Was the trade a good deal? And how quickly can the Hawks ‘reset’?

Many Seahawks fans are understandably upset over the trade of longtime franchise QB Russell Wilson, not realizing that it is the best thing for the franchise (and for Wilson).

Some fans are so busy sobbing into their beers that they even think the Seahawks are counting on Drew Lock to be the new starter. Some think they got a bad deal from Denver (Lock’s presence might have some bearing on that). And almost everyone thinks the Hawks are now rebuilding.

Let’s take a look at each of those concerns and see where the Seahawks go from here:

Good deal or bad?

The Seahawks will net at least seven players (depending on any other trades) for their Pro Bowl quarterback. Very few players would return much more than that. Matthew Stafford didn’t in 2021; Wilson brought three more players (including two second-rounders) than Detroit got for Stafford.

It is true the Seahawks had few options for trading Wilson, which may have limited their return. They had to decline Washington’s offer, which included first-rounders and other picks over the next three drafts. But they still ended up with a good haul – one that few players could ever merit. Since 1989, only Herschel Walker (nine) and draft pick Ricky Williams (eight) netted more players in return.

The Hawks, who notoriously traded what turned out to be the 10th pick to the Jets for Jamal Adams, now are back in the draft’s top 10 for the first time since 2010. They have eight picks this year, including the ninth pick from Denver. They have 10 picks in 2023, including two first-rounders and two 2s.

That’s not bad at all.

Of course, the picks are no good if John Schneider wastes them. We all know he has had a pretty rough time in the draft since 2013, but his past two have brought in four starters and four quality backups — and he is now finally back in the top half, where he has not been since 2012.

His only top-15 picks have been Russell Okung (sixth) and Earl Thomas (14th) in 2010 and Bruce Irvin (15th after a trade down from 12th) in 2012. So we can perhaps have some confidence he might pick well this high up.

The success of the Wilson trade certainly depends on it.

Are they rebuilding?

Almost everyone thinks the Seahawks are “rebuilding.” But do you really think 70-year-old Pete Carroll sees it that way?

Some think they intend to lose in 2022 so they can be in position to draft one of the top QBs in 2023 – Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Alabama’s Bryce Young, Fresno State’s Jake Haener, et al.

But Carroll is too old to waste a season. He already is aggressively reconfiguring his defense. Next comes the offense. He surely will try to build a strong running game to support the quarterback (whoever it is).

And then he will hope for something akin to 2012, a steppingstone season to the Super Bowl.

Everyone likes to say how terrible the Seahawks’ roster is and how far behind the rest of the NFC West it is, but the holes can be patched pretty quickly – especially with the resources Seattle just got ($16 million in added cap space and the extra picks in the first and second rounds).

They have star receivers (if DK Metcalf is not traded) and a deep defensive line that just got better with the addition of Shelby Harris in the Denver trade. Clint Hurtt will use Carlos Dunlap, Darrell Taylor and company to much better effect in 2022.

Yeah, Schneider still has a lot of work to do. Other than a QB, they need three starting O-linemen, some corners and a No. 1 running back. And they need to re-sign Quandre Diggs (but not to play QB).

We’ll talk quarterbacks in a minute, but the Hawks can easily upgrade the O-line with a better center (the Rams’ Brian Allen?) and re-sign Duane Brown and/or draft a left tackle high.

Even if they bring back Rashaad Penny for cheap, there are plenty of good running backs in the draft. They also could use one of their top three picks (9, 40, 41) on a starting-caliber corner. Cody Barton figures to step into Bobby Wagner’s MLB role, but they also could/should draft a replacement.

You can call it a “rebuild,” but Carroll and Schneider will call it a “reset” – expecting quick results that get the Hawks back to the playoffs in 2022.

What about the QB?

Schneider surely gave Carroll a Plan A, B and C ahead of the Wilson trade. Lock is Plan C or D.

As one coach told The Athletic: “They’ve probably got something planned and arranged.”

They reportedly are closely monitoring Deshaun Watson’s legal situation and could make a move for him if he is not indicted. Of course, there are other hurdles there, including a likely NFL suspension based on the lawsuits Watson faces and the PR backlash Jody Allen’s Seahawks would take if they added a guy accused of sexual misdeeds by 22 women.

It’s not a good off-field move to add Watson, but he’s a star on the field and it sounds like Schneider and Carroll are considering it.

Plan B might be trying to trade for Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo or another good veteran starter, if any is to be had. Or maybe try to get a young guy like Jordan Love or Baltimore’s Tyler Huntley — or everyone’s favorite Coug underdog, Gardner Minshew.

Schneider surely felt out the market at the Combine and knows which guys he might be able to get.

This is so much like 2012, when Carroll and Schneider were desperate to find a QB and turned over every rock to do so. They tried to get Peyton Manning on the Denver tarmac, ended up signing one-game Packers wonder Matt Flynn and then put a third-round flier on Wilson.

In a fun coincidence, Wilson is now Manning’s replacement in Denver. Lock or perhaps another vet will be Flynn, and Schneider is hoping his plan begets the next Wilson. 

Another big move coming?

The Hawks reportedly are looking at adding a receiver – and not necessarily a cheap one.

At the Combine, “They were kind of poking around at the receivers that would cost them actual money – guys that might cost $8 million to $10 million a year,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported.

That seemingly would mean guys such as JuJu Smith-Schuster, Christian Kirk, Odell Beckham Jr. and D.J. Chark.

The only way the Hawks would think about paying that kind of money to a receiver is if they were considering trading Metcalf – which is not necessarily a bad idea.

They might be looking for a hedge against not being able to extend Metcalf and then having to trade him. We originally thought Metcalf could draw as much as two first-rounders. But there are so many receivers in free agency and the draft, he might draw only a first and a mid-rounder. It’s still worth considering if they don’t want to pay him $20 million a year.

Other options

There has been lots of chatter, based on Carroll’s comments, about the Seahawks making pass rusher a priority in free agency and/or the draft. Everyone wants Chandler Jones – why wouldn’t they? – but that is unlikely to happen. The Hawks just don’t pay pass rushers. Plus — with Dunlap, Taylor, Harris and a fairly deep line — they should have enough pass rushers on hand, if they follow through on Hurtt’s words about being more aggressive.

The Seahawks were never going to exercise the fifth-year option for L.J. Collier, certainly not at $11.5 million – the amount it appears it would cost. They have to make that decision by May 2, and it is as easy as the decision not to option Rashaad Penny last year.

Another fifth-year option decision suddenly has to be made on new tight end Noah Fant, the former first-rounder Denver included in the Wilson trade. That option would lock in Fant at $6.85 million in 2023. Fant was steady, sometimes spectacular, in Denver, despite shifting QBs. He caught 60-70 passes for about 670 yards in each of the past two seasons.

It remains to be seen whether Seattle re-signs Gerald Everett or whether it feels Fant is an upgrade. Both would be great to have, with Colby Parkinson the third guy. It would obviate the need for another receiver. But the Hawks might instead re-sign the cheaper Will Dissly over Everett.

2 thoughts on “Was the trade a good deal? And how quickly can the Hawks ‘reset’?”

  1. interesting times.
    I have no problem with the Wilson trade. We were both in the camp of not thinking he was good enough to win with his salary. And he will be looking for $50 mil/yr next year. No thanks
    Hoping they don’t go for Carr, Cousins, etc.
    I would rather build a LOB 2.0 first and win that way – again.

    but like you say, lots of new assets to play with, how do they get utilized is the key.
    but pretty sure we will still have a few wtf moments at the draft.
    Just hope they turn into 2011 and 2012 wtf moments….

    Hawks are many things, boring is not one of them

    Like

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