There’s no doubt that this offseason has been unlike any other for the Seattle Seahawks. Russell Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos, Bobby Wagner was released, and many assistant coaches were let go as part of yet another makeover of the staff. This chapter of Seahawks football has come to a close, and the greater public believes Seattle will be one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2022.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell doesn’t have a lot of kind things to say about this team. In fact he’s ranked Seattle’s offseason as the rock-bottom worst of the worst. Now this is behind the ESPN+ paywall so I won’t lift the whole thing, but Barnwell had praise for the re-signing of Quandre Diggs, as well as staying put at No. 9 and selecting left tackle Charles Cross — he said nothing of the pass rushers and corners they added in the draft. As for the bad? Well there’s a lot of bad and there’s a “what-if?” as it pertained to the Wilson trade.
What went wrong: You’ve probably heard about the Russell Wilson trade by now. One week after Pete Carroll publicly said that the Seahawks had “no intention” of trading Wilson, the Seahawks sent their franchise quarterback to the Broncos for Drew Lock, Shelby Harris, Noah Fant and five draft picks, including two first-rounders. I wrote at length about this deal at the time, and I don’t like it for Seattle.
The Seahawks simply didn’t get enough for a superstar in the prime of his career, and while I held out some hope that they would then go after a viable replacement under center, they’re about to head into 2022 with Lock and Geno Smith as their two quarterbacks. They went from having a true superstar under center to having two replacement-level veterans and no clear path toward their next franchise passer. That’s a disaster.
Beyond the Wilson deal, the Seahawks further committed toward their philosophy of a 1970s offense. Amid concerns about running back Chris Carson’s future because of a neck injury, Seattle re-signed Rashaad Penny to a one-year, $5.8 million deal then used a second-round pick on Ken Walker III. As The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin pointed out, the Seahawks should know how easy it is to find running backs with late-round picks, having traded one for Marshawn Lynch while using the 249th selection in 2017 to draft Carson. This team has too many needs elsewhere to continue investing meaningful cash and draft capital on tailbacks, even if those backs do end up succeeding.
Fant will replace the departed Gerald Everett in the lineup, but I was shocked to see Seattle sign fellow tight end Will Dissly to a three-year, $24 million deal. As it plays out, Dissly’s deal is more like a one-year pact for $10.8 million, but that’s TE1 money for a player who hasn’t topped 262 receiving yards in a single season as a pro. Dissly is a solid blocker, but the Seahawks need him to be a Rob Gronkowski-level blocker to justify that sort of contract.
What they could have done differently: Well, they could have kept Wilson and fired Carroll. If the relationship between quarterback and head coach had deteriorated to the point where one had to go, Seattle made the wrong choice. Carroll has been a very good NFL coach, but he is 70 years old. The defense he helped mold into the league’s best is gone, as the Seahawks fell to 21st in defensive DVOA a year ago. Carroll’s choices for coordinators haven’t worked out, and the unit has struggled to draft effectively for the better part of the past decade. It’s tough to imagine that we’ll look back in five years and feel like the Seahawks made the right choice between their head coach and quarterback.
Other notable offseason moves for the Seahawks included bringing in Uchenna Nwosu from the Los Angeles Chargers, bringing back Quinton Jefferson to beef up the interior d-line, and signing center Austin Blythe while (presumably) letting both Duane Brown and Brandon Shell walk.
The way Barnwell sees it, the Seahawks have no obvious long-term plan or path to a new franchise quarterback, a head coach who’s past it, and a roster filled with bad contracts and resources wrongly allocated to positions that aren’t of need. I don’t think Seattle has had an offseason as poor as say, Chicago or Atlanta, and much of that is because of their draft process. That said, the draft is really the one thing that’s providing any sort of genuine optimism for the franchise moving forward after the monumental Wilson trade back in March. The people excited about Drew Lock or Geno Smith for a full season... are entitled to their excitement! But they’ll be in the minority on that front.
Rage away! Or perhaps agree because it’s not like “fire Carroll, keep Wilson” was some deeply unpopular position even within this site.