The Seahawks’ deals for Cliff Avril and K.J. Wright had been in the works pretty much all year, so it was no surprise they got them done before the end of the season.
It takes away the top two players from Seattle’s sizable 2015 free-agent list and means Seattle now has all but one starter from the league’s No. 1 defense under contract next year (two if you add Kevin Williams to Byron Maxwell).
Wright and Avril join Legion of Boom stalwarts Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, plus defensive lineman Michael Bennett, as the keys to a defense that could reign over the NFL through 2017.
Rookie right tackle Justin Britt’s
struggles have opened up the
debate about whether the
Seahawks should consider
replacing him next year, but the bigger question is whether the Seahawks should replace the left side of their line — Russell Okung and James Carpenter — over the next two years.
The Hawks are unlikely to give up on Britt so soon, but they definitely will have decisions to make along the line in the next couple of years, especially with three starters up for free agency — not that we can tell a starter from a backup anyway, considering injuries continually knock out Okung, Carpenter and center Max Unger.
Offensive line has long been Seattle’s weakest link — and that predates John Schneider, Pete Carroll and Tom Cable. The last time the Hawks started the same five all season was 2007, and they have averaged seven combinations a year in five seasons under this regime. They really need to find some consistency so the offense can progress.
If the Seahawks are able to sustain their newfound energy and momentum and make a major run through the postseason, a lot of credit will go to the veteran players who pulled the team together after the Kansas City loss. A little more credit will go to coach Pete Carroll and his staff.
But let’s not forget a key figure who has helped keep the Hawks afloat amid injuries and drama this season: John Schneider.
The general manager has had his most active season since 2011, when he was still putting together a competitive team for Carroll.
Tony Moeaki has made a heck of an impact in just three games with the Seahawks.
The tight end scored a touchdown in his first game — against his old team, Kansas City. He led the Hawks with four catches in the win against Arizona, making two first downs. And then he pulled off Seattle’s longest play of the year — a 63-yard gain that maybe should have been a 64-yard touchdown — against San Francisco.
It has been a heck of a start for a guy general manager John Schneider picked up four weeks ago to replace Zach Miller, who is out for the season with an ankle injury.
Russell Wilson already loves Moeaki and looks for him in key spots, like the broken play that resulted in the 63-yard pass play.
“Moeaki, man, that’s a tremendous football player,” Wilson said Thursday after the Seahawks’ 19-3 win over the 49ers. “He knows what to do, he runs tremendous routes, he has a great feel for the game, get in and out of his routes at the right time, he has unbelievable hands. His adjustment to us is pretty spectacular to see in terms of how quickly he has made a difference. We are excited to have him on our team and to see all the plays he makes.”
The Seahawks’ defense lost Brandon Mebane at just about the worst possible time.
The nose tackle had
anchored one of the league’s top run
defenses, but now the Hawks will have to
proceed without him just as they prepare for a stretch that includes some of the toughest rushing offenses on their schedule.
With Mebane out for the season with a torn hamstring, the Hawks will have to get more out of 29-year-old Tony McDaniel and 34-year-old Kevin Williams, plus second-year tackle Jordan Hill.
With Greg Scruggs and Cassius Marsh already out for the season, the Hawks are suddenly very thin on the D-line. (Five of the 12 players on injured reserve are defensive linemen.)
A week after sending Percy Harvin to the New York Jets, the Seahawks reportedly are still working the phones ahead of the NFL trade deadline Tuesday.
The Hawks tried to pry tight ends free from Denver and Cleveland in the Harvin deal, but neither Julius Thomas nor Jordan Cameron could be had.
They reportedly are still in the market for a tight end and/or pass rusher, and they also reportedly have checked into what it would take to acquire Tampa Bay receiver Vincent Jackson. The Bucs reportedly want a second-round pick for the 6-foot-5 pass catcher, who would cost $5.3 million this season and $9.8 million in each of the next two years — if he was not let go before.
The Hawks saved $7.1 million this year in the Harvin deal, so they could absorb the rest of Jackson’s salary and still have a little left to roll over to 2015. But they then would have to decide whether to pay Jackson nearly $10 million next season — Harvin was due $10.5 million and will still count $7.2 million — or alter his contract or release him.
This is the second time the Hawks reportedly have checked into trading for Jackson. They called San Diego about him in 2011.
John Schneider has proved very adept at turning first-round picks into late-rounders, although this is the first time he has devalued his own initial trade in such fashion.
By shelling out Percy Harvin for peanuts — just to get rid of the headache receiver and his mindboggling contract — Schneider in effect turned a first-rounder, third-rounder and seventh-rounder into a sixth that could become a fourth. Now that’s some real wheelin’ and dealin’.
Obviously, that stands as Schneider’s biggest whiff in his Seattle tenure — a gamble on greatness against all odds that did not pay off. It was one of his few foul-ups in nearly five years as Seattle’s general manager.
It also is now the fourth time he has moved a player the Hawks used a first-round pick to obtain.
Pete Carroll has been complaining about the NFL’s roster rules all season, lamenting the fact that he has had to sit young skill players for most of the year.
Last Sunday, second-round wide receiver Paul Richardson joined fellow rookie receiver Kevin Norwood and second-year running back Christine Michael on the inactive list.
Carroll said he will try to get the league to change the game-day roster rule next offseason, but — as roster choices are being questioned in the wake of the offense’s ongoing struggles — he said he is not going to change his game-day personnel.