Brock & Salk: Should Seahawks consider blockbuster trade for Aaron Donald?

Jun 16, 2023, 4:19 PM

Seattle Seahawks trade Aaron Donald...

Aaron Donald is held back against the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 7, 2021. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Could the Seattle Seahawks’ next big move be one with an NFC West foe?

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During Thursday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports, Brock Huard and Mike Salk discussed the possibility of a blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Rams for three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, a star defensive tackle who would certainly be an impact addition for the Seahawks.

“Would you trade the farm – and it’s gotta be at least a couple of picks – for an aging (32) Aaron Donald, knowing that he’s not going to be around long-term, he does have some injury concerns at this stage of his career, but that he is the best defensive lineman out there and could be the difference between I don’t know, two wins? I mean, he’s a huge difference-maker. Would you trade the farm right now for Aaron Donald?” Salk said. “You said no.”

“You are in a time and in a place leadership-wise where Geno (Smith) has ascended, where these young bucks, you have them right at just this impressionable age (with) this rookie class paired with the sophomore class from last year where I think you are in an absolute sweet spot. And I want those guys,” Huard responded. “… I don’t love what the Rams did. I don’t love that.”

What Huard means is the Rams mortgaged high-end draft picks for many years in order to build their roster, which did culminate in a Super Bowl title in 2021 but has had some major ramifications with the team’s draft and cap situations.

In addition to likely costing the Seahawks a lot in terms of draft picks, but Donald also carries high cap numbers for the remainder of his contract, which ends after 2024 but has two void years at the end, per OverTheCap.

“Can you take on some cash? Can you eat some of their cap?” Huard said. ” … You probably have to cut Jamal (Adams). You’d have to eat (Adams’) dead cap. And you’d probably need to have to free up (even more to have) enough cap space. So again, this would be an all-in.”

Salk said he’s going back and forth on the idea, and likes the idea of Donald joining the Seahawks’ defense.

“It’s right at that point where he could absolutely be going downhill, or there have been a bunch of pass-rushers and defensive lineman-type guys who’ve had a lot of success in those early- to mid-30 years, Brock, where you go, ‘Geez, I could kind of see it,'” he said. “When I first heard it, my instant reaction was flat no. I’m kind of coming around on the idea a little bit … Where else are you going to find yourself a defensive lineman? I mean look, at the end of the day, the Seahawks have a gigantic need at this position. He’s not the (traditional) nose tackle that they need, but God, don’t you find a way to make it work if it’s Aaron Donald?”

The issue, Salk said, is a move like this is dependent on whether you feel the Seahawks are one impact player away from winning a Super Bowl.

“The real question you have to ask is are you a player away? That’s it,” he said. “You’ve got to ask are you one player away from competing for a Super Bowl? And I guess as much as I fancy the idea and why I could kind of go back and forth on it and say that there’s a real conversation to be had here, do I think the Seahawks are an Aaron Donald away from a Super Bowl? That’d be hard for me.”

The Seahawks, Huard noted, typically lie just outside the top-10 in most offseason power rankings.

“Is Aaron Donald good enough to make you top-five? Is Aaron Donald all of a sudden against San Francisco and Philadelphia gonna make you legit?” he asked. “And then on top of that, oh, by the way, Pro Football Focus, did you see what they just graded your offensive line? Yeah, it would be 30 out of 32.”

Added Salk, “It would be hard for me to say that Aaron Donald would be the thing that gets you over the top and makes you a Super Bowl-winning team. So I guess you’re right. The answer is probably no, but I could get myself excited about it. I could see a moment where I was like, ‘Yeah, all right. I can kind of sell this.'”

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