STACY ROST

Rost: What’s next for Seahawks after the draft, including possible reunions

May 2, 2021, 6:33 PM
Seahawks Richard Sherman Pete Carroll...
Pete Carroll said he's been in contact with CB Richard Sherman, who is a free agent. (Getty)
(Getty)

Congratulations on the handful of Seahawks fans who expected Seattle to leave the draft with just three selections.

Gallant’s Observations: What stands out about Hawks’ 3 draft picks

Most critics expected Seattle’s head coach and general manager – normally a trade-happy duo – to maneuver their way into the later rounds by trading back to add a handful of additional selections. While the Seahawks did pull off two trades, they ultimately left with a just a trio of rookies.

That total is the fewest selected under coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider, but there’s plenty intrigue for fans. Here’s a breakdown on all three players.

For those wondering what comes next, here’s a preview:

Add more rookie talent

The Seahawks ended their draft with three selections, but they’ll be adding more young talent over the next several days in free agency.

A number of undrafted rookies have reportedly signed with Seattle, including:

• WR Cade Johnson (South Dakota State)
• WR Connor Wedington (Stanford)
• WR Tamorrion Terry (Florida State)
• OL Jared Hocker (Texas A&M)
• OL Pier-Olivier Lestage (University of Montreal)
• OL Greg Eiland (Mississippi State)
• CB Bryan Mills (North Carolina Central)
• RB B.J. Emmons (Florida International)
• RB Josh Johnson (Louisiana Monroe)
• LB Jon Rhattigan (Army)

Of particular interest for fans is Wedington, a Sumner High product who will return to his home state for his free agent deal. And according to ESPN’s Brady Henderson, the Seahawks’ offer to Wedington was a notable one.

Extend Jamal Adams

A day before the draft, Carroll assuaged any dire feelings from fans about Seattle’s meager pick selection by reminding them of the Seahawks’ biggest pick of the draft so far: All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, who Seattle gave up several draft picks to acquire last offseason.

“I would say, about the draft, our number one pick is Jamal Adams, and that’s a heck of a pick,” Carroll said. “He had a really good year leading into getting drafted by us No. 1, and it would have cost us another No. 1 to get that done… and we’re really excited about the future, too.”

Carroll’s right in that it would’ve cost the Seahawks a future first-rounder to trade up into the top 10 of the draft, even with their original 2021 pick (which, like it has been most years, sat in the 20s) that they sent to the Jets in the Adams trade. It was always going to be tough to justify giving up that much capital for a non-quarterback, but Adams helped his case with a record-setting 9.5 sacks in 2020, the most in a single season from a defensive back. To continue to make that sacrifice of capital pay off, the Seahawks need two things: continued production from Adams, and most importantly, additional years with Adams under contract. And that’s why this becomes the team’s biggest priority now that the draft has completed.

Were Adams an actual draft selection this year, the Seahawks would be working on ironing out his rookie contract. Adams, of course, is instead a veteran looking for a pricey extension. A top-of-the-market strong safety contract would theoretically resemble the one owned by Arizona’s Budda Baker ($14.7 million per year) or potentially rival the one for Broncos free safety Justin Simmons ($15.2 million per year). However, Adams is just 25 years old and also has more sack production that any other safety in the league. And as any player would tell you, the defenders who get sacks get paid.

The team has a clear interest in making Adams a stalwart of the defense far beyond 2021, but fans will be a bit nervous about that until the Seahawks can financially commit to it, too.

Plan… a reunion?

Two former Seahawks remain on the market in free agency: one could very well make his return, while the other faces much longer odds but certainly makes for some fascinating post-draft fodder.

We’ll start with the latter: are the Seahawks open to a reunion with veteran cornerback Richard Sherman? This one is a stretch but certainly an interesting nugget from Schneider and Carroll’s post-draft press conference.

“Sherm and I have always shared thoughts about stuff,” Carroll said. “We have stayed in touch for a long time, and I don’t think that should surprise you, because you just think about all of the guys that have left here and done so much for this program and our area… we’ve maintained I think really significant relationships and Sherm’s one of them…

“That’s not one of our thoughts right now, that we’re going out to get another (veteran) guy at (cornerback). But we’re going to keep looking. We’re not going to stop looking. We’re going to compete. So, in that sense I leave everything open, and that’s just one of them. Go ahead and do whatever you want with it, but that’s where it is.”

It certainly sounds like a no – apologies to hopeful fans – but it was a moment of clarification from Carroll, who again stifled any rumors of a rift or bad blood between the two parties (Schneider echoed that sentiment).

A defensive player more recently with the team was also a subject of discussion ahead of the draft: linebacker K.J. Wright. Carroll and Schneider admitted their surprise that Wright hadn’t signed with a team yet and seemed open to a potential return.

“K.J. is one of the classiest players you could ever expect to have in your program and has been a fantastic player,” Carroll said. “The door is not closed for us for what we’re doing moving forward.”

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