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How notable 2017 Seahawks departures fared in 2018

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When the death of the Seattle Seahawks was declared during the 2018 offseason, much of it was due to the notable losses of Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Jimmy Graham, Sheldon Richardson, and Paul Richardson. Well Seattle made the playoffs without them, and with the exception of Chancellor and Avril, everyone else I mentioned went to another team.

How did these former Seahawks perform elsewhere? Well that’s the point of this post, so let’s get right to it!

Richard Sherman - San Francisco 49ers

Sherman didn’t record an interception for the first time in his illustrious career. In fact, the 49ers only managed two INTs all year, which is astonishingly bad. He also missed a couple of games due to a calf injury, but opposing QBs still avoided throwing in his direction for the most part. It appears as if the only touchdown he “allowed” all year was Russell Wilson’s strike to Jaron Brown.

Not making the Pro Bowl or an All-Pro team did cost Sherman if you look at his contract.

Oh yeah, and he got ejected against the Chicago Bears.

Michael Bennett - Philadelphia Eagles

The only Seahawk of note to be traded this past offseason, Bennett was as good as ever in Philadelphia. He was second on the Eagles defense with nine sacks, only 1.5 sacks behind Fletcher Cox. Bennett started ten games but played in all sixteen, and was a menace in the backfield both against the run and the pass, like usual.

Perhaps it’s because he played 200+ fewer snaps in 2018 than 2017, but Bennett was penalized only seven times (five accepted), the fewest he’s had since 2012. After having a ridiculous 13 pre-snap penalties last season, Bennett was only flagged five times for offsides/neutral zone infraction/encroachment.

Sheldon Richardson - Minnesota Vikings

Sheldon was traded to the Seahawks for Jermaine Kearse in 2017, and while defensive tackle statistics can often mislead as far as gauging overall player effectiveness, he recorded 4.5 sacks with the Minnesota Vikings (compared to just one with Seattle) and 16 QB hits (to just 7 in Seattle). Richardson also had more tackles for losses (six) with the Vikings than with the Seahawks (three). Minnesota has (at least to me) a more talented front four than the Seahawks, which sure helps. Richardson wasn’t too far behind Michael Bennett in terms of QB hits on the year.

That said, his return to Seattle saw him get owned on Chris Carson’s touchdown run (watch Jordan Simmons, #66), and he was a non-factor as a pass rusher.

Richardson is a free agent after signing a one-year “prove-it” deal with Minnesota.

DeShawn Shead - Detroit Lions

Shead was Seattle’s #2 CB from late 2015 and into 2016. He tore his ACL against the Atlanta Falcons and barely played in 2017. Shead was let go and signed on with the Detroit Lions, and while I hold nothing against DeShawn, he certainly didn’t look very good in either of these plays.

Shead appeared in 12 games with a single start for Detroit, and he didn’t record a pass defensed or an interception. It’s been only one year, but I much prefer Tre Flowers over Shead.

Jimmy Graham - Green Bay Packers

The fact that Graham had any considerable success after his patellar tendon rupture in 2015 is a credit to him, but it is looking increasingly clear that his best days are behind him. He’s already being talked about as a possible cap casualty, and for good reason. Graham had just 55 catches for 636 yards and two touchdowns... and his first touchdown as a Packer was a very illegal pick play by Geronimo Allison (#81) two yards down the field.

Graham’s DVOA was lower than Nick Vannett, for what it’s worth. In fact, Packers teammate Lance Kendricks had better DVOA and DYAR.

I think this two-minute video sums up Graham’s season along with a good understanding of why Mike McCarthy got fired.

Essentially, Graham’s 2018 was his 2017 season except fewer drops and a sharp reduction in touchdowns.

Luke Willson - Detroit Lions

Seattle’s revamp of the TE position extended beyond Jimmy Graham, as Luke Willson was not re-signed during free agency. RIP Techno Thursday. Anyway, Willson was Detroit’s #2 tight end behind Levine Toilolo, and recorded 13 catches for 87 yards and no touchdowns. If he stays with the team, he’ll be reunited with Darrell Bevell, Detroit’s new offensive coordinator.

Paul Richardson - Washington

In a world where Paul wasn’t a free agent in 2018, I think Seahawks fans would’ve loved a trio of Doug Baldwin-Tyler Lockett-Paul Richardson. Alas, he went to Washington on a 5-year, $40 million contract, but as has defined his college and professional career, injury cut his season short.

P-Rich appeared in just seven games, starting four, racking up 20 catches(on 35 targets) for 262 yards and two touchdowns. His first TD sure didn’t look out of place from what we saw during his better games in Seattle.

Unfortunately, a bothersome AC joint issue that was a problem in 2017 wound up being reaggravated in 2018, and Washington placed him on injured reserve. It’s the third time Richardson has ended an NFL season on IR. When he does return in 2019, it’ll likely be a QB other than Alex Smith, who might miss all of next season after that horrible broken leg.

I think it’s safe to say that Bennett had the best season of all the ex-Seahawks from the 2017 roster, while Graham is on his way to being a bust of a signing for Green Bay. Bennett was also the only one to actually make the playoffs, while everyone else stayed home after Week 17.

For the sake of tidying things up, Jon Ryan, Eddie Lacy, Blair Walsh, Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane, Tanner McEvoy, and Luke Joeckel weren’t signed to any regular season roster in 2018, although Ryan was cut by the Buffalo Bills in preseason, and McEvoy is currently on the Bills practice squad. Thomas Rawls didn’t get a carry while with the Cincinnati Bengals for a very brief period of time, and has since signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lastly, the Arizona Cardinals signed Rees Odhiambo from the Indianapolis Colts practice squad in December.