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12 Thoughts on the eve of free agency

A collection of FTR thoughts that weren’t turned into their own articles ...

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As a Seahawks fan, the past week has been incredibly difficult. Tuesday sucked and Wednesday was worse - because the shock wore off.

Honestly, I’m still a bit numb.

That said, I have some thoughts to share with the official start of free agency only a couple of days away.

Thought #1

With Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner no longer on the books, the Seahawks player who currently has the highest cap hit in 2022 is ...

Poona Ford

Seattle Seahawks v Cleveland Browns Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Although it’s under unusual circumstances (and might not last), that’s one heck of an accomplishment for the 2017 Undrafted Free Agent.

Thought #2

This tweet almost perfectly sums up my feelings about the Seahawks being linked to Deshaun Watson:

Thought #3

Are the Seahawks rebuilding or retooling? And is there really a difference in the minds of John Schneider and Pete Carroll? I guess we’ll find out pretty soon.

Pete Carroll and John Schneider (2018) Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

If the team is retooling then these are the 3 unrestricted free agents that I would LOVE to see Seattle land:

One. OLB Haason Reddick

After the Arizona Cardinals let him walk following a breakout 12.5-sack season in 2020, Reddick signed a 1-year, $6M deal with the Carolina Panthers and proved that 2020 wasn’t a fluke by again recording a double-digit sack total (11).

PFF is predicting that Reddick will sign a 3-year, $42M contract ($14M APY) with $25M guaranteed at signing. If accurate, that would make Reddick one of the 10-highest-paid linebackers in the league; a price that seems a little steep until you consider that:

(A) Bobby Wagner was the highest-paid linebacker in the league before Seattle released him; and

(B) Seattle’s starting outside linebackers would be Haason Reddick and Darrell Taylor with Jordyn Brooks and (TBD) as the inside ‘backers in a 3-4 alignment.

Note: In this scenario, the Seahawks would either release Benson Mayowa (after first trying to trade him) and realize a cap savings of $1.51M or keep him on the roster as the primary primary backup at OLB.

NFL: NOV 09 Seahawks at Cardinals Photo by Carlos Herrera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Two. OC Brian Allen

The top two Centers on the free agent market are Ryan Jensen and Ben Jones. Both would be great additions, but are likely to command far more than Seattle is going to be willing to pay - especially Jensen. And both are on “the wrong side of 30” so that’s a deterrent as well.

While I’m not completely against the idea of re-signing Ethan Pocic and rolling with him as the starter again in 2022, my preference would be to either upgrade the position or at least bring in someone that can make Pocic earn the starting role. Brian Allen fits that description, especially with his background in the offensive system that Shane Waldron wants to run.

Allen is the same age as Pocic (2 months younger, in fact) and will likely command a similar contract (~$4M APY).

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Three. RT Morgan Moses

Morgan Moses is PFF’s highest-ranked free agent Right Tackle and their #4 free agent Tackle overall (behind Terron Armstead, Orlando Brown Jr. - who was franchise-tagged by the Kansas City Chiefs, and Duane Brown).

Note: I was in favor of acquiring Morgan Moses last year but he ultimately chose to sign a 1-year deal with the New York Jets (after first turning down a 2-year deal from them).

PFF has Morgan Moses ranked as the 46th-best tackle league-wide last year (by overall grade) and while that might sound a little lower than we’d like, it’s only 3 spots below Duane Brown (#43) and is higher than Brandon Shell (#65) and considerably higher than Jake Curhan (#124).

The true value with Moses though is that he’s basically indestructible. Aside from his rookie season (8 games, 1 start), Moses’ “attendance record” is almost perfect: 113 games possible, 113 games played, 112 starts (Week 1 last season was his only non-start from 2015-2021). What’s more, Moses has played no less than 91% of the offensive snaps in any season (except his rookie season) and he has exceeded 1,000 snaps each of the last 2 seasons and 4 of the last 7 overall.

PFF expects Moses to sign a 3-year, $22.5M contract ($7.5M APY) with $14.5M guaranteed. If accurate, I say, “Yes, please!” - especially since the Seahawks paid Brandon Shell $5.375M last year to play in 10 of their 17 games (and $3.475M in 2020 to play in 11 of 16).

Tennessee Titans v New York Jets Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

Thought #4

With the decision to tender an offer to Restricted Free Agent Phil Haynes, Seattle now has 17 of their own players hitting free agency on Wednesday.

  • Offense: Duane Brown, Alex Collins, Will Dissly, Gerald Everett, Kyle Fuller, Jamarco Jones, Rashaad Penny, Ethan Pocic, Brandon Shell, and Geno Smith
  • Defense: Blessuan Austin, Quandre Diggs, Rasheem Green, Sidney Jones, Robert Nkemdiche, D.J. Reed, and Al Woods

Note: The above lists do not include Exclusive Rights Free Agents (who can negotiate only with Seattle and are thus likely to return on minimum contracts) or players the team has already released (i.e., Adrian Peterson and Bobby Wagner).

Of those 17 players, the 4 that I would prioritize re-signing (even in light of what happened last Tuesday) are:

  1. Quandre Diggs - Seattle’s defense suffers without him as the last line of defense. Yes, he’s going to be expensive, but he’s worth it.
  2. D.J. Reed - He’s one of the league’s best RCBs and we can’t let him go back to the 49ers.
  3. Duane Brown - There’s no denying that he’s older than dirt (not really), but who is Seattle going to have at Left Tackle in 2022 that’s a better option?
  4. Rashaad Penny - He wouldn’t have been on my list on November 1st or even at Thanksgiving, but I can’t keep him off it now.

Just missing the cut: Sidney Jones, Ethan Pocic, and Rasheem Green.

Thought #5

The coaching changes on the defensive side of the ball clearly indicate that the Seahawks are shifting to a 3-4 base defense in 2022. In a 3-4 defense, you need two inside linebackers - and Seattle just released an inside ‘backer that will be enshrined in Canton when his playing career is done. So what’s the plan?

At first glance, it would appear that the ILB roles will fall to 3rd-year player Jordyn Brooks and 4th-year player Cody Barton. If the Seahawks are committing to a full-blown rebuild then that pairing makes sense. But if they’re simply “retooling” ... not so much.

Enter Jamal Adams?

Admittedly, Adams is a bit undersized for a linebacker but not inordinately so. Adams is quick, he plays the run well, and I’m betting he would record double-digit sacks playing off the line of scrimmage in the middle of the field.

If nothing else, moving Adams to ILB could help justify the 4-year, $70M extension that he signed last offseason as his $17.5M APY is #1 among safeties but would currently only be #3 among linebackers.

Thought #6

Even with Tom Brady’s (not at all surprising) decision to “unretire”, the NFC’s current quarterback situation is .. less than inspiring. As far as I can tell, this is the current list of QB1s:

NFC East:

NFC North:

NFC South:

NFC West:

And, for an interesting juxtaposition, here are the cap hits for each team’s current QB1:

NFC East:

NFC North:

NFC South:

NFC West:

Note: The asterisk next to the cap hit for Green Bay is because it’s been reported that the Packers are signing Aaron Rodgers to an extension that will lower that number.

Thought #7

It doesn’t seem like hyperbole to suggest that the Russell Wilson and Jamal Adams trades will forever be linked. Especially with tweets like this one from the guy that created/runs/manages

Obviously there’s some value in the fact that both players were in a Seattle uniform for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but ... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thought #8

Back on February 21, I published a Draft Primer for Quarterbacks.

The Primer included surface-level analysis and highlight videos for the top 7 QBs in the 2022 NFL Draft: Matt Corral, Sam Howell, Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder, Carson Strong, Malik Willis, and Bailey Zappe.

The article wasn’t super relevant at the time, but that sure changed in a hurry.

Note: If you happen to click on the link (above), please ignore the introduction - it definitely didn’t age well. Also, don’t be surprised if there’s a sequel in a couple weeks.

Thought #9

For all of the speculation about Seattle’s interest in Deshaun Watson, the quarterback that I think it would make the most sense to TRADE FOR is ...

Gardner Minshew

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Football Team Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

I wouldn’t describe myself as a “fan” of Minshew but, for a guy who had the misfortune of spending the first 2 years of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he’s got pretty respectable stats:

  • 2019: 14 games, 12 starts; 285 of 470 (60.6%); 3,271 yards; 21 TDs vs. 6 INTs; passer rating of 91.2
  • 2020: 9 games, 8 starts; 216 of 327 (66.1%); 2,259 yards; 16 TDs vs. 5 INTs; passer rating of 95.9
  • 2021: 4 games, 2 starts; 41 of 60 (68.3%); 439 yards; 4 TDs vs. 1 INT; passer rating of 104.8
  • Career: 27 games, 22 starts; 542 of 857 (63.2%); 5,969 yards; 41 TDs vs. 12 INTs; passer rating of 93.9

Sure, Watson is a better player with 53 career starts and a stat line that reads 1,186 of 1,748 (67.8%) for 14,539 yards, with 104 touchdowns, 36 interceptions, and a passer rating of 104.5. But ...

  1. Minshew’s 2022 salary is about 1/14th of Watson’s ($2.54M vs. $35M);
  2. The trade compensation is expected to be exponentially lower for Minshew (maybe an R3?) than for Watson (at least 3 R1s “and more”); and
  3. Minshew isn’t at risk of being suspended; Watson most definitely is.

Thought #10

Count me among those who are 100% down the idea of signing Colin Kaepernick and giving him a shot to be QB1 in 2022.

Just so long as signing Kaep means NOT using the #9 pick on a quarterback, NOT trading assets for a bridge QB, and (more than anything else in this world) NOT trading for Deshaun Watson.

On a related note, Tyler Lockett (and his brother) agreed to run routes for Kaep:

Thought #11

There were a ton of highlights from the recently-concluded NFL Combine in Indianapolis, including Jordan Davis’ jaw-dropping 40-yard dash.

But for all the athleticism on display, my favorite highlight from the Combine was this one:

Thought #12

It won’t happen, but the Seahawks should retire #3 and #54 immediately. I don’t ever want to see another player wear either number. I’m guessing most 12s agree.

Tennessee Titans v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Go Hawks!