The Seattle Seahawks impressed in 2019 but were overshadowed by the San Francisco 49ers, who literally won the NFC West by inches and ultimately advanced all the way to the Super Bowl. With that said, San Francisco lost some key pieces this offseason, paving the way for the Seahawks to at least have a shot at claiming the No. 1 spot in the division.
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The Seahawks had an odd offseason, though it was not a total loss. While they were quiet in the free agent market, they did make some moves, inking valuable deals with players like defensive end Benson Mayowa, wide receivers Phillip Dorsett and Josh Gordon, and guard Chance Warmack, among others.&nbsp;
Despite a somewhat quiet offseason in terms of signings, Seattle was very active when it came to trading. To open the offseason, they sent a fifth-round pick to Washington in March, landing starting-caliber cornerback Quinton Dunbar in return. Further, Seattle sent shockwaves throughout the league by striking a midsummer deal with the Jets sent Jamal Adams to Seattle in exchange for a bundle of picks. These are both strong trades that will shore up the secondary for quite some time.
Of course, not every move was a success. Seattle overpaid Greg Olsen ($7 million) despite having reliable tight ends on the roster in Jacob Hollister, Will Dissly, and Luke Willson. They also made a poor choice by signing defensive tackle Jarran Reed to a two-year, $23 million deal, giving Reed a far-too-high $11.5 million AAV. Instead, they could have pursued someone like free agent Al Woods, who went to Jacksonville on a measly one-year, $2.5 million deal.&nbsp;
Perhaps the biggest mistake Seattle made, however, was their lack of action in the offensive and defensive line market. They made a couple patchwork moves here and there—the biggest was the signing of offensive tackle Brandon Shell to a two-year, $9 million deal—but didn’t do nearly enough to improve their frequently porous play in the trenches. This was especially underwhelming in an offseason that saw cheap tackle deals, with Jack Conklin (three years, $42 million), Bryan Bulaga (three years, $30 million), George Fant (three years, $30 million), and Ricky Wagner (two years, $11 million) all getting underpaid.
The Seahawks’ offense was quite exciting last year. Fresh off of signing a new extension, Russell Wilson showed off his strong arm and fluid legs. Tyler Lockett made various key catches for Seattle while rookie DK Metcalf emerged as one of the league’s best No. 2 receivers. The tight end position was not as reliable, as early-season weapon Will Dissly went down with an Achilles injury. Jacob Hollister showed flashes of promise in Dissly’s absence but ultimately found the end zone just three times. The running back position was heavily carried by Chris Carson, but when he and Rashaad Penny both went down with late-season injuries, the entire position fell apart. Finally, the offensive line wasn’t horrific, but it was bad enough to the point that fans and analysts alike hoped and even expected the team to strongly pursue upgrades in the trenches, only to see a couple minor signings.
Entering the 2020 season, the Seahawks’ biggest offensive goal will be consistency at the running back position. While the offensive line needs to be better both in general and to specifically help the running game, inconsistency and injuries have severely hurt the backfield, which in turn could cause the passing game to get sloppy. If the Seahawks want to go the distance this year, they need to be able to count on all parts of their offense and can’t just rely on the passing game.
The Seahawks’ defensive backfield will always be among the best in the league. However, their defensive line is not looking as promising. The Seahawks’ pass rush last year was ranked 30th in the NFL by PFF last year, and now Jadeveon Clowney is gone. The signing of Benson Mayowa has promise, but he’s obviously not going to be able to replicate the play of Clowney. And, as mentioned, re-signing Jarran Reed to a two-year deal might have been a much-needed act of focusing on the defensive line, but they overpaid him and could have signed other free agent linemen to deals that cost half the price.&nbsp;
Of course, the front seven in Seattle isn’t all that bad. Linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright help make up for the woes of the defensive line. Seattle also re-signed Bruce Irvin to a hefty deal; while expensive, he’ll provide a reliable veteran presence at strong-side linebacker.
The Seattle secondary is one of the best in the league. While the days of Richard Sherman and co. are no more, the unit is still a force to be reckoned with with the likes of Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs at safety and Quinton Dunbar, Shaquill Griffin, and Tre Flowers at cornerback. Although the Seahawks gave up an arm and a leg to get Adams while also parting with a pick to acquire Dunbar, it’s proactive moves like these that lead to Super Bowl championships. Opposing quarterbacks, take note: Seattle’s defense could pick off a lot of passes this year.
Projecting the 53 Man Roster
QB (2) — Russell Wilson, Geno Smith
This is an easy one. The Wilson-Smith tandem was solid last year and will see similar success in 2020. Bumped off the roster are rookie Anthony Gordon, who should land a spot on the practice squad, and Danny Etling.
With Rashaad Penny set to open on the PUP list, Carlos Hyde slots into the No. 2 spot, with Homer and Dallas behind him. Running back depth will be critical for the Seahawks again this year, especially after last year’s end-of-season injury fiasco. Bellore joined the Seahawks last year and will focus on being a powerful force in the backfield as the fullback during his second season in Seattle.
The Seahawks will open the year with six receivers, including a great one-two punch in Lockett and Metcalf plus a reliable pair of backups behind them in Gordon and Dorsett, assuming the former is reinstated in time. If he’s not, look for a fringe player such as Paul Richardson Jr. or Penny Hart to take the last receiver slot.
TE (3) — Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister
Seattle’s tight end room is crowded but the month-to-month future of the position is becoming more and more clear. Hollister’s salary is painful for a No. 3 tight end, but he still provides enough depth and value to keep a roster spot over rookies Stephen Sullivan and Colby Parkinson.
The majority of the offensive line spots are decided, though there’s a chance the Seahawks decide to go with 10 linemen, in which case guard Jordan Simmons would steal the final spot. Ogbuehi is also up in the air due to injury, though he should be healthy enough to play come Week one.
The defensive line hasn’t seen any unforeseen headlines, so there won’t be any surprises here. Former sixth-round pick Demarcus Christmas just missed the cut but could be added to the practice squad.
There are no real surprises with this unit. Second-round rookie, Darrell Taylor, will start the year on the non-football injury list and won’t count against the 53 man roster till he comes off the NFI list.
Seven linebackers is a lot, but Seattle has gone depth-heavy at the position before. Plus, Burr-Kirven, who is the least-certain pick here, has significant special teams valuable, which will be enough to get him a roster spot.
Several projections have the Seahawks going with six cornerbacks (adding Ryan Neal), but I just don’t see it. Griffin, Dunbar, Flowers, and Thorpe are locks. Meanwhile, Amadi, who is a special teams weapon, is forced to shift to cornerback thanks to the implications of the Jamal Adams trade.
SAF (4) — Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Marquise Blair, Lano Hill
With the exception of the uncertainty surrounding Amadi’s official position, safety is figured out. Jamal Adams is locked in as the star with a solid supporting cast serving as reliable depth behind him.
These three specialists are returning from 2019 and don’t have any real competition. They’re locks.
The short-term future in Seattle is very bright. While there are areas that need improvement, the core of this team is full of talent and reliability, which are two critical traits needed for a successful season. The Seahawks aren’t a lock to win their division, but they open the year as the favorites with a promising season ahead of them.
Season Prediction: 12-4, win division and secure No. 2 seed in NFC playoffs
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