The Seahawks dominated the NFL news cycle on Friday, signing four players, bringing in four for visits and finding themselves facing the prospect of having to deal with the possible return of Marshawn Lynch.
It was a busy day to cap the first full week of the league year, which has seen the Seahawks focus intently on improving their running attack while also trying to fill holes in their defense.
The Seahawks so far have lost four players, re-signed three and added four. None of their losses — Steven Hauschka, Brock Coyle, Damontre Moore, John Jenkins — have been very significant. But there’s also no guarantee that any of their additions will make them much better than the 10-win team that fizzled out of the playoffs in Atlanta.
They mainly have tried to beef up their running game by adding running back Eddie Lacy and linemen Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi, and they ostensibly replaced Coyle with Arthur Brown. But Lacy and Joeckel are flawed players coming off injuries, and Aboushi and Brown look like strictly backup material.
The Hawks, who are known to have scheduled 15 free-agent visits so far, still figure to add another O-lineman — perhaps Ryan Clady (another injury-prone player) — and a D-lineman.
They also could end up making a trade or two, if rumors about Lynch and Richard Sherman carry any truth.
Here’s a positional look at where they stand about a week into free agency:
Signed: None. Lost: None. Visits: None. Free agents: None.
Next move: They will probably add a third QB to support Russell Wilson and push Trevone Boykin. It could be a veteran, but more likely it will be a rookie signed after the draft — as Boykin was last year.
Better or worse? Better. Only because Wilson is healthy again and working hard this offseason to overcome a forgettable 2016 season.
Signed: Eddie Lacy.
Free agents: Marcel Reece, Will Tukuafu.
Visits: Adrian Peterson, Latavius Murray (signed with Minnesota), Jamaal Charles.
Next moves: The Seahawks have Lacy, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins and Troymaine Pope. The top three were injured for much of last season, so it certainly is possible the Hawks add yet another in the draft. But it feels like they are probably OK with this crew — until further injuries hit. … It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Hawks brought back Reece, who was a solid contributor after he arrived in December. … Seattle also might have to deal with Lynch, if he unretires.
Better or worse? TBD. If Lacy comes back from ankle surgery and runs like he did a couple of years ago, this unit should be much better than the 2016 group. If Rawls and Prosise stay pretty healthy, it will definitely be better. It’s all about health for that trio.
Signed: None. Lost: None. Free agents: None.
Visit: Kamar Aiken.
Next moves: Aiken could be added next week, which would beef up a catching corps that is light Tyler Lockett right now and needs another guy to push Jermaine Kearse. The Seahawks could add a receiver in the draft as well.
Better or worse? The same. Nothing has changed with this unit, other than Lockett reportedly doing very well in rehab from a broken leg.
Signed: Luke Willson.
Free agent: TE Brandon Williams.
Visits: Jared Cook (signed with Oakland).
Next move: After suddenly bringing back Willson on a one-year deal, the Hawks look in good shape — with Willson, Jimmy Graham and Nick Vannett. They still could bring back Williams or even pick one from the stellar TE draft class.
Better or worse? Better. Graham doesn’t have to rehab this offseason, and Vannett is poised to become a much bigger contributor in his second season. Willson’s somewhat surprise return makes this perhaps the deepest position on the team.
Signed: Luke Joeckel, Oday Aboushi.
Free agent: Bradley Sowell.
Visits: T.J. Lang (signed with Detroit), Matt McCants, Ryan Clady.
Next move: The Seahawks look like they want one more veteran lineman. It could be the injury-prone Clady or the less-talented McCants or someone else (Austin Pasztor?). They most likely want to get this unit set before the draft, which does not feature many great options.
Better or worse? TBD. The young incumbents are a year older and Joeckel and Aboushi seem better options than last year’s veteran additions, Sowell and J’Marcus Webb. But we won’t really know until Week 1, will we?
Lost: Damontre Moore (Dallas), John Jenkins (Chicago).
Free agent: Tony McDaniel.
Visits: Earl Mitchell (signed with San Francisco), Ricky Jean-Francois.
Next move: Jean-Francois could end up replacing McDaniel, or there are a few other D-tackles they might consider, or they could just bring back McDaniel (who played great early last season).
Better or worse? Worse. They need to fortify this position with a good third tackle, preferably one who can offer a little pass rush.
Signed: Arthur Brown.
Lost: Brock Coyle (San Francisco).
Free agent: Mike Morgan.
Visits: Michael Wilhoite, Dekoda Watson (signed with San Francisco).
Next move: The Hawks replaced Coyle with Brown and need another, whether it is Morgan or someone else. They also seem very likely to draft at least one.
Better or worse? A little worse. Until they get their numbers right, they don’t have enough guys.
Signed: Perrish Cox, Neiko Thorpe, DeShawn Shead.
Free agents: Kelcie McCray, Steven Terrell, Jeron Johnson, Mohammed Seisay, Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
Visit: Bradley McDougald.
Next move: The Hawks want a third safety. McDougald is the best remaining free agent, so it seems to be a matter of the right price. Otherwise, the Hawks probably will bring back McCray and/or Terrell. They also figure to draft a corner (or two) and a safety.
Better or worse? Worse. The Hawks were very fair to Shead, giving him $1.5 million even though he could miss half the season recovering from an ACL injury. They also like Thorpe enough to give him $3.25 million over two years. But they are still light one corner and a safety, do not know who will start in Shead’s spot and need Kam Chancellor (ankles) and Earl Thomas (leg) to come back from their surgery rehabs healthy.
Signed: Blair Walsh.
Lost: Steven Hauschka.
Next move: The Hawks are replacing some coverage guys but otherwise are set.
Better or worse? TBD. Hauschka surprisingly turned out to be the best kicker in franchise history during his six-year stint, but he had a rough 2016 season. Walsh has not been the same since that game-losing miss against Seattle in the 2015 playoffs, but he’s already used to helping the Hawks win games, so it should turn out fine.
4 thoughts on “Hawks after one week: Better or worse?”
The FA signings at least leave them positioned to take full advantage of a strong defensive draft. As you point out, that’s where the most needs are. The D also needs youth.
The OL should be improved just by probability — it can’t be worse. Right? What I wonder about is this: If you’re going to guarantee Luke Joeckel $7MM and still make a big push for TJ Lang, why not go all in on Ricky Wagner instead?
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Yea it sucks they let Haushka go and then spent on Joeckel. Would rather skip Joeckel and be able to afford someone like Lang, etc.
I’m ok with Joeckel but it seems we could have paid a little less to make it worth losing Haushka.
I’ll miss Hauschka, too. My guess is that losing him was a foregone conclusion, though: They weren’t going to pay $3M/yr to a 32-yr old kicker coming off of an inconsistent season.