We’re essentially through two weeks of NFL free agency and a very stacked wide receiver class has largely been signed or re-signed. JuJu Smith-Schuster stayed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kenny Golladay went to the New York GIants, Curtis Samuel joined the Washington Football Team, and pretty much everyone else signed one- or two-year deals worth not a whole lot of money.
Notably absent from spending even a penny on a wideout? The Seattle Seahawks.
I’ve been harping on this for a bit that I don’t think Seattle’s depth is all that great at receiver. They did not re-sign David Moore and in the interest of keeping Russell Wilson happy I think any thought of trading Tyler Lockett in a contract year goes out the window.
So Seattle’s WR depth chart looks like this:
We love Metcalf and we love Lockett. They are one of the top duos in the NFL but keep in mind that Lockett has been banged up towards the latter half of the year over the past two seasons. Swain figured to be a Moore replacement and had a solid rookie season with limited targets. Everyone else? Competing for a roster spot. Ursua and Hart have two receptions combined. This is as thin as the Seahawks have been at WR in the Russell Wilson era since probably Super Bowl XLIX when they had nothing but UDFAs available on gameday and only Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse were regular, established targets.
I know we have touted the Seahawks’ ability to coach up unknowns into starters but at wide receiver David Moore is essentially the only “project” of sorts since 2014 to actually turn into a viable contributor. Kevin Smith, Kasen Williams, Chris Matthews, Tanner McEvoy, etc. did not pan out for any more than a handful of games.
What’s a little bit irksome is that Seattle hasn’t even tried to attack the lower tier of WR free agents — I’m not counting some reported interest in Antonio Brown, whom I’d bet would stay in Tampa Bay like everyone else has. Sammy Watkins, Willie Snead IV, Brashad Perriman, Tyrell Williams, Keelan Cole, John Brown, and even John Ross (because I know you love reclamation projects) have all been signed by other teams. Remaining notable, viable options include Golden Tate,
Mohamed Sanu (not even him, he signed with San Francisco), Bennie Fowler, a clearly declined Dez Bryant, and Damiere Byrd.
Yes, there’s always the NFL Draft. The Seahawks have only three picks but we expect them to have more than that, but even so the odds of them taking a “ready to play significant snaps” WR don’t seem particularly high.
Seattle’s inaction in free agency at this position — to be clear, this is understandable given the more pressing needs — has me thinking there are a couple of possibilities to this strategy
1.) Seattle wants to run it more and thus wide receiver depth doesn’t really matter all that much if they don’t get the ball. They might even be blocking and playing special teams more than offense.
2.) The Seahawks actually want to integrate their tight ends and running backs a lot more as receivers. Seattle did sign Gerald Everett and will have Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson rounding out the TE position. Chris Carson had his best year as a receiver in 2020 and if Rashaad Penny makes the team perhaps getting him out in space on screen passes and wheel routes will be explored under Shane Waldron.
Either way, I’m not very comfortable with this process. Seattle really needs to make another move here because banking on Swain to take off in year two and both Metcalf and Lockett to stay healthy seems like a rather needless gamble.