For some reason, some fans and analysts (and even fanalysts) are befuddled about the way the Seahawks have approached this offseason.
After Carlos Hyde was signed to a deal reportedly worth up to $4 million, the complaining really kicked in: Why have they squandered their cap space and not added any stars?
Seattle has spent $52 million on 14 veterans this offseason. None of them are standouts. None of them are the marquee pass rusher they really need. And none of them are signed for more than two years.
But, it’s no surprise. If you have watched the Seahawks for the past five years, you know this is how John Schneider does business now. He is very conservative and gets aggressive (via trades) only out of desperation.
This spring, the NFL allows two hours of classroom work virtually for veteran players four days per week. The Seahawks as a team meet from 10 a.m. to noon PT four days a week, usually starting with a short team meeting and breaking down into smaller groups—the offense for some play installations, then maybe just the quarterback, tight ends and receivers, and then the tight ends, via video conference. The two-hour session is tightly controlled by director of team operations Matt Capurro, who flashes “time remaining” alerts on the screen as the last half-hour of the session winds down.
The scene: Seattle’s tight-end room, with two coaches and five veterans, stretches over three time zones and five states, connected by Zoom videoconference.
The Seahawks did it again: Drafted a Day 2 guy on Day 1. What else is new?
We figured they would take a linebacker, but thought they would trade down first and go for Wisconsin’s Zack Baun in Round 2.
They did indeed try to move down, John Schneider said, but Green Bay backed out of a deal. And Schneider had no one else on the line, so he stayed put for the first time since 2011 — and drafted a different linebacker, Jordyn Brooks of Texas Tech.
John Schneider had around $35 million in 2020 salary cap space to spend on free agents when the league year began, and everyone expected a chunk of that to go toward a pass rusher on a long-term deal.
That has not happened, and it would be a surprise now if it did — because Schneider has spent about $34 million on 13 veterans (including four RFAs). And he has followed his SOP of not giving out long-term deals to outside players — just three of his signings (Jarran Reed, B.J. Finney, Brandon Shell) have been for two years. Even his reported offers to Jadeveon Clowney have been for just one or two years.
Other than guys on rookie deals, the Seahawks have just three players signed for the next three seasons: Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and shaky kicker Jason Myers.
Basically, this team is built — you might say patched together — through only 2021. And that includes Schneider and Pete Carroll, whose contracts expire after that season as well.
Why are they being so shortsighted? Because they generally give long-term deals only to players who have proven themselves in Carroll’s system — and few of their recent draft picks have earned the right to be considered part of the core.
If they thought about it enough, some NFL owners would be irked at Pete Carroll that the CBA negotiations have not yet resulted in their desired deal.
Why would they be mad at a coach who has nothing to do with it? Because some of the key players who are challenging the owners’ proposal grew up in Carroll’s culture in Seattle. He fostered individuality and independent thinking, and former Seahawks Russell Okung and Richard Sherman — along with current Hawk Bobby Wagner — are using the lessons they learned as Seahawks to fight for the best deal they can get the players.
The Seahawks are in the playoffs for the eighth time in Pete Carroll’s 10 seasons, heading on the road for a wild-card game for the fourth time and aiming for their third win in such games.
They got here thanks to a top-10 offense and the league’s No. 3 team in turnover margin. But this club also has the worst defense by a Seattle squad since 2000 — Mike Holmgren’s second season (6-10 record).
Bobby Wagner’s signing pretty much ends Seattle’s big-money deals for the foreseeable future. Now the Seahawks find themselves in wait-and-see mode, just like John Schneider and Pete Carroll’s early years in Seattle.
The Seahawks acquired and developed a lot of talent from 2010 to 2013 and were able to pay all of the top guys: Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright, Russell Wilson, Wagner, Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Doug Baldwin.
The Seahawks are still counting on Wilson, Wagner and Wright — all of whom got third contracts this year. But the team now needs to see which players, if any, become the next generation of stars in Carroll’s program.
The season is still over a month away, but the Seahawks already have tallied a bunch of W’s — Wilson, Wright and now Wagner.
With his $54 million deal, Bobby Wagner joined Russell Wilson ($140 million) and K.J. Wright ($15.5 million) as rare “keepers” for a Seattle club that has undergone some major changes over the past two offseasons.
The Seahawks were wise to hand third deals to all three W’s, but some wonder why they got paid and Earl Thomas and Frank Clark didn’t. Why pay a middle linebacker $18 million a year but refuse to pay your star safety and pass rusher, leaving you with no other established standouts on defense?
One of the few recent feel-good moves by the Seahawks was the somewhat surprising re-signing of K.J. Wright, the longest-tenured Seahawk at eight years and counting.
The wise old vet disseminated some great wisdom and leadership on the first day of camp, offering some inside optimism about Bobby Wagner’s status, plus some level-headed logic about the Earl Thomas snit and some funny introspection.