Are you ready for a historic season from the Seattle Seahawks?
Fun Fact (which I borrowed from this ESPN article):
There have been only five instances in NFL history of a team having three players who recorded 1,000 receiving yards in a single season — the last being the Cardinals in 2008.
I turned to Google (and Wikipedia) to find the other four:
- San Diego Chargers, 1980: WR John Jefferson (1,340), TE Kellen Winslow (1,290), and WR Charlie Joiner (1,132)
- Washington, 1989: WR Art Monk (1,186), WR Gary Clark (1,229), and WR Ricky Sanders (1,138)
- Atlanta Falcons, 1995: RB Eric Metcalf (1,189), WR Terance Mathis (1,039), and WR Bert Emanuel (1,039)
- Indianapolis Colts, 2004: WR Marvin Harrison (1,113), WR Reggie Wayne (1,210), and WR Brandon Stokley (1,077)
- Arizona Cardinals, 2008: WR Larry Fitzgerald (1,431), WR Anquan Boldin (1,038), and WR Steve Breaston (1,006)
I say the Seahawks make it six this year.
Let’s look at the players that could make this a season for 12s to remember:
Only five wideouts have a higher salary (APY) than Seattle’s No. 14.
Given the 3-year, $72M contract extension that Metcalf signed last offseason, it would be easy to assume that he is considered one of the league’s top receivers.
And, by most measures, that assumption would bear out.
However, DK’s stats, while impressive overall, fall apart a little bit when viewed year-by-year. In fact, one could argue that he’s the least likely of Seattle’s top three wideouts to break the 1,000-yard mark this year.
Granted, it would (probably) be a losing argument, but it could be argued.
- 2019: 900 yards receiving
- 2020: Team record 1,303 receiving yards
- 2021: 967 yards
- 2022: 1,048
That’s an average of 1,054.5 yards per season, skewed by the team record he set in 2020, and brought back to earth by having two of his four seasons end below 1,000 yards.
Of course, he was a rookie in 2019 and he saw a lot of double (and triple) coverage in 2021.
Still . . .
If I were going to put money on a Seahawks receiver topping 1,000 yards, D.K.’s not the first one that I’d pick.
That honor belongs to . . .
Arguably one of the most underrated receivers in the league right now, and maybe ever, Lockett has quietly - but also not so quietly - put together back-to-back-to-back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
Yes, the wideout who also sells homes has had FOUR consecutive seasons with 1,000+ yards. And it would be five consecutive had he not finished the 2018 season 35 yards shy of the mark.
To put that in perspective, here is a look at some of the league’s “best” wideouts:
- Stefon Diggs: five straight (high of 1,535 in 2020; low of 1,021 in 2018).
- Tyreek Hill: three straight - missed the mark in 2019 when he only played 12 games; would be six straight were it not for that absence.
- Davante Adams: three straight but, like Tyreek Hill, only came up short in 2019 because he missed four games (and still finished with 997 yards).
Did I miss anyone?
In the NFC West, Cooper Kupp has only topped 1,000 yards twice in six seasons, and Deebo Samuel has only done it once. D-Hop has done it six times, including four straight, but the last time was in 2020 and he’s no longer in the NFC.
Bottom line: If I were going to bet on any NFC wideout to top the 1,000-yard mark this season, I’d probably put my money on Tyler Lockett.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba (JSN)
JSN had 1,606 receiving yards for Ohio State in 2021.
His teammates, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, combined for 1,994 receiving yards that year.
In New York, as a rookie, Garrett Wilson lapped the receiver room, recording 1,103 receiving yards to Corey Davis’ 536, Elijah Moore’s 446, Denzel Mims’s 186, Braxton Berrios’s 145, and Jeff Smith’s 134. (Total = 1,103 for Wilson; 1,447 for all of the other wideouts.)
Meanwhile, in New Orleans, Chris Olave did the same thing, recording 1,042 receiving yards to the other receivers’ 1,472 (led by Rashid Shaheed’s 488).
The good news is that JSN won’t need to try to carry the team like his former Ohio State teammates needed to do their rookie years.
The bad news is that having two of the league’s best wide receivers sharing targets with him may make it hard for JSN to hit the 1,000-yard mark.
Or maybe not.
With a top three of DK, Lockett, and JSN, opposing teams are going to have to pick their poison, so to speak, and given that he’s a rookie, it’s likely that JSN is the one they’re going to challenge to beat them . . . at least until he proves that he can do that on a consistent basis.
Which he will.
Did you think I was only going to feature the wideouts and leave the QB out of the equation?
Let’s start by looking at who JSN’s former teammates had throwing them the ball last season:
- For Garrett Wilson, the Jets rolled out a who’s who of
badsubpar quarterbacks: Zach Wilson started nine games, while Joe Flacco and Mike White started four apiece.
- Relatively speaking, Olave had “better” QBs throwing him the ball with Andy Dalton recording 14 starts and Jameis Winston getting three.
JSN has Geno Smith - aka the guy who led the league in completion percentage last year and is poised to replicate that feat in 2023.
Now, just for fun, let’s look at who the quarterbacks were slinging the rock on the five previous occasions when an NFL team had three 1,000-yard receivers . . .
San Diego, 1980: Dan Fouts (Hall of Fame, 1993)
In 1980, Dan Fouts led the league in pass attempts (589), completions (348), and yards (4,715). He threw 30 touchdown passes vs. 24 interceptions, had a completion percentage of 59.1, and a passer rating of 84.7
The former WSU Cougar (Rypien) threw for 3,768 yards in his second season as Washington’s starter, completing 58.8% of his passes (280 of 476) with 22 TDs, 13 INTs, and a passer rating of 88.1.
Doug Williams, in what would be his final NFL season, completed 51 of 93 passes (54.8%) for 585 yards with 1 TD, 3 INTs, and a passer rating of 64.1.
Fun Fact: Rypien was on the Seahawks preseason roster in 2002 but couldn’t unseat either Matt Hasselbeck or Trent Dilfer.
Atlanta, 1995: Jeff George (yes, Jeff George!)
Over a 12-year NFL career, Jeff George won more games than he lost only two times: 1995 (9-7) and 1999 (8-2). His W-L record over the rest of his career was 29-69.
In 1995, J.G. completed 336 of 557 passes (60.3%) for 4,143 yards with 24 TDs, 11 INTs, and a passer rating of 89.5.
Indianapolis, 2004: Peyton Manning (Hall of Fame, 2021)
If any player ever is/was instantly recognizable by one seemingly random word, it’s Peyton “Omaha” Manning.
How funny would it be if the word “Omaha” was etched on the bottom of Manning’s bust in Canton, Ohio?
In 2004, Manning led the league with 49 touchdown passes, an otherworldly touchdown percentage of 9.9%, and a passer rating of 121.1.
He completed 336 of 497 passes (67.6%) for 4,557 yards and only threw 10 INTs.
Was it best season?
Manning topped both the yardage and the touchdown marks in 2013 with 5,477 and 55, respectively, but the TD % and passer rating marks in 2004 were career highs - - - and by quite a bit.
Arizona, 2008: Kurt Warner (Hall of Fame, 2017)
2008 was Year 11 of an unbelievable 12-year Cinderella story for the future Hall of Famer and while it would be easy to assume he was on the downward side of his career, the numbers that season paint a different story:
- 598 pass attempts = his career high
- 401 completions = career high
- 67.1% completion rate = third highest of his career
- 4,583 passing yards = his second highest
- 30 touchdowns = the third-most of his career
- Passer rating of 96.9 = fourth-best
So, there’s the list of QBs who’ve thrown 1,000+ yards of passes to three receivers in the same season. We’ve got three Hall of Famers and some other guys.
Interestingly, Geno’s 2022 season stacks up pretty well . . .
Geno’s 572 pass attempts would be third behind Fouts’ 589 in 1980 and Warner’s 598 in 2008, and Geno’s 399 completions trail only Warner’s 401.
The 4,282 passing yards that Geno had last year would be fourth on the list, but his passer rating (100.9) would be second behind only Manning, and his completion percentage (69.8) would be No. 1 - by more than two full percentage points.
It’s that last point that looms largest in my opinion. Well, that and the fact that he threw almost 600 passes last year.
That combination of accuracy and volume, plus the quality of Seattle’s top three wideouts . . .
Health permitting, 2023 could be a historic season.