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Time is up for Dee Eskridge

The Seahawks made a mistake by drafting Eskridge, and they need to stop investing in their error.

NFL: NOV 05 Seahawks at Ravens Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jake Bobo has more receiving yards and touchdowns this season than Dee Eskridge has in his entire professional career. The former is an undrafted free agent who is reportedly slower than molasses. The latter is a second round pick who clocked a 4.39 at his Pro Day.

Dee Eskridge is quickly becoming my least favorite draft pick of the Pete Carroll and John Schneider era. There have been few other players who have disappointed to this level, and few who have received so many chances to prove that he belongs in the NFL. Instead, he is proving that he may be the worst player they have ever selected, relative to their draft position.

  • Worse than Malik McDowell? Of course, because that was a bizarre and unpredictable accident that nobody expected, and at least they got some of their money back.
  • Worse than L.J. Collier? That dude is practically a Hall of Famer compared to Eskridge.
  • Worse than Germain Ifedi? He didn’t even net a compensatory pick when he left for the Chicago Bears, but at least he gave the team four years of cheap offensive line play.
  • Worse than Christine Michael? The guy who rushed for 100+ yards and 2 touchdowns in a 37-18 win over the San Francisco 49ers?! Retire his jersey already.

All of the above were underwhelming (and sometimes straight up bad), but — with the exception of McDowell — Eskridge can’t even come close to approximating this level of production at his respective position. The day of reckoning is upon us, and the time has come for the Seattle Seahawks to sever ties and move on.

The fact of the matter is that — despite the talent and hype — he has failed in seemingly every way possible to prove that he even belongs on an NFL roster. His career numbers are sub-pedestrian, and he is showing no sign of improving. He had one target in Sunday’s game, which he was not able to haul in. That is his only target in the three games he has appeared in this season.

To be fair, the players mentioned above are first round picks, or — in the case of McDowell or Michael — a highly touted second-round pick who was their first selection in their respective drafts. You could also argue that injuries have simply plagued his career and made it difficult to truly evaluate his play. But at this point, there is little lingering doubt that Eskridge has simply not matured into the player who the Seahawks thought/hoped he would become as a pro. Take this for example: below are some players who have had more productive receiving seasons for the Seahawks since 2020 than Eskridge is having in 2023 (all numbers pulled from StatHead):

  • Laquon Treadwell: 10 targets, 42 receiving yards (2022)
  • Cody Thompson: 1 target, 10 yards (2023)
  • Dareke Young: 2 targets, 24 yards (2022)
  • Tyler Mabry: 1 target, 7 yards (2022)
  • Tony Jones: 6 targets, 18 yards (2022)
  • Cade Johnson: 4 targets, 21 yards (2022)
  • Godwin Igwebuike: 1 target, 3 yards (2022)
  • Phillip Dorsett: 1 target, 3 yards (2021)
  • Nick Bellore: 1 target, 4 yards (2021)

These are just some examples, there are obviously a number of other players who have had far more productive seasons; the above list is simply reflective of the fact that Eskridge is being outproduced by undrafted guys, late round picks, and veteran players who aren’t even on the team currently. Nobody realistically expected Eskridge to be producing like Metcalf or Lockett immediately, but the team drafted him with the hope and expectation that he would at least be a legitimate third option with starting potential and special teams upside. But he has been consistently ineffective when healthy, and is currently having a historically awful season in 2023. Since 2020, for Seahawks players who have at least one target in the regular season, Eskridge is the only one who has had a year where he posted negative yards. According to Pro Football Reference, he has -5 yards of total offense this season.

Negative. Five. Yards.

In some cases, we could chalk this up to lack of opportunity, but that would assume his opportunities would increase. I simply don’t see that happening, or maybe I simply hope that it wont happen. Essentially, Dee makes this offense quantifiably worse, and after several seasons with the team, there just hasn’t been any real flashes of him rediscovering his electrifying play that he showed off at Western Michigan. And the story has been the same, year in and year out. This is from September of last season.

So he can’t play when healthy, which he rarely is, and he can’t play when he is unavailable, which he almost always is. Unlike Tyler Lockett, he doesn’t seem to have a knack for adjusting his game and style of play to his strengths, and unlike DK Metcalf, he can’t seem to use his unique physical gifts to make plays with the ball in his hands. Now we can factor in the fact that the Seahawks have a pair of rookie receivers in Jake Bobo and Jaxon Smith-Njigba that have already wedged themselves successfully into the offense as important role players who could be cornerstones of this offense going forward.

I’m trying my best to keep this exclusively football related, but when you factor in the disturbing legal issues that led to a suspension this season, I think it is fair to assume that Eskridge is pretty clearly on wafer-thin ice at this point. His biggest saving grace has really just been the financial investment. For a player with this much raw talent on a rookie wage, the team simply hasn’t had much contractual motivation to cut him, but that is about to change. According to Over the Cap, the Seahawks could save nearly $1.5 million in 2024 if they cut or trade Eskridge. Frankly, any amount of money is too much to dedicate to Eskridge at this point, and I hope the team agrees with me.