The Seattle Seahawks almost certainly won’t make a trade during Tuesday’s deadline, simply due to the fact that NFL teams almost never do. In recent years, Percy Harvin, Aqib Talib, Carson Palmer, Trent Richardson, and Vernon Davis have moved teams at the deadline. The New England Patriots send Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns on Monday. But a deal is still unlikely. If anything, the Browns’ move for Collins shows the team is trying to acquire talent, not get rid of it.
However, if they do decide to move a player, and if the Seahawks are interested, it should be Josh Gordon not Joe Thomas.
While Thomas is a billion percent safer than Gordon, he’s also very prohibitive to keeping the core of the team together. Seattle has cap space next season, but they also have free agents -- Steven Hauschka (or at least some money allocated to a kicker), Tony McDaniel, Christine Michael, Luke Willson, Mike Morgan — and potential raises to DeShawn Shead (RFA), Michael Bennett, or even Kam Chancellor. Thomas is owed $9.5 million this season (prorated to whatever that would be) plus $10 million in each of the next two seasons. None of that is guaranteed, just like the Jimmy Graham deal they acquired last year.
Of course, this is affordable. They can make it work. But it is still prohibitive. Thomas would be the sixth player on the team making $10 million or more next season. They’ve managed to make it work thanks to all the rookies they have on the roster, but this is still a front office that values, uhh... value. Thomas is not a value and the front office hasn’t been keen on spending money on offensive line, well, ever.
They paid Russell Okung because they basically had to. They paid Max Unger, who was one of their own. They paid Robert Gallery, but not that much, and it didn’t work out for them anyhow. That’s basically it. And while Seattle is not successful on offense this season, nor has their offensive line ever been a point of pride under Pete Carroll, it’s still a franchise with a playoff win in each of the last four seasons with two Super Bowl appearances. So it’s not like they’re bad at their jobs.
The move that they would make, however, and the move that maybe they should make, is for Josh Gordon.
The Seahawks love to acquire playmakers. They traded for Harvin. They traded for Jimmy Graham. They signed Sidney Rice to a big contract. They signed Zach Miller to a big contract. The re-signed Mike Williams to a decent contract. They are not afraid of off-field issues. They aren’t afraid of a player potentially never playing a snap for them, honestly. As long as the guy is uniquely gifted and really good at football.
Gordon has proven that he’s both of those things, and that he may also never play another snap in the NFL.
Cleveland blog Dawgs By Nature pointed out (that Mary Kay Cabot pointed out) that the Browns are allowed to trade Gordon even though he’s suspended. He was released from rehab this week and wants back in the NFL. Cleveland is 0-8 and headed for the number one overall pick and while they’d love to get the original Josh Gordon back, might as well just try and get a pick in return for him instead; they just gave up a conditional third rounder for Collins after all.
But what is Gordon worth?
As a wide receiver, he’s undeniable. Gordon is 25, 6’4, 220 lbs, and runs in the 4.3-4.4 range. He led the league with 1,646 yards and 117.6 YPG in 2013. He’s Odell Beckham Jr. ... but with way more issues. If he was activated this season, Gordon could potentially replace Jermaine Kearse as the number two receiver and give Russell Wilson three elite targets with Doug Baldwin and Graham included. It might be overkill when you include Tyler Lockett, Kearse, Paul Richardson, and Tanner McEvoy, but “overkill” isn’t how I’d describe Seattle’s offense right now. Gordon hasn’t played since 2014 (when he played in five games) and Roger Goodell has done a really good job of proving that he doesn’t give a shit if Gordon never plays in the NFL again if he doesn’t do everything exactly right.
Maybe Gordon is a headache, but at the cost of a sixth round pick, he’s probably worth the risk.
That’s about where I’d value Gordon and it would be interesting to see if Cleveland is willing to take that at this point. They got a fifth round pick for Barkevious Mingo, and he’s terrible. But he also was able to step on the field. I don’t know that they’d completely let go of his rights for a seventh or conditional seventh, which is basically the same as just handing over a player for nothing. But a sixth might be in the wheelhouse for both parties, whereas Thomas will cost no less than a second and be owed $25 million (non-guaranteed) for the next 2.5 seasons.
Seattle may be willing to part with their first and second round picks for great players, and that’s what Thomas is, but they may be better served to give Gordon a shot and use their first/second round pick for help on the offensive line, running back, defensive tackle, and so on.
That would probably better serve them in both the short term and the long.