Seahawks aren’t much better yet, but what about their opponents?

Logo -- Free agencyThe Seahawks have signed eight guys over the last week, but only one would be considered an improvement over what they had last year. In other words, they are still just getting started trying to make this club better.

So far, they have kept the status quo at offensive line (D.J. Fluker and George Fant back, Mike Iupati replacing J.R. Sweezy), defensive line (Frank Clark and Quinton Jefferson both tendered) and linebacker (K.J. Wright and possibly Mychal Kendricks back). The only upgrade has been the makeup signing of kicker Jason Myers, who should have been their kicker in 2018.

At this point, the Hawks are basically the same team that won 10 games last year. To get better — and have a chance at the necessary home field next season — they absolutely have to add a couple of defensive linemen before the draft arrives. Once they do that, we will see whether they actually have improved.

Meanwhile, let’s see how their status quo approach compares to the moves of their 2019 opponents:

Arizona has lost its way under GM Steve Keim. Not only do the Cardinals have a new coach for the second straight year, they apparently are strongly considering using a second straight first-round pick on a quarterback. The Cardinals largely have gone the budget route in trying to improve one of the league’s worst rosters. Since re-signing Larry Fitzgerald in January, they have tried to recast the right side of their offensive line, trading for injury-prone tackle Marcus Gilbert and signing Sweezy away from Seattle, and they added first-round receiver bust Kevin White and castoff tight end Charles Clay. Can those guys help Kyler Murray or Josh Rosen? They have done a little better on defense, adding LB Jordan Hicks, CB Robert Alford and old friend Terrell Suggs. But this team doesn’t look much better than the club that went 3-13 in 2018, and Kliff Kingsbury seems likely to be in over his head in the NFL.
Early prediction: Seahawks sweep

The Rams have lost a couple of key guys off their Super Bowl squad: Lamarcus Joyner and Rodger Saffold. They might lose a few more, too, among John Sullivan, Ndamukong Suh, Ethan Westbrooks, Sam Shields, C.J. Anderson. Their only positive moves so far have been keeping Dante Fowler and adding Eric Weddle. Of course, they still have that potent offense, assuming the line and Todd Gurley hold up, and stellar corners. The Seahawks were close to beating the NFC champs twice last year. The next six weeks will determine which way this rivalry tilts in 2019.
Early prediction: Split

San Francisco has been making a lot of moves, but there is no guarantee they will make the team any better. On offense, the Niners have added Tevin Coleman and Jordan Matthews; on defense, they traded for Dee Ford and signed injury gambles Kwon Alexander and Jason Verrett. They still have former Seahawks Richard Sherman and Malcolm Smith and haven’t lost any key players (unless you count their punter), so the Niners should be better if they are healthier in 2019 (Jimmy Garoppolo, et al.).
Early prediction: Split

Cleveland is the buzz of the league after trading for Odell Beckham Jr. Count Russell Wilson among those surprised to see the Giants trade OBJ: “Wow, I was definitely shocked by the Odell move. In the NFL in today’s age, a lot of crazy things happen. … Cleveland will have a good squad.” The Browns, who had the third-worst defense in the NFL last year, added Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon to try to fix that weakness (though they haven’t addressed the poor run defense yet). They also added depth to their much-hyped offense with a couple of linemen and Cordarrelle Patterson. The pressure is on new coach Freddie Kitchens, and his team is being way overhyped.
Early prediction: Seahawks

Atlanta has been reworking its offensive line, re-signing Ty Sambrailo to replace Ryan Schraeder and adding guards James Carpenter (the former Seahawk) and Jamon Brown in an attempt to run the ball better. They also kept DT Grady Jarrett with the franchise tag. Their only big losses have been RB Tevin Coleman and CB Justin Bethel. A lot of their improvement is predicated on their talented defense healing up after a rough 2018. Assuming they have their players, they will be tough in Atlanta.
Early prediction: Falcons

Carolina has let a bunch of guys go: Thomas Davis, Julius Peppers (retired), Captain Munnerlyn, Devin Funchess, Ryan Kalil. Their best moves have been keeping S Eric Reid and OT Daryl Williams and adding C Matt Paradis. But that hardly counts as improvement. Meanwhile, Cam Newton apparently is now vegan as he rehabs his bum throwing shoulder. The Hawks won a shootout (30-27) at Carolina last year, and the Panthers are not as good as that team.
Early prediction: Seahawks

In the same week, Pittsburgh lost superstars Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown — and they still have one of the worst people in the NFL playing quarterback for them. They have focused on protecting Ben Roethlisberger, re-signing C Maurkice Pouncey and OG Ramon Foster. And they kept WR Eli Rogers and added WR Donte Moncrief. But this team seems destined to continue its slide — and GM Kevin Colbert probably will fire Mike Tomlin for it.
Early prediction: Seahawks

Philadelphia has been very active, letting Nick Foles go, trading Michael Bennett and bringing back DeSean Jackson in a trade with Tampa Bay. Jackson replaced Golden Tate, and the Eagles lost LB Jordan Hicks and added DT Malik Jackson. Otherwise, they have been content to keep their own: DE Brandon Graham, C Jason Kelce, OG Isaac Seumalo, OT Jason Peters and CB Ronald Darby. With Foles gone, Carson Wentz is the unquestioned QB (he weathered some criticism over his leadership skills) and this team is still talented enough to factor in the NFC.
Early prediction: Eagles

New Orleans took a few hits on offense as C Max Unger and TE Ben Watson retired and RB Mark Ingram signed elsewhere. The Saints replaced Ingram with Latavius Murray and Unger with Nick Eaton and also added D-linemen Malcom Brown and Mario Edwards; they are still looking for a tight end. Assuming Eaton is capable and they can fill that tight end spot for Drew Brees, the Saints figure to be as strong as they were in 2018.
Early prediction: Saints

Tampa Bay’s biggest addition has been coach Bruce Arians, who considers Seattle’s field his second home (4-1 in Seattle with Arizona). The Bucs have talented offensive players for Arians to work with, despite the departures of WRs DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries. They re-signed LT Donovan Smith and RB Peyton Barber and added WR Breshad Perriman to support Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Todd Bowles has rejoined Arians as Tampa’s DC, and he brought in his former Arizona LB Deone Bucannon and also LB Shaq Barrett to try to replace Kwon Alexander. The Bucs have some decent talent, and now they have the coaching to get the most out of it. They could be a tough out in Seattle.
Early prediction: Seahawks

Baltimore’s visit to Seattle will be a major occasion, as Earl Thomas (if healthy) will want to play his best game ever as he faces his former team. But does he have the team around him to beat the Hawks? The Ravens have moved on to a new QB, 2018 first-rounder Lamar Jackson replacing the traded Joe Flacco. They brought in Mark Ingram to carry the ball and re-signed TE Nick Boyle, but they need some receivers after dropping Michael Crabtree and losing John Brown. The league’s No. 1 defense took a few hits, too, as C.J. Mosley, Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs all left. The secondary should be great, but the front seven needs some help if Thomas is going to win his revenge game in Seattle.
Early prediction: Seahawks

Cincinnati replaced longtime coach Marvin Lewis with 35-year-old Zac Taylor, a Sean McVay disciple, and Taylor has a lot of offensive weapons to work with. The Bengals also re-signed TE C.J. Uzomah and OT Bobby Hart and added OG John Miller. But they haven’t done much to fix the league’s worst defense — merely re-signing LB Preston Brown and adding CB B.W. Webb. And that figures to be Taylor’s Achilles’ heel in his first season.
Early prediction: Seahawks

Minnesota has not had any cap room to improve. The Vikings had to redo Everson Griffen‘s deal to re-sign Anthony Barr. They also overpaid to bring back Shamar Stephen, who had swapped spots with Sheldon Richardson last year and wasn’t very good for Seattle. Having lost Latavius Murray, the Vikings need a running back (they can’t count on Dalvin Cook). And they still need to fix their offensive line. They obviously are hoping to do a lot better in Kirk Cousins‘ second year, but they might not be capable.
Early prediction: Seahawks

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2 thoughts on “Seahawks aren’t much better yet, but what about their opponents?”

  1. I’m comfortable with Schneider’s approach to free agency: Play defense and look for value. This year, he departed from that some by amassing 2020 draft capital via compensatory picks. JS doesn’t usually play that game, but it makes sense given their 2019 draft position.

    Not keeping Myers last year over a 600K guarantee to Janikowski was short-sighted. Even so, did it affect the W/L record? Getting to 10-6 without Earl Thomas was about as much as this fan could hope for. While Sea Bass was hardly all-world, he wasn’t the catastrophe in cleats aka Blair Walsh. Faint praise, admittedly…

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  2. Schneider actually did play the comp game in 2014-16, partly due to tight cap, and he could have last year but he opted not to as he added some vets to a young team. They are minus-4 right now, but we’ll see whether he adds a couple other UFAs before May …

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