John Schneider is living his own version of Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day.”
A year ago, he had to decide whether to pay his best pass rusher. He didn’t, so now here he is again, in the exact same situation.
As the Seahawks entered last season off a terrible playoff loss in Dallas, their biggest need was to fortify their pass rush. Schneider didn’t want to pay $20 million a year to Frank Clark, though, so the GM made a move that was unprecedented for him: getting great draft value for a star in his prime.
Now, a year and another playoff loss later, Schneider is in the exact same spot — with Jadeveon Clowney now in Clark’s seat and Seattle still needing a second pass rusher as well because Ziggy Ansah did not work out.
Continue reading Will Schneider pay his top pass rusher this time? And who else?
What if we told you the Seahawks could have had Frank Clark, Ziggy Ansah and pretty much all of the same draft picks (just a different pass rusher) and still have room for more, like they do now?
A lot of people are buying Seattle’s claim that the Clark trade to Kansas City enabled Seattle to turn four picks into 11, in what looks to some like an ingenious draft for the ages. Pete Carroll called the trade “the key to kick-start this thing.” And John Schneider said, “That draft choice with Frank definitely helped us.”
But the reality is: Clark became L.J. Collier, and Schneider did what he always planned to do with pick No. 21 — flipping it over and over until it became a six-player pancake. One had nothing to do with the other. And, as much as we love to see an aggressive move from Schneider, he didn’t have to trade Clark to do anything he has done since that deal.
Continue reading Hawks could have had Clark and Ansah, plus basically the same draft
It’s obviously no coincidence that the Seahawks released stalwarts Doug Baldwin and Kam Chancellor the same day they came to an agreement with Ziggy Ansah.
As it turns out, they netted about $9 million in salary cap space, which — surprise! — is exactly what they reportedly are paying Ansah. (The cap savings probably will be more like $8 million once Baldwin claims his CBA-allowed $1.2 million injury payout.)
But the bottom line: The Seahawks still have about $25.5 million in cap space, minus what they paid new nickel competitor Jamar Taylor. Take away $3.3 million for rookie bonus proration and $1.3 million for the practice players, and that leaves around $21 million.
The Seahawks also have to earmark in-season injury replacement money — say $4 million — and Ansah’s unaccounted per-game bonuses, probably around $1 million (they count against the cap as earned). So that leaves about $16 million for free agents and possible extensions for Bobby Wagner and Jarran Reed.
Continue reading Hawks swapped stars for Ansah, so plenty of cap space left
One down, two to go.
The Seahawks needed three veteran defensive linemen. They got Ziggy Ansah, the best pass rusher available (if healthy), so now they need two more.
If healthy, Ansah will be a good investment — reportedly $9 million, with $3.75 million in incentives. The Seahawks obviously think he will be available for the full season. But he reportedly won’t be ready until mid-August, and some apparently think he might miss the first month of the season.
For that reason, the Hawks need to add another outside rusher to go with Ansah and the run-stuffing tackle they also need.
Continue reading Ansah’s a good bet, but Hawks need more
Pete Carroll says this roster feels as deep as the ones in the Super Bowl years. But he and John Schneider know they have one major weakness still: Their defensive line.
The Seahawks are pretty much in the same spot with their defensive line that they were in 2013, and they need to do the same thing they did then.
In 2013, they had Chris Clemons coming off an ACL injury, so they needed pass rushers next to run stoppers Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane. John Schneider somehow managed to add both Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. The GM also signed Tony McDaniel to start inside next to Mebane. The result: They were the No. 1 pass defense and the No. 7 unit vs. the run.
Now, with Avril, Bennett and Frank Clark all gone and another vacancy at tackle, Carroll and Schneider need another veteran trio. They have the cap space to do it (at least $22 million), and they need to use it.
Continue reading Like 2013, Hawks need three vet D-linemen
The Seahawks are usually very set with their roster by this time of the offseason, having already retained their key free agents, perhaps added a couple and then of course drafted.
But this year is different: They should be very active in the so-called Phase 3 of free agency, because they still have not improved their defensive line.
The Seahawks have ditched their top three pass rushers over the past two offseasons, and the only notable guy they have added to replace them is first-round pick L.J. Collier. And he alone will not add up to a Frank Clark, Michael Bennett or Cliff Avril.
Thankfully, Pete Carroll and John Schneider plan to do more.
“We talk about those phases of free agency,” Schneider said. “There’s basically like three or four different phases, and we’re basically now heading into Phase 3.”
“We’re very much involved with what’s coming up next,” Carroll said. “We’re not done. We’ve got work to do, and we’re excited about what’s coming up. You guys will see in time.”
Continue reading Phase 3: Hawks need veteran D-linemen
(UPDATED with Pete Carroll’s comments March 26)
The NFL owners meetings run through Wednesday, and we should hear from Pete Carroll and John Schneider on Tuesday.
They won’t give many revealing answers, obviously, but here are some questions we have about the Seahawks as we finish Week 2 of the league year:
Thoughts on Russell Wilson aiming to be the top-paid player in the league? Think they will get something done with Wilson before the season starts? Have they talked much yet?
Carroll: “We’ve been in communication, sure. It’s very topical. We’re on it.”
Continue reading Questions for Carroll & Schneider at owners meetings
There’s much panic in the streets about whether the Seahawks are going to keep their top four players in 2020, and it has only intensified after pessimistic speculation by NFL reporter Mike Garafolo on 710 ESPN.
If you believe Garafolo (and others), the Seahawks probably won’t re-sign Russell Wilson, Frank Clark or Bobby Wagner before next year. And don’t forget about Jarran Reed, the fourth musketeer in this contract melee.
But here’s the truth of the matter: The Seahawks have the cap space to keep all four on market deals if John Schneider and Pete Carroll want them back, and they can guarantee they keep two of those players in 2020 without any extensions because teams are allowed to use both a franchise tag and a transition tag in the final year of the CBA (which 2020 will be).
Continue reading Don’t panic: Hawks can easily keep top stars
The Seahawks have signed eight guys over the last week, but only one would be considered an improvement over what they had last year. In other words, they are still just getting started trying to make this club better.
So far, they have kept the status quo at offensive line (D.J. Fluker and George Fant back, Mike Iupati replacing J.R. Sweezy), defensive line (Frank Clark and Quinton Jefferson both tendered) and linebacker (K.J. Wright and possibly Mychal Kendricks back). The only upgrade has been the makeup signing of kicker Jason Myers, who should have been their kicker in 2018.
At this point, the Hawks are basically the same team that won 10 games last year. To get better — and have a chance at the necessary home field next season — they absolutely have to add a couple of defensive linemen before the draft arrives. Once they do that, we will see whether they actually have improved.
Meanwhile, let’s see how their status quo approach compares to the moves of their 2019 opponents:
Continue reading Seahawks aren’t much better yet, but what about their opponents?
In one swell foop Thursday, the Seahawks reset their offensive line for 2019 — bringing back D.J. Fluker and swapping in Mike Iupati for J.R. Sweezy (basically a trade with Arizona).
The Hawks now have four former first-round picks and one second-rounder as their line starters. You can hardly get better draft pedigree than that.
They also will return four starters to the line that led the league’s top rushing attack in 2018. They just have to hope Fluker and Iupati can stay healthy for Mike Solari — or at least combine with Jordan Simmons to put together 32 man-games at the guard spots in 2019.
Then John Schneider needs to work up a plan for beyond next season.
Continue reading 2019 line set, but what about the future?