The Seahawks’ offseason might not seem impressive to some, especially with such a limited draft, but John Schneider and the Hawks quietly have done yeoman’s work to refill and improve their roster, and Pete Carroll is justified in expecting his team to be “very, very competitive.”
The Seahawks had few pressing needs in the draft last weekend because they had made sure to get starters at every spot beforehand. The needs they had were for a corner and center to push the incumbents, a reliable third receiver and a left tackle of the future. They hit on three of those (all but the center), closing the second chapter of a solid offseason.
“I thought this offseason was really successful at situating the roster where we felt good going into the draft,” Carroll said after the Hawks had made their third and final pick (the fewest in team history).
“Without the normal volume of picks, we needed to make our moves and make our decisions early to make sure the roster was situated well,” he said. “We made it through that offseason and came to the point where we felt like we had guys at every spot and we didn’t have any holes going in. We didn’t have any glaring needs.”
They appear better at receiver with top pick D’Wayne Eskridge, at tight end with Gerald Everett, at offensive line with Gabe Jackson and at pass rush with Kerry Hyder joining Carlos Dunlap and Co. They are status quo at the star-studded positions of quarterback and safety and at running back, where health remains a key issue.
The only positions where they have questions are the understaffed linebacker corps, with K.J. Wright still unsigned, and cornerback, where Carroll said, “We’ve got some real competition now coming up that’s going to be really important to us moving forward.”
Carroll clearly loves having a trio of speedy receivers, with Eskridge (4.39) joining DK Metcalf (4.33) and Tyler Lockett (4.40). And he likes his D-line, with veterans Dunlap, Hyder and Benson Mayowa signing. He also looks forward to the coming competition at right tackle (Cedric Ogbuehi vs. Brandon Shell) and cornerback (Ahkello Witherspoon vs. rookie Tre Brown vs. Tre Flowers), especially.
“We have firepower, we have big plays, we have pass rush now,” Carroll said. “We’ve got the leadership and we have competitive depth, which always helps you bring out the best in guys. We’re situated very well right now.
“If the new guys and a couple of the free agents can come in here and make a spark and add something to us and give us a little flash or something on special teams or whatever they can bring, we’re going to be a very, very competitive team. I have no hesitation in saying that. I’m excited about that.”
And the biggest move of all was hiring Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator. His work with Russell Wilson and the offense will determine whether this team goes very far in the playoffs.
Looking to add another key vet
Carroll says the Seahawks are looking for veteran cuts that could help them.
“The last part of this is we’re never going to pass up an opportunity to be involved and competitively involved in everything,” he said. “There’s nobody that’s done it better than John over all of these years to continue to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along. There will be one after whatever the fallout that occurs as guys put their rosters together. We’ll be sitting there right on the fence ready to jump. Hopefully we’ll see a couple things that might help us out. But we’ll be ready for it. We won’t miss that opportunity, for sure.”
Schneider added, “We’re going to be approaching this now like, ‘OK, who’s going to be letting go after the draft. What does that look like?’”
The positions where they are likely to be looking most closely are center, linebacker and defensive tackle.
Carroll indicated the team is not interested in Richard Sherman at this point: “That’s NOT one of our thoughts right now that we’re going out and getting another guy at (cornerback).”
The Hawks have around $7 million in cap space, and all of that is accounted for: About $1.6 million will be devoted to the last two spots on the roster, and they will need $2 million for practice squad and around $3 million for an in-season injury slush fund.
They figure to extend Michael Dickson and perhaps Jamal Adams and/or Quandre Diggs. Any of those moves would return cap space. They also could restructure Bobby Wagner, which could net up to $6 million. And they could cut guys: Tre Flowers could return $2.18 million, Rashaad Penny $1.37 million. (As expected, they declined the disappointing Penny’s 2022 option; he has not earned the $4.5 million.)
Bottom line: They have ways to add to make a strong roster even stronger.