The Seattle Seahawks finished the 2021 season as one of, if not the, biggest disappointment in football this year. With most of their 2020 roster returning, high expectations were set for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. Needless to say, those expectations were not met. After starting the season slowly, the Seahawks were never able to get going and finished the season 7-10. They finished last in their division and missed the playoffs by a solid margin. As the Seahawks move on into the offseason the biggest question that surrounds them is what happens with Russell Wilson. There have been plenty of trade rumors around the nine time Pro Bowler, and if he is dealt the Seahawks will have a big hole to fill.
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Pending Free Agents
According to Over the Cap, the Seahawks have just over $34 million in cap space to spend this offseason. The Seahawks also have 26 players who will hit the open market this spring. Although most of those free agents are buried on the Seahawks depth chart, some important starters might be leaving Seattle in 2022.
After playing over 95 percent of snaps in 2021, Diggs proved to be the most consistent player in Seattle’s secondary. In 2021, Diggs posted a career-high in tackles and interceptions and made the Pro Bowl. Diggs played himself into a hearty contract this offseason, and will most likely receive a nice paycheck for a corner. Although retaining him might be a bit expensive for the Seahawks, Diggs has proven that he can be one of the best free safeties in the league.
Everett signed a one-year $6 million contract with the Seahawks in 2021 and ended up having a career year. He finished with a career-high in touchdowns, targets, and receptions while missing multiple games. Everett played over 65 percent of snaps last year which is a solid amount for a tight end. Although Everett’s 2021 campaign was not exactly what Seattle was looking for when signing him. He proved that he can be a viable option at tight end.
After the 36-year-old made the Pro Bowl in 2021, Brown proved that he still is a top left tackle in the NFL. Brown was able to play over 97 percent of snaps while keeping up with all the pressure thrown at him. Brown’s ability to stay on the field and play at a high level has made him a top free agent, and the Seahawks re-signing him on a one-year deal seems very much like an option.
Potential Cap Casualties
With the Seahawks having over $34 million in cap space no unnecessary cuts will need to be made. However, there are some players that will be cut in the coming weeks to add to the Seahawk’s massive amounts of cap space. There aren’t many core players that are on the chopping block but expect to see some big names putting on a different jersey in 2022.
Kerry Hyder ($2.8 Million Saved)
This offseason, Seattle has to improve its pass rush, and part of that will entail removing the dead weight from the edge rotation. Despite playing over 500 defensive snaps with the Seahawks, Hyder only managed 1.5 sacks and 13 pressures this season. The year before, he finished with 8.5 sacks and 32 pressures with the San Francisco 49ers. A dominant pass rush is a must in the NFL, and Hyder’s 2021 should not cut it for a playoff-contending team.
Chris Carson ($4.9 Million Saved)
After Carson’s season was cut very short this year by a recurring neck issue, Rashaad Penny clearly took over as the lead back in Seattle’s backfield. Being a physical running back in the NFL is not easy to do, and with Carson’s injury problems throughout the past two years, letting him go might be what the Seahawks do. Keeping Carson to back Penny up is probably the right move, but nothing is for sure.
Jason Myers ($4 Million Saved)
Even though Myers has been dominant throughout his career, $5 million dollars is a lot for a kicker. Myers also showed a lot of regression in 2021, missing six field goals. Although a bounce-back season is for Myers $5 million dollars may not be worth the risk. Finding a young kicker to sign to a cheap deal is probably the best route for the Seahawks to go on.
Open Market Free Agents
Although the Seahawks already have a solid roster, there are definitely positions that need to be addressed. Seattle’s plethora of cap space gives them the power to come into 2022 with a stronger roster. The Seahawks’ biggest needs this offseason, are protecting the quarterback and getting to the quarterback. The offensive line needs to be revamped, and help in their pass rush is a need for Seattle. If Wilson does get traded, then finding a quarterback will jump to the top of the list of needs for Seattle.
Terron Armstead, New Orleans Saints
The Seahawks’ offensive line has been a weakness for a long time. In 2021, Wilson was under pressure for 37.1 percent of his dropbacks. For a team with playoff hopes that is unacceptable. With Brown testing the market this year, bringing in a new left tackle is a must for the Seahawks. Bringing in a three time Pro Bowler would definitely be a move that would greatly benefit them. Armstead has been one of the best in the NFL for multiple years now, and an experienced tackle is the best fit for a struggling line. Armstead will most likely be a hot commodity this spring, but the Seahawks splurging on a star like him would be worth it.
Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
Being able to pressure the quarterback is one of the keys to success in football. Jones has been a top edge presence in football for multiple years and would automatically boost any defensive line. Jones made the Pro Bowl in 2021 and finished with 10.5 sacks. The 31-year-old has shown that age isn’t a factor in his game and that he is still a very valuable asset. If the Seahawks don’t want to pay for Jones, finding another edge rusher is a must.
Ryan Jensen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Even though the center isn’t a coveted position in football, there are definitely some that are worth paying for. After coming to Tampa Bay in 2018, Jensen has only shown improvement. With a struggling line in 2021, improving any position would help, and Jensen is certainly an option. He was a Pro Bowler this season and was great in pass protection. The Seahawks desperately need to improve their line to compete, and Jensen would fit them well.
Previewing the 2022 NFL Draft
When the Seahawks traded for Jamal Adams in 2020, they gave up multiple first-round picks. Looking back on the trade the Seatlle front office is probably regretting that decision. Although Adams has been fine, draft picks are very valuable, and losing two first-rounders will sting for sure. On the other hand, Seattle does have a few day-two picks that could truly help this roster.
Round 2, Pick 41: Wide Reciever
Wide receiver is Seattle’s best offensive position group and with D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, they have one of the best 1-2 punches in the league. The finest NFL teams, on the other hand, tend to stay competitive for a long time because they’re not afraid to bolster their strengths, which is why, even after drafting D’Wayne Eskridge in the second round last year, no one should be surprised if they go wide receiver first again. Some names that could be interesting for the Seahawks are Jahan Dotson out of Penn State and David Bell from Purdue.
Round 3, Pick 72: Offensive Tackle
If the Seahawks don’t end up singing a tackle in free agency, then drafting one is a must. Having a reliable tackle that can stop pressure is needed to win championships. Although a third-round pick probably won’t start, taking a shot on a prospect might not be a bad idea. Max Mitchell out of Louisiana-Lafayette could be a perfect fit for Seattle. Mitchell can play on either end of the line and has shown plenty of potential.
Early 2022 Expectations
As the Seahawks approach the 2022 season the most important thing for them is to get back to the playoffs. With a roster like theirs and the assets they have this offseason, playing football in January should be expected for the Seahawks. Although Wilson’s name has been thrown around on the trade block, if he doesn’t leave the Seahawks should be a dominant force in 2022.
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