Rookies are not ousting Wright, other key vets

Draft logo 2020(UPDATE: Justin Britt and D.J. Fluker were cut after this was posted.)

In the wake of the draft, and with most of us thinking Seattle still should sign a star pass rusher, there’s a lot of fan chatter about vets who might/should be cut.

Justin Britt makes sense, as we have said, because B.J. Finney looks like the new center. But some fans want Seattle to ditch K.J. Wright, Bradley McDougald, D.J. Fluker and Jacob Hollister.

Yeah, by all means, let’s cut some of the most dependable veterans and try to contend for a Super Bowl with rookies instead. Brilliant strategy!

Sure, Pete Carroll and John Schneider have said they drafted guys who they felt could push for playing time in a pandemic-affected offseason. But to think Jordyn Brooks, Marquise Blair, Damien Lewis and Colby Parkinson are going to replace the aforementioned vets this year, with very limited prep time, is ludicrous.

Yeah, those four vets could return over $17 million in cap space — enough to pay Jadeveon Clowney on that reported one-year, $15 million offer.

But Seattle has many other ways to create cap space that do not involve gutting the veteran core. Britt will return $8.5 million, and the Hawks can add almost $6 million more by releasing Nick Bellore and Ethan Pocic and cutting the three original-round RFA salaries down to minimums. There is no reason to pay $2.1 million to backups David Moore, Joey Hunt and Branden Jackson. The Hawks often cut RFA salaries after the draft, so expect it with these guys.

But don’t expect it with Hollister, who is the team’s only dependable tight end and would not have gotten a second-round tender ($3.26 million) if the Hawks didn’t think he was going to be a big part of the team again in 2020. Carroll raved about him as he carried the injury-plagued position in 2019.

After the draft, Carroll talked about his tight end group and brought up Hollister: “We had great play from Jake last year in a versatile role. As we went through the season, we learned more and more about Jake. He gives us a chance to do some things that are unique just to Jake that nobody else will do.”

Does that sound like a player who is going to be cut or asked to take a pay reduction?

People also keep talking about cutting Wright and McDougald, even though both continue to play excellent football. Brooks is not going to beat out Wright, not by a long shot. Blair should have played a lot more as a rookie, but he didn’t and that means he likely will remain far behind McDougald in this limited-prep year. Let the vets teach those young guys, who can then possibly replace them in 2021.

As for Fluker, a lot of fans seem to think Lewis is going to beat him out. Carroll said he would get that chance, which is what Always ComPete usually says. But there is no reason to let a good veteran go until he is actually beaten out. Cutting Fluker now would be as stupid as releasing any of the other good vets people are talking about. (UPDATE: The Hawks did indeed cut Fluker, a clear sign they think Lewis and their other guards can handle right guard more cheaply.)

The Seahawks are unlikely to bring back Clowney anyway, even if Carroll and John Schneider say the door is still open. And, after drafting two pass rushers, they probably are not going to sign Everson Griffen either — even if we all think they should.

So they probably need money only to sign a defensive tackle, running back (despite drafting one) and backup quarterback. And they won’t pay much for those guys. Britt’s $8.5 million should be more than enough.

Even if the Hawks do surprise us and sign Clowney or Griffen, they could easily make more space by doing a simple restructure of Russell Wilson’s $18 million salary.

So here’s some sage advice: Don’t listen to the fans who are overly giddy about the draft and think raw rookies are going to replace experienced starters and help Seattle get back to the Super Bowl.

Wright, McDougald and Hollister (and probably Fluker) aren’t going anywhere.

8 thoughts on “Rookies are not ousting Wright, other key vets”

  1. Never listen to fans who are overly giddy…or overly critical.

    I don’t know if Jordyn Brooks is going to work out, and neither does anyone else. What I do know is that Seattle likes fast, physical players on defense (ok, who doesn’t) and that the NFL itself is trending to versatile players who can line up at more than one position. I also know that — for all the criticism levelled at JSPC, they have a history of productive 1st-round picks:

    2010: Russell Okung (124 starts), Earl Thomas (140)
    2011: James Carpenter (108)
    2012: Bruce Irvin (90)
    2016: Germain Ifedi (60 out of a possible 60)
    2018: Rashad Penny (5.3 YPC)
    2019: LJ Collier (jury out, obviously)

    It’s not this clean, of course. They’d probably like to have back the 2012 draft day swap that allowed PHI to draft Fletcher Cox in exchange for what amounted to Irvin and Jeremy Lane. On the other hand, Irvin started for two SB teams, and Lane was the nickel back whose goal line interception of Tom Brady kept SB49 from getting out of hand.

    All in all, there are plenty of former GMs who might still have a job had they had a track record like this.

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  2. The question with the tight ends is how many do you keep if you dont move on from Hollister? Olsen and Dissly are making the team as well as Parkinson. They really only like to keep three. If they do keep four is it Sullivan or Hollister? Not sure they back in the draft if they do t think he has a shot. There is Willson as well. I think Hollister and his $3.25m is a goner.

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  3. As far as OLine there is a million guys, yes your not sure about a rookie but I believe they have a chance to knock Fluker out.

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  4. Linebacker im.not sure about. If they have an open competition with KJ, Barton and Brooks for the WILL and someone beats KJ out it will be curtains. If its KJ’s job without a real ck.petition then he stays. Anyways that’s my thoughts on.those three position groups.

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  5. Thanks for your thoughts, Greg. And you were right about Fluker. I can’t imagine they cut any of the three main guys I mentioned though. I think they are going to keep four TEs, and Hollister is the most reliable …

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    1. I do t think McDougald is going anywhere either. The other two I could see them moving on from. I guess we will find out sometime.

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  6. McDougald and Wright I bet are locks, but I expect Hollister to be a 50/50 during whatever camp they end up having. Obviously Fluker and Britt are already gone but I can’t see them paying an undersized average guy 3 mil if Olsen and Dissly are healthy for game 1. Especially after drafting 2 TE and a great pass catching RB in Dejay Dallas.

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  7. Recent history says they would be foolish to count on Olsen and Dissly staying healthy. Hollister is the most dependable TE they have, and they know it. And, if all three are healthy, imagine the things they can do. Hollister is a good weapon — Carroll called him “unique” — and it would be awesome if they could use all three tight ends in some packages with Lockett and/or Metcalf …

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