What does 1st-place Seahawks’ trade for Leonard Williams say?
Oct 30, 2023, 2:33 PM | Updated: 6:21 pm
(Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
The Seattle Seahawks have a new impact player on their defensive line, with the team swinging a blockbuster trade Monday with the New York Giants for Pro Bowl interior lineman Leonard Williams.
It’s been a pretty interesting last week for the Seahawks, who have won two straight games to move into first place in the NFC West while at the same time seeing significant changes on the defensive side of the roster. Leading outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu was lost for the season due to a pectoral injury suffered on Oct. 22, while veteran pass rusher Frank Clark was brought back to the team soon after on a contract in free agency.
Now Williams has been added to the mix. What does it say about the 5-2 Hawks, who jumped ahead of the 5-3 San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in the standings?
Right after news broke of the reported trade for Williams, Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy discussed that, first focusing on why the price that Williams will cost Seattle – a 2024 second-round pick and 2025 fifth-round pick – isn’t as steep as it may seem.
“I think that there are Giants fans who probably think, ‘Oh, we fleeced them,’ and I think there are Seahawks fans who think, ‘Why give up a second-rounder for a near-30-year-old defensive lineman?'” said Stacy Rost before setting up her co-host Michael Bumpus. “Bump, you had a really good take on this, which was there’s a difference between being a buyer and a seller.”
Here’s what Bumpus, a former NFL wide receiver and current Seahawks Radio Network broadcaster, had to say:
The Hawks are building for right now. The Giants are building for later. I think the Giants realize that, ‘We’re in a deep enough hole, quarterback’s banged up’ – (head coach Brian) Daboll’s over there fighting for his life. Things ain’t right over there. … How do you build your team? You give away good talent for more draft picks. The Hawks, on the other hand, they’re saying, ‘Hey guys, we might have something here. We’re 5-2, best team in the division right now.’ It looks like the Niners are taking a step back with their quarterback play and their defense. You got to strike while the iron is hot. I didn’t expect them to make a move like this, I thought the Frank Clark move was that move – and I like what I saw from Frank Clark in his limited limited time out there (Sunday). But man, so far this defensive line with Boye Mafe stepping up, with (Darrell Taylor) having a decent game, with (Jarran Reed) leading the team in sacks (going into Sunday)… and now you add Frank Clark and Leonard – man, this is looking like a dangerous defense.
What about what the Seahawks are looking for out of Williams? Rost believes the fact that Seattle would pay such a high price for him suggests they have not just big plans for him this year but beyond 2023, even though he’s set to be a free agent after the season.
If you’re Seattle, there’s only so much you can do in terms of drafting and developing young players. If you feel that your defense is good enough to get to that next level and that you’re just missing that superstar piece, the reward for you is getting deeper into the playoffs this season. I’m assuming that if they’re trading for Leonard Williams this year, the idea is that Williams stays with the team and that Williams pays off with a deep playoff run, and Williams is someone that you want to keep with you.
Bumpus said it’s also an endorsement by head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider of the team’s quarterback. Veteran Geno Smith is in his second year as the Seahawks’ full-time starter at the position, but he signed a team-friendly, long-term contract last offseason that gives Seattle an out after this year.
You know what this also says? It says they believe that Geno’s good enough, because you’re giving away some picks, as well. You’re trying to win right now. You’re looking at Geno and saying, ‘We think he’s good enough for us to make a run, or else we wouldn’t be building like this and giving away picks.’ So I think we understand that John and Pete feel this team is ready to go, or has the pieces for at least the next couple of years to make a real run at this thing – which is exciting to me because I see this team as a work in progress, obviously, but it’s about the guys who are in the building. And if they feel that way, then that gets me excited.
Rost related that to how much things have changed in a span of a few short weeks in terms of perception of this Seahawks squad’s ceiling in the NFC this year.
I’m really excited because (ESPN NFL analyst) Booger McFarland was on with Brock and Salk (last week) and said, ‘Look, I think if Pete and John are honest with themselves, they’re probably a year away.’ And you could look at the young talent that they have and completely agree with that and completely say two weeks ago the 49ers have a competitive edge on you, they have a talent edge on you. The Eagles have a talent edge on you. Why don’t you let these guys fight it out? Try to get competitive this year and see where you are next year with another year of development for Riq Woolen, Devon Witherspoon, with Jamal (Adams) getting healthier, you know what I mean? With (Tyler) Lockett and DK (Metcalf) back, and (Jaxon Smith-Njigba) with a year under his belt and (Zach) Charbonnet with a year under his belt. Like, you have so much young talent. I had kind of absorbed that take, and I had kind of assumed, OK, this year’s a wild card year – get to a wild card (playoff berth), see what happens. That’s not what this trade tells me. This trade tells me John Schneider does not see them as a wild card team.
Bumpus is on the same page.
Nah, this trade tells me that they’re looking at the film when it comes to defense and saying, ‘Alright guys, we’re getting close. We got guys playing some good football. We’re almost there. We could use one or two pieces.’ And then they go out and get one or two pieces. Now one (signing Frank Clark) was a direct reaction to Uchenna Nwosu going down, but you go and get one or two pieces, and you get it at the spots where you have the most rotation on that defensive line – keeping guys fresh. The last time I’ve been really excited about a trade (like this)? It’s been a while, honestly.
Bump and Stacy airs live from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays on Seattle Sports 710 AM and the Seattle Sports app. Listen to this full conversation in the player near the top of this post, and click here for podcasts from the show.
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