To beat the 49ers, the Seahawks merely had to give up Jacob Martin, Barkevious Mingo and a couple of 2020 mid-round draft picks. That was the cheap price for keeping the Hawks in the hunt for the NFC’s top seed.
Of John Schneider’s 11 trades this year, three were for veteran players — Jadeveon Clowney, Quandre Diggs and Jacob Hollister. And all three played major roles in the big win over the 49ers and are set to continue their impact as the season marches on after the Week 11 bye.
Clowney — acquired Aug. 31 from Houston for Martin, Mingo and a 2020 third-rounder — has played well all season. But he had yet to really have a dominant game. Until the huge Monday night matchup against the 49ers came along.
Buoyed by the thought of outplaying the 49ers’ esteemed defensive line, featuring five first-round picks, Clowney (the top overall pick in 2014) ruled the game. He scored on a fumble return and set up another TD with a strip sack, while also hitting Jimmy Garoppolo five times and setting up teammates for numerous other hits (10 total) and sacks (five).
Pete Carroll said it was the best game he has seen by a Seattle defender in a long time. “It was a breakout game.”
Perhaps most important: Clowney and Jarran Reed seemed to find some synchronicity. Reed had 1.5 sacks and the forced fumble that Clowney returned for the score.
Clowney was Schneider’s headliner trade, but Diggs and Hollister were great additions, too.
Hollister has become Seattle’s top tight end over the past couple of games and figures to remain so going forward.
Acquired from New England in April for a 2020 seventh-rounder, Hollister sat on the practice squad early in the season — until Will Dissly was lost for the season again. Hollister didn’t get in a game until Week 6.
Now Hollister has suddenly become a big target. He scored two touchdowns against Tampa Bay and added another — a great falling one-handed snag — against San Francisco. Russell Wilson targeted Hollister a season-high 10 times, and he caught eight for 62 yards.
“That’s a special guy that adds to Russell. You can just tell,” Carroll said. “That’s why he’s been able to be part of this thing so quickly and really in a big way. A heck of a game by Jacob yesterday.”
With Luke Willson likely out for a while, Hollister will remain the No. 1 guy (though Ed Dickson apparently will be activated for Week 12). Said Carroll: “I think Jacob is going to be a tremendous asset for us going (forward). I don’t think this is any fluke or anything. He’s just a good football player.”
Hollister will be a restricted free agent in 2020 and certainly will merit a tender if he keeps up his stellar play.
Then there is Diggs, who in his first game with Seattle picked off a pass that set up a touchdown. Carroll started him for his veteran savvy — he started 40 games with Detroit — and said he and Bradley McDougald both played very well.
“I thought the safety play was the best we’ve seen it this year,” Carroll said. “I thought that was the best game that our safeties have played. I’m hoping that we can continue to grow and get better and feed off it. It’s an early assessment because Q’s just played one game. He can do a lot of things, so we’ll be anxious to figure out how he can complement what we’re doing and utilize him now that he’s crossed the threshold of playing time for us.”
Diggs, acquired at the trade deadline last month from Detroit for just a 2020 fifth-rounder, is signed through 2021 (at reasonable cap hits). You have to assume he and rookie Marquise Blair are the future pairing — though McDougald is signed through 2020, so he and Diggs could be the guys for the next season and a half.
If the Hawks are willing to pay Clowney after the season, all three of Schneider’s veteran trade acquisitions should be back in 2020. Until then, they all figure to play key roles as Seattle pushes for at least a first-round bye this postseason.
Not bad production for the cheap price of a couple of backup pass rushers and two mid-round picks in 2020.