Risk vs Reward this offseason

At the beginning of the season I had a brilliant idea, because of how it sounded in my mind. But now I am questioning how brilliant my mind is. I do not say this lightly. In fact, it kind of hurts my head to even consider some of the possibilities. But ideas not often talked about, and even potentially ludicrous may be the difference between a Super Bowl window and Winning Forever. The difference is, knowing when to mitigate your risks and when to push all your chips to the middle of the mutha frackin table.

So here it is. Trade Richard Sherman in the offseason.

As fans, we can witness the maddening decisions of our front office or coaching staff from our arm chair. Like when a defensive coordinator sends out his prevent defense with four high safeties in the last ninety seconds up by two. He is playing not to lose. He is afraid of giving up the single play that could get him fired and instead gives up several smaller plays that lend the same result. Or the decision to schematically use Brian Russell for whatever reason at all. No explanation needed.

However, sometimes the opposite happens. Remember when we traded Daryl Tapp for a backup situational player? Or when Jeremy Bates called a Marshawn Lynch run up the middle in the playoffs against the Saints? I didn’t think that was a bad call, I just wanted to reference the Beast Quake.

My point is – Always play to win the game, no matter the risk. That does not mean make dumb decisions and be overly aggressive. You may lose the game, or the season, or your job, but that’s always a possible outcome anyway. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your rook to make a play at the king.

In chess, the rook is the second most valuable power piece on the board behind the queen. To me, there are really only two absolutely irreplaceable pieces on our team: Russell Wilson on offense and Earl Thomas on Defense. Without them our entire scheme would fall apart, Russell Wilson being both the King and the Queen . . . er, ok that’s where my analogy breaks down.

The rook is usually the king’s last great defender. And through the first 9/10 of the game that is his primary purpose. But when the board opens up, he is flat out dangerous. He plays from the corner and can shut down a whole half of the board.

So why, do you ask, should we sacrifice this piece at all if we don’t need to? Big picture view – these are the guys that will need a large payday concurrently with Richard Sherman: Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, Percy Harvin, Russell Okung, Marshawn Lynch, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, Golden Tate, Zach Miller, Red Bryant, Max Unger, Doug Baldwin, Brandon Mebane, KJ Wright, Bobby Wagner, Walter Thurmond, Brandon Browner, Jermaine Kearse.

-Now hold on there, you can’t just name almost all of our starters.

-Why not? Those are all the guys that I think are deserving of potential contract extensions after the 2014 season. And seriously, why does nobody talk about KJ Wright? He is probably the most unheralded player on the whole darn team. And he’s only extended through next year.

-I know, right? But why after the 2014 season? That’s next year’s offseason?

-Richard Sherman will be in his second year of his new deal and carrying a heckuva large cap hit. The fact is, we can’t keep everyone.

-Not everyone on that list . . .

-I’ve already cut out Sidney Rice and Chris Clemons. I don’t see them factoring into the 2015 season. Some of those other names will need to be evaluated but still all have potential to help this team moving forward. Many of them won’t be on the team either, we just can’t afford it. But the fact is that all of them have potential future value. It just depends on how we want to package that value with the resources we have. Let’s break this down with some truth affirming questions.

Does this make us weaker? – Yes

Does this allow us to remain stronger in other areas? – Yes

Do we acquire other strong assets from this? – Yes

Does the replacement allay some of the loss? . . . . – TBD

There’s no question that this move would weaken our secondary. Our options right now are Jeremy Lane, Byron Maxwell, and Tharold Simon, while possibly extending Thurmond and/or Browner. Lane played well for a stretch with Browner out last year. Maxwell has shown some real potential but then again, I’m not a talent evaluator. This would come down to how well the organization values the replacement quality of our defensive backs. This would be the determining factor in the whole argument.

The drop off from Sherman to backups = X value

The drop off from Bennett to backups = Y value

The drop off from Tate to backups = Z value

And so on and so forth.

The club remains in a high leverage situation this off season with Richard Sherman. He is still under club control for another year, which equally works counter to the argument. But with that one more year of control, the Seahawks could nearly be guaranteed a bounty of picks. Percy Harvin was bartered for a first, third and seventh round picks. And there was a sense that the price could have been higher if not for something strange rumored to be happening between Minnesota and Sir Man Harvin. Sherman could potentially net two first round picks.

How can we keep the most amount of talent within the requisite constructs of the cap? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m not even necessarily suggesting that trading Sherman is necessary, or even a wise course of action. He is, without a doubt our highest leverage piece this off season. The risk could be devastating to our pass defense. The reward could be two cheap first round talents and $11MM a year to spend elsewhere. I’m just glad I’m not the man who has to make the decision.

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