Huard: Expect plenty of personnel changes on Seahawks’ offense

Feb 4, 2021, 11:08 AM

Seahawks RB Chris Carson...

Seahawks RB Chris Carson is set to hit unrestricted free agency. (Getty)


With the Seahawks’ hire of new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron now official, arguably the most-asked question during the 2021 offseason will be what Seattle’s offense will look like going forward.

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Waldron comes from the coaching staff of the Los Angeles Rams, who have had one of the better offenses in the league the last four years. The Seahawks, meanwhile, started out hot the first half of 2020 with a pass-heavy approach, but the team didn’t have an answer in the second half of the year when defenses started utilizing two-high safety looks to cut down on Seattle’s deep shots downfield.

Now, with Waldron on board and the offseason essentially underway, it remains to be seen how Seattle will change its offense heading into 2021. Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Thursday and explained why he thinks we’ll see plenty of new faces on that side of the ball next year.

“What’s fascinating for a 12-4 team that won the division … you would think, ‘Gosh, don’t have to do too much. Just a tweak here or tweak there,’ but look at it,” he said.

The Seahawks have well over 20 players hitting unrestricted free agency plus a handful of restricted free agents. On offense, two starting offensive linemen will be unrestricted free agents, and, perhaps most notably, Seattle’s two top running backs from 2020 will be hitting the open market as well. That could put a dent in head coach Pete Carroll’s desire to run the ball more next season.

“No Carlos Hyde, right? He’s an unrestricted free agent. No Chris Carson, he’s an unrestricted free agent,” Huard said. “Right now, are you going to go into next year with Rashaad Penny as your running back?”

A position that the Seahawks didn’t utilize as expected in 2020 will also likely see tremendous turnover.

“Who (are) your tight ends going to be?” Huard asked. “There’s no Greg Olsen, there’s going to finally be no Luke Willson. Obviously (2020 rookie Colby Parkinson) is going to be back, (Jacob Hollister) is probably gone, he’s an unrestricted free agent. Will Dissly will be back and Will will fit into this system, he can run well enough.”

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In addition to so many players hitting free agency, the Seahawks are in a bit of a bind when it comes to the salary cap, which is expected to decrease by roughly $20 million from 2020 to 2021 due to revenue loss from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t think it’s a question of whether there’s going to be personnel changes because of where you are contractually with so many of these guys,” Huard said. ” You’re going to see youth in some of those spots. That’s the beauty of the Rams’ system over the years.”

Huard noted that while the Rams have paid up to keep skill players like receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, they’ve also been willing to give considerable playing time to rookies and young players at running back, as No. 3 or 4 receivers, or on the offensive line. Huard thinks that in addition to free agents, young players may get a lot of snaps for the Seahawks next season.

“I do think you’re going to see a bunch of new faces,” Huard said. “Not just because ‘these (current) guys can’t play,’ but really, just contractually there’s going to be massive opportunity for some new faces to come in here and show what they can do.”

The biggest need is?

With there being so many openings on the Seahawks’ offense heading into the offseason, Huard was asked which spot is most critical to fill.

He pointed out that the Seahawks have lacked a true No. 3 receiver behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett the last two seasons.

“I think having a dynamic No. 3 receiver is huge … I think you’ve given plenty of those guys opportunity this (last) season, so I think you will see some new faces. They brought Phillip Dorsett in to be that explosive guy and he never showed up (due to injury) and David Moore never really took that step in his career.”

Even though Huard wants to see a better No. 3 receiver going forward, he thinks based on Carroll’s tenure in Seattle, the Seahawks will likely prioritize the running back position.

“When push comes to shove, Pete Carroll after 11 years, it is a running back matters,” Huard said. “They’ve drafted a lot of them, they’ve tried to develop a lot of them. The running back matters. You can’t just plug anyone into this system.”

Huard thinks the Seahawks shouldn’t consider veterans such as Todd Gurley, who played for Waldron in Los Angeles, because they have “no juice left.” He thinks the Seahawks should try and get Carson, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher, back in Seattle for 2021.

“I think Chris, maybe the market will be so sour for him that he’ll be so livid he’ll have to sign a one-year deal and just run possessed and come back here, tail between his legs a little bit because he’s obviously frustrated,” Huard said.

Listen to the conversation at this link or in the player below.

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Huard: Expect plenty of personnel changes on Seahawks’ offense