Stacy Rost’s Look Who’s Talking: What a new and a former player are saying about Seahawks

Apr 2, 2021, 10:01 AM
Seahawks Jarran Reed...
Jarran Reed reportedly decided to take a pay cut to leave the Seahawks. (Getty)

With Seahawks players coming and going in free agency, you might miss a few things being said along the way.

Stacy Rost of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy is here to catch you up on what’s been said by new Seahawks tight end Gerald Everett and about ex-Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed.

Jake and Stacy: Is Seahawks’ D currently better than in 2020?

Tight end Gerald Everett gives props to new OC Shane Waldron

Seahawks fans aren’t overly familiar with Shane Waldron. The 41-year-old will take on the role of offensive coordinator for the first time ever with the Seahawks this year. But one of Seattle’s newest players knows him well.

New Seahawks tight end Gerald Everett spoke with reporters Thursday afternoon and said Waldron was one of the reasons he came to Seattle in free agency.

“Shane has definitely been pivotal in my career and been a mentor and a coach,” Everett said.

Waldron was most recently the passing game coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams but first joined the team in 2017 as the tight ends coach in Sean McVay’s new regime, which is when he and Everett first starting working together.

“Yes, he was a factor in my decision to come to Seattle” Everett said. “But also, you know, Seattle having a great organization and winning culture and great players like Russ (Russell Wilson) and DK (Metcalf) and Bobby Wagner and a bunch of other guys. But just to pinpoint one reason, if I had to pick one, it would be Shane, for sure.”

Everett called Waldron a “mastermind” on offense, and the Seahawks will need the injection of creativity. Seattle ended last year with one of the franchise’s most productive seasons on offense, but that was an average – in reality, the team started the season on fire, leading the league in points per game, before tumbling in the second half of the season.

With an offensive collapse like the one experienced by Seattle, there’s rarely one sole contributor. The team faced a tougher slate of defenses in the second half, including a pair of games against the top-rated Rams. Wilson, who for nine years was a model of consistency at quarterback, saw some of the worst production of his career and finished with a 2.3 interception percentage, the highest since his rookie season (2.5%). The Seahawks felt stuck between competing philosophies – they couldn’t run the ball well enough to offset the looks they were getting from opposing defenses, but they also couldn’t adjust scheme enough to combat those looks through the air alone.

With many separate issues, there’s rarely one solution, but Seattle is surely hoping Waldron can at least be a salve for a few of those wounds. If there’s one thing particularly promising about his background, it’s his roots as a tight ends coach and L.A.’s effective use of the intermediate pass game – two areas Seattle struggled with in 2020. And whether from willingness, plan or personnel, Seattle’s lack of depth behind Metcalf and Lockett, particularly in its tight end usage, was a problem that cropped up throughout the season.

Jacob Hollister led all of Seattle’s tight ends with 40 targets last year. Trailing him was Greg Olsen (37) and Will Dissly (29). The trio were outpaced in targets, yards and touchdowns by David Moore – not overly surprising, since he was the third wide receiver – but also by running back Chris Carson, who hadn’t been traditionally used as a pass catcher and also appeared in four fewer games than either Dissly or Hollister.

Everett’s familiarity with Waldron is already a benefit for the Seahawks heading into 2021, but should Waldron be willing to lean into a more diversified pass game, it’s all the better for Wilson.

Things get weird between the Seahawks and Jarran Reed

Granted, this story isn’t one that comes from Reed. The entire telling of his fallout with Seattle and details behind his subsequent decision to sign with the Chiefs have been told by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, respectively. But it’s a strange tale.

According to Garafolo, Reed would’ve made more this year by staying in Seattle (which is true), but Reed wanted a long-term extension that the Seahawks weren’t willing to offer, which made Reed feel unappreciated. So, he took a million-dollar pay cut to sign with a team he felt wanted him more.

“I give the (Seahawks) credit, because a lot of other teams would’ve signed him to this (deal),” Garafolo said. “The Seahawks kept it real with him. And Jarran Reed said, ‘You know what, if that’s the case then I’m just gonna go elsewhere.’ … Yes, he knew (he was giving up money). His agent explained it to him fully and said you are going to lose millions of dollars. And he says, ‘I don’t care. I don’t care because I want to go to a place where I feel the love back to me.’ … so he willingly gave up millions of dollars to go to the Chiefs and play there.”

It wasn’t surprising to hear last week that the Seahawks tried to create cap space by maneuvering money around on Reed’s deal. Reed had a salary cap hit exceeding $13 million and Seattle was in dire need of cap relief. What was surprising was that the two parties got to a place in those negotiations that led to the veteran defender being released, not only giving Seattle nothing in return in terms of a trade, but also losing money on Reed’s part.

It’s hard to fault either side here. The Seahawks were smart to try to create cap space, and it’s fair for Reed to feel undervalued if the team won’t commit to him past next season. The loss of Reed is a blow to the defensive line, but also creates a hole where former first-round pick L.J. Collier can potentially try out a new role.

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Stacy Rost’s Look Who’s Talking: What a new and a former player are saying about Seahawks