Wassell: Why the Seahawks’ offseason is not Jadeveon Clowney or bust
Earlier in the week on Tom, Jake & Stacy, we explored the notion that this Seahawks’ offseason would be regarded as a bust unless they were able to land Jadeveon Clowney (listen here). My thought is that the success of a season and the offseason that precedes it cannot be boiled down to the acquisition of one player – especially for this team.
If we were talking about the Colts or the Buccaneers, teams that already have a solid nucleus on both sides of the ball and only needed to fill the QB spot, that’s a different conversation. Adding Philip Rivers and Tom Brady, two guys that are headed for the Hall of Fame (definitely Brady), can be called a success – even with both at the end of their careers. They both have the ability to turn a franchise around and make it a playoff contender, so in that case, you could call it a bust if those teams hadn’t made those moves.
With the Seahawks, though, their need at pass rush can be serviced in different ways. Yes, I’d love to have one game-wrecking player that every offensive coordinator has to account for on the majority of the snaps. But if we’re grading the offseason, you can’t give the Seahawks an ‘F’ if they’ve added Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa and re-signed Jarran Reed. Take into account that they already have Rasheem Green and L.J. Collier PLUS the draft, which is weeks away, and there’s still a lot that can happen.
I know a lot of you just read that and said, “Tom, Irvin is older. Mayowa is a depth piece. Reed is coming off a bad year. And the guys we already have are terrible.” Well, some of that is true, but at least Seahawks general manager John Schneider has addressed the problem. Right now, it feels like the offseason is building toward signing Clowney, in which case those other moves probably look a lot better. They’re meant to complement him in one fashion or another. And of course there are other guys available like Everson Griffen, although the number of pass rushers still unclaimed is shrinking.
Ask yourself this: Are the Seahawks a better defense today than they were last year? I’m gonna say yes simply because the additions they’ve made plus the potential for rebound years by the players that are already here points them in the right direction. On that basis alone, I can’t call the offseason a bust. Of course, there’s also the potential for everyone I named above to completely bomb, and in that instance, Carroll and Schneider will have to take a long look in the mirror and consider the idea of blowing up the whole thing and starting over.
It’s important to remember that although you can improve your team simply by buying players, the Super Bowl isn’t won in the offseason. Yes, that’s where success begins, but the draft, OTAs, training camp, practices, preseason games, regular season games – they’re all steps that a team takes to develop and grow into what it ends up being by the time December rolls around. Free agency does not define a team and it certainly doesn’t make you a champion simply because you went out and bought a pass rusher.
I’m a fan of Clowney, but I don’t think he’s Lawrence Taylor. He’s physically dominating and has the makeup of a player that can take over a game. We saw that ONE time last year in San Francisco. Even if Seattle were to sign him, he has as much work as anyone else on that defense does to finally become the player that everyone believes he can be.
If they sign him, I’m feeling good. But if they don’t, the offseason is by no means a bust.
More Seahawks offseason coverage
• Hawks LB Cody Barton working to stay ready during shutdown
• Wyman: Mayowa signing signals that Seahawks likely won’t keep Clowney
• Will Blackmon: Why Quinton Dunbar ‘fits the Seattle mold’
• Rost: 3 free agents who could be Seahawks’ next signings
• Seahawks 2020 offseason tracker