As the Seattle Seahawks head to New Orleans to take on the Saints this Sunday, fans and reporters are asking; “Should Seattle trade for Joe Staley? Might they trade for Joe Thomas?”
Don’t be so quick to sign off on this idea. We saw vs both the Falcons with a lack of interior firepower at defensive tackle, and the Jets without real speed rush, that this team can be very stout. Though the running game has suffered outside of the game against the San Fransisco 49ers, I don’t think a tackle trade will fix that.
The Saints have nine sacks in six games with linemen Nick Fairley and Cameron Jordan notching six sacks between them. I don’t fear them. As for the running game, the Seahawks’ fortunes could turn around this weekend facing a team that has surrendered 701 rushing yards and 4.2 yards per carry.
I also realize that people will say these proposed upgrades are about the long-term prognosis for success in Seattle. I say be patient. If this line steps up Sunday, as I think it will, patience may be the best way to approach things. As Justin Britt, Mark Glowinski, and Germain Ifedi continue to gel, and if Gilliam rebounds, do you really want to change the future arc of this team by absorbing a bad contract, or a player that doesn’t mesh with your system, coaching style or locker room?
Your memory is mistaken
A lot of folks hold the 2005 line up as the pinnacle of greatness, as well they should. Things you should know though: Outside of Walter Jones making nearly 10 million against the cap, none of those others made a huge chunk of money. Steve Hutchinson made about 3.8 million. Center Robbie Tobek was on the vet minimum, guard Chris Gray was on a short deal, and right tackle Sean Locklear was on his rookie deal as a third round pick in 2004.
There was an elite tackle — the centerpiece of the franchise — and a banger first round draft pick at left guard, but Seattle composed the rest of that all-world line with savvy veterans and solid drafting.
Today? Guys like Gray and Tobeck don’t exist. Journeyman linemen like Jerry Wunsch, who was critical in rebuilding and teaching that offensive line, can no longer find jobs. Why? Rookies are cheap, veterans aren’t, and teams have to find the cap space for franchise QBs somewhere in the budget.
Many of the league’s highest-paid left tackles are on bad teams. Of course, Thomas and Staley are among them. There’s also Terron Armstead in New Orleans. Anthony Castonzo with the Indianapolis Colts. Branden Albert and the Miami Dolphins. Andrew Whitworth and the Cincinnati Bengals. Many wanted the Seahawks to sign recent free agents like Russell Okung (their own, of course, who is hurting again) and Kelvin Beachum, who is not helping the Jacksonville Jaguars. Meanwhile, the teams that are succeeding with their high-paid left tackles — Tyron Smith and the Dallas Cowboys, Trent Williams and the Washington Redskins, David Bakhtiari and the Green Bay Packers, Cordy Glenn and the Buffalo Bills, Eric Fisher and the Kansas City Chiefs, Nate Solder and the New England Patriots, for example — were all drafted by those teams. Not traded for in the middle of the season. Not expected to be the simple plug-and-play that so many expect offensive linemen to be just because many people think literally every offensive line does the same jobs and requires the exact same skills.
It does not work like that.
Patience must prevail here. I’ll talk more about this later in the week on the Pregame Insomnia Podcast so please tune into that!