2021 Mariners Preview Extravaganza: We Have A Starting Rotation

I don’t know if the official 26-man roster has been set yet, but I do know we have the 6-man rotation good to go. So, I’ll start there. I’ll forego the bullpen because I don’t know those men, nor do I care to know those men. Tomorrow, I’ll look to talk about the everyday players and then we’ll get this pig in gear!

  1. Marco Gonzales (L)
  2. James Paxton (L)
  3. Chris Flexen (R)
  4. Justus Sheffield (L)
  5. Yusei Kikuchi (L)
  6. Justin Dunn (R)

The next man up – at least until Logan Gilbert gets his initial call-up – figures to be lefty Nick Margevicius. So, a lot of familiar faces there.

Once the M’s signed Paxton, this is pretty much the group we expected all along, even if the order after the top two is a little surprising. I think you can really toss all four of the bottom guys (five if you count Margevicius) into a hat and pick them out at random. Is Flexen really the #3 guy? Or, is he just projected to be the most-reliable right-handed starter and Scott Servais wanted to break up the four lefties? My hunch is it’s the latter.

When healthy, I’ll ride or die with Gonzales and Paxton all day every day; I think that’s as solid a 1-2 punch as you’ll find. Especially with Paxton as your #2? When he’s going strong, he’s as dominant as they come! If things break right with this team, these two guys should have tremendous winning percentages when it’s all said and done.

Neither, of course, were particularly amazing in Spring Training; Gonzales had a pretty high ERA and Paxton only made two official starts (with, presumably, lots of games in back-alleys to fill out his pitch counts). But, these are tried and true veterans who only need to get the work in; they have nothing to prove in these games. I expect big things.

Flexen has always been an interesting case, as he’s largely either an unknown in America, or a terrible pitcher. He salvaged his career in Asia, and obviously is hoping he can carry that over back in the Major Leagues, but this is all Wait & See for me. He had five starts in Spring Training, and pretty pedestrian numbers, but his last two starts totalled 8 innings of 5-hit, shutout ball. So, at least he’s hot heading into the regular season.

Justus Sheffield impressed the hell out of me in 2020. He’s another one with pretty shabby Spring Training numbers, but his last two starts totalled 8.2 innings of 6-hit, 2-run ball. He’s not the proven veteran that Gonzales and Paxton are, so I don’t know if we can totally write off his performance in those four official games. I would still expect an up-and-down season, hopefully with more ups than downs. A full Mariners turnaround and/or a playoff-bound 2021 season likely requires Sheffield to be better than he was in 2020, and to continue to improve as time goes on. I’ll be rooting like crazy for this to happen, even though I have my nagging doubts.

Seeing Yusei Kikuchi as the #5 starter is pretty abysmal, all things considered. There’s no way the Mariners signed him to all of that money to be their fifth starter. Kikuchi had three official starts in Spring Training and his numbers were solid. He continues to make steady progress, but I don’t know if he’s making ENOUGH progress to be a guy that will stick around beyond 2021. At this point, I’d say my prediction is that he’ll continue to scuffle and won’t be here in 2022 under his existing contract, if at all. BUT, of any one of these bottom four guys who might put it all together, I think Kikuchi has the highest ceiling in 2021 (if not necessarily beyond). He has the stuff! The fastball works. If the command locks in, the American League better watch out, because Kikuchi could be pretty special.

I was happy to see Justin Dunn make the rotation in the 6-spot, because obviously he has a much higher ceiling than Margevicius. He’s apparently in tremendous shape and has added a few MPH to his fastball. He’s still young, he’s still raw, but he battled like crazy in 2020 and I’m hopeful another year in the Bigs will work wonders for his development. Like the rest of these bottom four guys, I expect ups and downs. Like Sheffield (and, really, everyone, I suppose), here’s to more ups than downs.

The over/under for Mariners wins is 72.5 (72-90/73-89). That’s a pretty low bar for this team to clear. If it does, I think we’ll have to lean on the rotation to … just keep us in games. That’s largely what they did in 2020. Nothing TOO flashy, just some solid 5-6 innings of 3-4 run ball. The hitting will be there sometimes and will fail us sometimes (but, I think it’ll be there more often than not); the bullpen PROBABLY won’t blow it every single time.

For this team to exceed expectations and actually contend for a playoff spot, I think the rotation will have to be better than just solid. They’ll have to go long stretches of carrying this team. Of not putting too much on the shoulders of the bullpen, as it tries to sort itself out. It COULD be capable of that, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. I think this rotation is good enough to get us to 76-80 wins, with the team constructed around it as such. The real wild card is what we have in the upper minors, how quickly they can develop, and how hot they start their Major League careers.

The Mariners are going to have to ride their youngsters if they’re going to wildly exceed expectations. Fingers crossed!

The Husky Basketball Team Needs To Rebuild In A Hurry

Last I wrote about the Dawgs, I was telling you about how much this team has sucked over the last season and a half. My feelings have not changed since then.

What has changed is the team itself. The Transfer Portal giveth and the Transfer Portal taketh away!

Erik Stevenson was the first domino to drop. We got him just last year as a transfer from Wichita State, so I guess he was another underwhelming One & Done!

Then, the under-used (question mark?) Marcus Tsohonis opted to leave the program. He was an offensive sparkplug in some of the games he played in, but also was total shit offensively in some of the games he played in. Obviously, there were a number of games he either hardly played or didn’t play at all, which ultimately led to his leaving; why he was utilized so is probably due to his defense being lacking. All right.

The Huskies followed this up by getting someone to FINALLY come here, in an international recruit by the name of Samuel Ariyibi. He’s a small forward type with long arms and proficient at defense, with limited offensive abilities. As long as he can do SOMETHING well, I guess I’m okay with it. I’d rather have defense than nothing.

Then, there was the double-whammy of Nate Pryor and J’Raan Brooks leaving the Huskies. I don’t think they did anything, so no big loss there. On the same day, it was announced the Dawgs were bringing in erstwhile highly-touted recruit Terrell Brown, who was a star for Seattle U, then got limited action with Arizona. He could be a centerpiece for the Huskies next season, which is something we’ve sorely needed. As the starting point guard who will almost certainly replace Quade Green, learn all you can about Brown, because we’ll be seeing him a lot.

Finally, RaeQuan Battle opted to leave. I don’t know why this was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Husky fans, but dude, he was terrible! Ostensibly, he’s supposed to be this sharp-shooter from long-range, and we built an offense that allowed guys to shoot the three as often as they liked. He had free-rein to shoot and shoot and shoot, and all he did was lay brick after brick after brick! Fuck that. Good riddance. I’m sure he’ll figure it out for his next team, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he totally flamed out. If you can’t improve your jumper after two straight years – especially when that’s ALL that you do – then I’m sorry, but this is not a loss. This is addition by subtraction.

Other than Stevenson – who, again, was just okay – I don’t see the big deal here. None of these transfer guys did a damn thing to help the Huskies win last season. The loss of Green will be a minor blow, but also he was the best of a very bad group, so it’s hard to tell how good he really is. I could shit-can the entire roster and not feel one iota of remorse or ill-will towards Mike Hopkins. Hop is our guy, for better or for worse, at least for the time being.

As the winner of back-to-back Pac-12 Coach of the Year awards, I still think he’s earned the right to try to turn this around. The Transfer Portal is bigger and more robust than ever. There are talented guys out there. He just needs to find an offense and stick with it, and then recruit like hell to get guys who FIT that offense (while, obviously, finding guys who will buy-in and execute his defense). There’s a path back to respectability as early as next season. The Pac-12 is suddenly killing it in the NCAA Tournament right now, and Washington is a medium-profile program in that conference.

Offering, I might add, ample minutes to any disgruntled transfer candidates who felt shaded by their previous teams. It’s the wild west out here! Come get your minutes!

I’m excited by the Huskies having their dead weight shed for them. I don’t see this exodus as a problem in the slightest. I see this as an opportunity to immediately turn the program around.

And, if Hop can’t do it, and the Huskies continue to dwell in the cellar, welp! We tried. But, you almost certainly have to cut him loose if it happens again, regardless of how many millions of dollars he’s still owed.

What Even Happened This Weekend Around The Seahawks?

I guess the 49ers are drafting 3rd overall? Which almost definitely means they’re going after one of the top 3 quarterbacks in this draft. And, since the New York Jets are destined to bungle this no matter who they take, that REALLY means the 49ers are going after one of the top 2 quarterbacks in this draft (#JetsBurn).

So that’s, you know, disconcerting. Jimmy G is the known commodity. He’s the mediocre evil we know. Whoever they end up drafting has a chance to be a superstar; Jimmy G very much has a ceiling that we know and love (he needs an all-time great team around him to be a Super Bowl-contending quarterback, otherwise he’s just okay). Now, obviously, they could also bungle the quarterback pick – because college quarterbacks are notoriously bungle-prone – and I’m sure that’s what we’ll all be rooting for the next few years.

The answer to the question: what are the Seahawks going to do to replace Jarran Reed turned out to be: bring back Al Woods on a 1-year, $3 million deal. He will be 34 years old, and opted out of the 2020 season entirely. I guess I like Al Woods well enough, and it’s not like we’re asking a ton out of our backup defensive tackle … but I see some red flags.

That gives us Poona Ford, Bryan Mone, Al Woods, a couple of young guys I don’t know, and of course guys like L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green who can slide inside on passing downs to rush the quarterback. So, that’s probably enough, even though I bet the Seahawks will look among the undrafted free agents to snatch up another find or two.

As for the Jarran Reed Saga, it came to an end over the weekend as well. The Seahawks had briefly flirted with the idea of trading Reed – for literally anything – rather than have to cut him outright, but found no takers. This, I don’t understand. I especially don’t understand it in light of what happened next. We couldn’t have gotten even a seventh round draft pick in return for Reed? He had double digit sacks not too long ago; he’s still only 29 years old. His contract was THAT prohibitive?

It boggles the mind that the NFL let him go to the Chiefs for 1 year and $5 million (worth up to $7 million, presumably with incentives). That is just insane. I mean, part of me does wonder if he could’ve gotten more for a worse team, so in that sense it’s nice to be playing for a team in Kansas City that will be on TV all the time, with lots of great players around him, to hopefully maximize his value on the free agent market in 2022, when you’d assume the leaguewide salary cap will go back up again.

Still, it’s hard – as a Seahawks fan – to see Al Woods at 1 year, $3 million, and Jarran Reed at 1 year, $5 million, and not feel ripped off (even though, YES, I know, the Seahawks never could’ve made that work; the dead money alone is $5 million; yadda yadda yadda).

Anyway, that all happened. As well as the Seahawks apparently being on the short list of teams looking to sign Antonio Brown. As we all know, the Seahawks are in pretty desperate need for a quality third receiver. I have to imagine the pricetag for Brown went up considerably, since he was on his best behavior in Tampa and won a Super Bowl with them and everything. I would assume the Seahawks are only listed in this rumor because his agent floated it out there, and we had interest in him in the past. All the better to bolster the market of his client and whatnot.

The Seahawks Are Losing A Jarran Reed, But Gaining A Carlos Dunlap

Spring is the time for new beginnings. Nowhere* is that more clear than in sports.

* – that’s not even remotely true

There was a flurry of action last night in the 6pm hour, as Jarran Reed tweeted out he’d be gone by today. This was apparently because the Seahawks wanted to do a restructured deal to save money under the salary cap, while Reed wanted a long-term extension. I don’t know how you restructure a guy going into the final year of his deal; like, were they going to keep it the same but convert his guaranteed money into bonus money to split it up over 2021 and a ghost year? That, honestly, sounds kinda fucked.

Jarran Reed has proven himself to be a very good defensive tackle, with valuable pass-rushing skills. He had 10.5 sacks in 2018, had a down year in 2019 due to a 6-game suspension to start the season (that he was never able to recover from, with regards to the training camp/practice reps early on), and bounced back in 2020 with 6.5 sacks, while spending half the season on a defensive line that was one of the worst in the league at rushing the passer.

Now, it’s entirely possible that Reed was looking for a deal in some stratospheric realm that the Seahawks – and anyone else – would be foolish to sign him to. He’s not THAT valuable, not a Top 5 kind of guy. But, you know, he’s good. He’s in a second or third tier.

The problem all along was only signing him to the 2-year deal before 2020. It seemed short-sighted at the time, with very little chance to recoup on value; THAT was the time to extend him 3-4 years, at a more managable figure. But, for whatever reason, there was an impasse, and now here we are.

Then, almost immediately after word came down about Reed, it was announced that Carlos Dunlap would be re-signing! Two years, $16.6 million, with $8.5 million guaranteed! The Seahawks will save about $8 million by shedding Reed (still on the hook for a $5 million dead money figure) and are investing in Carlos Dunlap!

It’s bittersweet, because I really REALLY like Jarran Reed. But, I think the Seahawks have a better chance for success with someone like Carlos Dunlap anchoring one of the defensive end spots. We’re going to get more out of Dunlap – at least in the short-term – than we would have out of Reed, even though he’s obviously a better long-term prospect for sustained success.

Of course, now the Seahawks need to probably snag another DT. Poona Ford obviously signed an extension. Is Bryan Mone the other starter? The team really likes him, so that seems to be the way things are trending, but I imagine there’s a bargain-basement tackle out there for the Seahawks to grab.

Now, the primary pass rushing rotation includes Dunlap, Mayowa, Hyder, Alton Robinson, L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, and 2nd year rookie Darrell Taylor (not to mention Jamal Adams, of course, blitzing from every which way). Not a bad little unit! I’m MUCH more confident in this group than I was heading into 2020, or even 2019 for that matter.

The Seahawks Made A Lot Of Smallish Deals While I Was On Vacation

All right, let’s run through the list, because I got a lot to do today.

  • Nick Bellore (FB) signed a 2-year, $4.45 million deal that’s probably just a smallish 1-year deal with no guarantees in year two, to spread out the salary cap burden
  • Chris Carson (RB) signed a 2-year, $10.425 million deal with a void-year tacked on to spread out the salary cap burden (only 2021 is guaranteed)
  • Ethan Pocic (C) signed a 1-year, $3 million deal with a void-year tacked on to spread out the salary cap burden
  • Benson Mayowa (DE) signed a 2-year, $8 million (approx.) deal with two void-years tacked on to spread out the salary cap burden
  • Kerry Hyder (DE) signed a 3-year, $16.5 million deal
  • Jordan Simmons (OG) signed a small 1-year deal
  • Cedric Ogbuehi (OT) signed a 1-year deal

Okay, that’s all I know about right now. In addition, David Moore signed a 2-year deal with the Panthers; he was solid, I’m sure we all wish him well. He greatly outperformed his 7th round draft status.

The Seahawks had one of the best Special Teams units in 2020, and Nick Bellore was a major reason why, so it’s great to have him around covering kickoffs and punts. He doesn’t do much as a fullback, and I don’t expect that to change.

Chris Carson, I will admit, is a bit of a surprise to me. I don’t know if this changes the Seahawks’ needs to go out and find a long-term replacement, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. That means we essentially have the same running back room as 2020, minus Carlos Hyde (but, hopefully, with a full season of Rashaad Penny). I don’t think anyone was excited about Penny as this team’s lead back, but obviously we all know the risks with Carson and his injury-prone style of play. He’s elite when he’s healthy, and it’s a continual struggle to keep him healthy. The money isn’t terrible though. There’s an out after 2021, or if he stays healthy and kills it, we have him at a reasonable number for 2022.

Ethan Pocic is an okay center. The Seahawks have had a run of okay centers for a while now. My hope is that either we look to solidify this position with one of our few draft picks, or the addition of Gabe Jackson on the left side, with the continued emergence of Damien Lewis on the right side, will mitigate Pocic’s limitations.

Love having Benson Mayowa back! Great deal for a solid player! When he was healthy last year, he really wreaked havoc, and I don’t see him as one of those injury-prone type of guys, so there’s no reason why he couldn’t bounce back to play a full 16-game season. Locked in at two years for such a low number is incredible if he reaches his full potential!

I’ll skip over the real prize of this haul and talk about Jordan Simmons. He was let go, as opposed to being tendered, and is back at a presumably-lower salary figure. He’s a depth piece, and it’s always important to have depth. I thought he played pretty well when he had to fill in for Mike Iupati, so this feels like a no-brainer.

Same thing with Ogbuehi. He struggled at first in filling in for Brandon Shell, but I thought he came on towards the end of the season. I hope to Christ that right tackle isn’t a revolving door again this year, otherwise the Seahawks are going to have to get their asses in gear for 2022. The rest of the defensive lines in the NFC West aren’t getting any WORSE, I can tell you that much!

Okay, with all of that out of the way, let’s talk about Kerry Hyder.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know this man. They say he was on the 49ers last year and had 8.5 sacks, but that all flew well below my radar. He will be 30 years old this year and some have compared him to a Michael Bennett type (boy do I loathe hearing that comp after years of the Seahawks trying to draft guys to fit that mold).

It doesn’t look like Hyder has done a TON in his career. He had 8.0 sacks with the Lions in 2016, otherwise he has 2.0 sacks combined in his other four years. But, people are saying this is a great signing for the Seahawks, so I’m willing to listen to them. They’re the experts, I’m some jagweed sitting at a laptop, writing on a blog no one reads.

I think we’re all a little concerned that this means the Seahawks aren’t bringing back Carlos Dunlap. I read somewhere that the Seahawks are technically OVER the cap already, and will need to make some moves to get back down under it. But, I also read that the signing of Hyder doesn’t necessarily preclude the Seahawks from also going out and getting Dunlap, as they play different defensive end spots. I don’t know if any of this is true, I haven’t done the research; I’m still mostly on vacation-mode.

With it appearing that Bruce Irvin won’t be coming back, and the salary cap what it is, this COULD be it for the major moves. How do we feel about essentially the same D-Line as last year, with Hyder in for Dunlap? Well, that puts Mayowa back in a role where he’s more of an every-down lineman, which he did notably struggle with early in the season. He blossomed when his snap counts went down and he was free to get after the quarterback at a higher rate.

It would be FUCKING AMAZING if we could also get Dunlap back in the fold, but that’s looking mighty grim, all things considered. We also have to extend Jamal Adams, after all. Maybe this is a good sign for Alton Robinson, or Darrell Taylor? We’ll see, I guess.

It’s still early, so obviously there’s a lot to go down between now and the start of the regular season.

The Seahawks Signed Gerald Everett & Traded For Gabe Jackson

Today’s my birthday and I’m flying to Las Vegas later this morning, so we’re keeping this short and sweet.

Yes, the Seahawks were in need of a tight end, with the retirement of the waste of $7 million that is Greg Olsen and the impending free agency of Jacob Hollister. No, I do not have a high regard for the tight end position in our offense, and don’t think we should be putting our limited resources to overpaying for veterans.

Nevertheless, welcome Gerald Everett. 1 year, worth up to … $7 million (with $6 million guaranteed).

He was underwhelming as a member of the Rams, but nevertheless this makes sense as a signing, since he was a free agent, and we just hired our offensive coordinator from that organization. Of course Shane Waldron wants at least ONE player who’s familiar with the scheme he’s planning to run. Everett, in his four years in the league, has never had a season with more than 41 receptions (2020) or over 417 yards (also 2020). Was that due to Jared Goff & Co. not taking advantage of Everett’s skillset? Was that due to their wide receivers being elite and hogging all the targets? Or … was that due to scheme, and this particular style of offense doesn’t feature the tight end the way you’d expect as a team signing a guy for $7 million?

If it’s the scheme, and the Seahawks are going to run that scheme, then I think that’s a problem. If it’s because of there being elite receivers on offense … I mean, what do you call D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett? Finally, it strikes me that if Everett had this great skillset, he would command more in free agency than 1 year and $7 million. Shit, the New England Patriots just signed TWO free agent tight ends to big money contracts, and that’s after drafting two tight ends the year before!

I’m not getting my hopes up. Thankfully, Everett is young and doesn’t appear to have had any significant injuries, so unlike – say – Ed Dickson, or again, Greg Olsen, it’s reasonable to expect Everett to play a full 16-game slate.

The move I like is trading for Gabe Jackson! The Seahawks needed a new STARTING left guard, and it looks like they have a good one.

Are you like me? Are you sick of watching the Seahawks continuing to dumpster dive the interior of the offensive line? Well, fret no longer! Jackson appears to be reliable at keeping guys off the quarterback, which is precisely what Russell Wilson has been clamoring for all offseason. He’s also notoriously healthy, which is big, since the Seahawks have employed a revolving door at left guard the last … forever? I have no idea; time is nonexistent.

He’s locked in for the next two seasons, and this will only be his eighth year in the league. So, he’s a veteran, he knows how to handle himself in the league, and something freaky would have to happen injurywise for him to miss time. So, look out for that, because “something freaky” seems to follow the Seahawks around like a storm cloud.

All he cost the Seahawks was a 5th round pick in 2021. Considering it seems like the Seahawks are prepared to punt this draft entirely – now with only three picks remaining, none earlier than late in the second round – I’ll take a starter at guard for a 5th round pick in a draft where scouts can’t really do a ton of scouting.

On the plus side, I’m expecting the Seahawks to work overtime on the undrafted players this year. Maybe – with all teams at a similar disadvantage in scouting – we can use our smarts and ability to recruit guys to our advantage in getting the best undrafted players to sign with us!

The Seahawks Signed Poona Ford & Ahkello Witherspoon

It’s always weird writing about all the NFL deals at this point in the year, because the numbers rarely seem to be known in totality until guys actually sign. We’re in that time when all the contracts are announced by NFL insiders, but all they really have are the broadstrokes.

Anyway, Poona Ford is back with the Seahawks. He signed for 2 years and something approaching $14 million, with over $4.4 million in 2021. He was going to be a restricted free agent – likely with a second round tender – which would have been less dollars in the short term, but this is a nice middle ground or both the player and the team.

Poona’s likely not going anywhere before 2022, so he gets a hefty bump in total earnings. Remember, this was a guy who went undrafted. He’s earned less than $2 million total over the first three seasons of his career. He’s also a guy, not for nothing, who is a run-stuffing defensive tackle. Those aren’t guys who command a lot of salary cap attention. He has 2.5 career sacks.

That being said, 2.0 of those sacks came in 2020. This is a guy who has always played at a high level respective to both his position and where he was rated coming out of college. But, he really seems to be on an upswing. Pairing him with Jarran Reed in the middle of that line is probably the best defensive tackle combo we’ve had since Cortez Kennedy and Sam Adams. If Poona’s trajectory continues, we could be looking at a real steal over the next two years.

So, Poona gets paid, the Seahawks don’t have to worry about the interior of that D-Line for a little while longer, and coming back around, Poona will only be 28 years old when this deal expires, so he’s well within logical reason to cash in again in two years. If nothing else, the floor is high with him, so even if we get exactly what we’ve gotten from him to date, it’s a good deal. But, I believe there’s more left in the tank.

The other deal that popped up was the 1-year signing of cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. This came on the heels of Shaquill Griffin signing his deal with Jacksonville, which makes it especially interesting. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know who Witherspoon was before yesterday, even though he’s played his entire career in San Francisco, one of our biggest rivals. So, I had no idea – for instance – that he also came from the same 2017 draft as Griffin, and that they were both third round draft picks. In fact, Witherspoon was taken 24 picks AHEAD of Griffin. Now, that’s obviously meaningless in the grand scheme of things; Griffin has proven himself to be a Pro Bowl-calibre player, whereas Witherspoon was oft-benched and considered largely a disappointment by the 49ers.

But, by all accounts, Witherspoon came on towards the end of the 2020 season. I don’t know if that’s a product of their schedule – the last four games the 49ers played last year were against struggling offenses, including Seattle’s in the finale – or if something finally clicked with him, but he’s 6’2 and he came from a quality secondary in Colorado that the Seahawks were obviously fond of. You have to wonder, then, if the Seahawks would have selected Witherspoon over Griffin, had both been available to them where they selected. Might Witherspoon – being in Seattle’s system all along – have thrived in his first four years? We’ll never know, but he’s still young enough to at least come in and compete with Tre Flowers for a spot.

I wouldn’t expect a lot out of Witherspoon. In fact, I think the Seahawks will continue adding to this position – with a name or two that we DO know – to really bolster the competition factor now that Griffin has walked. Quinton Dunbar isn’t off the table, is what I’m saying here. The hope for Witherspoon, though, is that he shows enough to stick as a depth piece, and improves as the season goes along and he has a number of practice weeks under his belt to acclimate to our way of playing defense. At 1 year, $4 million, I think that’s a reasonable price to pay for a potential lottery pick.

Shaquill Griffin Signed With The Jaguars

I’m going to refrain from the more infuriating Seahawks-affiliated rumors and instead talk about this. Shaquill Griffin signed with the Jags for 3 years and $44.5 million.

It’s noteworthy, of course, because the Seahawks selected Griffin in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft and immediately made him a starter at cornerback. And, he was competent from the get-go! If I had to rate him among other Seahawks cornerbacks, I’d say he was better than Marcus Trufant and worse than Richard Sherman; both make pretty good company as far as starting-calibre cornerbacks are concerned, so I would say his Seahawks career was a success.

I think where the trouble lies as far as his reputation is concerned is the fact that he was essentially drafted as the replacement for Richard Sherman. They, in fact, shared a field for part of Griffin’s rookie year, but by that point Sherm’s days were numbered given his attitude towards management and various players on the team. Sherman is a Hall of Famer, almost certainly on the first ballot (unless his personality costs him some votes, which is entirely possible), so that’s a hard one to have to live up to.

Griffin’s coverage skills were his best attribute. I wouldn’t say he was a “lockdown” kind of guy, but he was in a tier just below it, with nice recovery speed. Quarterbacks tended to avoid his side of the field, particularly when he did take over for Sherman in 2018 and beyond.

But, he has 6 career interceptions in 4 seasons. That’s nobody’s idea of a Top Of The Game cornerback. And, to the NFL’s credit, he’s earning the money of a Tier Two guy. Not that the league has a ton of money available, but the Jags sure do (or did, after a flurry of moves yesterday and today), and it would’ve been easy to see a team like Jacksonville overpay a ton of guys to get good in a hurry (as they have the #1 overall pick and look to totally rebuild their franchise).

This wasn’t a shock. What was more shocking than anything was hearing that the Seahawks were trying to make a serious play for Griffin. In the end, it doesn’t sound like we were very close at all, off by maybe $10-$15 million in overall value. But, given our cap constraints, the fact that we have viable starters still on the team (making significantly less money), and the fact that we have cheaper options who won’t be much of a downgrade at all available in free agency, it makes sense to let Griffin get paid elsewhere on his second contract. If this were a normal year, with our salary cap shooting over $200 million, I think the Seahawks would’ve given Griffin a deal like this in a heartbeat. But, having $20 million less to spend, you’ve gotta cut corners somewhere.

Of course, cutting corners here – while spending exorbitant amounts of money on bringing K.J. Wright back, or signing a free agent running back – is exactly what’s making me and the rest of Seahawks fandom so insanely outraged. This bullshit, meanwhile the O-Line and pass rush continues to get neglected, even though we fucking KNOW what they mean to the success of this team. It’s utter fucking lunacy!

I Can’t Fucking Wait To Go To Mariners Games This Year!

I like to think I’m taking the pandemic relatively seriously. I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but I can see there’s a risk that exists for people and I’m doing my part to not make things worse. I’m also not a fucking maniac about it. I’m not going to go around wearing two masks (except I might when I’m flying on a plane next week; being in a smallish tube full of people who WILL be taking their masks off to eat and drink and whatnot seems like a petri dish of infection just waiting to happen), but I’m fine wearing my one mask whenever I need to go inside somewhere. Because I live with my recently-retired father at the moment (who isn’t yet 65 years old) and until he gets his vaccination, I want to at least make sure I’m looking out for him (hence why I’ll be quarantining when I return from my Vegas trip after next week).

But, I also realize it’s pretty easy for me to take the pandemic relatively seriously. I don’t go out a TON. I’m not frequenting a lot of bars or nightclubs, when I do go out it’s usually outside (where it’s safer, virally-speaking). I’m more than happy to work out on my own and wait until we have herd immunity before I get a new gym membership going. And, I work from home permanently now. So, it’s not like I’ve had to really sacrifice all that much in the last year to live my life. Every once in a while, cabin fever strikes. But, I can go for a walk or go for a long drive and usually feel better afterward.

So, I get why people might be apprehensive to return to baseball games, even at 25% capacity. It was announced that the Seattle Mariners are going to have fans for Opening Day on April 1st (and, obviously, going forward, barring a catastrophe); 9,000 people will be allowed inside T-Mobile Park. If the pandemic is something that’s keeping you up at night, if you’re paranoid about what COVID-19 will do to you (in either the short or long term), I can see why you might want to hold off on any large gatherings for the time being. But, I’m fucking ready. Let’s fucking go! Tickets are going on sale in a couple weeks and I am going to be ALL OVER IT.

The worst is behind us, man. Some of our most vulnerable people are being (or already have been) vaccinated. Is it going as smoothly as we’d like? Of course not. What ever does when it comes to the government? But, we’re quickly headed to the tipping point where we can finally exhale and relax. At this point, it’s been a fucking year. I’m willing to risk it – while still being relatively safe and wearing my mask and all that – in an outdoor stadium environment that is going to be as electric as anything I’ve ever witnessed.

For starters, there’s nothing like Opening Day baseball. It’s the best! In non-pandemic circumstances, you’ve got a full stadium, you’ve got happy fans optimistic for the coming season (where anything can happen!), you’ve got your best players out there competing to go 1-0 on the year, you’ve got the player pre-game introductions, you learn about the new stadium food and drink options. It’s a totally joyful experience! A couple of friends and I try to go to them every year, and we ALWAYS have a blast.

Now, 9,000 fans in a 48,000-seat stadium is usually reserved for a Tuesday night in early May. That’s when the Mariners have proven they’re going to suck once again, it’s dark, it’s cold, kids are still in school, it’s the middle of the week, and only the die-hards and the deranged have braved Seattle traffic to show up in person. That’s an experience in its own right, though, because you pretty much have your pick of where to sit, where to walk; concession lines are short; and you feel like you can yell at the umpire and he might actually hear what you say about his mother. You’re down on the team, sure, but that’s also fun too! It’s like you’re all in on the same twisted joke, and gallows humor is some of my favorite comedy.

So, just imagine what it’ll be like to combine the two: the optimism and joy of Opening Day, with a select few fans allowed inside during these crazy, fraught times. We’re probably never going to experience anything like this ever again! So, for that factor alone, you are DAMN RIGHT I’ll do everything in my power to make this happen. When tickets go on sale in a couple weeks, I’ll be right there trying to get some. And, come April 1st, I’ll be in probably some socially-distanced line waiting to get in.

The Husky Basketball Team Fucking Sucked This Year!

The Washington Husky men’s basketball season mercifully came to a close last night, with a loss to the Utes in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament, 98-95. I didn’t watch a single second of the action.

In fact, I couldn’t tell you how much of this team I did manage to watch this season, but it was WELL under a game’s worth of action. This team went 5-21, including 4-16 in conference play. They were TERRIBLE!

As it turns out, there was no salvaging this team. I thought maybe without two supernova stars in the lineup, guys would spread the scoring burden around, and maybe we’d see a team that improved as the season went along. But, those glimpses of competency were few and far between.

Quade Green was easily the best player on the team (further testament to how much we needed him last year, as the Huskies went in the tank once he was academically ineligible), averaging 15.4 points per game. He and Hameir Wright were our only seniors of note, and what a fucking BUST Wright turned out to be in his Husky career! Given his height and wingspan, as well as his middling ability to shoot from outside, he should have been something special by 2021. But, his shooting never got better, and he rarely made an impact on either end of the court. One block and one steal per game? Ooo! What a boost!

Marcus Tsohonis was the second-leading scorer on the Huskies this season, but he was weirdly used sparingly (probably because his defense sucks), and even then his shot was always erratic. Some nights he’d be on fire, some nights he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.

Jamal Bey finally started to take a step forward in his game, as a junior, but I don’t know what that’s going to mean for next year. Will he even want to stick around after a season like this? Is there any hope whatsoever for the Huskies to get back to the NCAA Tournament? Hell, is there any hope for even an NIT berth?!

Erik Stevenson is the last guy I’ll mention. He’s one of the transfer guys we brought here, who ended up averaging 9.3 points per game. I dunno, he was fine I guess, but I don’t remember hearing about too many times where he really flashed.

Everyone else on the Huskies was straight up trash. I just can’t believe how – on a team this fucking atrocious – that no one but Quade Green stepped up and took the reins. It’s a failure for the players, it’s a failure for the coaching staff, and it’s a HUGE failure on the state of our recruiting.

There are no silver linings. You thought Romar’s last year was the nadir of Husky basketball in the 21st century? Don’t sleep on how pathetic we were this past season. When you factor in the second half of the 2019-2020 season – when we went 5-15 in our final 20 games – Husky basketball is on a run of 10-36 over the last season and a half. Do you know how bad that is? Do you know how bad the Pac-12 is in general, and to suck THAT hard in a conference THIS mediocre is something truly unheard of.

Seattle has basketball talent! That’s what’s so infuriating. Of course, we can’t convince that talent to stay and play for the hometown school, which is obviously even more infuriating.

Let’s all just pretend the last year and a half never happened. Agreed? Okay then.