Clayton: Seahawks must consider trade for Joe Thomas or Joe Staley

Oct 24, 2016, 12:19 PM | Updated: 4:52 pm
49ers LT Joe Staley would be a "great" acquisition for the Seahawks, says John Clayton. (AP)...
49ers LT Joe Staley would be a "great" acquisition for the Seahawks, says John Clayton. (AP)

There is plenty that currently ails the Seahawks offensive line, and 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton says a remedy might be one of a pair of Pro Bowl left tackles that are reportedly available on the trade market.

“Offensive line remains a problem and, unless they fully believe that George Fant or Rees Odhiambo are ready to go, then I think they must have to consider the idea of having to make some kind of a Joe Thomas trade,” Clayton said Monday on “Brock and Salk.”

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Although quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked only once during Sunday’s 6-6 tie against the Cardinals, Seattle’s offensive linemen were a major culprit in the team’s ineptitude on offense. To make matters worse, Carroll said Sunday that starting left tackle Bradley Sowell suffered a sprained MCL. Carroll had no update on Sowell’s health on Monday, saying the 27-year-old hadn’t yet had an MRI.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Browns’ Joe Thomas and 49ers’ Joe Staley could be had before the Nov. 1 trade deadline. Thomas, voted a first-team All-Pro six times, was nearly shipped to the Broncos last season, according to reports. Pro Football Talk cited a source that Cleveland is asking for a second-round pick. The Seahawks, along with the Vikings, Cardinals, Giants and Patriots, are among the names mentioned as a possible landing spot for the 31 year old, who is owed $8.8 million each of the next two seasons. The 49ers, meanwhile, are reportedly looking for a first-round pick for Staley, a five-time Pro Bowler. Staley, 32, is under contract through 2019 and his base salary jumps from $5.4 million this year to $8.25 million in 2017, before dropping back down to $4.8 million the following years.

Browns coach Hue Jackson attempted to quash the Thomas rumors at a press conference Monday.

“We are not going to trade Joe Thomas,” he said slowly, emphasizing each word. “Joe Thomas has a lot to do with what we’re trying to accomplish here in the future. So like you said there’s a lot of reports and that’s just what they are.”

On Monday’s “Pete Carroll Show,” head coach Pete Carroll said that while general manager John Schneider is always on the lookout for trades, finding a new left tackle is unlikely through a trade and that he expects the team to move forward with its young talent.

“I don’t think that there is a guy out there who is gonna come flying in here,” Carroll said. “Now, if there is, John will figure it out. He’s already all over it. He will figure it out if there is something that we can do but we have never not been looking for another player at every position. So we’re always looking, that’s the way we do it. When something happens, we have (a) backlog of guys that we’ve worked out and things that we’ve looked at and the options that are there but right now this is like the most difficult time to find a player that’s just sitting there and so it’s not likely.”

Seattle came into the season relying on youth after drafting three linemen and keeping Fant, an ex-basketball player and undrafted free agent. Seattle drafted Germain Ifedi in the first round as a tackle but he has started at right guard since returning from an ankle injury, while third-round pick Odhiambo has played in only one game thus far at guard. Sixth-round pick Joey Hunt has seen limited time at center.

The reshuffled line has allowed 11 sacks this season and the offense ranks in the bottom half in the league for total offense. The Seattle Times reported that Arizona defensive back Tyrann Mathieu said after Sunday’s game that Seattle’s offensive line was “not that good.” Still, Carroll defended the line Monday, saying the group should benefit from the return of running back Thomas Rawls (fibula) and as Wilson’s mobility improves following a pair of leg injuries.

710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob Stelton said the offensive line’s shortcomings have been covered in the past by the mobility of a healthy Wilson, plus the dynamism of now-retired running back Marshawn Lynch, but the Seahawks haven’t had that luxury this season. Stelton doesn’t believe the line, as a unit, has ever been that strong in the Pete Carroll era, more leaning on great individual players like Max Unger and Russell Okung. And while the inexperienced Fant could be a solution in the future, Stelton doesn’t believe there is an answer on the roster that can help now.

“(An answer) wasn’t there with a healthy Bradley Sowell, right? And it’s not there with an injured Sowell,” he said. “To me, if you’re gonna go through the film and talk about ‘Tell the Truth Monday,’ tell the truth. The line is not good.”

Stelton also says offensive-line coach Tom Cable might deserve some more of the blame.

“(Offensive coordinator Darrell) Bevell, he takes a lot of heat that is undeserved, in my opinion,” Stelton said. “To me, Tom Cable gets a big pass, for whatever reason, and I don’t know why that is with the fanbase. They immediately direct it toward Bevell.”

Even so, considering that the Vikings lost their first game of their season on Sunday and Seattle is in the driver’s seat for the NFC West crown, Clayton says the Seahawks are in a great position for a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the playoffs. He said the Seahawks have about $3.7 million of cap room, so an adjustment of some sort would be needed for either Staley or Thomas to fit on the roster. In Staley’s case, Clayton noted, the inter-division rivalry also complicates things.

“I think (Staley) would be a great acquisition,” Clayton said. “I think Joe Thomas would be a little bit better but you just wonder, would, indeed, the 49ers make a trade within the division? Now, they are so far behind that I guess maybe it’s not a consideration … because, No. 1, they are going nowhere and the way they look it’s gonna take some time for them to build up so they could use the draft choices. But I just can’t imagine a 49er team giving any kind of a friendly deal to Seattle. It would probably be more favorable in Cleveland, but I think it has to be a consideration.”

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Clayton: Seahawks must consider trade for Joe Thomas or Joe Staley