clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

If I were John and Pete (Part Eight)

The “penultimate” installment

Seahawks.com

The “penultimate” episode in a TV series (ex. “Game of Thrones”) is the one right before the season (or series) finale. Typically, it’s the longest one with lots of “stuff” crammed into it.

Such is the case here.

To be clear, this is a LONG article (~6,000 words). Approach it accordingly.



Seattle has options

In Part Seven of this series, I took “a step back from my radical idea to jettison our franchise quarterback - and the young stud receiver who broke the franchise record for receiving yards in his second season . . .”

Instead of spending 2,000+ words talking about and profiling players that Seattle could only acquire by trading two of their most marketable stars, I opted to look at the players Seattle could “realistically” acquire for the 2021 season.

That installment was almost a standalone piece - a “Rogue One” or a “Solo” to my Skywalker saga, so to speak.

The net result of Part Seven, at least for me, was a group of players that would fill a few holes and, if nothing else, allow Seattle to get “younger” at a couple of positions.

Replacing Mike Iupati with Aaron Banks from Notre Dame or Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater (if he slides to the back half of Round 2) or, really, almost any player in the Top 2/3 of the draft, would be a step up in my book. Sure, Seattle could retain Jordan Simmons (RFA), but I don’t see him as the long-term answer at Left Guard.

Ohio State’s Shaun Wade (or a more “Seattle”-ish cornerback that’s worthy of a 2nd round pick) would lessen the pain of losing both of last season’s starting CBs in free agency.

Ta’Quon Graham would be a solid add to the DT rotation. T.J. Vasher replaces David Moore. Ben Mason is the 2021 version of Nick Bellore.

A draft class that includes an O-lineman, a cornerback, a D-lineman, a receiver, and a fullback isn’t a bad draft class given the circumstances.

Which is sort of the point of Part Seven: the sky isn’t falling in Seattle.

That said . . .

The draft class that was posited in Part Seven (and again above) doesn’t move the needle for the Seahawks like drafting Oregon Tackle Penei Sewell and Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari in the first round would.

Sewell is one of the Top 5 players available regardless of whose report you look at; many list him as the #2 prospect behind Trevor Lawrence. Ojulari is considered one of the best pass rusher in the draft, in the conversation with Kwity Paye, Jayson Oweh, and Gregory Rousseau.

Both Sewell and Olujari are probable franchise-caliber players at their positions and would directly impact Seattle’s chances of reaching the Super Bowl. And both would only be available with a franchise-changing move.


The debate about Seattle’s recent drafts

Seattle’s recent draft success has been debatable, to say the least. If you’re in the camp that believes Seattle SUCKS at drafting, it is unlikely that anything I say here will change your mind.

For example:

Me: There was an article last year that “proved” Seattle was the best team in the league in something called “drafting efficiency” from 2010-2019.

You: Malik McDowell.

Me: The Seahawks’ 2010 draft class is considered the NFL’s best draft class (from 2006-2015).

You: Malik McDowell.

Granted, there are other reasons to be skeptical.

Here’s a response that doesn’t just rely on a player that became a punchline:

Seattle’s last five draft classes have exactly ONE player who earned All-Pro honors - and it was earned by a punter.

Only 3 players from those 5 drafts (2016-2020) have been named to the Pro Bowl: the aforementioned punter (2018 draftee), Shaquill Griffin (2017), and DK Metcalf (2019).

Rolling it back three more years (2013-2015) only increases the number of All-Pro players by one (Tyler Lockett, drafted in 2015) and the number of Pro Bowl players by two (Lockett + Frank Clark, also drafted in 2015).

So . . . eight drafts (2013-2020) = 2 All-Pro players (one, a punter) and 5 Pro Bowlers.

EIGHT freakin’ drafts!

I get it.

I share the frustration.

It doesn’t change my position as it relates to this series.



Hypothetically speaking

If Seattle were to trade Russell Wilson to Miami for the package outlined in Part Three and traded DK Metcalf to Detroit as outlined in Part Four, Seattle would add the following picks:

  • #3 (R1), #7 (R1), #18 (R1), #71 (R3) and #81 (R3) this year
  • An R1 and an R3 from Detroit in 2021

If, instead, Seattle sent both players to Miami, the Seahawk would add #3, #18, #35 (R2), #50 (R2), and #81 this year, plus Miami’s R1 picks in both 2022 and 2023.

Personally, I would prefer 3 R1s and 2 R3s over 2 R1s, 2 R2s, and 1 R3 this year. But either one would work in the grand scheme of things. Especially if Seattle were aggressive with the picks.

I would also prefer Detroit’s R1 and R3 in 2022 over Miami’s R1s in 2022 and 2023.

Since RW3 and DK Metcalf would be in Miami in that scenario, I suspect that Miami’s 2 R1s would be much lower than Detroit’s R1 will be with Jared Goff at the helm for the Lions - even if Goff is throwing passes to Metcalf.


Options for Seattle in Rounds 1-3

Round 1, #3 overall

The obvious choice is Oregon tackle Penei Sewell. Seattle would not be making a bad move if they happily selected him.

Getty Images

But . . .

There are THREE quarterbacks at the top of the board and only two will have been selected when Seattle goes on the clock.

Obviously, there is no shortage of teams that “need” quarterbacks.

From a draft order perspective, the Eagles (#6), the Panthers (#8), and the Broncos (#9) seem like the two most logical trade partners.

The Niners (#12), the Patriots (#15) and the Bears (#20) would also call.

And others, I’m sure. Maybe even Detroit (#7).

(insert Jared Goff joke here)

If Seattle isn’t sold on selecting Sewell (or simply prefers to add more picks, which is very likely to be the case), sliding back a few spots (preferably from 3 to 6) probably nets Seattle an additional Day 2 pick and a 2022 R1.

Probably MORE.

But why stop there? (especially if you also have the #7 pick)

In addition to the “Big 3 QBs”, there are also three wide receivers at the top of the board. And plenty of teams that need a #1 wideout.

If Seattle goes from #3 to #6, and if the Eagles picked the third QB, then at least one of the WRs would be available when Seattle got on the clock again.

And Seattle would again field calls.

Adding another R2 and another future R1 (and more) seems likely.

NOTE: Even if Seattle traded back to #9, #12, or #15, if they have Detroit’s pick at #7, then the odds are good that there would still be at least one of the three receivers on the board. Seattle would also get A LOT more in the way of compensation.


Round 1, #7 overall

Depending on how the 6 picks before this go, Seattle might (probably will) have a shot at one of the top 3 wideouts. If Seattle wanted to go that route, giving QB Tua Tagovailoa one of his Alabama stablemates (or LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase) wouldn’t be a bad move.

Me though, I’m looking at one of these four players: LB Micah Parsons, CB Caleb Farley, EDGE Kwity Paye, or TE Tyler Pitts. Probably in that order.

Personally, I wouldn’t actually take a tight end at #7 overall. But maybe Shane Waldron makes a persuasive argument for selecting this particular tight end that high. Dude is . . . something.

Micah Parsons, Caleb Farley, and Kwity Paye are probably names everyone recognizes so I won’t spend time making the obvious case for taking any of the three.

As with the #3 overall pick, there’s certainly a case to be made for trading back a few spots and adding picks - depending on how the draft unfolds and who Seattle’s “target” is, of course.


Round 1, #18 overall

For me, personally, there’s only one name at #18: EDGE Azeez Ojulari. Even if I’ve already taken EDGE Kwity Paye, Ojulari is still my pick here.

The Associated Press (2019)

There are, however, a number of other players that would be incredibly good picks at #18 as well, including: CB Jaycee Horn, IDL Christian Barmore, EDGE Jayson Oweh, and EDGE Gregory Rousseau.

Obviously, Seattle would be going defense at #18.

On a side note, taking both Paye and Ojulari in Round 1 would definitively address the Seahawks inability to adequately address their pass rush last offseason.


Other options in Round 1

If Seattle passes on Penei Sewell, but still wants a Tackle, two players to consider are Christian Darrisaw and Rashawn Slater. There are others as well, but none that are expected to go in Round 1. Darrisaw will almost certainly be a Top-15 choice; Slater may slide to Round 2.

Near the end of Round 1, some other names become appealing.

For example, LB Zevan Collins (college football’s Defensive Player of the Year), WR Kadarius Toney (32 broken tackles on 80 catches since 2019), LB Jabril Cox, and RB Travis Etienne.

Would Seattle consider moving back into the first round late? By sending #35 and (?) to the Saints for #28, for instance?

I could see it for Collins or Toney; probably for Cox as well. But there’s a back that I prefer to Etienne and that RB is expected to go in the low- to mid-50’s.


Round 2, #35 overall

An addition for the offensive line seems like the obvious choice here with several quality players to choose from.

At Tackle, you’ve got Sam Cosmi, Liam Eichenberg, Teven Jenkins, and others.

At Guard, you’ve got Wyatt Davis and . . . well, tackles that you would move to guard or players you can pick later in the draft (ex. Ben Cleveland).

But my choice would be Center Landon Dickerson from Alabama.

For 2 reasons.

One: He’s a beast. I won’t share the PFF grade but it’s easy enough to look up (hint: it’s north of 90).

Two: He already has chemistry with Mr. Tagovailoa. And chemistry between the QB and his Center is important.

That said, Dickerson should be available a few picks later so if Seattle has added some R2s then maybe #35 gets used on LB Zevan Collins, WR Kadarius Toney, or someone like Safety Ar’Darius Washington from TCU.

WORTH NOTING: If Seattle has Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs under contract past 2021 by the time the draft rolls around then there isn’t a “need” for a safety. But if there are any question marks at that position beyond 2021 then Washington is an intriguing option at the top of Round 2.


Round 2, #50 overall

One name and one name only: RB Javonte Williams.

157 carries last season, 76 broken tackles.

Moving on to the next pick.

The Associated Press (2020)

Wait . . .

You say Seattle could take Javonte Williams with their 2nd round pick, #55 overall?

Well, yes, Seattle could; but if #55 is the Seahawks’ first pick of the draft, using it on a running back would almost be criminally negligent.

Personally, I would still applaud the pick because Javonte Williams is (potentially) Beast Mode 2.0, but Seattle cannot use it’s first pick (and it’s only pick before Round 4) on a running back.


Round 3, #71 overall

EDGEs Levi Onwuzurike and Tommy Tugiai stand out to me with this pick. RB Najee Harris could also be an option Or maybe WR Tylan Wallace.

If Seattle goes O-line, OG Ben Cleveland (previously mentioned), OT Jackson Carmen (if he slides a bit), Center Creed Humphrey (would also need to slide), and OL Jalen Mayfield could be good options.

At cornerback, Jevon Holland, Greg Newsome II, and Ifeatu Melifonwu are all options if they’re still on the board.


Round 3, #81 overall

Second verse, same as the first - anyone listed under #71 is an option here (if they’re available). A few others to consider are Safety Talanoa Hufanga, LB Chazz Surratt, CB Benjamin St-Juste, and EDGE Rashad Weaver.


Other players would could be “interesting” Day 2 additions

If Seattle wants to bring in a QB to challenge Tua for reps, I would pick Kellen Mond from Texas A&M. Mond holds basically every QB record at Texas A&M.

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Although Seattle doesn’t run a 3-4, Nose Tackle Alim McNeill is an intriguing option early on Day 2 (if he’s still available).

Getty Images

WR Dyami Brown would be a quality selection on Day 2. He had an 18.4-yard average target last year but also runs great routes.

Grant Halverson / Getty Images

Center Quinn Meinerz is from a school I’ve never heard of (Wisconsin-Whitewater) but he turned heads at the Senior Bowl in January. He is probably a reach at #81, but he might be gone before Seattle gets on the clock at #128.

Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Bottom line

Over the first 2 days of the draft, Seattle could have at least 5 and maybe as many as 7 to 9 of the players I mentioned above IF Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf are traded.

Or Seattle could take the best available player at #56 and then wait until Pick #128 to grab another player.

Obviously I have made my choice.



Going away from the draft

As Part Six showed, there are some options for Seattle in free agency.

And Part Five looked at contracts that could be extended to free up some cap space in 2021 (and to keep certain players around longer than just next year).

But none of that MOVES THE NEEDLE with the returning group of players. As is, the Seahawks don’t have the cap space or the draft capital to get markedly better.

Could Seattle go 10-6 (or better) in 2021 with Russell Wilson? Absolutely.

Yes, Seattle was 9-7 season in 2017, but double digit wins seems almost guaranteed with an RW3 team. Seriously, if you put Russell Wilson in New York (either AFC or NFC), those teams at least challenge for double-digit wins - yes, even the Jets.

Keeping Russ in Seattle is clearly a worthwhile venture if our goal is to make the playoffs.

But . . .

Russ has got to go if we want multiple Lombardi trophies over the next five seasons.


Them’s fightin’ words!

Yes, Russ is a franchise quarterback.

Yes, franchise quarterbacks are extremely hard to come by.

Yes, some teams spend decades trying to find one (ex. Miami, post-Dan Marino).

And, yes, it certainly HELPS to have a franchise quarterback if you want to reach the Super Bowl - especially if you want to win it as opposed to just being happy to get there.

But let’s dive into that a little bit . . .

SB 55: Tom Brady v. Patrick Mahomes - the very definition of franchise quarterbacks.

SB 54: Patrick Mahomes v. Jimmy Garaoppolo - is anyone here on FIELDGULLS going to argue that Jimmy G is a franchise quarterback? Is anyone here certain that he’s even on the 49ers roster Week 1 of the 2021 season?

SB 53: Tom Brady v. Jared Goff - what happened with Goff this offseason? Only 2 years removed from leading the Rams to the Super Bowl and he was discarded like a dirty diaper.

SB 52: Tom Brady v. Nick Foles / Carson Wentz - I don’t think anyone on the planet is going to argue that Foles is a franchise quarterback (except the GMs of the teams that keep signing him), but he does have a Super Bowl ring (and Super Bowl MVP trophy).

Of course, Foles only got the start because Philly’s REAL franchise quarterback was injured, but . . . wait, what’s that you say? Oh, Carson Wentz just got run out of town in Philly? Guess he wasn’t actually a franchise QB after all.

SB 51: Tom Brady v. Matt Ryan - Matty Ice is very good and an argument could certainly be made that he is A franchise quarterback . . . but I’m betting Atlanta wishes there wasn’t $50M in dead money on his contract and that he wasn’t going to count $40,912,500 and $41,662,500 against their cap in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Particularly given his age and lack of recent success.

SB 50: Peyton Manning v. Cam Newton - Peyton is a Hall of Famer, but he was a shadow of himself in SB 50. And Cam was great in 2015, but . . . “franchise QB”? Not so much if you consider how he exited Carolina and how little he made to lay a proverbial egg in New England last season.

SB 49: Russell Wilson v. Tom Brady . . .

SB 48: Russell Wilson v. Peyton Manning . . .

I bleed blue and green so I’m never going to say that RW3 isn’t, wasn’t, or won’t always be A FRANCHISE QB. But I will argue that Seattle probably still makes it to back-to-back Super Bowls with Matt Flynn in Russ’s spot.

SB 47: Joe Flacco v. Colin Kaepernick - was either of them a “franchise” QB? I would argue “no” for Flacco and “maybe, but probably not” for Kaep.

Calling it as I see it

Having a franchise quarterback IS important. But scheme, coaching, execution, continuity, communication, LUCK, and hundreds of other things are also important.

For example, in the 2014 NFC Championship Game, Green Bay’s win probability was 99.9% with 3 minutes left in the game. RW3 had been both bad and unfortunate all game long. We all know what happened.

Depending on your perspective, either Green Bay failed to execute or Seattle got lucky, but the end result was an improbable recovery of an onside kick and an overtime victory that sent Seattle to SB 49.

BOTH teams had franchise quarterbacks. And if we’re being honest, the better one (at least on that day, and maybe overall) didn’t win the game.

Regarding my earlier point about Matt Flynn - no, I don’t think he would have led Seattle to a comeback against Green Bay in the NFCCG (Advantage, Mr. Wilson); but I also don’t think Matt Flynn would have thrown four interceptions and had a 0.0 passer rating at halftime (Advantage, Mr. Flynn).

A not so subtle reminder

As fans, we’re emotionally invested in our team and in specific players. I am certain that 98.72% of 12s want Mr. Russell Carrington Wilson to finish his career in Seattle (and to do it as the winningest and most successful quarterback in league history).

But football is a business. Yes, it’s entertainment. Yes, there are personal connections inside team HQ. Yes, there are relationships that survive and thrive long after playing careers (and coaching careers) are over. But don’t lose sight of the fact that, at its core, football is A BUSINESS. And businesses require BUSINESS decisions.

L.A. just traded their franchise QB.

San Fancisco may not (probably won’t) retain Jimmy G.

Philly just traded Carson Wentz. And swallowed a record amount of dead money while doing it.

Houston released J.J. Watt.

Click on ESPN any day between now and March 17th and you will see at least one story about an NFL franchise cutting ties with a “big name” player.

Yes, there’s a reason for it - more so this year than others, but we see these stories EVERY year; teams move on and so do players.

Very few players finish their careers where they start.



Seattle has THREE main problems

No, I don’t mean “(1) a lack of cap space, (2) a lack of draft picks, and (3) a dubious (recent) history with draft day selections and free agent signings”.

I mean problems that aren’t season-specific - i.e. not just 2021.

I’m talking about the problems Seattle has had from 2015-2020 and the problems Seattle will continue to have in 2021-2025 (and beyond) if the front office and the coaching staff “embrace the status quo.”

One could argue that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of reasons why the Seattle Seahawks have not gotten back to Super Bowl since reaching it in back-to-back seasons.

The most basic reason, of course, is that it is REALLY FREAKING HARD to get there in the first place, let alone in back-to-back seasons, and even more so “repeatedly and consistently.”

And yet, we know it’s possible because the Evil Empire managed to do it.

So why has Seattle consistently been considered “a contender” without really even coming close to CONTENDING the last 6 seasons?

For me, it comes down to three things . . .

And none of them have a damn thing to do with statistics or statistical analysis or even with Xs and Os. It isn’t scheme or clock management or whether the league de-emphasizing holding last season had any impact on the results.

For me it is really, really, REALLY simple.


ONE: The Seahawks lost their identity.

Yes, the defense was historically good in 2013 and 2014. And for a year on either side of that. From 2012-2015, the Seahawks allowed the fewest points each season.

That wasn’t what made Seattle’s defense the “Legion of Boom” though

It was the Legion of Boom because, to a man, every single player wanted to lay you out anytime you dared to even think about making a play against them.

The Legion of Boom was so intimidating (and so completely against the idea of opposing receivers even touching the ball) that the league CHANGED THE RULES because of the way Seattle played the game.

As but one example, this play comes to mind.

It wasn’t just the defense though.

Marshawn Lynch sought out contact. Beast Mode didn’t run away from you, he ran AT you; he didn’t run around you, he ran THROUGH you. And it usually took several men to bring him down.

Some players have reputations for making “business decisions” at the tail end of plays. NOT Marshawn. Dude did not even consider the idea of stepping out of bounds or just laying down once 2 or 3 guys were on top of him.

He was called Beast Mode for a reason!

But it wasn’t just the defense and Mr. “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.

The offensive line at that time consisted of Russell Okung, Breno Giacomini, J.R. Sweezy, Max Unger, and (insert your choice of players at Left Guard). All of those men were maulers and brawlers and bare knuckle fighters. Most people would rather meet any of them in a dark alley than on the football field. To a man, and as a unit, they beat up the opposing defense ALL GAME LONG.

The Seahawks teams that got to back-to-back Super Bowls punched their opponents in the mouth on every play.

On both sides of the line of scrimmage.

EVERY. SINGLE. PLAY.

And they dared opponents to punch them back. Very few even tried.


TWO: The economic realities of the NFL caught up to the Seahawks.

It is really easy to say some variation of “Russ was on a rookie contract then and he isn’t now and that’s why we got to the Super Bowl then and haven’t been back there since.”

It is easy to say that because IT’S TRUE!

At least in part.

Know who else was on inexpensive contracts in 2013 (rookie or otherwise) ... ?

The entire secondary - Earl, Kam, Brandon, and Sherm; plus Maxwell.

Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright too.

And Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin and a whole bunch of others.

Russell Okung accounted for 7% of the cap in 2013. Marshawn Lynch was 6.2%. Percy Harvin was 3.6%. Add those three together and you’re at 16.8%. Add Russ and Earl and Kam and Brandon and Byron and Golden and ADB and Wagner and Wright and you’re probably starting to get close to 1/4 of the Hawks’ cap that year.

In 2020, Russ + Bobby alone consumed 22.9% of the cap between them.

In 2021, it will be around 27.2%.

Back in 2013, Russ was 0.5% and Bobby was 0.7%; a total of 1.2% between them.

That isn’t their fault, of course. They’ve earned their paychecks. And I’m not asking either of them to give a single penny back to the team.

I am, however, suggesting that the way the club approaches the NFL’s economics should change if the organization wants to win multiple Lombardi trophies.


THREE: “Big Balls Pete” got timid.

I think I’ll let the links speak for me on this one . . .

(Please, please, PLEASE click on that third link when you have time. That BS has to stop!)


Acknowledging the COVID effect

There’s no denying that the past 12 months have been extraordinarily . . . different.

I won’t rehash any of the reasons here other than to say that the salary cap falling from $198.2M to somewhere just a little north of $180M has caused the existing issues to become even more noticeable.

League-wide.


Could the Hawks address their issues without trading RW3?

Short answer: Sure.

Longer answer: Yeah, probably not. Russ needs a quality line in front of him and that costs money. Russ needs an exceptional defense at his back and that costs money. Offensive weapons cost money too.

And there’s simply not enough money to go around if you have a single player consuming 1/6th of the available funds.

Would Russ do a “Brady discount” thing?

First off, let me say that I am closer to the JPG side of this debate.

Personally, I do think that Brady may have earned a bit less than he would have if he’d ever actually forced the Patriots’ hand - i.e. if he hadn’t done new deals early or just flat-out reached free agency in his prime.

And Tampa Bay doesn’t really “count” in my book cuz there wasn’t a team in the league that was going to give Brady “Mahomes money” at 40+ years of age.

That said . . .

Why on Earth would Russ give the Seahawks a discount?

And what kind of person would even ask him to?

FACT: The average NFL career is 3.3 years.

For quarterbacks, that average is closer to 4.5, but Russ has still DOUBLED the expectation.

As far as I’m concerned, if Russell Wilson retired tomorrow, he would have earned EVERY PENNY that he’s gotten from the Seahawks. And then some.

There is not a single solitary reason for him to take any less than what the market would bear if he were a free agent. Not one.

NOT. ONE.

Personally, I wouldn’t even consider making the request.

The challenge of “large” contracts

Russ’s contract isn’t the only one vexing the Hawks right now.

I covered this in some detail in Part Five of this series when I looked at some players that could, theoretically, be extended this offseason to “help” the team in regard to the 2021 cap.

But let’s dig into this a bit.

The top 6 cap charges in 2021 are currently slated to be Russell Wilson ($32M), Bobby Wagner ($17.15M), Tyler Lockett ($14.95M), Carlos Dunlap ($14.0375M), Jarran Reed ($13.975M), and Duane Brown ($13.35M).

Between them, that totals $105,462,500. That’s well over HALF of the cap.

Add in Jamal Adams ($9.86M) and Quandre Diggs ($6.15M) and you’re suddenly at a full TWO THIRDS of the est. $180M cap with 43 player-positions that still haven’t been tabulated.

Sure, you could cut Dunlap and Reed and Brown. But you have to replace them. And, except for Dunlap, there’s a “cost” for releasing them (aka “dead money”).

Restructures and extensions are also options. But, in most cases, that just pushes the financial pain into the future.

Isn’t the cap going to explode upward soon?

There IS a school of thought that says, “That’s okay,” in regard to kicking the can down the road (so to speak). The basis of that thought, of late, is that the league is negotiating new TV deals and the cap will go up next year.

And, yes, that’s true. It probably will.

Except that they’re borrowing part of that money to keep the 2021 cap from falling to what it truly should be based on 2020’s revenue.

And . . .

If you look at OverTheCap.com and do the math, you find that the site is already ASSUMING a substantial bump next year.

Russ’s $32M cap his in 2021 is estimated to be 17.7% of the cap. Doing the math says that the 17.7% is based on a cap of $181M.

In 2022, his $37M cap his is estimated to be 16.3% of the cap: $37M is 16.3% of a $227M salary cap.

In 2023, math says Russ’s $40M cap hit coming in at 16.6% is based on a cap of $241M.

So, to recap, based on Russ’s estimated cap percentage, the NFL’s expected salary cap will be $181M in 2021, $227M in 2022, and $241M in 2023. Seems like the “TV money” is probably already in there.

Will the cap increase $60M between 2021 and 2022? Maybe.

But even if we assume that it will, Russ would account for 1/6th of it. And that is NOT a sustainable formula.



Circling back

As I see it, the Seahawks have 3 issues they need to address if they want to be phenomenally successful moving forward.

No. 1. Figure out how to reestablish the “we’re going to kick you in the teeth and we’re going to LIKE IT” mentality.

No. 2. Get the damn economics under control.

No. 3. Big balls Pete! Big ball Pete! Big balls Pete! Big balls Pete! (c’mon, chant it with me!) Big balls Pete! Big balls Pete! Big balls Pete!

Breaking it down + building it up

If I were John and Pete, I would be willing to take a step backward if it means setting the organization up to take a GIANT LEAP forward.

This doesn’t mean that John and Pete need to sell the fanbase on a 5-year plan (insert countless Mariners references here) or embark on a 3-year “rebuild” that takes 20 years (insert refences to Jets, Browns, Jaguars, etc.).

This means, “Let’s be crazy aggressive and light the world on fire.” Without burning the team to the ground.


The F.T.R. “Plan”, Part One

Build the lines through the draft this year. If that means starting 4 rookies on the O-line with a second-year player (Lewis) being the “old man” of the group, so be it.

Guess what though. We only have 4 draft picks. And the team has “needs” at more positions than just the offensive and defensive lines.

Thus, we need draft picks. Lots of them. And HIGH PICKS at that!

And there are only 3 assets on the team that get us more than a 2nd rounder: Mr. Russell Carrington Wilson, Mr. DeKaylin Zecharius Metalf, and Mr. Jamal Lee Adams.

The summary for part one is this: BUILD THE LINES INTO FREAKING BEASTS!!!

Football games are won in the trenches and the offense that Pete wants to run DEMANDS solid line play. The same with the defense. Pete’s defensive approach is predicated on “our 4 beating your 5” and GETTING TO THE DAMN QUARTERBACK.

Remember when that used to work?


The F.T.R. “Plan”, Part Two

Return to a defense that scares the bejeebers out of opposing teams.

I honestly don’t care if our offense hands the ball off on every play and only scores 20 points a game. IF our defense only allows 14 then we have a shot at going 16-0 as long as both units are CONSISTENT.

Sure, shootouts are exciting but they freaking SUCK when the other team has the ball. I much prefer WANTING to have our defense on the field rather than DREADING the possibility.

Which brings us to Mr. Jamal Lee Adams and the fact that I have not suggested trading him along with RW3 + DK.

Let’s be blunt: Jamal Adams SCARES opponents.

As a pass rusher.

There is certainly a conversation to be had about his coverage skills - they’re not as bad as some suggest, but not as good as those who defend him would have you believe.

But coming on a pass rush? Dude is damn near unstoppable.

He had 9-1/2 sacks in 12 games last year.

That’s a record for a DB.

And he did that with a new team, after a virtual offseason, while playing injured for most of the season.

Imagine him healthy for all 16 games.

And imagine the coaching staff building a defensive game plan around his incredibly unique skillset and athleticism.

And surrounding him with players who are equally scary!

If I were John and Pete, I would ABSOLUTELY plan to make Jamal Adams the centerpiece of my new defense.

Not the LOB 2.0.

Something completely NEW.


Pot, meet Kettle

Yes, I can hear your thoughts. I don’t want to pay Russ but I’m willing to pay Jamal. To me, these are two very, very, VERY different things.

If you look at Part Five of this series, I suggested a 4-year, $66M extension for Adams that would make his total deal 5-years, $75.86M. And I suggested that if the team were willing to break precedent and extend a player for more than 4 years, I would offer Adams a 6-year, $100M extension.

Why is this different than Russ’s deal?

To start with, under the Part Five proposal, Jamal’s cap hit in 2021 would be $6.86M. Wilson’s cap hit, even if you restructure his contract, cannot get below $20M.

Then there’s the % of the cap angle.

Russ’s percentage was covered earlier in this installment (summary, he’s basically 1/6th of the cap each of the next 3 seasons, even IF the cap increases $60M between 2021 and 2023).

Adams would average $15.172M per year over the life of the proposed deal or $16.5M per year if you only look at the “new” money. Either way, he’d be well under 10% of the cap - even this year’s LOW cap.

In fact, looking at just this year’s numbers ($6.86M cap hit, $181M cap), he’d only account for 3.8% of the cap.

Digging deeper

I left a lot of things out of Part Five because I didn’t want it to be 6,000 words.

One of those things was the detailed analysis of where Jamal’s proposed contract would rank league-wide. Speculation has often had it that he wants to be “more” than just the highest paid safety and that “scares” people.

For good reason.

However, the proposed extension for Adams would, as expected, make him the highest-paid safety in the league (ahead of Budha Baker). He would rank #3 among linebackers (behind only Bwagz and C.J. Mosley). And, looking at EDGE numbers, he’d be somewhere between Chandler Jones (#12) and Dante Fowler Jr. (#16).

At least until free agency starts.

It’s a good offer.

Now let’s look at Russell Wilson’s contract situation.

The numbers have already been laid out (throughout this series) in regard to what RW3 costs the team the next 3 seasons so I won’t rehash them again.

However, although his contract has 3 years left on it, it’s reasonable to assume that he’ll want to renegotiate it next offseason based on what the market has done . . . Yes, Mr. Half a Billion Dollars just made things REALLY HARD for us.

And if Seattle refuses to negotiate next offseason, perhaps preferring to wait until after the 2022 season, or maybe even considering the franchise tag option if RW3 plays out his existing contract, then the price goes up . . . and up . . . and up.

And if we expand that thought just a little bit and include Mr. Metcalf . . . well, I posited in the comments of one of the earlier installments that Seattle would very likely be looking at paying Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf a combined $60M - $70M a year as soon as 2023.

I love them both, but that is not, not, not, not, NOT a good scenario.

No matter how much the cap increases.



Final thoughts (for now)

Yeah . . . there’s a chance Seattle rallies behind Russ and wins the Super Bowl in 2021. There was that chance each of the last 6 seasons. It didn’t happen. It’s not his fault. His contract just makes it really, really HARD to field a complete team.

And even if it didn’t . . .

Seattle needs to find it’s identity again.

That starts with the lines - both the defensive line AND the offensive line. Smash-mouth football. Beat ‘em up on every play. Make them HATE playing you.

It expands beyond the lines to the rest of the defense and to the running backs and the pass catchers that are taking the plays TO the opponent. EVERY play.

And then we need to get Pete to start taking chances again. To not punt with 3 minutes left in the game and your season on the line. We need Pete to shake it off when his offense gets stopped on 3rd and short and go for it on 4th down. We need Pete to not feel bad if he’s accused of “running up the score” when he calls for a fake punt with a 3-score lead.

THAT is how I would make the Seahawks legitimate contenders for multiple Lombardi trophies if I were John and Pete:

Turn over the roster and build an identity as an ass-kicking unit that won’t back down, that fights for every inch, that wants you to still be “feeling” the game when you’re putting on your pads to face the NEXT opponent.

Go Hawks!