STACY ROST

Seahawks Q&A: What’s the best-case scenario for Seattle in 2022?

Jun 7, 2022, 8:51 AM
Seahawks Rashaad Penny...
Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny runs for a first down during the third quarter on Sunday. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

This week’s Seahawks Q&A features questions about Seattle’s best-case scenario in 2022 and the future of the NFC West.

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With so many great questions submitted on Twitter, this became the final installment of a three-part mailbag. You can read part one here, and part two here.

@SteakCzar: What would be your absolute best-case scenario for the Seahawks this season? (Other than the obvious Super Bowl win.)

A top-five defense and a top-five run game.

Wide receiver DK Metcalf is one of the biggest stars on this team, and deservedly so. At the close of 2022, he’ll still be a big star. But the best-case scenario for the Seahawks is that the list grows over the next several months, specifically with the addition of young defenders. Why? Because it means the bet Pete Carroll made – that he can win another championship without sacrificing his core philosophy – will have paid off for at least one season.

It also means Seattle’s investments are paying off. Rashaad Penny might be playing on a relatively team-friendly deal this year, but he was still a former first-round pick. They used a second-round pick on rookie halfback Ken Walker, a first-round pick on linebacker Jordyn Brooks, a second-round pick on Darrell Taylor, and traded two firsts for Jamal Adams before making him the highest paid safety in NFL history. If any of these players find their name in the All-Pro or Pro Bowl conversation this season, consider 2022 a success.

A top-five defense or top-five run game wouldn’t necessarily make Seattle a playoff team (though boasting both would certainly boost those odds). The Carolina Panthers gave up the second-fewest yards last year to opposing offenses and missed the postseason, while New Orleans finished top three in weighted DVOA and also fell short. But making improvements in both categories will be a key measuring stick for the Seahawks this year.

@Luicas69: When do the Seahawks plan to be in contention for the division?

It’s a great question, and unfortunately dependent on a ton of variables, the answers to many of which aren’t especially clear just yet.

An easy place to start is by looking at the quarterbacks, front office stability, and stars.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is returning to Los Angeles – much to the chagrin of the rest of the NFC West – on a reworked three-year contract, though their stalwart right tackle Rob Havenstein is playing under the final year of his contract and wide receiver Cooper Kupp will be seeking a new deal after 2023.

In Arizona, both Budda Baker and Kyler Murray become free agents in March 2024. The Cardinals will presumably extend their franchise quarterback, but (as it does with any team) that’ll limit the flexibility they have for other contracts.

In San Francisco, there’s the curious case of Trey Lance, a gifted passer who lacked the college experience of some other high picks and has yet to take over as a full-time starter. If he works out and becomes every bit as special as the 49ers thought he could be, then they something every team envies: A difference-maker on a rookie deal. Meanwhile though, they’ll need to figure out what to do about Deebo Samuel’s extension. The star wideout accounted for 1,770 yards from scrimmage for the 49ers (670 more than the next-closest player) and 14 all-purpose touchdowns (eight more than the next-closest player).

Then you’ve got Seattle. The Seahawks will need to figure out what to do about DK Metcalf’s contract. It’s one I currently expect them to get done, but you never really know with this team. They also need to find their quarterback of the future. If Drew Lock can excel as a game manager on a team with a top-ranked defense or top-ranked run game, that’s great – but it might not be enough in the end. Just ask Titans fans and 49ers fans, both of whom have seen wildly talented and competitive teams fall short of the Super Bowl without elite quarterback talent. Finding that player is far from a simple task, considering other franchises have tried and failed for decades. But should they, they’ll have one of the more team-friendly quarterback contracts in the division in two to three years.

Is Drew Lock showing enough to keep Seahawks from getting Mayfield?

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