STACY ROST

Seahawks Q&A: Who is in play for the offensive coordinator opening?

Jan 15, 2021, 8:35 AM | Updated: 10:31 am

Seahawks OC Candidate Shane Steichen...

Former Chargers OC Shane Steichen is a reported candidate for the Seahawks OC opening. (Getty)

(Getty)

It’ll be an offseason of big decision for the Seahawks, starting with a new offensive coordinator and continuing with contract decisions for a few big-name starters.

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Wondering what’s at stake? Stacy Rost of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy asked for questions from the fan base this week on Twitter, and she answers three of them below.

@lcollinsrb: What is the likelihood Taylor will be part of the DE group to begin the 2021 season? Part 2: If Taylor is good to go, would the $14M earmarked for Dunlap be better spent on a shutdown CB?

Pete Carroll surprised reporters a little over a week ago when he (voluntarily) announced that rookie defensive end Darrell Taylor would return to practice, and left open the possibility that Taylor could see playing time during this postseason. Of course, that postseason run was cut short with a loss to the Rams, so fans will have to wait until 2021 to see the second-round pick debut. Given that Carroll was optimistic Taylor could play this month, it’s fair to assume he’ll be ready to go by the start of next season.

Dunlap’s salary situation is discussed in the third question here, but to answer the question about cornerbacks: it’s not an especially stacked free agent group there.

A few older veterans – Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman – will garner most of the attention. New England’s J.C. Jackson is just 25 and had a phenomenal season, though he’s a restricted free agent who will likely receive an early-round tender.

Griffin has made it clear he loves the Seahawks organization and it may even be the best fit for them, but it would be a surprise to no one to see a young starter test the market this spring. If he finds a competitive deal elsewhere, it may make sense for the Seahawks to bring back Quinton Dunbar instead, and continue to invest in their pass rush.

@CoastSeahawks: Who has the best shot at becoming the new OC and DC?

Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. remains with the Seahawks. When it comes to replacing offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, there have been two names that have been linked to Seattle early, both from the Los Angeles Chargers coaching staff: quarterback coach Pep Hamilton (per Josina Anderson) and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen (via Mike Garafolo). Seattle isn’t the only team that’s reportedly interested in Hamilton; he’s also being interviewed for the Miami Dolphins’ open offensive coordinator position.

My Jake and Stacy co-host Jake Heaps mentioned a few other names fans should keep an eye on, though at least one (Mike LaFleur) has since joined former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh in New York.

According to Heaps, offensive coordinators like Green Bay’s Nathaniel Hackett, Tennessee’s Arthur Smith, Indianapolis’ Nick Sirianni are prime targets. It’s worth nothing that all three have interviewed for head coaching vacancies this season and may decline a lateral move.

Other up-and-comers Heaps mentioned: San Francisco’s Mike McDaniel, LA Rams’ Shane Waldron, and Green Bay’s Luke Getsy.

@Josh_Ray_A: Who can Seattle move on from/extend to spread out money to free up cap space?

Players with the greatest cap hit in 2021 are, in order: Wilson ($32M), linebacker Bobby Wagner ($17.1M), defensive end Carlos Dunlap ($14.1M), wide receiver Tyler Lockett ($13.7M), defensive tackle Jarran Reed ($13.5M), and left tackle Duane Brown ($13M). Safety Jamal Adams is just outside of that list, but he’s another name that will have a big cap hit after his extension.

Of those players, Dunlap will be the name you hear thrown around most. That’s because his is a non-guaranteed salary, making him a potential cap casualty. Here’s where that decision becomes more interesting: Is Seattle willing to part with a player who played such a big role in their drastic midseason turnaround on defense? The 31-year-old Dunlap would be one of the older players on the roster but he also racked up five sacks in just eight games after being traded to Seattle from the Cincinnati Bengals.

Moving on from a few pending free agents would help them keep that cap room, but it will also be a tough decision. Those names include running back Chris Carson, linebacker K.J. Wright, cornerback Shaquill Griffin, defensive end Benson Mayowa, left guard Mike Iupati and center Ethan Pocic – all starters.

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Seahawks Q&A: Who is in play for the offensive coordinator opening?