As the Seattle Seahawks prepare for the 2020 NFL season in a virtual offseason program unlike any the team has experienced before, many fans have questioned the goals and actions of the Hawks during the offseason. From an inability to retain many of their own free agents to a failure to add superstars in their prime with the cap space many believed would make them a major player during the offseason, a lot of fans and observers have been left scratching their heads. Specifically, they’ve been asking the question what the goal of the team has been this offseason, as the construction of the roster has appeared to many to have been more haphazard than following a specific plan.
Yeah I thought your earlier tweet was spot on- it's just really hard to find a coherent vision / plan in what they did with their offseason— Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin) May 24, 2020
I think thats accurate but its not like they are stockpiling draft picks either. Its as if they are in a bit of a holding pattern thinking they are due for a monster haul like those few drafts early in the 2010's.— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) May 24, 2020
It’s that second exchange that is intriguing. Specifically, when it comes to the Seahawks they have both their offensive and defensive leaders under contract for several more years. Russell Wilson is signed through 2023, while Bobby Wagner is set to be a free agent after the 2022 season.
Outside of Wilson and Wagner, however, there is exactly one player on the roster signed past the 2021 season on a deal other than a rookie contract, and that’s Jason Myers. Add in that in 2022 Wagner is set to be a 32 year old middle linebacker whose replacement has reportedly already been drafted while carrying a 2022 cap hit of $20.35M, and all of a sudden the team’s window has the appearance of possibly being just two seasons long.
So, if the team is built in such a way as to have its best shot at another Lombardi at some point over the next two seasons, and the roster is loaded up with one-year contracts to aging players who should be able to come in and contribute more quickly, what does that say about the team’s approach to 2020 and 2021?
Looking at the situation from an outside perspective while keeping the one year length of the free agent contracts given to Benson Mayowa, Bruce Irvin, Greg Olsen, Cedric Ogbuehi, Phillip Dorsett and Carlos Hyde in mind, it’s also worth noting the age of the projected starting offensive line. It’s very easy to imagine an offensive line with the following ages:
- LT Duane Brown (35, signed through 2021)
- LG Mike Iupati (33, signed through 2021)
- C B.J. Finney (29, signed through 2021)
- RG Damien Lewis (23, will be signed through 2023 once he officially signs)
- RT Brandon Shell (28, signed through 2021)
Further, while there is no reason for the team to have extended some of its other playmakers, including Tyler Lockett and Quandre Diggs, as they both have two more years left on their contract, this offseason has been devoid of much talk of extensions for many players. They allowed George Fant and Quinton Jefferson to depart, while the free agents they kept were all signed to one year deals, with the exception of the two year contract to which Jarran Reed signed. All the others, however, including Geno Smith, Luke Willson, Neiko Thorpe and Mike Iupati were all retained on one year deals.
This, of course, has the advantage of putting together the roster in such a way that it has the flexibility to retool and reconfigure the roster in the future, but it also brings up another interesting question: What’s on the horizon that has the roster built in such as way that it could be completely torn down after 2021?
With the league set to renegotiate television contracts in the future, prior to the revenue scare the pandemic has brought about, it would have made more sense to lock players in at current salaries rather than waiting until the cap goes up. However, that’s exactly the opposite of what Seattle has done. Seattle has set things up so that the corps of the team and the group of playmakers on the roster are all signed through 2021. Perhaps it’s nothing more than a coincidence.
However, if it’s not a coincidence, it certainly brings about the question of why, and the most logical explanation behind the why would seem to be that the team is loading up for a final run or two at a Lombardi before Pete Carroll finally calls it quits.
Carroll, perhaps not so coincidentally, is also under contract with the Seahawks through the 2021 season, and it would not be a surprise to see him step away at the conclusion of either 2020 or 2021. Carroll is set to turn 69 two days after the 2020 season opener, and while he doesn’t appear to be lacking for energy and enthusiasm, as with all coaches, he’ll hang things up and take on new life challenges at some point. The only question is when that will be.
And with the way the Seahawks roster is currently constructed with players signed for a specific style of football, it won’t be a surprise if a year or two from now the Hawks are in the middle of their offseason program under a head coach other than Pete Carroll.