Upgrading Seahawks Roster: Where they should buy, trade and draft
Feb 28, 2022, 9:03 AM | Updated: Jan 23, 2023, 3:43 pm
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
After watching the Rams successfully trade away the future for the present, I have felt strongly that this is the path the Seahawks should, take as well. However, after a fun discussion with former Seahawks running back Robert Turbin about this topic as we filled on hosting Wyman and Bob on Friday, it seems there is a more realistic yet similarly effective path to upgrading the talent on the roster.
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That would be by combining three methods to fill the biggest deficiencies on the team: offensive line, an edge rusher, and a cornerback. I’ll blame the one-track “TRADE! TRADE! TRADE!” mindset I had on a recent chest-thumping lunch with Matthew McConaughey.
Through a combination of signing free agents, trading for one key player, and drafting at a position where college players have success making an immediate impact, the Seahawks would put themselves in prime position to reestablish themselves at the top tier of the NFC.
Here are a few options for each scenario.
Buy: Edge rusher
The free agent market is always “buyer beware.” If a truly great player was available, why didn’t their former team re-sign them? However, despite minor flaws and other factors that could be red flags, the quality of edge rushers available outweighs the glaring issues that are present with the offensive linemen and cornerbacks in free agency. Generating pressure on the quarterback has been a glaring concern for the Seahawks, especially after recording just 34 sacks in 2021, which tied for the ninth-worst mark in the NFL. Here are a couple intriguing options:
• Von Miller: At 32 years old, he might not command an unrealistic contract number, so $10 million per year seems completely reasonable for a player who made significant contributions with the Rams. Let’s put it this way: The nine sacks he had in just 12 games for the Rams is more than any Seahawk had all season (Carlos Dunlap led Seattle with 8.5 sacks in 17 games).
• Haason Reddick: He should be a hot name this offseason, and at just 27 years old has plenty left in the tank for any team that expects to be a contender for the next few seasons. Reddick would certainly fix the dire problem of getting to the passer. He racked up 11 sacks and 18 quarterback hits for the Panthers in 2021. Plus, you get the extra motivation of Reddick twice a season facing the Cardinals, a team that drafted him in the first round yet declined his fifth-year option after a 12.5-sack season in 2020.
Why didn’t I mention Chandler Jones? He is definitely a name, and one the Seahawks are familiar with, but don’t be deceived by his numbers. Half of his season total for sacks came in Week 1, he has an injury history, and is 32 years old. Plus, according to the salary cap website Spotrac, he will be in the range of at least $14.5 million to sign.
The Seahawks might have a promising future starter in Tre Brown, but with his season-ending injury and D.J. Reed’s pending free agency, there is literally no one at one of the most critical positions on defense for Seattle. In this situation, you can’t afford to take a risk on drafting another cornerback and waiting on him to develop. Similarly, the free agent market is suspect. Stephon Gilmore could be the best option out there, but he is nearly 32 years old and will be expensive. How about this trade scenario for the Seahawks?
• Seahawks trade 2023 and 2024 first-round picks for Dolphins CB Xavien Howard
We don’t have to rehash the relative importance of first-round picks (the second/third/fourth rounds have worked out better anyways for the Seahawks), and trading those to acquire a proven top-tier talent seems like a no-brainer. The Dolphins have to break in a new head coach and are dealing with question marks at quarterback in an absolutely loaded AFC. They aren’t ready to contend now and would jump at the chance to build around their team down the road instead of trying to win now. Xavien Howard has already expressed his frustration with the organization, so why not trade him away if they plan on a slower pace to building a contender?
If sacks were a concern for the Seahawks, then the lack of interceptions should be equally glaring, especially from cornerbacks. Howard picked off five passes last year, had 10 interceptions in 2020, and has 27 career interceptions in basically just five seasons (he didn’t record any as a rookie in 2016). Oh yeah, did I mention he is only 28 years old?
Draft: Offensive lineman
More than any other position, an offensive lineman can come in as a rookie and make an immediate impact. That also goes beyond first-round picks like the Chargers’ Rashawn Slater, who started in the Pro Bowl this year as a rookie. It also includes a guy who was available when the Seahawks drafted in the second round last year: the 63rd pick in the draft, Creed Humphrey. The Chiefs entrusted a rookie center to protect perhaps the single-most important asset in the NFL and Humphrey came through, finishing as the highest-ranked center in the league this past season.
This is not to pile on the Seahawks, or any other team, for missing on him. It’s simply to show that even without a first-round pick this year, the Seahawks can get an immediate, impact starter with the 41st overall pick.
The potential options in the 2022 NFL Draft:
• Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington State
• Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
• Zion Johnson, OG, Boston College
• Dohnovan West, C, Arizona State
These are all players who are projected or grade out around where the Seahawks are drafting, and that is the extent of my input on these guys since all of us should trust professionals who make their living evaluating players, especially at a position so nuanced and difficult to judge.
So there it is, the foolproof course of action for the Seahawks offseason. There are plenty of factors which make this more complex than what is outlined here, but free agency begins on March 16 and we will start to get a clearer picture of how the Seahawks plan to upgrade the talent in their key areas of need.
Listen to Mike Lefko’s full conversation about this plan from Friday’s edition of Wyman and Bob in the podcast at this link or in the player below.
Heaps: How Seahawks should address D-line in draft and free agency