Q&A series: We take a look at some big questions about the Seahawks’ salary cap situation and roster.
Today’s question: Should the Seahawks prioritize a No. 3 receiver with one of their top three picks?
Because Dee Eskridge has been a bust, there is a hue and cry by some for the Seahawks to prioritize a No. 3 receiver again this offseason — preferably with one of their top draft picks.
Should that really be a priority though? Over the front seven and interior offensive line?
It’s true the Seahawks have not gotten much from their No. 3 receivers in recent years. Eskridge was supposed to take that role when he was picked in the second round in 2021, but he has 17 catches across 20 games (it seems like a lot less) as he has proven to be very fragile.
Seattle’s No. 3 receivers have been under 10% of total team receptions in each of the past five years. Last year was particularly poor, with Marquise Goodwin catching just 27 balls (6.8%) – which is probably why so many fans are up in arms about the need for a third pair of good hands.
Of course, a big part of that No. 3 diminishing is the fact that the Hawks have the best WR duo in franchise history: Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf set various team records nearly every season and have averaged 44% of the team’s catches in their four years together.
While there certainly have been some games where one or both of the stars have been sick or banged up and it has been glaringly clear there is no great No. 3 option, the lack of a third receiver has not really held the offense back as much as other issues – poor blocking, penalties or turnovers. The Seahawks have been in the top 11 in NFL scoring in eight of the past 11 years (the Russell Wilson era plus 2022) and five of the past six. They were ninth in 2022.
If you think a highly involved third receiver is a necessity to win the Super Bowl, all you have to do is look at the Hawks’ win in 2013. Jermaine Kearse’s 22 catches were just 8.2% of team receptions as Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin combined for 42.7%. That’s the same kind of dispersal we have seen in the Lockett-Metcalf years.
One reason a No. 3 receiver has not been as big a deal is that Seattle has gotten good production out of its top tight end. In six of the last seven years, the top tight end has outproduced the No. 3 receiver. Noah Fant caught 50 balls in 2022, 23 more than Goodwin.
The Hawks still have Fant, who is capable of much more. But 2024 will be a question. Fant will be a free agent unless he is extended – and he likely will target $10 million a year in a new deal since Will Dissly was grossly overpaid at $8 million a year and Fant is the better offensive weapon.
Dissly, currently working back from another injury, will be a candidate to be a cap cut in 2024 based on his ridiculous salary ($9.2 million cap hit in 2023, $10.1 million in 2024). Colby Parkinson also will be a free agent in 2024. All of this means the Hawks could look at tight end in this draft, which is considered very strong at the position.
It’s possible the Hawks use one of their top four picks on a receiver or tight end, but Pete Carroll also has made it pretty clear that the focus at the top of the draft will be the defensive line.
Most mocks now have the Hawks taking Texas Tech end Tyree Wilson in the top 10 — likely with a trade down from No. 5 to add another second-round pick. If Georgia’s Jalen Carter is gone at 5, Wilson seems like the perfect pick for Seattle after a slight move down. And that bonus second-rounder could be used for a receiver or tight end.
The No. 20 pick is being used by some mockers to take Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz, although most major analysts have him rated as a second-rounder. But we think this needs to be a Big Boy draft, adding up to five linemen.
For eight seasons now, the Seahawks have failed to get back to the Super Bowl largely because they have been outmuscled up front in the playoffs. It happened in 2015 against Carolina, in 2016 against Atlanta, in 2018 against Dallas, in 2019 against Green Bay, in 2020 against the Rams and this year against the 49ers.
It’s a much bigger problem than not having an impactful third receiver. Football is won in the trenches, and the Hawks need to concentrate on fortifying theirs.
2 thoughts on “No. 3 receiver is not high on the need list”
You know where I stand. If the Hawks commit to Geno, they have to give him as many weapons as possible else they will find themselves on the Kirk Cousins road to the perdition of having their face eternally pressed against the toy store window. In any case, they don’t have enough talent to draft for need—best player available or bust.
Offensive linemen are underrated weapons. A great line gives a QB time to find his receivers.
Defensive linemen also are weapons — they get the ball back for the offense.
In this draft, BPA appears to match need for the Hawks pretty well …