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Heaps: The position the Seahawks must prioritize this offseason

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was sacked five times in a playoff loss to the Rams. (Getty)

For the eighth year in a row, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked over 40 times.

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In 2020, Seattle’s signal caller was sacked 47 times, which was the second most in the NFL. Since entering the league in 2012, Wilson has been sacked 394 times, and he’s also been sacked 49 times in 16 career playoff games, including five times in Saturday’s season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Seahawks have a lot of decisions to make this offseason, as key players like cornerback Shaquill Griffin, linebacker K.J. Wright and running back Chris Carson are all set to hit free agency. But former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy says giving Wilson better protection in 2021 should be priority No. 1 for Seattle, especially after how the Seahawks’ season ended with the Rams’ defensive line dominating Seattle’s offensive front.

“There’s only one that is abundantly clear, and that is your offensive line. You have to improve in that area,” Heaps said. “What have Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, all these great quarterbacks in this league had? They’ve had tremendous protection, top-line protection.”

Heaps acknowledged that his background as a quarterback may make it seem like he’s biased towards the position, but he stressed that the Seahawks have “an investment” of $35 million per year in Wilson as their franchise QB and as such need to protect it.

The Seahawks’ starting five offensive linemen were left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Mike Iupati, center Ethan Pocic, right guard Damien Lewis and right tackle Brandon Shell. Iupati and Pocic are free agents this offseason, providing the Seahawks a chance to add talent to the group with those two holes, which Heaps said is critical given the state of the NFC West.

The same Rams team that upset Seattle on Saturday had the No. 1 defense in the NFL in 2020, and as Seattle saw first-hand, their defensive front is elite with All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald leading the charge. That defense will be mostly intact next year, as well.

“They’re going to have Aaron Donald and Leonard Floyd,” Heaps said. “That group is going to be back.”

There’s also the 2019 NFC champions who should be much improved after an injury-filled 2020.

“Guess who gets healthy next year who has one of the better pass rushes in the league? San Francisco,” Heaps said. “So two of your teams in your division that you will face four times next season have arguably the best pass rush in the league. How do you not see that? That, to me, is as obvious as obvious gets.”

Listen to Heaps’ full comments in the second hour of Monday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

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Jake & Stacy