Shortest distance between "sucks" and "works".

The title of this fanpost is from this terrific and insightful comment made by busplunger.  He perfectly elucidated what has been rumbling around in my head ever since I heard Seattle had taken Carpenter yesterday.  When I heard that, my first reaction, for some reason, wasn't surprise or shock, but rather intrigue.  Then a sense of what busplunger explained began to wander about in my head. 

I climbed into bed late last night and did my best to fall asleep, but all I could do was think about Seattle and how they were going to construct this team.  I couldn't help myself and wrote that FanPost last night to get it all off my mind temporarily.  Then I spent all day today anxiously anticipating who they would draft in at #57, hoping it would be one of Marvin Austin/Da'Quan Bowers/Stephen Paea/Jarvis Jenkins/Jabaal Sheard.  I was almost drooling imagining any of those guys hopefully teamed up with Me-BANE!, Clemons, and Big Red.  As the second round dilatorily dragged along and I saw Sheard and Jenkins disappear, I thought there just might be a chance.  Then Bowers and Austin and Paea all disappeared in rapid succession, and I was left feeling like a little kid who just watched all of his friends drive away for the cool theme park because my bike got a flat tire on the way to their house.

At that point, I wanted someone to come tell me what to think.  With Dowling and Williams gone, I didn't see a guy a CB I really wanted to take at 57.  Kaepernick was gone too, so there went that.  Honestly, it started seeming like Mallett might be a half-decent option.  I can understand passing a guy up in the first round or early second because he has character concerns or whatever, but seriously, I don't care if the guy drowns kittens in his spare time, you have to consider a guy with first-round tools available at the end of the second.  However, I still felt underwhelmed at the thought of drafting Mallett.  I understand the concept of BPA, especially when you have as many needs as the Seahawks do.  And I get that the Seahawks need playmakers at a number of positions.  But I just didn't see anyone there that screamed "DRAFT ME!" 

So when I saw that Seattle had traded their pick to Detroit for a 3rd, as well as picking up an extra 4th rounder, I felt more satisfied with that than any other option I could see at that point.  Given the number of fringe starter talents available at CB and DL in the ~3rd-4th round range, I think I'd rather a 3rd and two 4th's than one 2nd and one 4th.  And in hindsight, the only players I even remotely flinched at that the Seahawks missed out on by moving down were Terrell McLain, Justin Houston, and maybe Mallett.  So as unsexy as the Moffitt pick was, and still is (though he's had some sexy moments), Q/PM didn't sacrifice much, and pending tomorrow's pick, gained an additional potential playmaker.

However, the biggest thing that the negative Nancy's have focused on is that, yeah, Seattle needed some help on the OL, but Okung-GALLERY!-Spencer-_____-Carpenter would have been good enough, and they need help on the other side of the ball because the defense sucked last year and by letting good defensive lineman pass them in the draft they're ignoring the defense entirely and aren't going to fix it at all so they'll run the ball a lot but give up lots of points and lose anyways and now we're screwed....

Well, one major thing I haven't heard/seen mentioned much is how much financial wiggle room the Seahawks have, and the availability of some serious defensive playmakers in free agency.  Obviously, discussing free agency and trades is an exercise in futility at this point, given the current status of the lockout (thanks a lot, Steven Colloton and Duane Benton).  However, that doesn't mean that our front office has completely ignored it as they plan for next year.  It would be stupid for them to do that.  If there isn't a free agency period or trades, chances are there won't be a season at all, and oh well.  But it's almost a given that there will be a season, and there will be free agency and trades.  Therefore, I'm going to hazard a guess and say that I'll bet Seattle will be active in at least the free agent market, and a lot of defensive holes can be filled there.

According to this article, at this point Seattle has $81.1 million committed for next year.  Only Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Carolina, and Jacksonville have less.  The last capped year, 2009, saw a salary cap of $130 million.  Assuming there is a salary cap, and assuming a potential swing of +/- $10 million, we're looking at Seattle likely having $40-60 million to spend, if they so please.  I'm not going to start naming names, because my intent isn't to rosterbate.  But seeing Q/PM take such a conservative draft stance, and knowing that they know how many holes they need to fill, and seeing how many elite talents are available in free agency that line up perfectly with those holes, and knowing that money isn't a barrier... it just seems like too much adds up too easily to not just add up.  Wow, what a great sentence.

I expect one of the biggest barriers to free agent signing success will be that "no one wants to play for Seattle because Seattle sucks."  However, no one can deny the potential of their running game after watching them draft at least two bruising hogs to stampede in front of our running back, Leon Beast-Force.  And given the top-notch facilities, top-notch greenbacks, and bottom-notch division, seeing Seattle dive aggressively into the free agent market could create almost a self-fulfilling reality--that is, players may see the potential for a winning formula, and coupling that with plush facilities and plush pockets is definitely a winning formula.

TLDR: Seattle will draft conservatively to bolster the trenches, and will aggressively pursue playmaking free agents, particularly on defense.

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