JAKE AND STACY

Heaps: The 6 ‘no-brainers’ the Seahawks must re-sign this offseason

Jan 14, 2022, 12:15 PM
Seahawks Quandre Diggs...
Quandre Diggs of the Seattle Seahawks reacts after intercepting a pass during the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Rams. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Seahawks are heading into a very key offseason after a disappointing 2021 campaign where the team finished in last place in the NFC West with a 7-10 record.

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The good news for the Seahawks is they enter the offseason seventh in the league in available cap space. That’s especially critical as the team has 15 players set to hit unrestricted free agency, and many of them are key members of the roster.

Head coach Pete Carroll said earlier this week that the Seahawks’ focus this offseason is on retaining the team’s key players and bringing them back to Seattle for 2022. But which of those players are higher priorities than the rest?

Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps believes that six of those players stand out above the rest in terms of how important it is for the Seahawks to retain them this offseason. He shared who those players are during Wednesday’s edition of Jake and Stacy on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“I really view this as there are six ‘no-brainers’ in terms of the Seahawks wanting to re-sign players,” he said. “My six no-brainers? Rashaad Penny, Duane Brown, Quandare Diggs, D.J. Reed, Gerald Everett, and then the ‘wild card’ that people might not think is a no-brainer? Rasheem Green. Those are the names that I would be really working hard if I’m the Seattle Seahawks on trying to re-sign.”

Penny, 25, ended the year on a tear, rushing for 671 yards and six scores over the final five games of the year. The 2018 first-round pick has a lengthy injury history since he entered the league, but Penny showed explosion and burst that’s rare among running backs, especially of his size, during the final month of the 2021 campaign.

Brown, 36, was the Houston Texans’ first-round pick in 2008 and came to the Seahawks in 2017. Since then, the big veteran left tackle has been the team’s best offensive lineman and has been one of the better tackles in football. Brown is set to hit free agency for the first time in his NFL career and while he reportedly flirted with retirement last offseason, he told reporters this week he’d like to return to Seattle in 2022.

Diggs, 28, came to Seattle in a midseason trade in 2019 and since then, the free safety has been arguably the team’s top defensive player and is regularly around the football. Diggs has 13 interceptions for the Seahawks in 38 games, and he’s been a Pro Bowler each of the last two seasons. He has three or more interceptions every season since 2017 and had five each of the last two years. Diggs and the Seahawks couldn’t come to terms on an extension last offseason and the star safety injured his leg and ankle in the fourth quarter of Seattle’s season finale.

Reed, 25, has been a great story for the Seahawks these last two years. After being waived by the San Francisco 49ers after the 2019 season due to a pectoral injury, the Seahawks quickly claimed the 2018 fifth-round cornerback and, once he was healthy,  played him immediately. After starting at nickel corner, Reed moved to the outside due to injuries. He thrived in the role and spent 2021 as the team’s top perimeter cornerback. Reed recorded two interceptions in each of his two seasons in Seattle, making 22 starts in 24 games.

Everett, 27, came to the Seahawks from the Los Angeles Rams, where he reunited with his former tight ends coach Shane Waldron, Seattle’s new offensive coordinator. In 15 games, Everett caught 48 passes for 478 yards and four touchdowns, setting career highs in all the aforementioned categories except games played. Everett at times was a reliable third option for Russell Wilson behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and 26 of the tight end’s receptions went for first downs.

Green just wrapped up his fourth NFL season, but the big defensive end is still just 24 years old and is actually younger than rookie receiver Dee Eskridge and second-year pass rusher Darrell Taylor. Green played in all 17 games for the Seahawks in 2021 and finished the season tied for second on the team in sacks with 6.5. He also had six tackles for loss and 15 quarterback hits. He set career highs in sacks, tackles, tackles for loss, quarterback hits and snap percentage (67%).

After those six, Heaps said the rest of the Seahawks’ pending free agents come down to “evaluating the market” in regards to whether the team focuses on bringing them back for 2022.

“It is evaluating where everybody else stands, but I’m not going to overextend myself trying to get the other impending free agents back on this roster,” Heaps said. “Those six that I just mentioned, I think the Seahawks are going to work really, really hard to get them back into a Seahawks uniform and I think that they would be very smart in doing so.”

Listen to the second hour of Wednesday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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