Clayton: The landscape changes for Seahawks after a crazy NFL trade deadline
Tuesday was one of the craziest trade deadline days I can ever remember.
The Seahawks agreed to trade Jeremy Lane to Houston on Monday, only to find out he failed a physical. They had to take him back as a result, and will instead give away a 2018 third-round pick to go with a 2019 second-round pick to get Duane Brown and a 2018 fifth-round pick from the Texans.
The Browns thought they had a trade for A.J. McCarron, reaching an agreement with the Cincinnati Bengals five minutes before the deadline. They failed to send the paperwork in on time, though, so no McCarron in Cleveland.
As if that wasn’t enough, Jay Ajayi, Kelvin Benjamin, Marcell Dareus and Jimmy Garoppolo were all dealt in the final days. More action than normal.
Put those stories together with the results from the past weekend and it creates some interesting scenarios for the Seahawks. Let’s study.
• Though expensive for draft choices, the Duane Brown trade was a major acquisition for the Seahawks. They now have a steady force at left tackle. Brown, 32, was good enough to play the entire game Sunday in Seattle after missing training camp and the first seven weeks of the season because of a holdout. Last season Brown was a Pro Bowl alternate. So was center Justin Britt, which gives the Seahawks two top-level blockers along the line. If one more emerges, the line could make a major jump. Brown excels in pass protection; he gave up only one sack last year. He should also help on the backside zone on running plays. The next decision for Seattle is whether to start Ethan Pocic or Rees Odhiambo at left guard. Pocic is off to a great start and might get the nod. The move to get Brown is similar to what the Los Angeles Rams did in acquiring 35-year-old Andrew Whitworth, who stabilized a young offensive line along with veteran center John Sullivan. The trade proved the Seahawks are doing everything they can to get back to the Super Bowl.
• The Garoppolo trade by the 49ers should be a wake-up call for the Seahawks to make sure they don’t blow their window in the NFC West. The Rams are on the rise with Sean McVay as the coach and Jarod Goff as the quarterback. Instead of waiting for Kirk Cousins, the 49ers could have their franchise quarterback to build around in Garoppolo. They get the second half of the season to determine if Garoppolo is the right quarterback for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. The NFL is a quarterback-driven league and both the Rams and 49ers have a shot with their quarterbacks.
• Russell Wilson’s 453-yard performance along with four touchdowns against Houston should put him in the top three or four for MVP considerations. Wilson is having a great year. With virtually no running attack to help him, he is on pace for 34 touchdowns and over 4,500 yards after the first seven games. The 41-point effort against the Texans put the offense at 25 points per game, which is what the Seahawks need to win.
• The only thing the Seahawks’ defense needs to learn after giving up 509 yards and 38 points to the Texans is ways to improve against running quarterbacks who can use plays from their college playbook. The Tennessee Titans’ scheme with Marcus Mariota gave Seattle similar problems in Nashville in September. DeShaun Watson was phenomenal running several of the Clemson plays that Texans coach Bill O’Brien has incorporated into the Texans offense, and the game turned more into a shootout than expected. Still, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor came up with enough big plays to get the victory, and luckily for Seattle there aren’t many more running quarterbacks left on the schedule.
• The Seahawks are facing up to the reality they need to be a passing offense. The developments of Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson are a big part of the transition. Richardson continues to make big plays, with five touchdowns and averaging 17 yards per catch. Jimmy Graham is also becoming more involved with the offense, particularly in the red zone where he has four touchdowns. Clearly the Seahawks need to get some kind of running game going, but in the meantime they are winning by putting the ball in the hands of Wilson.