One of the biggest issues the Seahawks have faced heading into the 2017 season is the impact that rookie Malik McDowell’s injury had on depth for the defensive line. On Friday, the Seahawks made an effort to fix the problem now, adding an immediate starter in defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets in exchange for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.
Shortly after the trade, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob Stelton argued that while critics can say what they will about Kearse’s production last season, he has been an invaluable piece of the Seahawks’ run of success under Pete Carroll.
“He’s made some huge catches for this team… no matter what you think of (Kearse) you can’t debate that,” Stelton said. “You’re used to him. He’s part of the Super Bowl run. Sheldon Richardson is kind of an unknown entity to Seattle fans. I mean, you might know who he is, but you haven’t watched him play every weekend.”
The loss of Kearse undoubtedly has an emotional impact for teammates and fans.
“He’s a huge contributor to the Seahawks’ success,” co-host Dave Grosby said. “Things like that are emotional trades. It’s not just trading a guy who had a good year or a bad year last year, it’s trading a guy that made a couple of the biggest catches in franchise history.”
But trading away that player for a Pro Bowl-caliber defensive starter? It seems to have been too much for Seattle to turn down.
“If they’re going to win, it’s going to be with defense,” Grosby said. “Everyone said, ‘Don’t worry about the fact that the No. 1 defense in (the first) three of their preseason games … gave up a touchdown drive on the opening drive.’ But obviously they were paying attention to it a little bit. So they have added a Pro Bowl-caliber defensive lineman, and anything that improves the defense, I think, is a good thing.”
Grosby additionally noted that while Kearse’s lack of veteran presence will undoubtedly impact the offense, the benefit of Friday’s huge trade for the Seahawks’ defense can help offset that loss.
“This is one of those moves that potentially can make you a lot better on defense. And if you’re a lot better on defense, that erases a lot of offensive issues.”