Ranked: The 5 best moves the Seahawks made during the 2021 offseason
The Seahawks are just days away from their Week 1 opener against the Indianapolis Colts, and they were awfully busy this offseason after going 12-4 in 2020 but falling in the first round of the playoffs.
Seattle made a number of moves and added several key new players to the mix despite having just three draft picks in April.
Mike Salk shared what he thinks were the five best offseason moves the team made during the “Ranked” segment of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk Show, which airs every day at 9:45 a.m. at the end of the four-hour broadcast from 6-10 a.m.
Here are Salk’s picks from Wednesday’s show.
5. Signing DL Kerry Hyder Jr.
The Seahawks added a very productive player from a division rival this offseason in Kerry Hyder Jr., who had 8.5 sacks for the San Francisco 49ers in 2020.
Hyder, 30, signed a two-year deal with the Seahawks worth up to $6.8 million, and Salk thinks he could play a big role for Seattle that a former franchise great used to play.
“He’s got some Michael Bennett to him,” Salk said, referring to the three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman who played for the Seahawks for five seasons. “I don’t know that he’s Michael Bennett, but he’s a little undersized. He’s a little bit of a tweener. He can play a little inside, he can play a little outside, he’s a bit of a grinder … Isn’t that what Kerry Hyder is supposed to be? Just someone where he just like wills it to happen?”
“He’s not a super young guy, I just feel like there’s a lot left there and I think the Seahawks can probably maximize that,” producer Maura Dooley added.
4. Re-signing DL Carlos Dunlap
Sticking with the defensive line, the Seahawks were able to bring back a familiar face in Carlos Dunlap, who the team traded for at last year’s trade deadline.
Dunlap, 32, was very productive for the Seahawks, tallying five sacks in eight games. He re-signed with the Seahawks on a two-year deal worth $13.6 million after the team released him earlier in the offseason to avoid paying him over $14 million in 2021 alone.
Salk thinks that Seattle getting Dunlap back at a lower price makes the signing especially great.
“Not just because he was a great player, but the way they handled this I thought was really why it climbs the list,” he said. “They let him go, they let him test free agency, he saw that he was not valued as highly as he thought he might be, they kept the communication open so he wasn’t mad at them and then they brought him back at a much more reasonable number.”
Money aside, Dunlap was a massive presence for the Seahawks’ defense. Before his arrival, Seattle struggled mightily on that side of the ball and had one of the worst pass rushes in football. With Dunlap on the roster, the defense was one of the NFL’s best over the second half of 2020 and finished seventh in the league in sacks.
“Carlos Dunlap when he showed up last year made them better,” Salk said. “They went from a bad defense to a good defense literally when he showed up, so bringing him back was huge.”
3. Signing TE Gerald Everett
The Seahawks have a new offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron, who comes to Seattle from the Los Angeles Rams, where he served one year as tight ends coach followed by three as passing game coordinator.
Coming with Waldron to the Seahawks from the Rams is Gerald Everett, who is entering his fifth NFL season.
Everett, who caught 41 passes for 417 yards and a touchdown last year and signed with Seattle in free agency on a one-year, $6 million contract, figures to have a huge role in the Seahawks’ passing attack in 2021.
“This one might actually be a little high on my list,” Salk said. “This guy’s either going to be boom or bust for me. Either this is going to work out like gangbusters or it’s not going to work. I do like that he can do a little of everything, and he definitely is a legitimate pass-receiving threat, but not Jimmy Graham where he’s basically a glorified wide receiver.”
2. Trading for RG Gabe Jackson
Earlier this offseason, star quarterback Russell Wilson caused quite the stir when he made comments regarding the team’s pass protection.
Now, he has a veteran starting right guard in Gabe Jackson, who the Seahawks acquired from the Las Vegas Raiders for a fifth-round pick.
Jackson, 30, has played 100 games since entering the NFL in 2014.
“He’s definitely not the biggest name on this list, but bringing in Gabe Jackson from the Raiders to play guard is a huge upgrade, I think,” Salk said.
Last year, the Seahawks’ starting right guard was then-rookie Damien Lewis while Mike Iupati started at left guard. But Iupati battled injuries a lot and players like Jordan Simmons were thrust into starting roles.
Now, the addition of Jackson gives Seattle a potent guard combination with Lewis sliding over to the left guard spot.
“You’re bringing in a legitimate starter, if not a Pro Bowler,” Salk said. “And if you want to run the ball – which I know (head coach Pete Carroll) still wants to do, that is still part of this offense – then you have got to have a guard.”
Jackson’s presence on Seattle’s offensive line will also be critical when facing the Rams, given they have a three-time Defensive Player of the Year on their defensive line.
“By the way, who’s the best defensive player in the league in your conference? Aaron Donald,” Salk said. “Where does he line up? Over the guards. He’s not just an edge rusher.”
1. Giving SS Jamal Adams a record-setting deal
The Seahawks’ top order of business this offseason was giving Adams a new deal as he was entering the last year of his contract.
The Seahawks acquired Adams, the sixth overall pick in the 2017 draft and a first-team All-Pro in 2019, from the New York Jets last offseason for two first-round picks, a third-round pick and safety Bradley McDougald.
Adams, 25, was a second-team All-Pro in his first season in Seattle in 2020, and he led the team in sacks with 9.5 while playing in 12 games. That 9.5 sack number also set an NFL record for most sacks by a defensive back in a single season.
As Adams waited for a new deal, he staged a “hold in” where he didn’t practice despite reporting to training camp. A few weeks ago, Adams and the Seahawks agreed to a four-year, $70 million deal with $38 million guaranteed. It’s the largest contract ever handed out to a safety in NFL history.
“The way you handled that without it really getting ugly in the press,” Salk said of why it ranks at the top of his list. “You traded two first-round picks for this dude. You think he’s the guy. Well, you’ve got to get him into camp and let him do his thing. Credit to (Seahawks general manager) John Schneider for getting it done, compromising and finding a way for (the two sides) to come together.”
Listen to the full segment in the fourth hour of Wednesday’s Mike Salk Show at this link or in the player below.