The Seattle Seahawks have turned in two far-above average draft classes in 2022 and ‘23. Boye Mafe, Charles Cross, Devon Witherspoon, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Abe Lucas, Riq Woolen maybe, Kenneth Walker maybe, Jake freaking Bobo, and on it goes.
It would be crazy, then, to suggest that the 2024 draft is crucial for Seattle. Right? Like, two of the best draft classes in the NFL in consecutive seasons should preclude a team from being dependent on a third upper-echelon draft, obviously.
Unfortunately, that may be the exact spot John Schneider’s Seahawks may find themselves.
If you’re wondering “why now?” in regards to this question, I’ll admit it comes in the aftermath of the Dallas Cowboys scoring 41 points against a defense that was supposed to be awesome. Not only do we have a team that can’t play complementary football, but the unit they heavily invested in is incapable of holding up its side of the bargain.
That unit is decidedly not awesome, and take a look at which players need decisions made about them:
Diggs is 31 next season and has no guaranteed salary next year. The team restructured his contract to a bigger signing bonus this offseason, and he now carries a $21 million cap hit next year. Not all of that is preventable, but they could save just over $10 million against the cap by parting ways.
Wagner is 34 next season and signed a one-year deal to return to Seattle. You can’t call it a “prove-it”, because there is nothing left for Bobby to prove. But however good Wagner is against the run, it’s clear he is fighting uphill against the pass, and therefore his LB counterpart would need to be the elite-ist of pass defenders to help him in the secondary and continue to send him to the line of scrimmage. Jordyn Brooks is not that, which is not his fault. They’re the best tackling pair in the league, but that’s not enough, says every opposing offensive coordinator for the past month and a half.
Speaking of which...
The Seahawks decided to not pick up Brooks’ fifth-year option, which made some sense coming off the knee injury, but then wow how he came off the knee injury. Regardless, at the moment, the team’s in the exact same spot as last year in that linebackers of the future remain a massive question mark.
Look. If it was one year left this is a much different conversation. It’s not, it’s two. I think Thanksgiving week could have been the final nail (for SOME) in the coffin of Adams’ good graces in Seattle. I’ve written on Adams a number of times, and every time I do three things happen. One, people call me a homer. Two, people call me a doomsayer. Three, people reveal that the trade and subsequent play (injuries) and attitude (ha ha a picture of a blunt, boo he’s not at camp) of Adams has divided the fan base.
Thanksgiving though...man. He got one of them sweet tackles for a 3-yard loss early in the game, then got slapped around by a tight end TD for the billionth time, then slapped him in the facemask and didn’t get penalized - which, for the record, still shocks me more than the actual TD. He followed that up by going after a reporter’s wife, and it’s a good thing for Jamal’s sake that the fans do not make roster decisions because I know what the outcome would be.
They don’t, Pete and John do, and they did similar with him as Diggs to free up money now and add to Adams’ cap number in ‘24 and ‘25. A trade would be the far more palatable way to not roster Adams than release, if that’s what they were looking to do.
Don’t forget, the point in this conversation is that these are massive question marks, because of declining play across the board and unlikelihood of long-term retention, possibly even short term. Seattle has safety and linebacker needs like none other. Despite the recent draft success, none of those hits have been here.
Oh, and one more wrinkle.
Seattle’s picking outside the top-10, doesn’t have a 2nd-rounder, and needs a quarterback. I’m not mad they passed last year, perhaps you are. Passing this year could be justified, but is dangerous. Passing in 2023, ‘24, and ‘25 will not be an option, and the Hawks aren’t historically very good at the absolute necessity-type decision making.
For the record, this is less an indictment of the current roster than it may seem, or what the record indicates. I actually believe Carroll that if they make the playoffs they could make some hay. I’ll believe it a lot less if they lose 31-13 to the San Francisco 49ers again. But even if the team does find a way to put it all together by January, some players aren’t even going to be here next year and a few groups are absolutely not set up for success down the road.
Believe it or not, I think they need to hit big on the draft again.