Seahawks 2014 Draft Roundup

Well, Mel Kiper gave the Seahawks one of his worst draft grades, so we should probably expect a couple of All Pros and a few more Pro Bowlers in this class.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Paul Richardson, WR (2nd)
  • Justin Britt, OT (2nd)
  • Cassius Marsh, DE (4th)
  • Kevin Norwood, WR (4th)
  • Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB (4th)
  • Jimmy Staten, DT (5th)
  • Garrett Scott, OT (6th)
  • Eric Pinkins, CB/S (6th)
  • Kiero Small, FB (7th)

At first glance, I like the chances of Richardson, Britt, and Norwood to make an immediate impact.  Marsh is the epitome of a wild card, though I think he’ll get every chance to win a spot in the LEO rotation.  KPL and Pinkins are practically guaranteed to be standout special teamers right away, with outside chances to be impact starters in 2015 and beyond.  I’ve got Staten as the leader in the clubhouse to be the first draft pick cut in training camp.  Scott looks like total practice squad fodder.  And Small could range anywhere from a starting fullback on this team (which, in and of itself doesn’t come with all that many snaps per game) and a key special teamer, all the way down to practice squad (if we can somehow sneak him through, which shouldn’t be too hard considering how fullback is devalued in the league nowadays).

This is a huge draft for the future of the Seattle Seahawks.  We’ve got a ton of guys entering their final year or two with this team.  It sounds funny to say, considering we just won the Super Bowl and were among the youngest teams in the league, but the Seahawks are really in need of an infusion of young talent.

I think it’s safe to say that last year’s class was a little underwhelming.  Luke Willson had the biggest impact of anyone, and he was a backup tight end who didn’t get a ton of snaps.  Our two defensive tackles rode the pine (one because of injury, one because he wasn’t ready/good enough for the rotation).  Our top draft pick hardly played at all considering the logjam at running back.  And, the guys with the most promise were a couple of unheralded offensive linemen who are looking to make a bigger impact in 2014.  But, when you compare the 2013 draft class to the three that came before it, there’s a lot for those guys to live up to.

We need these classes (2013 & 2014) to be future starters in the next year or two.  After a year with the 2013 guys, it’s reasonable to have your doubts.  It’s also a reason to be excited for some of the freakish athletes we picked up over the weekend.

Paul Richardson

LOVE this pick!  He’s a little under-sized, but so is Harvin, and what are the odds that BOTH of them get injured at the same time?

Richardson is a speed freak and a big play waiting to happen.  But, while Harvin is a guy you want to throw short to, in space, giving him room to create; Richardson is the guy we’ve been waiting for to seriously stretch the field.  I want to see him on the field as much as possible right away.

What are teams going to do with both Harvin AND Richardson on the field?  One guy will stretch the field and force defenses to protect the pass over the top, the other guy is going to use that space to his advantage for big plays underneath.  Or, if defenses focus on Harvin (as they rightly should), there’s the opportunity for deep bombs.

Kevin Norwood

Might as well keep it in the WR unit.  While Richardson is the speed demon we’ve been looking for, Norwood is the big body we’ve been looking for.  Unlike other big bodies we’ve tried out (Durham, Mike Williams, Sidney Rice), Norwood doesn’t appear to be an injury waiting to happen, a drop waiting to happen, or a big lumbering slowpoke waiting to happen.

One of Norwood’s gifts is his ability to find the quarterback after a play has broken down.  In case you haven’t been watching, that’s sort of Russell Wilson’s forte.  Norwood will improvise with the best of ’em, and he’ll make those twinkle-toe catches along the sideline.

Norwood’s presence makes Sidney Rice’s chances of winning a spot drastically reduced.  I’m seeing the Seahawks keeping:  Harvin, Baldwin, Kearse, Richardson, and Norwood for sure.  Rice might be able to win a sixth receiver spot, but it’s no sure thing.  It’ll depend on how the roster crunch plays out (doesn’t help him if the Seahawks opt to keep three QBs on the roster, with Wilson, Tarvar, and Pryor).

Justin Britt

One hope of mine was, if the Seahawks drafted a tackle reasonably high (as they did with this pick), it would be a guy who could, theoretically, shift over to left tackle in the event that the Seahawks aren’t able to re-sign Okung at the end of his deal.  Gotta find savings somewhere, and if you can use a guy on his rookie deal who isn’t a huge dropoff from the incumbent, all the better.

But, after listening to Tom Cable talk about the guy, it sounds like there’s zero chance Britt ever gets the nod on the left side.

Britt’s claim to fame is absolutely shutting down Jadeveon Clowney in the latest college season.  Don’t know if that’s one of those games that Clowney “took off”, but it seems to me Clowney playing at 60% is still better than most pass rushers, so I’ll take it.

Britt will come in and compete right away for the starting right tackle spot against Michael Bowie.  Love it.  Either he wins the job and we’ve got arguably an improvement at the position over the last few years, or he pushes Bowie to be even better than we thought.  That’s what you call a win-win.  At the very least, Britt should be great line depth for injuries (and you know there are ALWAYS injuries).

Cassius Marsh

As I said above, this guy is a total wild card.  If I let my imagination run wild, I’d tell you that he has the chance to be a J.J. Watt clone, but I’m not about to go that far.  My opinion all along has been that it’s VERY difficult for pass rushers to make an immediate impact.  Bruce Irvin did pretty well as a rookie, but he’s a beast with his speed rush.  Marsh doesn’t have his speed, but reportedly has some good hands, so he should be able to shed blocks pretty well.

I say if Marsh manages to find a way into the rotation on an occasional basis, improving as the season goes along, it’s a victory.  Failing that, I could see him as a guy who sticks to the 53-man roster, but is rarely active on gameday.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his hot-headedness.  That scares me a little bit, but if there’s any team that can rein that in and teach him how to use that aggressiveness to his advantage, I feel like it’s this team.  Also, don’t ask me why, but my gut tells me this guy is a candidate for failing the NFL’s drug policy in some way, shape or form.  I have no precedent to cite for this, but it’s just a feeling I have.

Kevin Pierre-Louis

This is EXACTLY what I was talking about when I said I wanted the Seahawks to draft a linebacker in the middle rounds.  He won’t play much on defense in 2014, but given his athleticism, he’s almost a lock to be a huge player on special teams (and probably force Heath Farwell out of Seattle).

And, if he finds a way to pick up the scheme quickly and refine his technique in the pass-coverage game, he should force his way into the starting lineup in 2015 when we have to make a difficult decision between K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith.  People are saying KPL is a natural weak-side linebacker, which is Smith’s natural position, so we may be seeing the final season of Malcolm Smith in a Seahawks uniform.

Eric Pinkins

Meet my absolute favorite draft pick of the 2014 class.  6’2, 230 pounds.  He was a safety in college for San Diego State; when the Seahawks picked him, we immediately thought of Kam Chancellor.  However, in interviews after the draft, it was noted that the team is looking at him to play corner.

So, now we’re thinking:  Brandon Browner.

This guy could be HUGE.  I’m, like, one interception in the preseason away from buying a Pinkins jersey and getting in on the ground floor.  You know the Seahawks are excellent at player development, especially in the secondary.  There’s no reason to think – with Pinkins being the athletic freak of nature that he is – that this coaching staff WON’T turn him into a viable starter.

Why is that big?  Byron Maxwell is entering his final season and is almost guaranteed to be playing for another team in 2015.  If Pinkins turns into a more athletic Brandon Browner, we’ve just fortified the Legion of Boom for years to come, and at a bargain to boot!

Other teams might have taken this guy and stuck him at safety where he’s comfortable.  The Seahawks see this guy and have the talent and know-how to convert him into a starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman.  I’m tingling.

The Rest

I don’t know anything about Jimmy Staten.  Looks like he could be a 3-Tech tackle in the rotation with Jordan Hill.  Maybe there’s an outside chance this team bulks him up another 30 pounds or so and tries him out at nose tackle, but who knows?

Garrett Scott looks like a project along the offensive line.  I don’t see how this guy DOESN’T make the practice squad.  Considering the talent we’ve got on the O-Line, it’s going to be difficult to get him in on the rotation.  But, he sounds like he’s really athletic and a perfect fit for the zone blocking scheme.  I’ve even heard that he’s going to get some play at left tackle.

Kiero Small is a fullback.  By the sound of things, he could be one to watch, but again, it’s fullback.  When you consider the fact that this team normally keeps five running back/fullback types, let’s count ’em out:

  1. Marshawn Lynch
  2. Robert Turbin
  3. Christine Michael
  4. Derrick Coleman
  5. Spencer Ware
  6. Kiero Small

It looks like it’s going to come down to Small vs. Ware, if he’s going to make the 53-man roster.  Which means it might come down to which of the two are better in special teams.  Ware might have worn out his welcome with that DUI last year, so Small probably has a pretty good shot.  We’ll have to see how he does in camp.

As for the undrafted rookies, the Seahawks have Keith Price.  Zero chance he makes the team.  Probably a pretty good chance he rocks it in the practice squad.  Then again, if you’re keeping three QBs on your 53-man roster, do you really need a QB on the practice squad?

It’s going to be tough for Price.  How often do you ever see four quarterbacks play in the preseason games?  You know how the Seahawks will play Wilson (a series or two in game 1, a quarter or two in game 2, into the third quarter in game 3, a series or two in game 4).  They’ll likely want to give Tarvar his share of reps to keep him warm and get him ready for the season.  And, you’d think they’ll want to watch Terrelle Pryor as much as possible to see if he’s worth keeping on the team.  And, don’t forget B.J. Daniels.

What does that mean?  If Price looks good in camp, MAYBE he gets a series or two in the entirety of the preseason games.  Don’t know if that’s enough to get him an opportunity with another team, but maybe just the fact that the Seahawks wanted him and brought him into camp, that might be enough for another team to pick him up and stash him.  We’ll see.

All in all, as I said before, I’m a big fan of this draft.  The best part?  Our entire coaching staff is intact.  We didn’t lose Cable, we didn’t lose Quinn, we didn’t lose Bevell, and we’ve got everyone else.  Considering how good the Seahawks are, and how coveted those guys would have been had the Seahawks not made the Super Bowl, it’s like we’re playing with house money.  Another year with this full staff intact?  That’s going to be an insane advantage for this draft class to eventually make the jump to full time starters for this team in the years to come.

An Appreciation of Sidney Rice

There are rumblings that Sidney Rice will be waived very soon.  This comes as zero surprise.  There’s a $7.3 million boost to the salary cap that comes with this move.  To show you how not-surprising this move is, literally every single time I’ve ever sat down to write about the Seahawks’ impending salary cap situation for 2014 and beyond, the very first thing I’ve done every time is go to Google and type “Sidney Rice overthecap” and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky”.

Ever wondered who uses the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button?  I’m your man!

I have a difficult time bad-mouthing anything the Seahawks have ever done in the Pete Carroll/John Schneider regime, since they went and won us a championship and everything.  But, I have a feeling that people are going to look at the career of Sidney Rice in a Seahawks’ uniform and say, “Well, that was a move that totally backfired!”

The Seahawks signed Sidney Rice coming into the 2011 season.  We were coming off of a 7-9 campaign that resulted in a division championship, a wild playoff victory over the Saints, and a predictable playoff defeat against the Bears.  He signed for 5 years and $41 million, with a $6 million signing bonus.  In his three years with the Seahawks, Sidney Rice earned $23.5 million of his $41 million deal; not too shabby for three years’ work.

The 2010 Seahawks were led in receptions and yards by Big Mike Williams (65 for 751 and 2 TDs), followed by Deon Butler, Ben Obomanu, John Carlson, and Brandon Stokley (all ranging between 30-36 receptions and 318-494 yards).  Suffice it to say, the Seahawks could use some help in their receiving corps.  Golden Tate was on the roster, but he was still a rookie in 2010, and two years away from starting to break out.

There were plenty of holes on that Seahawks team, and thanks to an unlikely Divisional Round playoff appearance, we were rewarded with a low first round draft pick.  Not only that, but the 2011 season came on the heels of the Lockout, so the time to sign players and get them ready for the season was ridiculously short.

And, I don’t know if you remember anything about the free agents in 2011, but here’s a smattering of names that were available:  Mike Sims-Walker, Antwaan Randle-El, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Torry Holt, Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Chris Chambers, Plaxico Burress, and Steve Breaston (and those are just the names I recognize).  We had our pick of a bunch of nobodies, and a bunch of those aforementioned, over-the-hill losers.

Truth be told, Sidney Rice was the pick of the litter.  Granted, they probably should have just drowned that litter and started over, but that’s neither here nor there.

An interesting name being floated around at the time was Vincent Jackson.  He was franchised by the Chargers in 2011 and was looking to get the hell out of there.  He was a disgruntled, super-talented receiver looking for greener grass, and the Seahawks had their eyes on him.  Of course, he would have cost us a buttload of draft picks on top of what would eventually be a 5-year $55 million deal (that he would go on to sign in Tampa the very next year), and at that point it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense for that Seahawks team (with that many holes they needed to fill through the draft) to give up draft capital just to bring in a superstar receiver.

So, the Seahawks got Sidney Rice.  And they got Zach Miller.  And those two moves sort of paid dividends, except Rice was injured through most of his first year here and ended up only playing in 9 games.  I would argue that his full participation in 2011 wouldn’t have made much of a difference, because we still weren’t that great of a football team, so I’m willing to overlook all of that.

Rice came back in 2012 and played in all 16 games, leading the team in receptions and yards.  Granted, they weren’t the greatest numbers in the world (50 for 748 and 7 TDs), but on that team, with how much we wanted to run the ball, those were indeed #1 receiver numbers.  I’d say in 2012 we got our money’s worth.

2013 was, once again, a disappointment, as Rice was only able to play in 8 games before tearing his ACL and losing out on our Super Bowl run.  Even in those 8 games, it’s hard to say he was living up to what was expected, as his numbers were WAY down compared to 2012.  That’s essentially while he was playing with the same receiving corps (Harvin and Rice never once played a down together at the same time last season).

If I’m sitting here objectively, looking at his totals over the last three seasons (97 receptions, 1,463 yards, 12 TDs, 33 of a possible 48 regular season games played), then no, there’s no way that type of production was worth $23.5 million.  97/1,463/12 are the type of numbers you’d expect out of a legitimate #1 receiver in a single season, not spread out over three.  And make no mistake, Sidney Rice was getting paid #1 receiver money.

But, here’s the thing:  what else were the Seahawks supposed to do?  Sidney Rice was the best-available option in a free agent class that could best be described as “slim pickin’s”.  We needed offensive firepower, because the previous regime left this team bereft.  And yes, Sidney Rice had injury concerns coming in (which turned out to be valid, given the number of games he missed with the Seahawks), but you have to figure that’s the cost of doing business.

Sidney Rice was never a bona fide #1 receiver for the Seahawks, but he was incredibly valuable in that 2012 run.  Likewise, once we lost him in 2013, our offense suffered tremendously.  Had the Seahawks lost in the playoffs, instead of all this joy in my heart, I would have written endlessly about how losing Sidney Rice was an underrated aspect in this past season falling apart.  Sidney Rice might have never been a true #1, but he made some catches that left my jaw on the floor.  And without him, I don’t think we would have seen near the progress in this offense from Russell Wilson’s first snaps onward.

It all boils down to football being a business.  Some fans feel a little jaded because this team paid all this money to a guy who did relatively little, but as I said before, it’s the price of doing business.  When you’re a bad team looking for a quick fix via free agency, that’s the price you have to pay to bring in talent.  Conversely, some players get upset because teams never honor their contracts.  The price of doing business:  if you’re over-compensated, you’re going to get the ax when your contract becomes too prohibitive.  Had Sidney Rice lived up to his #1 billing, then paying him a little under $20 million for the next two years would have been a relative bargain (or, at least commensurate to what he’s capable of producing).  Since he didn’t live up to his end, he’s gone.  So it goes.

Sidney Rice won’t go down as one of the greatest Seahawks wide receivers of all time, but that’s okay, because in the end we got our championship.  While he didn’t catch any game-winning touchdowns down the stretch, he was still a part of this team.  He was a part of turning around a franchise, from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs.  For that, he’ll always be remembered fondly, at least in my book.

And, with this cap savings, you could say Sidney Rice is the gift that keeps on giving.  With this $7.3 million (not to mention the base salary of $9 million we won’t have to pay next year), we’ll be able to re-sign Michael Bennett.  Or extend Earl Thomas or Richard Sherman.  His sacrifice enables our greater good.  So, don’t kick the man on his way out of town.  Thank him for his hard work and wish him well in his next endeavor.  There’s no sense in being resentful when your team is getting fitted for championship rings as we speak.

The Last Five Years In Seattle Sports

2008 was the lowest point in Seattle sports.  It was our Absolute Zero.  Rock Bottom.  The total nadir of sports humanity!

It was the primary inspiration for the title of this website.  Take an already-crappy sports city, with practically no history of real success whatsoever, then rain down a million boulders while giving fans only a tiny umbrella to protect themselves.

We did NOT deserve this …

Well, we just finished the 2012 sports year with the 2012/2013 Husky basketball season coming to its conclusion.  As such, I have taken it upon myself to take a look back.  Five years ago, it was 2008; we were just getting started with the worst year ever.  How have things changed with our primary Seattle sports teams?

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners came off of a surprising 2007 campaign that saw them appearing to turn a corner.  Beltre, Ibanez, and Ichiro led the offense.  We hoped that a possible resurrection of Richie Sexson would bring about a further boost.  Two young guns up the middle – Lopez & Betancourt – were proof positive that what we were doing in our farm system wasn’t a complete joke.  Felix was coming into his own.  Losing Weaver & Horacio Ramirez was addition by subtraction.  You figured, with another quality starter, and another bat or two, and we’d be in business!

Well, we know what happened with 2008.  The Erik Bedard trade was a total and complete disaster (though, it went a long way towards the Orioles making their surprising playoff run in 2012).  The Mariners opted to let Jose Guillen walk and replaced him with the corpse of Brad Wilkerson.  Richie Sexson became a local pariah.  And, oh yeah, the other big pitching piece – Carlos Silva – was signed to the single-worst contract in recorded history.  You tack on little things – like J.J. Putz going from the greatest reliever in baseball in 2007, to an injured pile of crap in 2008 – and it all boils down to this team losing 101 games.  The first team with a payroll over $100 million to lose over 100 games.  Everyone was fired; it was brutal.

Enter Jackie Z, who could seemingly do no wrong at first.  He replaced Sexson with Russell Branyan – big upgrade.  He traded Putz for Franklin Gutierrez, who had an amazing season both in the field and at the plate.  We also ended up with Jason Vargas in that Putz deal, who came in and earned his way into the starting rotation.  He brought in Ken Griffey Jr., who wasn’t a total disaster as a DH.  In short, there was an immediate turnaround thanks to God knows what.  Good vibrations?  Luck?  I dunno.  But, this team improved 24 games over 2008 and contended well into the summer.  Everyone thought we’d struck gold!

Then, like some kind of sick fucking plague, every move Jackie Z made to help bolster the 2010 team turned to shit.  Chone Figgins was signed to a 4-year deal and immediately was the worst player in baseball.  Branyan was allowed to walk in favor of Casey Kotchman; Kotchman was terrible and Branyan was brought back in a panic-deal mid-season, because we had the most punch-less lineup in all of baseball history.  Silva was traded for Milton Bradley – which was a move of pure GENIUS until it turned out trading one cancer for another still leaves you on your deathbed.  Griffey was brought back, because HEY!, he hit 19 home runs the year before and it’s not like players suddenly lose all of their ability to swing a bat all at once or anything.

Mind you, just about everything Jackie Z did in anticipation of the 2010 season was believed to be the right thing.  Except for Griffey, but really, if we didn’t make the playoffs that season, it wasn’t going to be exclusively the fault of our elderly DH.  And, to a lesser extent, the Brandon League for Brandon Morrow trade was a bit questionable.  I mean, who trades a bona fide Major League starting prospect for an 8th inning reliever type? Nevertheless, this was a bold move looking to shore up our bullpen.

The cherry on top was the Cliff Lee trade.  We gave a bunch of Bavasi draft rejects to the Phillies for Cliff Lee in his final season.  At best, he’d be the starting pitcher to put us over the top.  At worst, we’d be a losing team and trade him at the deadline to the highest bidder for the best crop of prospects.

Like everything else that happened in 2010, even THIS ended up backfiring.  Cliff Lee came with a built-in contingency plan!  And he was traded for Justin Smoak – a disappointment to date – Blake Beavan – a less-than-adequate starting pitcher – and what has turned into a season’s worth of Michael Morse, a season’s worth of John Jaso, and a season’s worth of Josh Lueke.  There’s still time to turn around our fortunes, but unless Smoak figures out a miracle cure to his sucking ways, this has bust written all over it.

So, what happens when every single offseason (and in-season) move you make backfires?  You lose another 101 games, your franchise icon retires mid-season, your manager gets fired, and your GM is lucky to still have a job.

2010 was a wake-up call, both for fans and for the organization.  The last two times the Mariners had winning records – 2007 and 2009 – they immediately went out the very next offseason and tried to Win Now.  All the moves they made in hopes to Win Now were total disasters, so they had to come up with a new plan.  Either you keep riding this rollercoaster, firing your manager and/or GM every two seasons, or you start over from scratch.

Even though Jackie Z managed to bungle every Major League move known to man, he had still built up the minor leagues a fair amount.  With another high draft pick in his pocket, he put his head down and went to work.

The 2011 season was essentially given over to the kids.  Our major offseason moves included bringing in Miguel Olivo, Jack Cust, Adam Kennedy, Brendan Ryan, and handing over the starting rotation to guys like Michael Pineda, Doug Fister, and Blake Beavan.  In addition, Ackley, Seager, and Carp all got their feet wet; Peguero was given an inordinate amount of playing time for what he was actually bringing to the table.  Others, like Wells, Trayvon Robinson, Saunders, and Halman all got varying amounts of playing time.  2011 was Try-Out central in Seattle.  Throw a bunch of spaghetti noodles into a pot of boiling water, take them out and see which ones would stick to the wall.

2012 took it a step further.  The big free agent pick-ups consisted of Millwood, Iwakuma, and a backup shortstop in Kawasaki.  We traded away Pineda – our best pitching prospect – to bring in Jesus Montero, because we absolutely could not live with the same old offense we’d had the past two seasons.

What did 2011 and 2012 accomplish?  Moderate gains in the win/loss column (+6 wins in 2011, +8 wins in 2012), moderate gains in our offensive production, and a whole lot of salary coming off the books.  The Silva/Bradley money, the Ichiro money, the Olivo money, another season’s worth of the Figgins money.

Now, it’s 2013.  The Mariners brought in some big bats via trade – Morse & Morales for Jaso & Vargas respectively – and some veteran bats via free agency – Ibanez and Bay.  They re-signed Iwakuma (when they realized he’s actually a quality starter), brought in Joe Saunders (who will probably be terrible), and have given the back-end of the rotation over to youth (Maurer and Beavan).  The crown jewel of the 2012/2013 offseason was re-signing Felix through 2019.  That’s huge.  The Mariners may never make the post-season while he’s with us, but God damn it, if they do WATCH OUT.

There is reason for optimism five years after bottoming out in 2008, but we’re still in a Show Me stage.  I’ll believe it when I see it, and all that.  2013 is critical, because if they don’t show some significant improvement, I think a lot of people will be out on their asses again and we’ll be looking at ANOTHER rebuild.

Husky Football

The Huskies ended their 2007 season with a 4-9 record.  Their 2007 schedule was deemed by many to be the toughest schedule in the nation.  Tyrone Willingham was coming off of his third consecutive losing season (going 2-9 in 2005 and 5-7 in 2006), and many believed he should have been fired then and there.  I was one of those simple-minded folks who said we should give him ONE more chance.  Jake Locker had a full season under his belt, why not give Willingham an opportunity to turn things around with the guy he brought in as his quarterback?

Well, we kicked off 2008 by being trounced in Oregon (who would go on to finish 10-3).  Then, we lost by a single point at home to BYU (thanks to the infamous penalty flag thrown on Locker as he ran in for the would-be game-tying touchdown and tossed the ball over his shoulder … thank you Pac-10 referees for being so damn competent) on a missed extra point at the end of the game.  Then, we lost at home to Oklahoma (who would go on to lose to Florida in the BCS National Championship Game).

THEN, we lost our quarterback, our best player, and really our only GOOD player, in the Stanford game.  After that, with the likes of Ronnie Fouch at the helm, we proceeded to lose all the rest of our games (including a pathetic heartbreaker of an Apple Cup, 16-13 in overtime).

0-12.  Doesn’t get any worse than that.  Can only go up from there, right?

Willingham:  gone.  Sarkisian:  in.

The 2009 Huskies improved by 5 games.  There was a signature win at home over the then-#3 USC Trojans, 16-13 on a last-minute field goal.  There was a signature near-win the first game of the season at home against LSU.  Jake Locker took huge strides in his development as a passer.  Everything looked great for the future.

The 2010 Huskies weren’t all that much more improved than the 2009 team, but they managed to win six regular season games (winning out after starting 3-6, thanks to a soft schedule to finish things) and earned a bowl game against Nebraska.  Of course, they got killed by Nebraska, IN Husky Stadium, earlier that season.  But, in the rematch, this Husky team was totally reborn and they took it to the Cornhuskers, stifling them 19-7.

That led to somewhat higher expectations for 2011, but how high could we possibly make them?  Let’s face it, we’d lost our best player and were breaking in a new quarterback.  Our defense was still on the fritz, and we were still in a very tough conference with Oregon, Stanford, and USC.  Not to mention we had to go to Nebraska, where we most certainly got our shit kicked in.

2011 was a disappointment because there was no Signature Win.  In 2009 and 2010, we had victories over USC and Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.  In 2011, we barely squeaked by Eastern Washington in the first game.  We were absolutely terrorized by the aforementioned heavy hitters (losing the games to USC, Oregon, Stanford, and Nebraska by a combined 190-93).  In spite of losing ALL the games were were technically “supposed” to lose, we were still in line for a 1-game improvement over 2010.  That officially died when A. we went into Oregon State and lost (they ended the season with 3 wins) and B. we faced RGIII and the Baylor Bears and gave up 67 points on 777 yards of offense in losing by 11.

Back-to-back 7-6 seasons left a bitter taste in our mouths.  After storming the field against the Cornhuskers, we bent over and grabbed our ankles against the Bears.  2012 would SURELY be different, though.  We had a full season with Keith Price, he had surpassed our wildest expectations by throwing for over 3,000 yards with 33 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions.  How could 2012 NOT be a huge improvement?  On top of all that, we didn’t wait that extra season to see if Nick Holt could turn things around on defense.  We went out, brought in some heavy hitters at recruiting and defensive coaching, and nabbed some top prospects in the process.

Well, there was improvement.  The 2012 Huskies DID manage some signature wins against the likes of Stanford and Oregon State (both in the top 10 at the time we beat them), but they also fell completely flat against the likes of #3 LSU, #2 Oregon, and #11 USC.  In spite of yet another 3-game losing streak in the middle of the season, these Huskies were looking at possibly winning 8 or 9 games when all was said and done!

They were 7-4 (riding a 4-game winning streak) going into the Apple Cup in Pullman.  They had an 18-point lead going into the final quarter … so of COURSE they ended up blowing the game in overtime.  This ultimately led to the Huskies facing Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl and ending up – once again – 7-6.

In short, the Huskies went from 0-12 in 2008, to 5-7 in 2009, to 7-6 in 2010, 2011, and 2012.  No 7-6 record is created equal, obviously, but at the end of the day people don’t remember how you got there.  They just see where you were and shake their heads.

Keith Price showed all the promise in the world in 2011.  But, he lost all his major weapons (Kearse and Aguilar at receiver, Chris Polk at running back) and couldn’t recover in 2012.  In the Baylor bowl game, Price accounted for 7 touchdowns on offense and looked like the best quarterback on the field – even better than the Heisman Trophy winner and ultimate #2 overall draft pick.  However, in the Apple Cup and again in the Boise State bowl game, Price ended both with interceptions.  He was going into the 2013 season fighting for his job, but from all accounts he’s got it locked up after Spring Ball.  Nevertheless, I have to imagine he’s on a short leash.  We can’t suffer the kind of downgrade in production again.

At this point in Sark’s tenure, he’s got all his own guys now.  2013 is the year we’re expected to win and win consistently.  The non-conference schedule is relatively easy, and the conference schedule isn’t too bad either.  We’ve got veterans in all the right places, we’ve got some serious talent on defense for the first time since he got here, and Price has had a chance to gel with his offensive weapons.  2013 isn’t a Rose Bowl or Bust, but it’s close.  The Huskies have to at least be in the conversation.

I’m not gonna lie to you, beating the Ducks for the first time in eons would go a long way towards cementing Sark’s status as a legend ’round these parts.

Husky Basketball

The 2007/2008 Huskies were a definite low-point in the Romar era.  They finished the regular season 16-16, losing in the first round of the Pac-10 tournament, and received the #1 seed in the College Basketball Invitational.  You know, that post-season tournament for the teams not even good enough for the N.I.T.

We lost.  To Valparaiso.

In 2008/2009, we brought in Isaiah Thomas and he was a firecracker right from the start.  We enjoyed Brockman’s senior season, and we rode that wave to a 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament and a Round of 32 loss to 5-seed Purdue by two points.  More or less, it was a successful season, but once again it ended prematurely.

In 2009/2010, we had another senior leader taking to the forefront.  This time, it was Q-Pon, who averaged 19 and 7 per game in leading us to a Pac-10 Tournament victory, an 11-seed in the tournament, and upset wins over #6 Marquette (where he hit the clutch game winner) and #3 New Mexico.

Once again, though, the Romar-era Huskies couldn’t get past the Sweet 16.  This time, we lost to West Virginia, thanks to them totally having the length advantage on us.

In 2010/2011, we had our version of a Big 3 with Thomas, MBA, and Holiday.  The last two were seniors and Thomas was playing in what would be his final season.  We rode this squad to another Pac-10 Tournament victory (you all remember COLD BLOODED don’t you?).  This resulted in a 7-seed – our third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance – and a victory over 10-seed Georgia before losing in the Round of 32 to 2-seeded North Carolina (by only 3 points, but still).

The 2011/2012 season saw the emergence of Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross.  Both were young, extremely talented, and irritatingly inconsistent.  Ross would disappear for minutes at a time.  Wroten had no jump shot whatsoever, so he had to fight for every single basket in the paint.  This team ended up winning the Pac-12 outright, but since the Pac-12 sucked dick that season, and since the Huskies lost in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament, AND since they had no quality wins over ranked non-conference opponents, the Huskies were denied a fourth consecutive NCAA invite.  Instead, they locked down the #1-overall N.I.T. seeding and ran with it to the Final Four in New York City.  It ended with a loss to Minnesota, who would end up losing to eventual-champion Stanford the very next game.

The less said about the 2012/2013 season, the better.  Wroten and Ross both bolted for the NBA, and absolutely no one came in to replace them.  That’s what happens when you’re a good-not-great recruiter in a good-not-great university for basketball:  sometimes you DON’T bring in a player of quality and you suffer as a result.

Gaddy, Wilcox, Suggs, and N’Diaye were left to pick up the pieces.  This team was pretty solid on defense, but ultimately inept on offense, and now at least three of those guys are gone (with Wilcox having a difficult decision to make regarding his final year of eligibility).  The 2012/2013 Huskies didn’t beat a single ranked team, only beat three teams who ended up going to the NCAAs (Saint Louis, California, and Colorado), and wound up being a 6-seed in the N.I.T., where the subsequently got their shit kicked in at BYU.

What’s in store for 2013/2014?  Well, a solid incoming class with one McDonalds All American at point guard in Nigel Williams-Goss.  If Wilcox comes back, that gives us a veteran scoring presence (for the record, he’s a fool if he leaves; his past season was absolutely dreadful and injury-plagued).  If we can get anything from our young forwards, you could look at a team that surprises a lot of people.  Or, you could be looking at a third-straight N.I.T. bid.  If it’s the latter, I’m not so sure I’d be confident about my job security if I was Romar.

Seattle Supersonics

I won’t go into excruciating detail on this end.  We all know what the last five years have been like for the Sonics.  They went 20-62 in their final season in Seattle (after drafting Kevin Durant and bringing in one of the finest GMs in the game from the San Antonio organization).  They were given away by the city of Seattle, they struggled again the following season, and then they went to the playoffs four straight seasons (losing most recently in the Finals to the beloved Miami Heat).

Now, we’ve got an ownership group and an arena deal in place, and we’re fighting like crazy to steal the Kings from Sacramento.  If all goes according to plan, we will have pro basketball back in Seattle for the 2013/2014 season.  If it doesn’t, then this part of next year’s “Five Years” post is going to be REAL fucking depressing.

Seattle Seahawks

I’m saving the best for last because I can.  Because, honestly, it’s all a little too much and I can hardly believe it myself.  There is cautious optimism for the Mariners and their young core to turn things around.  There’s more confident optimism that the Husky football team will turn some heads this fall.  There’s hope that the Husky basketball team can somehow gel with their new incoming players and make an improbable Tourney run.  There’s delusions that the NBA will be back in Seattle this time next year.

But, that’s nothing.  There is outright SWAGGER for the Seattle Seahawks.  How did we get HERE?

In 2008, we went 4-12.  We had dicked around with Mike Holmgren, we signed on his replacement – Jim Mora Jr. – to be his defensive backs coach, and all the major veterans took a huge dump.  This was coming off of a 2007 season where the Seahawks once again won the division.  But, Shaun Alexander was released at the end, losing out to another injury.  So, Tim Ruskell opted to reload via free agency.  Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett were brought in to liven up the running game, but no dice.  Hasselbeck missed a bunch of games, Walter Jones tried surgery but wasn’t the same and was forced to retire at season’s end … it was just a mess.

In 2009, there was something of a fresh start expected with Mora.  T.J. Houshmandzadeh was brought in on a huge free agent deal, Aaron Curry was signed as our can’t-lose first round draft pick … in short, we were one of the oldest and least-talented teams in the NFL.  When all was said and done, these Seahawks improved by only 1 game and both Mora and Ruskell were fired.

2010 was the REAL fresh start.  Pete Carroll and John Schneider tag-teamed this roster from head to toe.  They traded for Marshawn Lynch, Leon Washington, and Charlie Whitehurst (hey, they can’t all be winners).  They got rid of Housh (taking a healthy bath in the cap hit) and later Deion Branch.  They brought in a rejuvinated Mike Williams who led the team in receiving.  They drafted Russell Okung, Earl Thomas, Golden Tate, Walter Thurmond, and Kam Chancellor.  They made hundreds upon hundreds of free agent moves, giving tryouts to anyone and everyone who they thought might be an upgrade.  They got significantly younger, and thanks to a piss-poor division, ended up making the playoffs with a 7-9 record.

Understand, this wasn’t a legitimate playoff team.  Yes, after two years in the wilderness, they found their way back to civilization, but it was totally phony!  The fact that we beat the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints at Qwest Field is a travesty of common decency (though, it did provide us with the greatest NFL play ever, Beastmode’s Touchdown Scamper).  Our “Cinderella” run ended the following week in Chicago, and you had to wonder how long it would be before the Seahawks made the playoffs again.

The 2011 Seahawks were hamstrung by the NFL Lockout.  They fired their offensive coordinator and hired Darrell Bevell from Minnesota.  Which meant, if they stood any chance of competing in ANY games that season, they’d have to bring some people in who knew Bevell’s system.  This meant Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback.  They let Hasselbeck go with a cordial goodbye and handed the keys to the team over to Tarvar (without so much as a second look at Whitehurst, who was as bad as we all remember him being and then some).

Tarvar proved tough, but ultimately inept when the game was on the line.  Those 2011 Seahawks also finished the regular season 7-9 and weren’t given the benefit of a lousy NFC West to “earn” a home playoff game.

With a full offseason going into 2012, the Seahawks needed to make a change.  They’d drafted well, bringing in guys like Richard Sherman and K.J. Wright.  But, they needed a signal-caller with some zazz!  So, they signed Matt Flynn to a three-year deal, and they went out and drafted Russell Wilson in the third round.

People say if Wilson was just 2-3 inches taller, he would’ve been a Top 10 pick.  But, he’s not, so now he’s ours.

Wilson earned his opportunity to have an Open Competition in Training Camp.  This led to him wowing us in the Pre-Season, which ultimately led to him winning the job and running with it.  The 2012 Seahawks took it easy with him for the first few weeks, but once they knew he could handle himself, they opened things up.  This resulted in the Seahawks being the best team in football over the second half of the season.  Still, their early-season slip-ups meant that the 49ers won the division, relegating us to the fifth seed in the NFC.

We went into Washington and somehow came away with a victory.  Then, we went into Atlanta, gave them a 20-point lead, and somehow led in the game with 30 seconds to go.  That was choked away, but the message was sent.  It wasn’t, “Wait Until Next Year,” the way most fanbases say it, more resigned to their current fate as losers, sorely, bitterly hoping that things will turn around for them in short order.

No, this is, “Just you WAIT until next year, chickenfuckers!”  Because the 2013 Seahawks are a runaway train that has Super Bowl or Bust written all over them!

In five years, the Seahawks have gone from one of the oldest and worst teams in the NFL to one of the youngest and best teams.  In five years, the Seahawks have gone from bottom-feeders to would-be kings.  We fans are cashing in our 401Ks in anticipation of buying Super Bowl tickets in 2014.  It’s never been so clear and so positive in the city of Seattle.  They can single-handedly reverse the fortunes of this desolate sports city.  All they need to do is win.

What’s more, they’re spreading around the positivity.  People are stoked on the Mariners WAY more than they should be thanks to the good will generated by the Seahawks.  Sports fans have something to look forward to and spirits are bright.  This is carrying over to the other sports in hopes that the good vibes will roll on.

We’ll see.  If the Seahawks win it all, the Mariners contend for a playoff spot, the Huskies make a run at the Rose Bowl, the basketball Huskies make a run at the NCAA Tournament, and the Sonics return to Seattle, we could be talking about the greatest 5-year turnaround any sports city has ever seen.  Fingers crossed.

Should NFL Teams Trade For Wide Receivers?

There have been countless trades for wide receivers in the NFL.  Countless in the sense that I refuse to try and count them all.  I’m sure the information is out there, but I’m not in the business of compiling a complete list.

I do have AH list, though.  It’s a not-insignificant list, dating back a little over a decade.  Without further ado:

February 12, 2000 – Seattle Seahawks trade Joey Galloway to Dallas Cowboys for 2000 & 2001 first round picks

From the day Joey Galloway stepped onto a football field in 1995, he was a super-stud.  Per season, through 1999, he averaged 57 receptions for 891 yards and 7 touchdowns, with a 15.7 yards per catch average.  He topped 1,000 yards receiving in three of his five seasons, with his only down year taking place in 1999 when he held out for 8 games, hoping to push newly acquired Mike Holmgren around into giving him a new contract.  On top of that, Galloway was a massive success in the punt return game, returning four for touchdowns in his first four seasons.  When Holmgren came to Seattle, everyone thought two things:  that we would FINALLY have a franchise quarterback very soon, and that Joey Galloway would flourish in the West Coast Offense.  However, much like the new inmate who stabs his cell-mate on his first day, Mike Holmgren was looking to show everyone that he was nobody’s bitch.

So, he flipped Joey Galloway for two first rounders, one of the greatest fleecings in NFL trade history!  Galloway promptly tore his ACL in his first game in a Cowboys uniform and was never the same.  He was okay, but no longer the elite burner he had been with the Seahawks.  Didn’t prevent him from having a long, lasting career, which ended after the 2010 season, but he certainly didn’t live up to the cost in Dallas.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks turned those draft picks into Shaun Alexander (pick #19 in 2000), Koren Robinson (pick #9 in 2001), Heath Evans (pick #82 in 2001) and some dumb skank in the seventh round, thanks to trading that Dallas pick (#7 overall) to let San Francisco move up two spots.  Not a bad haul, and the first of many cautionary tales of trading for wide receivers in the NFL.

March 7, 2003 – Buffalo Bills trade Peerless Price to Atlanta Falcons for 2003 first round pick

And birthed about a billion “Price Was Right For Buffalo Bills” jokes and headlines.

You know, I had completely blocked out of my memory that Drew Bledsoe played quarterback for the Bills.  But, it’s true!  It happened!  From 2002 through 2004, he kept a mediocre franchise wallowing in mediocrity.  His last truly great season was 2002 when he threw for 4,359 yards and led the Bills to an 8-8 record.  On that team, he had two primary targets:  Eric Moulds (very underrated wideout), who caught 100 balls for 1,292 yards and 10 touchdowns; and one Peerless Price (very overrated wideout), who caught 94 balls for 1,252 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Price came into the league in 1999 and for the most part underwhelmed.  However, he parlayed a career year in 2002 into a Franchise Tag designation.  The Bills eventually traded him to the Falcons for that aforementioned first round pick, which was turned into Willis McGahee.  The Falcons, meanwhile, finally decided to put some receiving talent around Michael Vick.

Except, Price was pretty awful (to be fair, so was Vick, who was more runner than thrower back then) and was released after two sub-par seasons.  Hefty PRICE to pay indeed …

March 2, 2005 – Minnesota Vikings trade Randy Moss to Oakland Raiders for Napoleon Harris & 2005 first & seventh round picks

April 29, 2007 – Oakland Raiders trade Randy Moss to New England Patriots for 2007 fourth round pick

October 6, 2010 – New England Patriots trade Randy Moss to Minnesota Vikings for 2011 third round pick

Good God, Lemon!

I’m still trying to wrap my head around why Minnesota traded Randy Moss in the first place; probably because he was a real Grade-A prick to deal with, but that’s neither here nor there.  The bounty Oakland gave up is the closest thing approaching what Seattle just gave up for Percy Harvin, except it was for a first, a seventh, and a player instead of a third round pick.  Oakland’s first round pick ended up being the #7 overall choice, which the Vikings used ostensibly to draft his replacement – Troy Williamson (a real dud), but that’s also neither here nor there, because what Oakland gave up doesn’t even come CLOSE to how this trade ultimately backfired for them.

Granted, Minnesota didn’t really benefit from Moss’s departure (as Harris didn’t have much of an impact either), but Oakland got royally hosed.  Moss showed up, caught just a touch over 1,000 yards in 2005, then completely tanked it in 2006, which forced the Raiders to rid themselves of this pain in the ass once and for all.  They essentially gave him away to the Patriots for a 4th round pick, and SURPRISE, Moss magically returned to form.

Randy Moss was the best player alive in 2007 as the Patriots’ record-setting offense saw them go undefeated up until the Super Bowl, where they lost by mere inches as Tom Brady overthrew a streaking Moss in the waning seconds for a potential 80+ yard touchdown bomb.  Moss continued to be top-notch through 2009, until things got real cancerous in 2010, whereupon Moss was traded BACK to the Vikings for a third round pick.

Yeah, you read that right.  New England traded away a fourth rounder, got three amazing years out of a potential Hall of Famer, then traded him away for an even BETTER draft pick in the 2011 draft.  Holy Frijoles!

April 29, 2006 – Green Bay Packers trade Javon Walker to Denver Broncos for 2006 second round pick

Walker had one good season in Green Bay, in 2004, going for nearly 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns with Brett Favre throwing him the ball.  This was after a couple of so-so seasons to start his career.  With one Pro Bowl under his belt, OF COURSE it was time to stick it to the man for a huge pay raise!  Because the Green Bay Packers have built up their dynasty on the foundation of over-paying for flashes in the pan.

Walker hired Drew Rosenhaus, talked a whole truckload of shit in the offseason, threatened to hold out and/or retire in 2005 if he wasn’t granted a trade or release, and finally came to his senses.  This led to him playing in Game 1, tearing an ACL, and being placed on injured reserve (I guess that’s one way to accrue a year’s service time).

Somehow, there was a market for this trainwreck, with the highest bidder being the Denver Broncos.  They not only gave away a second round draft pick, but they signed him to a HUGE 5-year deal.  Again, a guy coming off of an ACL injury, who lost a full season, and who had serious getting-along-with-others issues.  With Jake Plummer and a rookie Jay Cutler at the helm, Walker bounced back in 2006 to catch 69 balls for 1,084 yards and 8 touchdowns.  But, he faltered hard in 2007, became untradeable, and was ultimately released.  Oakland picked him up for the 2008 & 2009 seasons (after the Randy Moss experiment failed), but they got nothing from him and he never played a down thereafter.

September 11, 2006 – New England Patriots trade Deion Branch to Seattle Seahawks for 2007 first round pick

See this post for full details.

March 5, 2007 – Miami Dolphins trade Wes Welker to New England Patriots for 2007 second & seventh round picks

If this article teaches you anything, it’s that the Patriots should be the ONLY team allowed to participate in trades of wide receivers.

Essentially, Miami got nothing out of this deal.  New England got six years of a guy who caught over 100 passes and over 1,000 yards in five of those six seasons.  He has, in short, been a total and complete stud out of the slot.  Even though things appear to be ending acrimoniously, it’s pretty safe to say the Patriots dominated this trade.

April 28, 2007 – Detroit Lions trade Mike Williams and Josh McCown to Oakland Raiders for 2007 fourth round pick

This was how desperate the Lions were to trade erstwhile first rounder Mike Williams (out of USC).  They packaged him with a journeyman backup quarterback and STILL could only get a fourth round pick back from Oakland.  Williams was released after 6 games with the Raiders, played 2 more games with the Titans that season, then didn’t return to the NFL until 2010 with the Seahawks.  All the promise in the world, gone to waste.

April 29, 2007 – Seattle Seahawks trade Darrell Jackson to San Francisco 49ers for 2007 fourth round pick

Jackson put in seven seasons with the Seahawks of varying quality.  He was here for our rise and our best extended run of football.  But, he was constantly battling nagging injuries and was pretty much unable to practice by the time his run in Seattle ended.  So, the Seahawks opted to trade him for whatever they could get, to save a little cap and save themselves another season-ending injury.

I wouldn’t say anyone really “won” this trade – he caught less than 50 passes in his lone season with San Francisco for less than 500 yards before moving on with his career – because the Seahawks didn’t exactly make the best use of their fourth round pick (Mansfield Wrotto, because Tim Ruskell, obvs).  I would say expectations were higher for the 49ers; they were likely expecting a quality starter who would push them over the top in 2007.  What they got was a guy nearing the end of his run.  Too bad, because I always thought Jackson was a good guy.

October 16, 2007 – Miami Dolphins trade Chris Chambers to San Diego Chargers for 2008 second round pick

Chambers was always a super-talented receiver who, for whatever reason, couldn’t kick it up that notch to elite status.  In his first six seasons with the Dolphins, he only surpassed 1,000 yards one time (though he was over 650 yards in each of those seasons).  He made the Pro Bowl in 2005 and everyone thought he had turned a corner.  Except, in 2006, he took a giant step back.  In the middle of 2007, he was traded, which is the ultimate cautionary tale:  you never trade for a wide receiver in the middle of a season.

It’s bad news!  If I had the time, I would devote a post just to this, because it’s absolutely asinine.  You 100% need that time in the offseason and pre-season to get acquainted with your quarterback.  Learn his tendencies, anticipate where he wants you to go when a play breaks down.  San Diego had none of that, so of course the rest of his 2007 season was a lost cause.

Of course, with Chambers, a full offseason probably wouldn’t have done a lick of good.  My guess:  he dogged it and got too lazy to keep up in the rigorous NFL.  Either way, his 2008 was absolutely piss-poor, and he was released 7 games into 2009.  He finished his miserable career in Kansas City, where he belonged.

October 14, 2008 – Detroit Lions trade Roy Williams & 2010 seventh round pick to Dallas Cowboys for 2009 first, third, and sixth round picks

Man, don’t speak Roy Williams’ name around Cowboys fans; they might murder you!

Roy Williams was another decent-to-good receiver on a bad team traded in the middle of a season.  Dallas obviously didn’t learn its lesson from the Joey Galloway debacle and were rewarded thusly:  two and a half seasons of drops, fumbles, and all-around crappy play.  I don’t think anyone could have foreseen him stinking as badly as he did – especially when you consider he was surrounded by a talented quarterback and some talented receivers in Miles Austin and Jason Witten, but there you go.

April 11, 2010 – Pittsburgh Steelers trade Santonio Holmes to New York Jets for 2010 fifth round pick

After Roy Williams and Deion Branch, I thought it was safe to say we’d seen the last of teams trading first round draft picks for wide receivers.  Still, it was pretty shocking to see what little the Steelers actually got in return for a fairly productive fourth-year veteran.  You’d think with the Jets’ dearth of talent on offense, they could’ve squeezed a second or third rounder out of ’em.  But, considering what Holmes has become – injured and only so-so performance-wise – maybe a fifth rounder was OVER-paying.

April 14, 2010 – Denver Broncos trade Brandon Marshall to Miami Dolphins for 2010 & 2011 second round picks

March 13, 2012 – Miami Dolphins trade Brandon Marshall to Chicago Bears for 2012 & 2013 third round picks

Miami!  Did anyone ever tell you you’re THE WORST at dealing wide receivers?

Marshall was a pain in Denver’s God-foresaken ass pretty much from day 1, when it was apparent that he would be a stud and a diva at the same time.  When Jay Cutler officially took over as the starter in Denver – in Marshall’s second season – Marshall was the primary beneficiary.  Three consecutive seasons, from 2007-2009, Marshall caught over 100 passes.  But, since the Broncos were tired of his bullshit, they took the best offer they could get and they ran with it:  two second rounders.

The Dolphins hoped, by bringing in Marshall, they’d provide Chad Henne with the elite receiver to boost their overall passing game.  Unfortunately, they backed the wrong horse, as Chad Henne continued to suck dick in the endless Dolphins parade of dick-sucking at quarterback since Dan Marino retired.  When the Dolphins realized they sucked at life, they decided to trade a guy who caught back-to-back seasons of 80-plus passes for them to the Bears for considerably LESS than what they paid to bring him there in the first place.

The Bears, with Cutler en tow, enjoyed Marshall’s return to form, catching over 100 passes for over 1,500 yards in his best-ever season stats-wise.  The Dolphins, conversely, just overpaid for Mike Wallace so he can try to catch balls from Ryan Tannehill (see:  endless dick-sucking parade from before).

March 5, 2010 – Arizona Cardinals trade Anquan Boldin & 2010 fifth round pick to Baltimore Ravens for 2010 third & fourth round picks

March 12, 2013 – Baltimore Ravens trade Anquan Boldin to San Francisco 49ers for 2013 sixth round pick

The Cardinals were looking ahead in their attempt to pay Larry Fitzgerald insane gobs of money to keep him there (even though they trick-fucked him by letting Kurt Warner retire and not having a proper heir to replace him set up and ready to go) and knew they couldn’t afford to keep both him and Boldin, so there you go.  They got what they could from Baltimore and let the Ravens give him a big-money deal.  The Ravens were rewarded with three adequate, sub-1,000 yard seasons (as an offense that wasn’t really all that high-scoring anyway) and a Super Bowl victory this past February.  I’d say:  not too bad of a deal for the Ravens.  And, it’s hard to blame the Cardinals too much for this particular move.  I mean, when you compare it to literally EVERY OTHER MOVE they’ve made since losing that Super Bowl to the Steelers, trading away Boldin for a couple of mid-draft picks is pretty not-bad by comparison.

The Ravens are in a similar boat right now, having just signed Joe Flacco to the biggest deal in the history of ever.  Boldin was counting too much against the cap, so he had to go.  It’s pretty disingenuous of Flacco to publicly root for the Ravens to keep their other stars when he selfishly signed such a crippling contract, but I guess he got the “respect” he was looking for (money, respect = money).

And this is an AMAZING deal for a 49ers team still in their prime and looking to make it back to the Super Bowl.  I’m sure Boldin is licking his chops at the chance to go to back-to-back Super Bowls, only this time with the team he just beat LAST season.

March 12, 2013 – Minnesota Vikings trade Percy Harvin to Seattle Seahawks for 2013 first & seventh round picks & 2014 third round pick

I’m not going to get into some of the other guys I had jotted down (Brandon Lloyd, Mike Thomas, etc.) because this post is long enough as it is and I’ve got other shit to do.

I’m also not going to get too deep into this whole Harvin deal, because I’ve spent the whole fucking week talking about it.  I will say that the Seahawks are the first team to pony up a first rounder since the Cowboys did so for Roy Williams.  In fact, if you’ve been paying attention to this post, you’ll notice that not one single team got the value they were looking for when they gave away first round pick(s) to get wide receivers.  They all THOUGHT they were getting something amazing.  But, one way or another, they all got fucked.

So, something to look forward to.  Don’t necessarily buy into the gambler’s fallacy; just because the last ten flips of the coin were tails doesn’t necessarily mean this flip is destined to be heads.  Just put your money down and hope, that’s all you can do as a Seahawks fan.

***

There have been some miserable failures on this list, to be sure.  But, let us not forget one of the greatest success stories of all time.  A reason for hope!  Probably the greatest/most-lopsided trade in the history of the NFL:

August 26, 1976 – Houston Oilers trade Steve Largent to Seattle Seahawks for 1977 eighth round pick

That’s right.  The greatest Seahawk who ever lived, the first-ever Hall of Famer in franchise history, and the guy who retired with almost every wide receiving record in NFL history (before Art Monk, and later Jerry Rice blew right on past him) was drafted by the Houston Oilers and traded for a draft pick who never played a down of regular season NFL football.

So, you know, trading for a wide receiver isn’t ALL bad …

Focusing On What Percy Harvin Is, Not What He Might Be

The more I think about it, the more I read about it, the more I let go of my Seattle “poor me” baggage, the harder my dick gets at the thought of Percy Harvin in a Seahawks uniform.

Which is odd, because for every amazing new tidbit of exciting information I receive, there’s also another that should give me even more pause.  Like how Percy Harvin is a Diva Head Case.  Like how he might have faked migraines because he was disgruntled in Minnesota.  Like how you never promise crazy a baby (i.e. don’t reward someone’s insanity with one of the biggest wide receiver contracts in recorded history).

But, you know what?  Fuck it.  I’m putting on the big ol’ floppy Homer Hat and I’m swatting criticism of this trade away like a pimp in a bitch-slapping competition.

No more worrying about injuries!  No more concerning myself with what it has taken to bring him here (a first & seventh rounder this year, and a third rounder next year … yeesh)!  No more fretting over what it’s going to cost to keep him here (upwards of $12 million per year)!  No mulling over what this is going to do to what was once a cap situation the envy of all of pro football!  I’m just going to sit back, and soak in all the potential goodness.

Like how this trade might give the Seahawks the very best offense in football.  Yeah, I said it!  Did you see how this offense performed down the stretch last season?  That happened because Russell Wilson improved exponentially.  Now, we’re injecting that same offense – where everyone came together and gelled so spectacularly – with one of the biggest talents in the NFL.

Now, you’ll notice I didn’t say one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, though I would argue he’s easily in the Top 20.  But, when you factor in how he’s a multi-threat, that puts him in a very small, very elite league of his own.  Already, you can argue he’s one of the best slot receivers in the game.  Already, you can argue he’s one of the best kick returners in the league.  Now, recall he has experience coming out of the backfield.  Also recall he has experience in the zone read with Tim Tebow back in college.  And, for shits and giggles, I’m not going to limit him to just short and intermediate routes; right now, he’s probably the fastest receiver on the Seahawks.  So, you’ll be damn sure that this team is going to stretch the field with him and see if he can’t get behind some safeties.

Let’s just count the ways Percy Harvin can take over a football game:

  1. Deep Threat
  2. Zone Read Option back
  3. Natural running back
  4. End-Around runner
  5. Screen pass catcher
  6. Slot receiver
  7. Kick returner
  8. Punt returner

Am I missing anything?  Because, that’s pretty fucking insane, right?

Someone likened him to Darren Sproles earlier today.  Remember how Darren Sproles was an absolute game-changer for the New Orleans Saints, once he was paired with Drew Brees?  And that’s a straight up running back who primarily runs the ball and catches screen & swing passes, with a few other short routes mixed in.  Harvin can stretch the field!  You don’t need a tall receiver a la Randy Moss in his prime to stretch the field.  Pure speed and pass-catching ability will do.  Harvin has that.  Maybe he won’t win the most jump balls in the world, but there are other ways to score touchdowns.  Wes Welker doesn’t have much problem scoring in the red zone.

This time last year, one of our biggest concerns was the wide receiver corps.  Sidney Rice couldn’t stay healthy.  Golden Tate hadn’t shown much of anything in his first two seasons.  Doug Baldwin was a nice story as a rookie, but could he keep up his production?  And where was the Zach Miller we thought we were getting when we signed him to that huge contract as a free agent?

Well, Tate took a big step forward, Rice stayed healthy (for the most part), Baldwin kept up his end of the bargain even though he spent most of the year battling nagging injuries, and Miller came up HUGE in the playoffs.  Now, throw Harvin into that mix.  Worst case scenario:  you’re improving the overall receiver depth on this team tenfold.  Instead of Jermaine Kearse or Charly Martin, or Insert Over-The-Hill Veteran’s Name Here (Braylon Edwards, T.O., Mike Williams, Brandon Stokley), this team can go into 2013 with a legitimately high-tier receiving corps.  I’m not going to say we’re the best 1 through 4 in the NFL (my big ol’ floppy Homer Hat only goes so far), but we’re certainly in the top half in the league.  Maybe top 10.  MAYBE, if everyone reaches their potential, top 5.  I don’t know; it’s too early to start focusing on the rest of the league right now.

Before I drop this (for the time being), I’m taking a quick looksee at our 2013 schedule.  The dates & times haven’t been set, but we know the teams and we know WHERE we will be playing them.  It’s the AFC South, the NFC South, the NFC West (obviously), and Minnesota and the Giants.  Without a doubt, the Seahawks are going 8-0 again at home (toughest non-49ers matchup at home is New Orleans, which is a team we can probably score 50 on).  As for the road, the toughest non-49ers games are the Falcons, the Texans, and the Giants (with honorable mention going to the Colts).  Still, the only tough non-49ers defense we play all year will likely be Houston’s.

In other words, there is no saying this team CAN’T average 30 points per game.  13-3 is a reasonable expectation.  14-2 isn’t off the table.  Hell, feel free to dream a little dream about 15-1, because THERE’S NO STOPPING THE BLUE WAVE!

#29 – Golden Tate

To see the full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2012, click here.

I can’t justify putting Tate any higher than this because the Seahawks have already done so much without him.  I mean, he has a combined 609 yards in his first two seasons, over 56 receptions.  You can’t even say his yards per reception makes him all that much of a big play threat on paper, averaging only 10.9.  Thus far, he has 3 TDs and 1 fumble.  He has essentially been a nothing.

But, he is one of the 30 most important Seahawks because in reality, he DOES have big-play potential.  And he was drafted in Carroll & Schneider’s first year here.  AND because I believe he’s one of the few locks on this team with something to prove.

They’re not going to cut Golden Tate, so let’s just get that out of the way up front.  The kid has raw talent.  And he’s had two years in the same offense, so even if he’s one of the dumbest players in football, he’s still had two years to figure some shit out.  Now, with Mike Williams’ spot vacated, this is Tate’s opportunity.  No, they’re not the same type of receiver, but it doesn’t matter.  Big Mike was taking away snaps from Tate.  Now, they can be his, if he makes the leap and earns them in Training Camp.

That’s the thing, Pete Carroll has proven he’s not just going to GIVE you plays.  You have to go out and win your playing time by showing you’re better than the other guys.  Golden Tate CAN be an elite receiver.  But, he has to want it.  He should have already studied this playbook like it’s the fucking Torah, he should have been working with quarterbacks on this playbook all offseason long, and he needs to know what routes he’s supposed to run before the quarterback has uttered a word in the huddle.

Of course, we can’t forget that Tate is already our backup return man.  Leon Washington is getting up there.  He will also figure to get a good number of 3rd down snaps at running back with no Forsett on the roster.  That should open up a couple returns a game for Tate to flash his amazing speed and shiftiness.

Yes, going into 2012, Golden Tate is our 29th most important player, but he has the potential to FAR exceed that ranking.  He just needs to fucking do it already.

Nearly Forgotten: Mike Williams Waived

Lost in all the Beastmode chatter – not to mention, the move was made on a Friday afternoon in the middle of summer – is the fact that Mike Williams was dropped by the Seattle Seahawks.

You may or may not be aware that I made this exact prediction a little over two months ago, but really, who COULDN’T see this coming?  Although, I find it interesting that it has taken us until NOW to hear from the local media that Mike Williams showed up to mini-camps out of shape.  I dunno, maybe I just wasn’t paying attention, but it seems to me that these media guys are ALWAYS letting observations like that go without a word … until he’s off the team, and then the claws come out, so to speak.  It’s why it’s totally impossible to take any Spring Training or Training Camp reports seriously!  How can you make any rational predictions based off of what you read in newspapers when they’re effectively lying to you?  Mike Williams coming to camp out of shape is a HUGE story!  You have to report that, even it if means Mike Williams doesn’t talk to you for a while!

It’s the same reason why you can’t take predictions from media types seriously, because they’re not basing their predictions on all the evidence available to them.  Does a pissed off Mike Williams make your job more difficult as a beat writer?  Maybe a little.  But, maybe if the media ACTUALLY held some feet to the fire, these guys wouldn’t come to camp out of shape in the first place.

I dunno, a gripe of mine.  Anyway, moving on.

Mike Williams is gone.  Ho hum.  Even if I didn’t think he was going to be cut going into this season, it would have been impossible to expect all that much from the guy.  He was a nice story, but the NFL is a young man’s game.  Unless you’re some kind of freakish titan like Jerry Rice, you’re not long for this game.  Budgetary restraints dictate roster moves.  So, guys who play wide receiver and running back tend to get the ax a little more quickly.  I hate to beat this dead horse over and over again, but if you can find guys like Doug Baldwin in the ranks of the undrafted, then you are always going to be able to find guys who can replace players like Mike Williams.

Really, this is good for everyone.  It’s good for Mike Williams because he gets a chance to sign with another team before camps begin.  It’s good for the Seahawks because they won’t have a veteran distraction at a position that is going to prove to be the most competitive on the entire team.  And, really, it’s going to be good for the overall competition ON this team.  It’s one more roster spot that opens up to a guy who might not have otherwise expected to make the team.  That small ounce of hope might be all the difference for one of this year’s undrafted rookies to shock the world and make the opening day roster.

The bottom line is:  this team didn’t need Mike Williams.  He was a nice story as a guy who ate himself out of the league and made a once-in-a-lifetime comeback, but at some point you have to realize the NFL is about winning.  No one cares about your nice comeback story if the team finishes 7-9 every season.

This year is really make-or-break.  I don’t think it’s fair to say the Seahawks have to make the playoffs or Pete Carroll is fired; but I do think it’s fair to say the Seahawks SHOULD make the playoffs, and at the very least contend to the very last week.  You always want to see improvement with a new head coach (until he eventually takes you to the Super Bowl, then he can do no wrong).  Well, finishing better than 7-9 would be a nice start.  And I have 7 to 9 good reasons why that is …

Will Mike Williams Make The Team?

As long as we’re speculating wildly about veteran Seahawks without a shred of anything other than hearsay, I might as well look at our Wide Receiver position and take a look at things.

It’s tough to say right now how many guys the Seahawks are going to keep at the position, but I think it’s appropriate to believe six is the magic number.  Field Gulls talks about it a little bit and seems to believe there are already five guys who are as safe as safe can be, considering no formal Training Camp or Preseason has taken place  yet.  They say:

Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, Mike Williams, and Kris Durham should all make the team.

Leaving one spot for three other guys (Obomanu, Butler, and Lockette).

First and foremost, the only guy who is ACTUALLY safe to consider a lock for this team is Doug Baldwin.  You gotta figure Sidney Rice is at least a 90-95% lock, but that other 5-10% involves whether or not he can stay healthy.  At some point, you get tired of watching a guy lose half a season to some malady and just cut ties.  I figure Golden Tate is fairly safe, but he’s going to have to take a major step forward or else this will be his last go-around with the team.

As for Kris Durham and Mike Williams, I don’t think they’re safe AT ALL.  Here’s my take on the matter:  why would you want two guys on your 53-man roster who are pretty much the exact same?  Both are tall, relatively slow, and not particularly big leapers.  Essentially, they’re both 6’5 slot receivers, which makes absolutely no sense!  Yeah, they’re going to play one of the flanker positions, but how productive can you expect them to be?

Kris Durham has a slight advantage over Williams in that he’s younger, but the same red flags remain.  He’s a guy who missed most of last season with an injury.  Williams played most of last season, but was seemingly CONSTANTLY battling some nagging thing or another.  To say he had a down season last year would be sugarcoating the obvious:  he was TERRIBLE.  And, for once, we can probably say that Mike Williams had a terrible season unrelated to him dogging it with his physical fitness.  I just think his body is breaking down and he will never again be able to contribute at a high level for a full 16-game season.  Yeah, he’s only 28 years old, but when you’re talking about a guy who has battled weight issues for a long stretch, that’s certainly going to take some years off of your legs.  Last year, Mike Williams played football like a 34 year old would play football:  slow and invisible.

If Durham can figure out a way to make a dent this offseason, I could see the Seahawks just keeping him and dropping Williams.  Then again, if they both come out and struggle, I could easily see the Seahawks waiving both.

Personally, I don’t think the Seahawks would be at all smart to let Ricardo Lockette go.  That guy might have only caught two passes last season, but those were some impressive fucking catches!  With the dearth we have as far as high-end wide receiver speed, the Seahawks can’t afford to let this guy go!  Rice isn’t a speed guy.  Williams and Durham certainly aren’t speed guys.  Obomanu and Baldwin are quick, but I wouldn’t say they have the kind of down-field burning speed we’re looking for.  As far as I can tell, it’s just Lockette and Butler (but who knows if Butler has recovered from his leg fracture?).

If I had to give you the six wide receivers the Seahawks will keep going into the 2012 season, I’d say it looks something like this:

  1. Sidney Rice
  2. Doug Baldwin
  3. Ben Obomanu
  4. Ricardo Lockette
  5. Golden Tate
  6. Kris Durham

But, we’ll see.  Maybe I’ll be surprised by one of these undrafted free agents.  Maybe some other team cuts a guy that we like.  Either way, I don’t think there’s any way in hell Mike Williams makes this team.  He was a nice feel-good story for a while there, but it looks like his time is up.

Last Dance With Golden Tate

I was thinking about the Seahawks’ receivers before I even read this, but I figure I might as well acknowledge it.

The Seahawks are currently set on exactly two receivers for next season’s team:  Sidney Rice & Doug Baldwin.  As was noted all last season, Doug Baldwin is the real deal.  He was easily our best receiver (as an undrafted rookie) with 51 catches for 788 yards.  That’s with Tarvaris Jackson as quarterback!  So, you know with a guy like Flynn, he’s probably capable of double that!

And say what you will about Rice, but when he’s healthy, he’s a force.  Granted, you have to take that health into consideration, which is why I gotta figure the Seahawks will be looking to keep an extra receiver around just for emergencies.

In the middle of the pack, all pretty safely on the team, but still fighting for significant playing time, you’ve got Mike Williams, Ben Obomanu, Kris Durham, and, of course, Golden Tate.

There’s no denying that Big Mike had a down year last year.  A little probably had to do with nagging injury, a lot probably had to do with the lack of a rapport with Tarvar, and a decent-sized amount probably had to do with Big Mike acting like a little bitch when he didn’t get the ball thrown his way.  I don’t mean to single him out, because in general I think all wide receivers are little bitches when it comes to not getting enough targets, but it’s not like that’s something I can ignore when I’m evaluating his season last year.

Obomanu has continued to make this team out of training camp in defiance of his actual on-field talent level.  He’s not big, he’s not fast, he doesn’t have the greatest hands in the world, I guess he runs okay routes, but what does that matter when he’s not that big or fast enough to create separation?  I would expect him to continue to make this team even though there’s no rational reason for that to happen (unless, of course, he’s due a big bonus or all the other receivers on the roster blow him out of the water).

Durham is a draft pick, and he’s got that size Pete Carroll loves.  He missed almost all of last season with injury, so you know Pete’s going to want to see what he’s got.

That just leaves Golden Tate.

Last year, I wrote, “Golden Tate absolutely MUST make strides this year towards being a pro receiver.”  The big question on everyone’s minds is:  did he?

Technically, yes.  He increased his receptions from 21 in 2010 to 35 in 2011 (that’s after learning a new offense AND not having a proper offseason with which to do it).  He increased his yards from 227 to 382 (which, I’ll admit, aren’t exactly mind-blowing numbers in the least).

What’s encouraging is not the season as a whole, but how he finished last season.  In his last 8 games, Golden Tate racked up 286 of his 382 yards (and 24 of his 35 catches).  That coincides with the premature end of Sidney Rice’s season, which means he took advantage of a direct opportunity.  It also shows that the team was comfortable enough with him to significantly increase his playing time.  The increase in overall targets is there, which means he was developing a better chemistry with the quarterback.  These all bode really well for Mr. Tate!

What doesn’t particularly bode well for him is that he and Doug Baldwin are essentially the same player.  With Baldwin’s overall production being through the roof last season, you have to figure he’s ahead of Tate on the depth chart for that slot position.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have two slot receivers on your team, but with this offense, how many times do you expect them to go beyond a 3-WR set?  Not bloody often, considering they love to run the ball and they love the tight end position.

Not the least of Tate’s worries are the guys below him on the depth chart.  Deon Butler is still kicking around on this team (though, you HAVE to figure this is his very final opportunity, and if he doesn’t make the team out of camp, he will be cut).  I’m sure if the Seahawks don’t draft another receiver this year, they’ll at LEAST bring in one or two undrafted guys to compete.

And, let us not forget Ricardo Lockette.  Dude spent most of the season last year not playing a lick of football, but then he finally got an opportunity in the last two games of the season.  Granted, he only caught two passes in those two games, but my GOD what an impression he made with those two receptions!

On the second play of the game, against the 49ers, Tarvar to Lockette for 44 yards from the Seahawks’ 20 yard line to the 49ers’ 36.  The Seahawks would go on to score a touchdown for an early 7-0 lead.

In the fourth quarter of the Arizona game, down by a touchdown with less than 8 minutes to go, the Seahawks forced a 3-and-out and got the ball on their own 39 yard line.  The very first play of the drive saw Tarvar launch a bomb to Lockette for a 61-yard touchdown to tie it up.

Two plays, 105 yards.  What Tate has going for him, with regards to Lockette, is that Lockette is a bit taller (6’2), so in theory if he develops properly, he could be an outside flanker type of speed burner guy.

Nevertheless, there is quite a bit of talent on this team at receiver.  It’s time for Golden Tate to step his game up.  I’m talking over 50 receptions and over 700 yards.  It’s time.  Because I can’t imagine this coaching staff is going to wait around forever.

Huskies Have Inside Track For First Place

Well, it took a while, but the Dawgs are in sole possession of first place with two games to go.  Both on the road, both down in Los Angeles.  USC is the worst team in the Pac-12 (which would place them high in the runnin’ for worst team in all of college basketball), so they should be pushovers.  That just leaves our contest on March 3rd at … 11am?!  Ye gods!

Of course, Cal could do us a big favor by losing on March 4th in Stanford, but I don’t think anyone believes that’ll happen.

How did we get here?  Wouldn’t you know it, I missed watching this game too (I was at a charity pub golf match … won myself a signed Seahawks football which includes names such as John Moffit, Mike Williams, Walter Thurmond, Roy Lewis, James “Pancakes” Carpenter, Marcus Trufant, John Carlson, Ben Obomanu, and others), but from the highlights I saw, it looked like quite the back-and-forth.

In short, the Cougs Coug’d it.  Need I really say more?

I don’t, but I will anyway because it rolls off the tongue so delectably.  The Huskies were down 13 with something like 11 minutes to go in the game.  We proceeded to walk them down thanks to some fine defense and some less-than-fine production at the free throw line by the losers (17 of 32 … at home!).

This was, like most of our victories, a game where you come out of it saying, “How in the hell did we just win?”  Hell if I know!  Tony Wroten was his usual great self, but Terrence Ross was saddled with foul trouble and we got our usual nothing from our big men.  I thank my lucky stars every day that Wilcox’s injury wasn’t worse than it was.

This is exciting, isn’t it?  By all rights, we have no business being in this position with the way we looked early in the season.  And yet, here we are, two games to go and a chance to control our destiny.  Fuck it, let’s win ’em both and then go win the Pac-12 Tournament as well.  I don’t want to give those fucks down at the league office a chance to shut us out of March Madness!