Bumpus: Seahawks top offseason priority should be addressing the trenches
The Seahawks finished the 2021 season in last place in the NFC West with a 7-10 record just a year after going 12-4 and winning the division.
Many expect the team to “run it back” with many of the same key pieces in place in the front office, coaching staff and on the roster.
But if the Seahawks are going to change things up and make some notable additions this offseason, where does that need to happen? Former NFL wide receiver Michael Bumpus explained to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy why this offseason’s needs are very similar to previous years.
“Offensively, I think you look at that offensive line,” he said.
Yes, for many years now, the Seahawks’ offensive line figures to need addressed. The line played better in 2021 than in other recent seasons, but three of the five starters along the line are set to hit unrestricted free agency and only the two starting guards are under contract for 2022.
“That left tackle (Duane Brown) is getting old, so what are you gonna do at that position?” Bumpus said. “(Right guard) Gabe Jackson is getting up there (in age) and he had an up and down season. The center spot with Ethan Pocic and Kyle Fuller has been kind of suspect. (Left guard) Damien Lewis was injured this year and had a bit of a slump. And then the right tackle spot (with Brandon Shell), we’ve seen a lot of guys there. There’s just been no consistency on the offensive line when it comes to personnel and when it comes to play.”
Bumpus noted that because of the Seahawks’ strong finish, especially in the run game, that people may think the line is in good shape.
“This is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ league, so people on the outside look at it and say, ‘What about these last two three games, haven’t they looked good?'” he said. “Yes, they did look good, but you want to find a unit that is super consistent.”
On the other side of the ball, it’s the other line.
“Defensively, I’ve got to go with the D-line again,” he said.
In 2020, the Seahawks finished seventh in the NFL in sacks after an incredible finish in the second half of the year. As a result, the Seahawks retain Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa, who’d combined for 11 sacks, and signed Kerry Hyder Jr. in free agency after he compiled 8.5 sacks for the San Francisco 49ers.
The Seahawks finished 2021 22nd in sacks and only four players had two or more sacks. Mayowa and Hyder weren’t among those players.
“Thank goodness for Carlos Dunlap coming on the last six games getting eight sacks,” Bumpus said. “Before then, we were banking on Darrell Taylor, who’s a rookie essentially who hadn’t gotten much playing time and dependent on guys like Kerry Hyder, who I thought was going to have a bigger impact. When it comes down to it, the skill positions, I think these guys are OK. You can add a corner. But if you bring your safeties back, you bring everybody back and we’re just talking about the guys we have right now, I think you have to get in the trenches and address both sides of the ball.”
Listen to the full conversation between Bumpus and the Jake and Stacy crew at this link or in the player below.