Jake Heaps’ 5 unpopular Seahawks 2022 offseason opinions

Feb 8, 2022, 2:03 PM

Seahawks Chris Carson...

Chris Carson of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sept. 12 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

There are a few things that nearly all Seahawks fans are on board with the team doing this offseason, like re-signing Pro Bowl free safety Quandre Diggs.

Rost: Top free agents who could fill the Seahawks’ big needs

That, obviously, is a popular and widely-agreed upon sentiment from fans of the team as well as many analysts.

But what about some more unpopular opinions as it pertains to what the Seahawks do this offseason?

That’s what former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps provided during Tuesday’s edition of Jake and Stacy on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“What about things that we might have to be convinced about, or things that we might strongly disagree with, but you think will genuinely make the team better?” co-host Stacy Rost asked Heaps.

Well, ask and you shall receive. In fact, Heaps provided five such opinions.

No. 1: TE Gerald Everett is a must re-sign

Among the Seahawks’ more notable pending free agents is tight end Gerald Everett, who had 48 catches on 63 targets for 478 yards and four touchdowns in his lone year in Seattle in 2021. All of those numbers were career highs for Everett, who just finished his fifth NFL season.

“I think for a lot of people, (Everett) is very debatable and is really an ‘at the right price’ type of player,” Heaps said. “And I don’t necessarily disagree with that. I also would be very surprised that Gerald Everett’s market all of a sudden balloons and becomes a lot bigger than what it was a season ago.”

Heaps thinks Everett can be brought back to the Seahawks fairly easily, but that doesn’t change that he should be a top priority for the team.

“It would bring a lot of continuity to your offense Year 2 under (offensive coordinator) Shane Waldron. You want to build and continue to progress moving forward, and I believe having Gerald Everett be a part of that is a big deal because as you saw in the second half of the season, Russell Wilson and Gerald Everett really started clicking really started to generate some chemistry there,” Heaps said.

Heaps noted that there were some low moments with Everett in 2021, like a dropped touchdown in the final game of the year and a two-fumble game against the San Francisco 49ers. But overall, Everett was a solid contributor for the Seahawks in 2021.

“Gerald Everett was a very good football player for this team, and he plays with a style and a toughness and an attitude that is very reflective of what Pete Carroll wants, and is the exact style that is the Seahawks way,” Heaps said.

No. 2: LT Duane Brown is a must re-sign

A year ago this may have been a no-brainer for many, but left tackle Duane Brown, 37 in August, had his worst year as a Seahawk in 2021 and is now hitting the open market.

Even with Brown being one of the NFL’s older players and having a down year, Heaps thinks the Seahawks absolutely need to bring him back rather than replace him.

“The reason why I’m standing on the table for Duane Brown is because of his leadership and because of his durability and staying out there on the field and being reliable from that aspect. You know what you’re going to get from Duane Brown,” Heaps said.

Heaps said there are some intriguing left tackles on the open market like Eric Fisher of the Indianapolis Colts and Terron Armstead of the New Orleans Saints, but he expects those two to get huge paydays that Seattle likely will not want to add to its books.

“I don’t believe the Seahawks are ready to invest that kind of money in a left tackle. I would be shocked if they were,” Heaps said. “So with that being said, you bring back Duane Brown, he’s going to be at around the $10 to $12 million price point, which is a lot more manageable, and you have one of your key leaders on your team again which allows you to spread more money to get or invest in a high quality center or a pass rusher.”

No. 3: RB Chris Carson may be a cap casualty

Running back Chris Carson entered the league as a seventh-round pick of the Seahawks in 2017 and emerged as their starter with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019.

Carson then ran for 681 yards in 2020 while missing four games with a foot injury, but he re-signed with the team this past offseason and then appeared in just four games before his 2021 campaign was done due to a neck injury.

Now, Carson enters the last year of his contract with plenty of question marks in regards to his durability as this is the second season-ending injury he’s suffered in the past three years.

Heaps thinks that Carson’s health coupled with Rashaad Penny’s emergence as well as the ability to save $3.4 million if Carson is cut or traded means Carson is no sure thing to be with the Seahawks in 2022.

“I do believe Chris Carson is in serious danger of being a cap casualty,” Heaps said. “… I think it would be almost irresponsible to go into this next year knowing that the running game has to be so important (and) you go into the year with your two starting running backs being incredibly injury or injury prone with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny.”

Penny has been even more injured and banged up than Carson since entering the NFL in 2018, but Penny exploded for 671 yards (7.3 yards per carry) and six touchdowns over Seattle’s final five games of the 2021 season and showed why he was a first-round pick. That finish to the season – and his rookie contract – leads many to believe the Seahawks will try and re-sign Penny to be a focal point of the offense.

Heaps thinks it has to be one or the other in terms of Penny and Carson being on the roster in 2022 when the team needs stability in the running game.

“If you bring back Rashaad Penny, you keep Chris Carson on your roster, you can’t go out and spend for another top talented running back,” Heaps said. “It’s an either or (situation) … I would love to have Chris Carson on this roster. But when it comes to health, when it comes to the importance of the running game for this offense, you’ve got to make sure that someone is healthy and ready to go. And if you can’t provide that, then what are you doing? You’re setting yourself up for failure later down the road.”

Heaps said the Seahawks need to decide whether Penny is the guy they’re “banking on” to lead the running game in 2022. If so, the team needs to really evaluate where Carson’s neck is at.

“Can this guy hold up throughout the entire season? If that is in serious doubt still at this point in time, I do think it would be more prudent to save the $3.4 million and go out there and go after James Conner or go after Melvin Gordon. Go after one of those guys who is a little bit more durable and is playing good football right now,” Heaps said.

No. 4: The Seahawks don’t need to spend big on cornerbacks

Heaps and Rost agree that the Seahawks’ three biggest needs this offseason are offensive line, defensive line and cornerback.

But unlike offensive line and defensive line, Heaps doesn’t think the Seahawks need to shell out big bucks for new faces in the secondary.

“I do believe that the team can get by with playing a guy like Sidney Jones, a guy like Tre Brown who they felt really good about and excited about last year,” Heaps said. “If they’re able to re-sign D.J. Reed, who will come probably more around the $10 million price tag – and I do believe that that would be an appropriate number for his play last year. He’s a very good player, and you know, stacks up against everybody.”

The one area Reed hasn’t excelled at, Heaps said, is taking the ball away. But by spending on pass rush help, that could change in 2022.

“How much would he be better in that area if he knew that he had less time to cover because pass rushers were consistently getting to the quarterback and speeding up their clocks?” Heaps said.

No. 5: Trim fat on the roster to make room for impact additions

If you’ve heard Heaps talk about how the Seahawks should approach the offseason, you know he’s a firm believer in quality over quantity, which is not how Seattle typically operates in free agency.

In order to maximize how many quality pieces the team can bring in, Heaps thinks the Seahawks should be looking to move on from players who won’t have sizable roles. Specifically, he pointed to the defensive line.

“I would look at L.J. Collier. The cap savings that he would have wouldn’t be significant, but it would be around $1 million,” Heaps said. “Benson Mayowa (would save the Seahawks) $1.5 million. Kerry Hyder, $2 million on your savings. So wherever you have the ability to do that around the edges with guys that aren’t going to be major impact players, you need to (do that). You need to promote Alton Robinson, for example, and play him more rather than continue to have someone like Benson Mayowa or Kerry Hyder Jr. on this roster.”

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Jake Heaps’ 5 unpopular Seahawks 2022 offseason opinions