchbacks, which was partly strategy since the coverage team was good. P Michael Dickson was 6th in gross punting, and 3rd in net punting (trailing Anger from DAL and Stonehouse from TEN). He was only 15th in kicks inside the 20 (probably because the offense was pinned back a lot), and had the 3rd highest rate of touchbacks. Overall, this was the best part of the team.

Pete doesn't like changing coordinators, but Waldron has had 3 years and the offense really isn't improving and the defense behind Clint Hurtt has made a big step backwards. Losing some guys to injury on the defensive side sucks (OLB Nwosu, SS Adams (again), among others), but other teams manage to adapt and persevere. Pete always talks about competing, but the backups just don't step up and too many guys took steps back this year and weren't replaced except for a 1 game benching of Tariq Woolen, whose game just completely fell apart. Both tackles managed to regress, and the rest of the offensive line wasn't very good either. It's a team that plays less than the sum of their parts and it's frustrating to watch. There's not enough speed on defense, the run D is a sieve. The talent is there, but it's got to be on the coaching staff at this point to get them to play better. Unless they have a tremendous offseason, they are nowhere near close to a playoff team, let alone a serious contender for a Super Bowl berth.
 

DanoooME

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Geno had $10 million worth of incentives (5 of them @ $2 million each) in his contract for next year. Those incentives were basically beat last year's numbers. He hit zero.
 

DanoooME

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Pete is out. Thanks Pete for the Super Bowl!

We'll see who his replacement is. I have mixed feelings, but I think this will be good in the long term, as I don't think Pete's routine was working any more and a fresh viewpoint could be good.
 

Archer1979

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Pete is out. Thanks Pete for the Super Bowl!

We'll see who his replacement is. I have mixed feelings, but I think this will be good in the long term, as I don't think Pete's routine was working any more and a fresh viewpoint could be good.
He's been behind the eight-ball ever since the Bo Callahan pick.
 

Kull

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Pete Carroll explaining his exit by saying "it wasn't football people" who decided he had to go. Apparently there's always an end-of-year meeting with ownership, whom he likens to a radio audience:

"Every year it feels like that, that you're going to be challenged by opinions that are kind of media opinions, because what else do people have when you're outside of the game?" he said. "How could you know other than what you guys talk about on the radios and what the articles say and what the pundits are drawing conclusions on? That's why you have to go in realizing that that's what you're dealing with and then try to talk through to get to the essence of stuff. That's always going to be a challenge because when you don't have legitimate dyed-in-the-wool football people calling the shots, then you have to try to make sense of it, just like we try to make sense of it for your audience, it's no different."

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/39295019/football-people-decided-fate