To see the full list of the 20 best Seahawks in 2012, click here.
Sidney Rice had 5 more receptions and 60 more yards than Golden Tate, so one would think he’d have an edge in a seemingly-arbitrary list such as this. However, Sidney Rice didn’t single-handedly win the Seahawks an entire football game in one of the most controversial endings of a football game in the history of the NFL, so Golden Tate gets the nod.
Tate had a huge jump in 2012. His yardage total – 688 – beats his combined yardage total for 2010 and 2011. His reception total – 45 – came just 11 shy of his combined reception total for 2010 and 2011. He more than doubled his number of touchdown receptions (7 in 2012, 3 combined for 2010 & 2011). And, for good measure, he led the football team in Passer Rating (a perfect 158.3, thanks to going 1 for 1 for 23 yards and a touchdown).
I think a lot of us had high hopes for Golden Tate, so in that sense, 2012 was more than welcome. We were starting to seriously wonder if he had ANYTHING to provide a professional football team. You can find good speed anywhere. You can find speedier guys than Tate to be sure. But, being an elite wide receiver in the NFL is more than being fast. It’s being smart. It’s being physical. It’s being dedicated to do whatever it takes, all the time. Golden Tate made great strides in these areas of his game in 2012, and the Seahawks were rewarded handsomely.
So, here’s the question going forward: is this as good as it gets? Or, can Golden Tate take that next step towards being a truly elite receiver in this league? A Pro Bowler? An All Pro?
A lot of that is really out of his hands. There’s two parts to every reception; he still needs the quarterback to throw him the ball. Also, you have to wonder: do the Seahawks see enough in Golden Tate to make him worthy of signing to a contract extension? If I’m not mistaken, he will be a free agent after next year. And so will a bunch of other people drafted by this team. Will he be a priority? Or will he be let go in a numbers game?
We say it every year, but it may be no truer a statement than it is right now: 2013 will be make-or-break for Golden Tate in Seattle. If he can bust out with 800-1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns, he will likely have done enough to warrant a contract extension. If he just has an okay season like he did in 2012, or God forbid regresses, then we’re probably talking about the Seahawks walking away.
Of course, if the Seahawks are smart, they won’t let it come to that point without having at least a Plan B in place. That Plan B should be a drafted receiver in the upcoming NFL Draft. If Golden Tate doesn’t stand out in any meaningful way, but Rookie Wide Receiver X comes in and shows some real promise, then I think you have your answer. But, if the team isn’t able to find anyone of value to replace Tate, then you’re dealing with a situation where you HAVE to re-sign the guy, or else take a huge step back with your offense going forward.