Salk: How a DK trade could help solve Seahawks’ roster issues
Feb 12, 2024, 8:35 PM | Updated: Feb 13, 2024, 12:43 pm
(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)
The Kansas City Chiefs just won a Super Bowl with a roster that looks almost nothing like the Seattle Seahawks’ 53-man composition.
That, in and of itself, isn’t a problem – after all, there are plenty of ways to design a team to win championships in the NFL. But it’s worth noting that in winning back-to-back rings, they have quieted much of the talk about limiting your quarterback’s paycheck to a certain percentage of your salary cap budget.
How did they do it? By drastically limiting their expenses at the offensive skill positions.
New ESPN Radio morning host Evan Cohen had this observation following the game, posting this on X:
I totally get the sentiment that the Chiefs won in a down year for them but I would argue they are built exactly the right way.
HOF QB, HOF TE, elite defense. No $ spent on WR's / RB's. Perfectly done IMO.@UnSportsESPN
— Evan Cohen (@EvCoRadio) February 12, 2024
He’s right. Essentially, the Chiefs built around their star quarterback by eschewing the traditional wisdom of finding him top-tier weaponry and instead spent their resources on the parts of the game he can’t affect: the defense and the offensive line. They counted on Mahomes’s skill to make the “pedestrian” skill position players better. Obviously, it worked.
The Seahawks are built very differently. They have spent their resources on the exact positions KC ignored. Both teams have the quarterback at the top of their spending list, but that’s where things change.
Offensively, the Seahawks are spending more than $40 million a year on their two starting receivers, not to mention used a first-round pick on Jaxon Smith-Njigba and two second-round selections on running backs. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are the highest paid non-quarterbacks on the offensive side of the ball.
By contrast, the two most expensive Chiefs after Patrick Mahomes are guard Joe Thuney and tackle Jawaan Taylor. And they invested heavily on defense in the past two drafts.
Shaking up the Seattle Seahawks roster
So what should Seahawks general manager John Schneider and new coach Mike Macdonald do? Certainly, they can stick with their current approach and try to make small changes along the margins. This would make sense especially if they believe the new coaching staff can optimize some of the players they already have on the line of scrimmage.
But what if they want to shake things up? What if they want to really rejigger the construction of this roster? My suggestion is that it would work best if they traded DK Metcalf.
Remember, the Chiefs had a decision to make just two seasons ago with Tyreek Hill, a receiver generally believed to be superior to Metcalf. Rather than pay him, they traded him to Miami for five draft picks. They’ve turned that trade into cornerback Trent McDuffie, receivers Skyy Moore and Rashee Rice, tackle Darian Kinnard, and defensive tackle Keondre Coburn, and they still have one more pick to go.
Since that trade, they have won two Super Bowls while going 7-0 in the playoffs.
The Seahawks’ roster has some major needs. With the No. 16 pick in this year’s draft, they could certainly use help on the offensive line, on the defensive edge, at linebacker, and – depending on your point of view – at quarterback. They currently don’t select a second time until No. 78 in the third round.
I don’t know exactly what Metcalf would be worth, but the A.J. Brown trade would be a good starting point. During the 2022 offseason, he went from Tennessee to Philly for the No. 18 and No. 101 picks (a first- and third-rounder). Metcalf might not be quite the player Brown is, but he has already gotten his money, which means the acquiring team wouldn’t need to pay his signing bonus nor risk a situation in which he walks away after one year. Could that make his value something akin to a first- and second-round pick?
If so, I’d be really tempted.
A second pick in the first round would give the Seahawks the opportunity to select a quarterback without sacrificing the investment necessary along the line of scrimmage. There are six potential first-round quarterbacks in this draft, and the experts believe next year won’t be nearly as deep at the position.
A second-round pick would allow them to attack another position of need and get better at the spots most important to their incoming coach.
What does Mike Macdonald want?
That is just one way to do it. The Seahawks could certainly attempt to use all three picks along the line or at linebacker, and either stick with their current quarterback options or acquire someone like Justin Fields. The machinations are nearly infinite. But in order to create the type of team that it seems Macdonald wants, they would have to give up something to acquire the assets they need.
I think DK Metcalf is a phenomenal talent and a joy to watch. But he plays a position that is replenished seemingly every season in the draft – wide receivers are everywhere! And it would help them go after the positions where its harder to find top talent and which would arguably help them win more games.
The Seahawks are a good team with a good roster. If they want to be a great team with a great roster, they might need to take some chances to make it happen. Trading Metcalf would certainly be risky, but the rewards could certainly justify the gamble.
More on the Hawks
• Seahawks’ Macdonald details what drew him to OC Ryan Grubb
• Why Joel Klatt thinks J.J. McCarthy fits as Seattle Seahawks QB
• Huard: Good, bad and ugly of Seattle Seahawks getting OC Ryan Grubb
• Kurt Warner details Seahawks’ dilemma with QB Geno Smith
• ESPN’s Graziano: Seattle Seahawks not alone in thinking Macdonald is ‘a star’