THE OFFSEASON IS HERE!
Now, what to do?
If you're feeling confused? You're not alone.
Hugh Millen on Rashaad Penny: "It's okay to change your mind (about a player), and I have."
Mike Holmgren on whether two good weeks to finish a season can alter a team's plan if they were considering a rebuild. "Yes. It's happened to me."
And they're the two smartest football guys I know.
So, is a rebuild in order for a 7-10 football team? The Patriots walked away from Tom Brady after a 12-4 campaign. Two years later, they're back in the playoffs. (And all Tom Brady has done is go 28-9 and win a Super Bowl in Tampa.) But Pete Carroll doesn't sound like he's ready to begin the Post-Russell Era. The ball coach has been publicly adamant that the organization isn't considering anything but competing for the Super Bowl next year.
Let's give Pete the benefit of the doubt that he's telling the truth. Consider this article the First Installment of 3 different Seahawks offseason plans--the one likely to make most Seahawks fans happy, the one that totally buys into Pete's assessment, avoids massive change and does more adding to, as opposed to subtracting from, a roster that achieved a 7-10 record this season, but is clearly better than the record indicates. Let's get started.
SEAHAWKS: THE PLAN (EPISODE 1)
- RUSSELL STAYS... Publicly complaining about his protection and his lack of say within the organization was soooo 2021. This particular offseason plan indicates that Russell Wilson has searched his soul, and put his agent Mark Rodgers back on his leash, to gain control of a new narrative. "I (once again) want to be a Seahawk for life". That's right. Gone are the days of "I hope I'm a Seahawk" & "I know I'll be playing somewhere next season". The hell with trade lists & a bigger stage to showcase his immense talents. This plan is entirely contingent upon Russell and Pete trusting one another and steadfastly believing that the 3 more Super Bowls Russell Wilson intends to win can be won in Seattle.
- BOBBY STAYS... The Jordyn Brooks/Cody Barton linebacker combo created some significant buzz to complete the season. The two will count 4.5 million against the cap next season, where Bobby Wagner will cost 20 million alone. Pete says he sees no reason that Wagner won't retire a Seahawk, but I'm guessing #54 will have to significantly reduce his cap number to stay. But then, this plan is going to take Pete Carroll at his word. So, Bobby stays. And because Bobby stays, and there are numerous holes to fill, we have to cut costs elsewhere...
- PENNY LEAVES FOR TOO MANY DOLLARS... The Seahawks appear moved by Rashaad Penny's remarkable finish to the 2021-22 season. But it turns out that all 32 teams in the NFL have access to the internet (and game film). I hear that 671 yards rushing in five weeks tends to make its way around the league. And 31 of those 32 teams weren't burned by three-and-half-seasons of injuries and ineffectiveness from a former first round pick. Some team out there with a s**t-load of cap space and desperation is going to spend big on Penny. Are the Seahawks prepared to match the largest offer? Go bigger, if necessary? Penny might actually now rank as the #1 RB heading onto the 2022 free agent market. Last year's top FA RB (Aaron Jones) got 4 years, 48 million. Put aside your "maybe Penny will take a hometown discount" fantasy & ask yourself. You willing to go 4 years, (let's say) 40 million on a player that didn't perform until the Seahawks were out of playoff contention during his final year under contract? I, for one, am thinking they won't. So, here's my alternative plan at RB...
- SIGN D'ERNEST JOHNSON & DRAFT A BACK... Johnson rushed for 534 yards on 5.3 ypc this season, as the Browns third-string RB behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. At age 25, he's primed to climb out from the shadows and into the warm daylight of starter carries. The Browns could tender him, keeping him from hitting free agency until they have more time to assess his talents. But should he hit the market, Johnson will get more than a tender figure (2.4 or 3.9 million) but certainly won't fetch the money Penny is probably now destined to grab. Then, if Pete seeks security, and he should, grab a RB with a day 2 pick. This year's RB draft class lacks a clear-cut first-rounder, so Pete could feasibly land his pick of the litter in round 2 or one of his top choices in round 3. Need a name? How about Alabama's Brian Robinson in Rd 3. You want to get physical at RB? Dude should come with a matador.
- SEAHAWKS CAN AFFORD TO GO BIG ON ONE FREE AGENT & THAT GUY NEEDS TO BE CARLTON DAVIS... There is a chance that Tampa slaps the franchise tag on Davis, and New England could slap the damn tag on JC Jackson. But I'm out of patience with Pete's persistent plan to develop a #1 cornerback. Time to buy one. Jackson lacks the arm length Pete famously covets, and he performs better as a man-to-man corner. Meanwhile, Davis is perfect for the system. Size: 6'1", 205. Arms: Let's just say longer than 32". Achievements: #1 CB on a Super Bowl Champion. Salary: Be prepared to go deep. 5 years, 90 million for a store-bought #1 CB. Tre Brown flips to right CB and DJ Reed to the slot.
- A NEW LEFT TACKLE. Duane Brown going to retire? If not, are we entirely sure we want him back? I think the Seahawks can go younger and possibly cheaper, WHILE getting better at LT. Eric Fisher just finished a season with the Colts where PFF graded him out as being better than Brown, and I have no problem offering him Brown's last contract. 3 years, 34 million.
- ODDS & ENDS: The Hawks go pass rusher in Round 2... Damien Lewis moves to Center. Phillip Haynes & Gabe Jackson at guard... Poor Quandre Diggs back on a sensible deal. Safety insurance grabbed in the draft.