The Seattle Seahawks suffered a disappointing end to their season when they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 24-22 in the first round of the playoffs.
Now, as the Seahawks enter what is bound to be a busy offseason, it makes sense to check out five tasks Seattle needs to accomplish before players report for the 2019 season.
Extend Russell Wilson
Quarterback Russell Wilson will be entering the final season of his contract. Obviously, Wilson is a part of the Seahawks’ future plans so it would be wise to ensure he remains in Seattle for at least another handful of seasons. And, with the average salary of a quarterback only going up, they need to do it quickly. Wilson, currently 30 years old, continues to show off terrific skills in an offense that had many questions prior to the 2018 season.
For the eighth straight season, Wilson started all 16 of his team’s games. He went 10-6, completing 65.6% of passes for 3,448 yards (his lowest since 2013). He passed for a career-high 35 touchdowns while being picked off a career-low seven times.
Of course, Wilson is also widely known for his rushing ability. However, he attempted a career-low 67 rushes, while being unable to use his legs to find the end zone. He picked up 376 total yards on the ground, including one 40-yard carry. Wilson, a four-time Pro-Bowler, is Seattle’s franchise quarterback, something that has been clear since he was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft.
Sign A Talented Safety
The Seahawks will definitely need to do some work at the safety position this offseason. A contract dispute will likely make star safety Earl Thomas’s decision to leave Seattle an easy one; he already wanted to be traded, but any chance of that happening diminished after he sustained a lower leg fracture early in the season. The three-time All-Pro still tied with Bradley McDougald for a team-leading three interceptions, despite missing 75 percent of the season.
Although McDougald certainly had the best season of his career, the Seahawks should consider pairing him with a star coverage safety, which would mean an even stronger secondary. Free agents Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Tyrann Mathieu, and Tre Boston are all expected to hit free agency this offseason and should receive interest from the Seahawks, among other safeties.
Sort Out The Running Back Position
Of the six running backs on the Seahawks’ roster, four of them are set to return next season. Meanwhile, J.D. McKissic becomes a restricted free agent, which means Seattle has the right of first refusal if another team offers him a contract. Seattle can match the terms of the offer if they would like to. The sixth player is Mike Davis, the 25-year old running back who becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The Seahawks don’t need to trade any of the returning ones and probably don’t necessarily need to make any additions at the position in free agency. Still, it will be important for them to sort out the depth chart and finalize their 2019 backfield plans.
Chris Carson, 24, was a seventh-round selection by Seattle in the 2017 draft. He had a strong season (especially the second half), rushing 247 times for 1,151 yards and picking up nine touchdowns. Rashaad Penny, 22, went to the Seahawks when they snatched him up with their 2018 first-round selection. Last season, he rushed 85 times for 419 yards and two touchdowns.
Davis started in two of the fifteen games he played in (Carson started the other 14), and picked up 514 yards and four touchdowns on 112 rushes. McKissic, 25, missed the first twelve games of the season but returned and rushed for just eight yards on three carries.
Bo Scarborough, a rookie, was signed by the Seahawks but never appeared in a game. C.J. Prosise, 24, struggled with injuries but managed to appear in five games. However, he only rushed once, picking up minus three yards.
Trade Down In The Draft
The Seattle Seahawks have been known to trade down a few spots in the first round so they can add a couple late-round picks. This year, Seattle only has four selections: one each in the first, third, fourth and fifth rounds.
They lost their second-rounder in the Duane Brown trade with the Texans, their sixth-round pick in the Brett Hundley swap with the Packers, and their seventh-round pick with the acquisition of Shalom Luani from the Raiders.
The least amount of selections the Seahawks have ever made in a single draft is five, which happened in both 1994 and 1997. Since then, they have made at least seven selections in every draft except for 2006, when they drafted six players.
The most players they have drafted in a single draft (in the era when the draft lasts seven rounds) is 12, which happened back in 2001. (Among their picks were two first-rounders, three fourth-rounders, and three seventh-rounders, and one pick each from the other four rounds.)
Continue To Be Busy In The Free Agent and Trade Markets
This one is certainly broader. Besides free agent safeties and draft pick trades, this task is not as predictable. There is always room for improvement, and a team must spend time negotiating signings and trades and finding unlikely and unique ways to improve as an organization. The Seahawks’ front office staff has their work cut out for them in 2019 as fans prepare for a Super Bowl run.