Salk: Do Seahawks truly have shortage of stars on roster?

Jan 30, 2022, 10:02 AM

Seahawks Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf...

Russell Wilson, reacts with DK Metcalf after he passed Metcalf for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Seahawks missed out on the playoffs for just the second time since 2012 during a 2021 season that saw them go 7-10 and finish in last place in the NFC West.

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Due to Seattle’s disappointing season, many believe they don’t have as much talent as the top teams in the NFL, especially when it comes to the amount of stars on the roster. But is that the case?

That’s what Mike Salk discussed during Friday’s edition of The Mike Salk Show on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“I think the majority of folks seem to think that there’s just a talent gap, and they’re just not as good,” Salk said. ” … I agree with that.”

Salk pointed to his end-of-season conversation with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who mentioned the amount of star power the other three NFC West teams have. Those teams – the Rams, 49ers and Cardinals – all made the playoffs, with the Rams and 49ers playing for the NFC Championship on Sunday.

“And then you start going through the Seahawks’ mistakes that they’ve made over the years, whether it’s in the drafting issues, or the fact that as we were saying … that they haven’t really hit on a free agent since 2013 who’s made a significant positive impact for this team,” Salk said. ” … When you look at the Seahawks’ talent versus the teams that are left, I would probably agree that they’re not as talented.”

But the idea that the Seahawks don’t have stars, Salk said, is a little off the mark.

“How many players on the Seahawks would you reasonably call a star? It doesn’t mean they’ve played up to that role the last couple of years, but they have name recognition throughout the league, people know who they are, they have some sort of star power, they’ve gotten paid appropriately,” he said. “And when you start looking through it, I don’t know whether the talent gap is as extreme as people think it is. I’m not saying there’s not one, but that it might not be as wide as folks believe.”

Salk said that the Seahawks have seven players he’d call stars or “big-time players.” Those seven? Quarterback Russell Wilson, receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, left tackle Duane Brown, linebacker Bobby Wagner and safeties Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams.

“So counted up, you’ve got seven players on your team who are supposed to be big-time players and stars. You may have noticed that I kind of changed my language a little bit there. Suppose that I may have thrown the word ‘supposed’ to be in there. Because four of those seven had down years or worse,” Salk said.

The four Salk feels didn’t live up to the hype were Wilson, Wagner, Brown and Adams.

“They did not play up to the big-time player/star potential that I just mentioned (in 2021),” Salk said.

Wilson had his finger injury, but Salk didn’t feel he played great before the injury and it took until the final two weeks for him to bounce back. Brown had his struggles in 2021, as well. Wagner and Adams also did not impress Salk in 2021.

“Bobby Wagner, not even close, right? I mean, I know he had all the tackles, but (he had) zero impact and was just not the same kind of player that he got paid to be,” he said. “And Jamal Adams obviously gets hurt, struggles in coverage, has all kinds of issues with whether or not he’s living up to the contract and the trade. So four of your seven did not have the kind of season that you would hope. And of the remaining three, two of them, unfortunately, play the position that is most dependent on other people around them … The wideout spot, and that’s where DK and Lockett are.”

So why didn’t the Seahawks and their stars perform like expected?

“Is it because they need more talent around these guys? Yes,” Salk said. “But is it because they need a ton more talent around these guys? I don’t know. I don’t know whether the talent gap is that different, or whether the guys you’ve committed to to be your stars need to actually play like the stars they’re supposed to be.”

Salk said the Seahawks “still have a ways to go” in order to be a championship-caliber team, and a big reason is because of the team’s stars not living up to their billing.

“Unfortunately you committed to a safety (Adams) and a middle linebacker (Wagner) who haven’t done squat since you committed to them,” he said. “That’s the problem. It’s just as much of that as what you’ve done in terms of missing in some of these draft picks (and other miscues).”

One area Salk thinks the Seahawks absolutely need to add a star is the pass rush.

“They need to be better on the outside on the edge on defense,” he said. “… As you’ll notice, none of these guys (mentioned as stars) play defensive end or (are on the) defensive line. That’s an issue to me. When you start naming your stars, don’t you want one or two of them to be in that spot?”

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.

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