Which Seahawks have the most on the line the rest of the season?
The Seahawks have three games left this season and are 7-7 heading into a Saturday clash in Kansas City against the Chiefs.
Now only is Seattle fighting for a Wild Card spot, but many of its players are fighting to prove they should remain on the team going forward.
So which players ultimately have the most to prove over the Seahawks’ final three games? Wyman and Bob discussed a number of names – many of them being pending free agents – throughout Tuesday’s show on Seattle Sports 710 AM. We won’t dive into every name in story form, but here are a few notable names Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton discussed.
(Note: All contract figures are courtesy of Spotrac.)
QB Geno Smith
“To me, the biggest is Geno Smith,” Stelton said. “He’s making $3.5 million this year. Pro football salary, that’s peanuts for a starting quarterback playing at the level that he’s playing. So he’s playing for his next deal, whether it’s with the Seahawks, whether it’s a franchise tag or who knows how it goes. But he’s playing to prove, ‘Hey, I’m an elite quarterback, I should be paid as such.’ He needs to maintain what he’s been doing through these three games to ensure that he’s gonna get at minimum that franchise tag, which is $30-plus million dollars, (which is) more than he’s ever made in his career. So he’s set for the biggest windfall of his career.”
“I’m very curious what he does end up getting and I also think it has to do with the next three weeks, or possibly four (or more), if they do go on to the playoffs,” Wyman said. “I think it’s gonna be interesting when the draft comes around.”
The Seahawks currently hold the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft thanks to a trade with the Denver Broncos as well as their own original first-rounder, so some think Seattle could take a quarterback with one of those picks, or potentially with one of the franchise’s two second-round selections.
“For the most part, you’re probably going to draft a guy that’s going to take two or three years to get up to where Geno is,” Wyman said. “So I think the Seahawks will pay him.”
DL Poona Ford
“I’m torn. First of all, I didn’t realize he was making that much this year. But Poona Ford, he’s a free agent after this year, he’s being paid $10.75 million this year,” Stelton said. “And if we’re being honest and objective, I don’t think he’s a $10 million player. I don’t think he’s played that way this year.
“No, I don’t think so either. I think he has two sacks,” Wyman said. “… He’s kind of a tweener, I think, for this for this defense, because he’s not big enough to play the nose guard position but also I don’t know if he’s fast enough or athletic enough to play the outside part.”
RG Gabe Jackson
“Another guy that’s kind of disappointing (who I was) pretty excited when they brought him over from the Raiders,” Stelton said. “He had a great reputation, everybody was talking about him being one of the best guards in the league. And just last year, the line as a whole had a down year. And then this year, you’re looking at it and then just kind of watching him closely, he’s been a bit disappointing, as well. ”
Jackson is signed through 2023 and is due to make $11.262 million. But Wyman noted that Jackson isn’t even a full-time starter right now for Seattle.
“I’m not sure he’s worth that. Especially since his snaps are declining,” he said. “… Phil Haynes is playing better than he is right now … I think it used to be that Phil was getting maybe one-third of the snaps and now he’s getting like two-thirds of the snaps.”
C Austin Blythe
“Maybe he works in a different sort of system, but boy, he just really feels undersized,” Stelton said of Blythe, who’s in his first year with the Seahawks. “He’s a free agent after the season, he’s making $4 million this year while signed to a one-year deal. I’d kind of be surprised if they brought him back.”
“I’m curious about that because going into this season, it was like, ‘Yeah, this is the perfect center’ because he’s very athletic and he’s able to get outside and do some of the blocking schemes that they want to do,” Wyman said.
Wyman also said Blythe has had issues of late because defenses have “loaded up” over the center spot and have been able to disrput his play.
DL Quinton Jefferson
Veteran defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson returned to the Seahawks on a multi-year deal for another stint with the team this offseason, and he’s due to make just under $6 million in 2023. Wyman thinks Jefferson should stick around next year.
“He’s got four sacks and a couple tackles for loss, he’s knocked a pass down. He’s not like the greatest you know player, but I think he’s a good utility guy,” he said. “… I’m OK (with keeping Jefferson). I think he’s also a good leader and just kind of one of the guys that knows what (head coach Pete Carroll) wants to get down here. I don’t think $6 million is that much for a player like that. I feel like a lot of teams would like to have him for that amount.”
DL L.J. Collier
Another D-lineman, however, likely won’t return to the team next year, and that’s 2019 first-round pick L.J. Collier.
“He’s gonna be a free agent after the season,” Stelton said. “They did not pick up his fifth-year option. I’m gonna guess he’s playing elsewhere.”
“Just never saw it pop with him. Never did,” Wyman said. “There were a couple of things his rookie year and then he got hurt. And getting hurt had way too big of an effect on him. So it just has never materialized”
There are more players Wyman and Bob discussed both in the 2:30 segment of Tuesday’s show, as well as the 3:30 segment. Podcasts from both the first and second hours of Tuesday’s show will be added to this story when they’re available.