Jake and Stacy: What’s the Seahawks’ best move so far this offseason?
The NFL offseason is in full swing as free agency officially kicked off Wednesday, and the Seahawks and 31 other teams have been hard at work adding to their rosters for the 2021 season.
After a slow start early in the week for the Seahawks during the NFL’s legal tampering period, things picked up as Seattle has made a few moves for likely starters once Week 1 rolls around. For a full look at the Seahawks’ offseason, check out 710Sports.com’s tracker here.
So which move has been the best for the Hawks thus far? Jake Heaps and Stacy Rost of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy shared their thoughts on Thursday.
Jake Heaps: Acquiring OG Gabe Jackson
Many thought the Seahawks would make a run at Raiders center Rodney Hudson if Las Vegas cut him, but he wound up being traded to an NFC West rival of Seattle’s, the Arizona Cardinals. Instead, the Seahawks reportedly went out and traded a fifth-round pick for one of Hudson’s Raiders teammates in Gabe Jackson, who has been a starter for the franchise since 2014.
One of the key storylines this offseason was how the Seahawks would improve the offensive line after quarterback Russell Wilson voiced his displeasure over the team’s pass protection. By acquiring Jackson, Seattle gets one of the better pass-protecting guards in the NFL.
Heaps has been vocal about wanting to see the Seahawks improve the offensive line this offseason, and he believes getting Jackson is “without a doubt” Seattle’s best move thus far.
“Offensive guard, it’s a position of need. A position of need they have finally addressed and it makes your offensive line significantly better,” he said.
The only question now with the Seahawks acquiring Jackson is how that impacts the rest of the offensive line, particularly a rookie standout from last season.
“The one thing you have to remember with Gabe Jackson is that for the last five seasons he’s played right guard,” Heaps said. “Who else plays right guard? Damien Lewis. So there is a strong possibility that Damien Lewis gets moved over to left guard and plays next to (starting left tackle) Duane Brown.”
If Heaps’ estimation is correct and Lewis moves to left guard, that would place him next to Brown while Jackson plays next to right tackle Brandon Shell, who had a solid 2020 showing. All that remains is the center position, which is open as 2020 starter Ethan Pocic is a free agent.
“I think they have a chance to make an upgrade at the center position in free agency,” Heaps said. “You do that, then man, I’m going to be feeling pretty good about this offensive line heading into 2021.”
Stacy Rost: Letting CB Shaquill Griffin go
While Heaps’ choice was an acquisition, Rost chose to talk about a departure as Seattle will reportedly lose four-year starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin to the Jacksonville Jaguars on a three-year deal worth up to $40 million with more than half of it guaranteed. That occurred despite the Seahawks making a reported “late push” to keep Griffin.
Rost thinks the Seahawks deserve “props” for allowing Griffin to walk despite wanting to keep him in Seattle.
“I know it’s going to sound weird because I really like him, but I think it’s letting Shaquill Griffin go,” she said. “You made a really tough decision that’s not easy to make. This organization clearly likes Shaquill Griffin, he was a fan favorite … he was a reliable starter, but Seattle didn’t have the money (to pay what Jacksonville did), and I think in the past they’ve made decisions that maybe weren’t in the best interest long-term … I think they had to make a tough decision and deciding ‘we can’t afford to do that so we’re going to look elsewhere and sign another corner or pay someone else on defense.’ I want to give them props for that because that’s never an easy decision to make.”
To make up for Griffin’s departure, the Seahawks reportedly signed San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon to a one-year deal worth $4 million. Witherspoon joins his former 49ers teammate D.J. Reed as well as Tre Flowers as potential 2021 starters at outside cornerback for the Seahawks in 2021.