Seahawks Death Week 2022: Quarterbacks On The 2023 Roster

I blathered on and on about the rest of the Seahawks free agents yesterday (just prior to one of them re-signing for a big-money payday), now it’s time to talk about the most important position (of which we currently have zero on the 2023 roster), and the two guys who are set to be unrestricted free agents this year: Geno Smith and Drew Lock.

I think it’s fair to say 2022 didn’t go how I expected AT ALL. I was under the impression that this team was bound and determined to hand the starting job to Drew Lock in the pre-season. We’ll never know if that was accurate or not, since he got COVID right before the game he would’ve started. Nevertheless, just watching the games, it was clear who the better man was: Geno Smith, hands down.

That isn’t saying much, because the Seahawks’ offense in the pre-season was the worst I’d seen in ages. They couldn’t move the ball for shit! It was fucking embarrassing. Which led to my extremely dour prognosis heading into the regular season, that the Seahawks wouldn’t win more than 3-4 games. They more than doubled that.

So, yeah, I’m bad at my job is what I’m getting at. I mean, the job of Fan/Blogger doesn’t pay anything, so you get what you pay for, but still.

I feel like – if I had to rank all expectations around this team – the least likely would’ve been the possibility that either of these guys would be back in 2023. Yet, here we are, with the very real possibility that BOTH might return.

Obviously, there’s chatter around Geno Smith coming back on a big money deal. That’s what happens when you have statistically one of the best (if not THE best) seasons in franchise history. There’s lots of speculation of anywhere from 2-4 years, and anywhere from $70 million to $150 million. So, this is a serious thing we’re about to walk into.

I’m firmly entrenched in the camp that has reservations about this move. I don’t fully trust Geno Smith in the big games. I don’t like the thought of tying up so much of our cap to him, especially when we have so many other holes we need to fill. It forces us to really nail the draft in ways we’ve only done once or twice since the heyday of 2010-2012.

Brock & Salk had an interesting thought exercise this week: would you rather have Geno Smith at whatever it’s going to cost to keep him (over $30 million per year), or Drew Lock and a $20 million defensive lineman (meaning, one of the very best D-linemen in the league). I don’t really know how to answer that.

They keep saying things about how the Seahawks coaches like what they’ve seen out of Drew Lock, putting it out there that he’s been doing well in practice and could conceivably be a viable option to take over as starter in this offense. I don’t know what to say to that either. I can take their word for it, I guess, but every time I’ve seen Drew Lock on the field, he’s been a nightmare. Also, how good could he possibly look in regular season practices when Geno is the starter and ostensibly getting the bulk of the reps? It all sounds fishy, like the team is leaking rumors of Lock’s competence in hopes Geno’s price will somehow be driven down. The logic isn’t totally there, but I still don’t believe Lock is worth a damn.

What is Drew Lock supposed to command on the open market? He’s a failed high-round draft pick, a failed starter in this league, and he failed to beat out Geno Smith when his value was remarkably low. You’re telling me there’s an organization out there who believes in Drew Lock, and is going to offer him on the high-end of a backup quarterback contract? As if he’s Gardner Minshew or Cooper Rush or Jameis Winston?

He should get the fucking minimum and like it! And be grateful he’s not reduced to the scrap heap of the XFL or USFL.

But, if what they’re saying is true, and Lock has looked good in practice, then why wouldn’t you pay him a low-dollar amount to be the starter (with incentives, of course) and then go out and trade for a top-of-the-line defensive pass rusher? Pair that guy with whoever you get with the 5th pick, then go after a lower first/high second round quarterback prospect.

Honestly, I’d love for the Seahawks to take that risk. Let Geno walk. See what he commands on the open market, and more importantly, see what he looks like in a different offensive scheme, behind a possibly-worse offensive line. I bet he reverts to the Geno Of Old real damn quick.

Go balls to the wall and believe in the Shane Waldron/Sean McVay system! Put anyone back there and see how they do! Cheap out on a veteran and go after draft picks to see if we hit on someone special!

Here’s my outlook on things; you may not agree with me and that’s fine. But, I feel like we’ve hit pretty close to the ceiling of what Geno Smith has to offer. I think he’s good enough to keep us middle-of-the-pack. He can get us into the playoffs, but he can’t lead us on a deep playoff run. If we had an elite team around him – like the 49ers – then it might be doable.

I’d rather risk it with a veteran making the minimum and spend our free agent dollars on superstars at other positions of need. I’d rather go to the quarterback well in the draft year after year until we hit on a stud. Then, ride that stud on his rookie deal as far as he’ll take us. If we fail, then fine, we draft higher and get more quality bites at the apple. If the cheap player(s) succeed, then great, we know the offensive scheme is great and can continue to reload at the QB spot with reduced capital, to continue bolstering our roster elsewhere.

I’m not gonna lie to you, I haven’t been this enamored with a team since the Seahawks of the L.O.B. days, but I really am fascinated with what the 49ers are doing this year. If I didn’t hate their fans and their organization so much, I’d be actively rooting for them the rest of this year’s playoffs! What they’re doing with a third string, seventh round quarterback, is truly amazing, and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted out of my own football team. I want what they have! I want the Seahawks to scheme their way to offensive success, and just overpower their opponents on defense. It’s fucking awesome!

Bottom line: I don’t believe in Drew Lock, but I don’t believe in Geno Smith either. So, let Geno Smith walk, use the #5 draft pick on a stud defensive lineman, use one of our other first/second round picks on a quarterback we believe can develop in this system relatively quickly, and use the cost savings to really go hard in free agency and in trades for elite players. It’s not conventional, but what has convention gotten us?

The Seahawks have been conventional since 2015, and it’s resulted in an endless run of disappointing finishes. We haven’t even been good enough to get back to the conference title game, let alone the Super Bowl. Maybe it’s time to be unconventional again. Zag where the rest of the NFL zigs, like we were doing when Pete Carroll and John Schneider first got here.

Should The Seahawks Extend Geno Smith?

When you’ve lived your life for many years under a particular assumption, it can be difficult to then accept a new reality. Pretty much since Geno Smith was drafted and started playing as a rookie in 2013, my opinion of him has been highly negative. It’s easy to write off a “bad quarterback”. It’s much harder for that opinion to flip the other way. Great quarterbacks seem like they start out great, so if you’re not immediately lighting the world on fire within the first six or so weeks, then you’re automatically relegated to Bust status.

Almost always, when a quarterback is labeled a Bust, he stays a bust forever. There are occasional guys who take a little longer to break through. Some guys just need time to develop (Josh Allen had a rocky first year before settling in). Some guys need stability within the coaching staff to grow (Tua being a prime example). Some guys need a change of scenery (Ryan Tannehill being a notable one). However, Geno Smith seemingly needed all of these things before it finally clicked.

What befuddles me about Geno Smith is the fact that he was extremely mediocre-to-bad with the Jets. He continued along that path as a backup with the Giants and Chargers. And even though he’s been with the Seahawks since 2019, I haven’t noticed a single change in his level of play before this year. Whenever he’s gotten into pre-season games, he’s been the same ol’ Geno Smith. When he started three games last year – in Shane Waldron’s system – he looked just as mediocre-to-bad as ever (his one great game was against the Jags, the consensus worst team in football at the time). Even this past pre-season – when he regularly got starter’s snaps in practice – he looked like a liability. He looked like someone the team couldn’t wait to cut, if only Drew Lock showed one iota of competence. I still contend that if Lock hadn’t gotten COVID and missed that second pre-season game, he would’ve been our starter heading into the regular season.

And even though Geno came out on fire in the first half of that Broncos game in week one, there were a number of growing pains early in the regular season (especially in a 20-point loss to the 49ers. But, starting with that shootout against the Lions, Geno’s not just been adequate, he’s been legitimately great! He’s been so great, people are clamoring for the Seahawks to extend him NOW. During the season, not later, when he hits the free agent market. And, these aren’t just reactionary fans, but smart football prognosticators. It’s something I never would’ve imagined in a million years.

So, I’m here to work this out in my mind. Should the Seahawks extend Geno Smith? How big of a deal should they sign him to? Should they also bother drafting a quarterback early next year?

There’s a lot of variables we just don’t know the answers to. For starters, we still don’t REALLY know how legitimate this improvement is. I understand the logic of signing Geno to an extension now: you hope to gain some semblance of a discount by not having to compete on the open market. But, you’re talking about a guy who’s not afraid to bet on himself. You’re talking about a guy who has signed repeated 1-year deals to stay here. You’re also talking about his first period of sustained success; he’s going to want to cash in on this opportunity. He’s 32 years old, this is probably his one and only opportunity to gain generational wealth on a big-time deal.

Since he is 32 years old, and he has such a history of mediocrity, I don’t think there’s any way he’s getting some sort of top-of-market contract. He’s not going to get $50 million per year, or anywhere close to it. Nor is he going to sign for anything more than 4-5 years (with probably only 1-2 of them guaranteed). I would also argue he’s very much a product of this particular system. Unless the Rams are going to cut Stafford and make a play for Geno, I don’t see him having nearly the same success with just any quarterback-needy team. On top of which, the Seahawks’ offensive line has been tremendous. Put him on a team with a Swiss cheese line and you’ll see him struggle just like most everyone else.

So, I don’t really believe Geno has the leverage you’d expect. That doesn’t mean he won’t have earned himself a nice little raise. But, I do think we can afford to let this season play out and THEN try to re-sign him. Also, not for nothing, but I don’t know if we even could afford to extend him now, with how much our salary cap is tied up in dead money.

In short, I’m in favor of waiting to extend him. But, I do believe – if he continues to play at this high level – that he does deserve an extension. I think this level of play would be a bargain at $20-$25 million per year, with 2023 and maybe a portion of 2024 guaranteed. I’d be reluctant to go over $25 million, though. There’s a point where he’s going to turn back into a pumpkin, and it’s probably sooner than we’d like.

As such, I would also look to draft a quarterback in the first round next year.

This is where I’m torn, though. One of the big perks of moving on from a high-priced quarterback is the grace period you have with a new guy on a rookie deal. You get to enjoy all the savings – while hopefully the rookie pans out and turns into a stud early on in his development – so you can build around him and hopefully make the Super Bowl before that guy is going to cost you an arm and a leg.

But, if we jump right from Russell Wilson making what he made (and costing us dearly in dead money) to Geno Smith making upwards of $25 million, you’re not really getting that competitive financial advantage. If we draft a rookie in the first round next year, he’ll almost certainly sit behind Geno the whole season (maybe even the first two). Then, if you move on from Geno to the guy on the third year of his rookie deal, you’re dealing with a season of him gaining experience, before he hopefully figures it out in year four. At which point, if he does figure it out, he’s going to command a huge contract, and you’ve essentially wasted his entire period of affordability, while needing to make difficult decisions elsewhere on the roster to keep him around.

The flipside to that argument is, of course, the fact that rookies aren’t guaranteed to be great, even when you draft them high in the first round. If the idea is to win football games, and Geno Smith is playing at a level that can win you a lot of football games, it’s probably more prudent to keep him around, while letting the young guy learn and develop at a slower pace. But, if the young guy is special, it would be a shame to have to sit him for longer than absolutely necessary. Aaron Rodgers hardly played at all his first three years; that seems crazy in today’s game.

Another variable to consider is: what happens if the Seahawks don’t have a Top 10 draft pick? What happens if we make the playoffs (which puts us drafting into the 20’s) and the Broncos improve to the point where maybe they approach .500 (or, God forbid, if they also make it as a wild card team in a weaker-than-expected AFC; they do still have time to turn things around)? Is there a quarterback we’d feel comfortable trading up for in the first round? Or, would we use our first rounders on other players and maybe focus on the 2nd or 3rd round for a rookie QB?

There’s a nightmare scenario where the Seahawks have two draft picks in the 20’s, where all of the elite-level quarterbacks and pass rushers have gone off the board. We’re already set at offensive tackle, we’ve got a couple great receivers (and are never really looking to draft receiver that highly), we’ve got solid cornerbacks (and, again, don’t usually look to this spot in the draft to take that position). So, there’s a real chance that we have to settle for a lower-tier pass rusher, or we have to reach for a linebacker or a lesser quarterback prospect. That’s not what I want to see, even if we’re able to extend Geno Smith on a team-friendly deal.

Lost in all of this might be the most important question of all: can the Seahawks win a championship with Geno Smith in the next 2-3 years? Before this year, I would’ve said unequivocally, 1,000% no. But now? There’s a slight glimmer of hope. I would still contend the Seahawks haven’t played anyone super great, and won’t until we go to play Kansas City late in the year. As far as the best teams in the NFC are concerned – Philly, Dallas, Minnesota – we wouldn’t see them until maybe the playoffs. And if we bank on the 49ers, Rams, and Bucs having at least good-to-great defenses, I’d like to see how Geno fares against them before making any real proclamation on his ability to take us all the way.

If he can keep it up, and show out against those teams, then I’d have to grudgingly say yes, we could win a championship with Geno. But, I’m really going to need to see it with my own eyes before I’ll fully believe.

Everyone’s Crapping Their Pants Over Geno Smith & The Seahawks’ Offense

It’s football, and so by design you get these wild emotional swings from week to week. We won on Monday Night against Russell Wilson and the Broncos: we must be great! We lost in demoralizing fashion to the 49ers and then the Falcons at home: we must be among the very worst teams in football! Now, we go out on the road and win a crazy shootout: heck, maybe the wild card is on the table!

There’s a lot of Geno Smith dick sucking going on, and I don’t know if it’s deserved. I don’t know if anyone considered him the very worst quarterback in the game; among backups, I think he’s always been fairly well-regarded. That’s probably because – until last year – you never got to see him play. The mystery and the name recognition did a lot of the heavy lifting for Geno Smith’s reputation. Once it became apparent this offseason that he was not only in a quarterback battle with the likes of Drew Lock, but until he got COVID, it was a battle set up for Lock to ultimately win, I think we all remembered, “Oh yeah, this is Geno Smith we’re talking about.” He’s probably in the low 20’s or high 30’s in a ranking of all quarterbacks.

Now that we’re four weeks into the season, I’ll admit that he’s better than I expected. His accuracy is off the charts, and even if we’re talking about a preponderance of throws being dinks and dunks, that’s still better than a lot of other so-called Game Managers. To me, this feels like our offensive system making good on its original promise (more than Smith making a late-career surge in effectiveness). We wanted the Rams’ style McVay offense, and we’ve got it! Jared Goff was once a quarterback that took his team to the Super Bowl. I think while it’s safe to say Geno Smith won’t be doing the same, he can still play competitive football within the parameters of this offense.

But, let’s see it against superior competition. His first half against the Broncos was lights out; his second half was atrocious. His entire game against the 49ers was a huge nothing-burger. He was good and bad against the Falcons, but clearly not good enough to prevail in a home game that you HAVE to have if you’re a playoff team. Now, he has this elite performance (320 yards on 23/30, with 2 TDs, 0 INTs, and 1 rushing TD with 49 yards on 7 carries) against arguably the worst defense in the league. Possibly one of the worst defenses of the last decade or more!

And that’s saying something, because the Seahawks this year ALSO have one of the worst defenses in the league, and one of the worst defenses of the last decade or more.

If the argument is that this offense has worked out the kinks, and is capable of some percentage of this every week, then I’m going to have to see it in action against good defenses. I need to see this against the Rams and 49ers. I need to see it in action against the Saints on the road next week. I need to see it against the Chargers and Bucs and Cardinals and literally everyone else on our schedule; they’ve all got better defenses than the Lions!

If you’re like me, and you saw this team – heading into the year – as an annoyingly 7-10 type of team, then you looked at the schedule and predicted we’d be 2-2 after four games. Granted, one of those victories would’ve been over Atlanta, but one of those losses would’ve been to the Broncos, so maybe that evens it out. Regardless, this isn’t the most unexpected thing in the world. There’s a lot of football left to play. A lot of the teams we thought would be good might lose to a team like these Seahawks. Conversely, a lot of teams that we thought would be pushovers might nip us in the end. I don’t think I can make a definitive statement one way or the other about this team. I still don’t think we’re very good. I still don’t think Geno Smith has what it takes to drive us the length of the field, needing a touchdown to win the game in the final two minutes.

I’m not terribly irate about winning this game, though I think it annoyingly papers over a lot of deficiencies, especially regarding the defense. But, I’m happy that our skill guys looked good (Penny had 151 yards on 17 carries, with 2 TDs; Metcalf had 7 catches for 149 yards; Lockett had 6 for 91). I’m happy that the offensive line is progressing like gangbusters. I’m happy that Tariq Woolen had a pick six.

But, in the grand scheme of things, if we’d lost 45-41 – instead of winning 48-45 – I’d still have all of those things to be happy about, plus we’d be one step closer to tanking this season! As it stands, this looks like a HUGE tiebreaker for us at season’s end. Clearly, these are two pretty evenly-matched teams. I think both the Seahawks and Lions will be close in record. So, we’re talking about a pretty big edge they have, especially if they decide to make drafting a quarterback a priority next year.

This Seahawks defense, tho. Ye gods. Darrell Taylor got demoted to a rusher on passing downs, because he can’t handle all the responsibilities of an outside linebacker. Then, his replacement go hurt and he was forced back into action. All in all, this has been a pretty bad season for him so far. The secondary is still getting dinged pretty severely. Other than Nwosu, no one is getting to the quarterback on a regular basis. Cody Barton looks inept and feeble. Jordyn Brooks is no Bobby Wagner in his prime; not by a long shot. If we’re not at the point where we’re abandoning the 3-4 for the 4-3, then it’s probably only another week or two away (because we can’t keep getting gashed with this sort of regularity).

At this rate, I don’t know what we’re going to have to hang our hat on by season’s end. Hopefully, the secondary can settle down a little bit. I don’t think there’s much hope for the linebacking group, and I think we’ll have to use a 2nd or 3rd rounder on that position. I think there’s a considerable demand for a dominant pass rusher, but I don’t know how you get that without foregoing a shot at one of the elite quarterback prospects. Maybe someone falls to us?

There’s also the very legitimate – though, I would argue kind of a longshot – concern that Geno Smith keeps playing well within the system, and is just handed the keys to the offense next year. Does a 7-10 Seahawks team with Geno throwing for 4,000+ yards on high-efficiency passing give this group the confidence to continue trying to bolster around the quarterback position, rather than addressing it directly? Again, I don’t think that’s very likely, but it has to be a concern.

So, yeah, I’d say the weekend could’ve gone better. At least the Broncos lost! I made a big show of telling all my friends how they’re a 12-win team and they all rightly laughed in my face. We’ll see who’s laughing last (it’ll either be me because I’m right, or me because I engineered a quality jinx).

The Seahawks Should Lose A Lot Of Games In 2022

I don’t have a lot of faith in the Seahawks this year. As I’ve noted in the past – especially in the post-LOB era – if you take Russell Wilson off of this team, it’s probably a 3-win team, give or take. That’s what we’re looking at right now.

It’s not just the loss of Russell Wilson, but it’s also who we’ve replaced him with. Geno Smith has always been a terrible-to-mediocre quarterback. Now he’s an old terrible-to-mediocre quarterback. He might have a few good throws per game, but he’s also going to hold onto the ball too long, take some untimely sacks, and fail to move this offense one iota whenever we’re behind the sticks. Any failed play – whether it’s the aforementioned sack, a penalty, a run stuff, or even an incomplete pass on 1st & 10 – and we’re looking at almost an automatic punt. Anytime we get down by two scores, you can pretty much write the game off; there’s no way Geno Smith is pulling our asses out of any fires like Russell Wilson did on the regular. Remember ALL of those games where we started slowly WITH an elite guy like Wilson at the helm! Now, imagine those same slow starts, only we’ve got Geno being harassed like crazy in obvious passing situations. It’s a living hell.

At least in the LOB era, you could’ve made the argument that a simple game manager might’ve kept us in a lot of games. We might’ve even succeeded on the strength of literally every other position on the team. But, this ain’t that. It might have the potential to one day approach that, but there’s a lot that would have to go right.

We all know the preseason is fake football. Putting too much stock in what happens in August is really grounds for losing your football fan card. But, I can’t help feeling especially disheartened, because we actually played a good number of our starters. Geno Smith had a lot of snaps out there! Behind a starting offensive line that also saw a lot of snaps – since we’re breaking in a couple rookies at the tackle spots – that actually looked pretty decent! So, the fact that we struggled so mightily to score points is pretty damning. Even if our top two running backs missed most of the games, our next two running backs played quite extensively and ALSO looked better than I’ve ever seen them. Really, the guys you’re talking about – on offense – who largely sat out were D.K. and Tyler Lockett. Are those two guys alone going to automatically pump things up to a league-average level? I’m dubious.

Which puts a lot of pressure on a defense that’s as big a question mark as anything. The defense didn’t look great either, but you can convince me a lot of our best guys DID sit out. Nevertheless, that’s putting a lot on guys like Jordyn Brooks, Quandre Diggs (coming off of injury), and Jamal Adams (also coming off of injury, as well as playing through more injuries). We’re going to have to count on cornerbacks who are largely untested (and possibly bad). We’re going to have to count on a pass rush that’s in Prove It Mode. We’re going to have to rely on a run stuffing unit that didn’t seem to stuff much of the run in spite of playing a lot in the preseason.

We’re really banking on the coaching staff holding everything together with duct tape and zipties. Is that smart? An offensive coordinator in his second year of calling plays? A defensive coordinator in his first year of running a defense? The second-oldest head coach in the NFL?

Let’s look at the schedule. We start out on Monday night against a fired up Russell Wilson, surrounded by a lot of talent on that Broncos roster. That feels like a sure loss. Then we go on the road to play the 49ers, who might be among the best teams in the NFC from top to bottom. We host Atlanta, who feels on par with our talent level; that’s a coin flip at best. Then, it’s back to back road games against a young and hungry Lions team, followed by a Saints team with a great defense and a lot of talent on offense.

Then, we host the Cardinals (a playoff team last year with most of their guys returning) and play the Chargers on the road (a definite playoff-calibre team this year). The Giants at home feel like pushovers, but like the Falcons, I think their talent level is on par with ours. That’s another coin flip. Then, we go on the road against Arizona again, before playing Tampa in Germany.

Would it shock anyone if we’re 2-8 or 1-9 heading into the BYE week? Not me!

We host the Raiders (another playoff team from last year), then go on the road to play the Rams (Super Bowl champs). We host Carolina, which is a sleeper playoff team this year with Baker Mayfield out there. Then we host the 49ers, before going on the road to play the Chiefs (another viable Super Bowl contender). Then we close by hosting the Jets and Rams.

In that last stretch, I see one win. Maybe two. But, it’s not a stretch at all for this team to be anywhere from 2-15 to 4-13, and maybe that’s for the best.

I haven’t been this down on the Seahawks in a while. Probably since the Suck For Luck campaign. We all know how that turned out. But, rather than winning 7 games, I think we have the legitimate potential to lose a lot more.

It sucks being in this position, but again, I think it’s necessary. I’d still rather be here than having Russell Wilson and praying everything goes right for us to MAYBE get beyond the Divisional Round of the playoffs (something we haven’t done since the 2014 season). We’ve been spinning our tires in the mud for too long now. It was time to make this change. It’s time to start over and see if we can rebound quickly. First thing’s first: we need to lose a lot so we can guarantee ourselves a chance to draft our next potential franchise quarterback.

I know, in a vacuum, it’s better to have the sure thing on your roster. But, the way we’ve failed to build around Wilson – combined with the fact that he was only going to get more expensive and take up more of a percentage of our salary cap – I don’t see how things were ever going to change. I guess you can argue we should’ve kept him over Pete Carroll and John Schneider, but then you’ve got the unknown of a brand new head coach and GM pairing.

Maybe that’s preferable. What has John Schneider done since 2014 when it comes to building this roster? Maybe he’s cashed as a talent evaluator. After all, if the rumors are true – that he was high on bringing Drew Lock here – then I think that speaks volumes. But, if that’s just poppycock, and he has another card up his sleeve with the next draft, then I’d like to see what’s in store for the future.

This is it, though. It’s the 2023 draft. It’s whoever we draft at that position next year. Pete and John get whoever that is, and if they flame out, it’s over. We’ll know soon enough whether this was all a huge mistake, or a massive stroke of genius. It might not make the 2022 Seahawks worth watching, but it’ll make the 2022 and 2023 NFL seasons pretty interesting. I’ll be keeping an eye on what Denver’s doing, for sure.

For the record, I think Denver will look pretty fucking great this season. I’m on record as believing they’ll win their division and maybe even go far in the playoffs. I think Russell Wilson will look terrific and in shape and run more with the ball than he has in the last few years. But, long term? I do have my doubts. I think the honeymoon won’t be long. And when it gets bad, it’ll get REALLY bad.

But, if it gets them a title in 2022, clearly it’ll all be worth it. And Pete and John will look like assholes for squandering so much of Russell’s prime.

I’m putting us at 3-14, with a top 4 draft pick. Maybe even top 3 or top 2. We won’t be the worst of the worst – I think that’ll be Chicago – but it’s going to be ugly. Just get there now. Get in that mindset. We’ll get through this together.

Seahawks 53-Man Roster Projection Ready Set Go!

It’s a little early for this, I’ll admit. But, this Friday I’m leaving on a trip and won’t be back until Labor Day, which doesn’t leave me a lot of time until the start of the regular season (plus, will be after the final cut-down day anyway, rendering this whole exercise moo. A cow’s opinion). Really, when you think about it, this isn’t early at all. It’s probably late, if I’m being honest! What am I even talking about?!

I don’t have a lot invested in this team, so I imagine my latest 53-man roster projection is going to be more wrong than normal (when I never really gave a damn anyway). Did I include too many linebackers and not enough offensive linemen? Probably. Anyway, here we go.

Quarterbacks

  • Geno Smith
  • Drew Lock

It’s our worst nightmare, come to fruition. If I had to guess, I’d say Geno gets the nod to start the regular season, but I can’t imagine that will last long (if it happens at all). I still contend the team wants Lock to be the guy, but his fucking up at every turn is holding him back.

Running Backs

  • Rashaad Penny
  • Kenneth Walker
  • Travis Homer
  • DeeJay Dallas
  • Nick Bellore

Pretty easy one here. I don’t dare lump Bellore in with the rest of the linebackers, but sure, he’s that too, I guess (in addition to a fullback the team almost never uses). When Walker’s healthy, this figures to be a 2-man backfield, but Homer will still likely see his fair share of reps in the 2-minute offense. And, injuries will likely dictate all of these guys appear at one time or another.

Wide Receivers

  • D.K. Metcalf
  • Tyler Lockett
  • Freddie Swain
  • Dee Eskridge
  • Penny Hart
  • Dareke Young

I really don’t believe Eskridge has done a damn thing to earn a spot on this roster, other than being our top draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Feels too soon to give up on a 2nd round pick, but then again, he’s CONSTANTLY FUCKING INJURED. I don’t get it. Hart is a hedge against that, plus he’s a special teams whiz. And I feel like if you keep Eskridge, you have to keep a sixth receiver just in case. It seems like Young has the higher upside, whereas Bo Melton is probably likelier to pass through to the practice squad.

Tight Ends

  • Noah Fant
  • Will Dissly
  • Colby Parkinson

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. No notes.

Offensive Line

  • Charles Cross
  • Damien Lewis
  • Austin Blythe
  • Gabe Jackson
  • Abe Lucas
  • Phil Haynes
  • Jake Curhan
  • Kyle Fuller
  • Stone Forsythe

Odds are we’ll see a 10th lineman here, but you could conceivably get away with just the 9. It all depends on how bad the Lewis injury is and how long he’ll miss time. But, Curhan can play guard or tackle. Fuller can play center or guard. Forsythe is your traditional tackle backup. There’s enough cross-polination among the backups here to cover your ass in a pinch. That assumes, of course, that Lucas is your starting right tackle, which is the rumor I’m hearing.

Defensive Linemen

  • Shelby Harris
  • Poona Ford
  • Bryan Mone
  • Al Woods
  • Quinton Jefferson
  • L.J. Collier
  • Myles Adams

These are the beefy dudes who should spend little-to-no time dropping back into coverage. That figure could be drastically high; I’m really taking a stab in the dark here. But, I’ve also ranked them in order of likelihood to make the team, so could be a tough break for one or both of Collier & Adams (but, I’ve heard good things about Collier in practice, and I’ve seen good things from Adams in the two games so far).

Pass Rushers/Strong-Side Linebackers

  • Darrell Taylor
  • Boye Mafe
  • Uchenna Nwosu
  • Alton Robinson
  • Tyreke Smith

Again, I’m ranking these by order of likelihood to make the team. But, I think the top four are as close to locks as possible. Smith makes my roster because he’s a draft pick, but I couldn’t tell you if he’s done a damn thing so far in the pre-season.

Linebackers

  • Jordyn Brooks
  • Cody Barton
  • Tanner Muse
  • Vi Jones

I’ll be honest, Muse and Jones are here because they’re names I recognize. I think one or both might be valuable special teamers, maybe? I also think this team could be sifting through cast-offs from other teams, since the position outside of Brooks has been so underwhelming.

Safeties

  • Jamal Adams
  • Quandre Diggs
  • Ryan Neal
  • Marquise Blair

I haven’t seen or heard about Neal, but I’m assuming based on his production for this team of late, he’ll get a crack to be a backup again. Blair, on the other hand, has done nothing but disappoint in the pre-season. I wouldn’t be shocked if Blair gets chopped and we go with someone else on our roster or pick up another team’s reject(s).

Cornerbacks

  • Tariq Woolen
  • Coby Bryant
  • Sidney Jones
  • Artie Burns
  • Justin Coleman

I don’t think Coleman deserves to be on this team, but I think he’s going to make it anyway. Odds are it’s Jones and Burns to start – with Bryant being the team’s top nickel guy – but I won’t be surprised to see Woolen out there (especially if Burns or Jones can’t get healthy). I’m also banking on Tre Brown starting out on PUP, or otherwise not joining the roster until later on in the season.

Special Teams

  • Tyler Ott (LS)
  • Michael Dickson (P)
  • Jason Myers (K)

Seems crazy that Myers gets to keep his job based on what we’ve seen, but what are you going to do? He’s going to continue to be aggravating, but he’s going to be far from the most aggravating thing we see on a weekly basis from this team.

OH MY GOD The Seahawks Looked Terrible Against The Bears

Yeah yeah yeah, it’s pre-season and whatnot. The whole point is to rest your stars, give the young guys some experience, and parse through your depth to see who’s worthy of a shot at the 53-man and who’s destined for the XFL or whatever the fuck they’re doing now with spring football.

But this was just a-whole-nother level of sucking that feels more like a harbinger of things to come than fake-football nonsense that can be ignored.

If you were unfortunate-enough to watch from beginning to end, who are you happy with? Who stood out in even a remotely positive light? I’ll tell you who, the fucking long-snapper Tyler Ott. Dude just balls out. Perfect long-snaps, made a touchdown-saving tackle on a punt return; he does it all!

Everyone else can go right to hell, as far as I’m concerned. Burn in the fiery pits of Satan’s domain.

Pre-Season Quarterback Report

Welp, Drew Lock was announced earlier this week as the Seahawks’ starter for this game. He went through a full practice with the ones and we were off and running with this now-legitimate quarterback competition.

Then, immediately after practice, it was announced he’d tested positive for COVID-19 and would not be playing this week. Furthermore, we’d find out that he was sick as a dog throughout that practice, and there’s no real guarantee that he’s even going to be ready to play in our third and final pre-season game on Friday, August 26th. Yay.

So, that means Geno Smith got to start his second game, with Jacob Eason playing those meaningless second half reps.

It’s hard to shit on Geno too much, because receivers were dropping balls left and right. That being said, it’s not like those drops were all on the most perfect of passes. Should they have been caught? Yeah, sure. Could they have been thrown more accurately and on time? I think so. I think there’s incompetent people on both sides.

It was a first half of punts, with one missed field goal. That feels true to real life. I think we’re going to see that a lot in the regular season, no matter who’s starting at quarterback. I don’t think D.K. Metcalf & Tyler Lockett will make much of a difference, because we’re also going to be going up against opposing teams’ number 1 defenses, with all of these pass rushers and other studs who’ve been sitting out the pre-season so far.

Jacob Eason led us to all of our 11 points in this 27-11 loss – and it could’ve been more if only we’d played better down the stretch – but don’t let that fool you. Eason stinks. He stunk in Georgia and lost his starting job. He stunk in Washington and ended up being the single worst decision of the Chris Petersen era. And he stinks now, where he’s clinging to a #3 job until the end of the month, when I’m sure he’ll be cut and free to sign with the Alabama Roughriders, the Omaha Roughriders, or even the San Francisco Roughriders of whatever second-rate minor football league is out there.

What does it all mean for the quarterback position heading into the regular season? Your guess is as good as mine. It felt like – by giving Drew Lock this Bears game at Lumen Field – we were setting him up for great success. Give him the home crowd and a soft-ish landing against the Bears and let him win this starting job. Even though all the talk has centered around Geno Smith being the man who deserves to be ahead in the competition – based on his years of experience and prior knowledge of the system – I don’t believe Pete Carroll is happy with the notion of Geno Smith being the starter when the games matter. I think he wants Lock out there, to see if we have a diamond in the rough, or to go down in flames so we can take a shot at a rookie next year.

But, Lock has disappointed at every turn. Critical practice interceptions, that fumble at the end of last week’s game (which could’ve been avoided had he adjusted our protection), and now this COVID diagnosis. He can seemingly do no right, and he’s bumbling his way into a backup job, at least to start the month of September.

Other Pre-Season Tidbits

Where to begin? It sucks that Damien Lewis got hurt. But, it’s a relief that it wasn’t an ACL or something too serious.

I thought the O-Line gave us some good pockets early, but struggled at times; they definitely weren’t as clean as last week. Charles Cross had the perfect storm of fuck-ups, with NUMEROUS penalties that killed MULTIPLE drives. Also, after the first couple drives, we really couldn’t even get a run game going to save our lives.

I will say that I thought Travis Homer looked GREAT! For the second week in a row! I’m flabbergasted! Like, if we needed to rely on him for more than pass protection, I think he’d be a real asset. It’s one of the most shocking things I’ve seen out of any pre-season, and I’m happy for him. It looks like he put in WORK this off-season; he appears faster, stronger, more agile. It’s a sight to behold.

Lotta drops by the receivers, as I mentioned. LOTTA DROPS. They all looked so fucking shitty. How is it that no one is going to step up and assert themselves? I know we have draft picks galore in this room, not to mention guys who’ve been on the periphery of the program for a few years, but I think the Seahawks need to start looking at everyone we’ve got – even the guys lower on the depth chart – and give them a legit chance. If you’ve got hands, I want you on my team! I know he doesn’t have a chance in hell, but you know who looks like a slot receiver who can catch the ball AND who can stay healthy on the field? Cade Brewer. If he’s someone who’s showing out in practice, I think he deserves a real shot. Not to mention Kevin Kassis, who caught 4 of 5 balls. This is the first I’ve seen or heard about either of these guys, but just by not dropping the ball, they out-performed every other higher-rated guy on this team.

The defense as a whole, again, is on my shitlist. But, two stood out as being particularly terrible. Justin Coleman, for the second week in a row, leads me to wonder why the fuck he’s even on this team. Terrible coverage, and a total brain fart where he could’ve downed a punt at the one yard line, but mindlessly stepped on the endzone line for a touchback. Why is he here?! Why did we trade Ugo Amadi? Why is he playing over Coby Bryant, who is LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than him?

The other guy is Marquise Blair, who just isn’t good. We all know him as the guy who can’t stay healthy – in three years, he’s played in 22 games – but he’s also just not good at the game of football. The only thing he wants to do is hit. Instead of using proper tackling techniques, he’s lowering his shoulder and hoping for those home run hits. Except, the guys he’s trying to obliterate are football players too, and they’re fully capable of bouncing off of this skinny twig-man for extra yards. And, when he lowers his shoulders like that, inevitably his helmet is going to get in the way and inadvertently come into contact with the helmet of the player on offense, resulting in a penalty. Just no football common sense whatsoever. It’s his last year, and maybe he won’t even make it to the regular season. What a fucking BUST of a second round pick.

I don’t remember much from the pass rush, so no kudos for any of them. Darrell Taylor had a critical offsides penalty. In total, we had 13 penalties for 92 yards, and all of them were warranted. The Bears, on the other hand, had 3 for 38. Don’t take that as the refs favoring one team over the other. Take that as the Seahawks being shitty and undisciplined.

Oh, yeah, before I forget, Jason Myers missed another make-able field goal. Another waste of money on a kicker who’s hardly better than a coin flip. Why is he here? Why isn’t there at least a competition going on?

The more I see of this team, the worse my opinion gets. I’m starting to come around on the idea that we might be bottom-dwellers in the NFL. Is the #1 pick on the table? Absolutely. Is a winless season on the table? Why not?! How low can we go? Your guess is as good as mine.

How Bad Can The Seahawks Get On Offense In 2022?

I think the Vegas odds have the Seahawks at over/under 5.5 wins this year. Seems high when you think about how extensive this rebuild has gone so far; I’ve always maintained the Seahawks would’ve easily been a 2-3 win team without Russell Wilson in recent years. But, when you look at the schedule, there appears to be at least 4-5 really bad teams on there, with most of those easy games happening at home. All it would take is beating the truly awful (on paper) teams, and maybe stealing a game in our division, and there you have it. I’m not saying I’d bet the Taylor Family Farm on the Seahawks winning 6+ games in 2022, but I’ve always had an inkling we’d manage to get there one way or another. Maybe that’s just because I have this perception that the national pundits and football fans outside of the Pacific Northwest think so poorly of our chances, I just want to zag where they zig. I’m guessing a lot of armchair general managers out there will be predicting us to have a Top 3 draft pick next year.

Aside from the schedule, I’m on record as saying I like this team at most every position except quarterback. If we had an elite quarterback, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if we contended for a wild card spot, or even as a dark horse divisional contender.

That could, of course, be the homer in me. Looking at things logically, we have inexperienced guys at offensive tackle, we have inexperienced guys at cornerback, we have a potentially bottom-quarter pass rushing unit, and we have a run-first guy in Pete Carroll throttling this offense back at every turn. By season’s end, there could be pleasant surprises from every non-quarterback group on this team. This very well could be the start of a new Seahawks dynasty for all we know! But, as was the case in the L.O.B. era, a lot would have to go right for that to happen again.

Until you actually sit there and watch the games, it’s easy to forget how truly vital the quarterback position is. The Ringer has the Seahawks ranked 27th out of 32 offensively. Honestly, that feels high, but I don’t know who you bump to move us down. It got me to wondering just how bad things can get.

Limiting Turnovers isn’t an offensive scheme. Yet, that seems to be 95% of what the Seahawks are banking on this year. That seems to be 110% of the reason why Geno Smith is leading the quarterback competition, even though we know exactly who he is. Spoiler alert.

Just because someone takes care of the football and “knows when to take a sack” doesn’t mean we’re magically going to score 25+ points per game. I think the biggest part of the reason why my gut tells me the Seahawks can win 6+ games is because the defense will be better than expected, and because Pete Carroll and his staff will be able to coach everyone up to win some tight and low-scoring games. But, it’s entirely possible the defense is the same (or worse) as it’s been for the last half-decade. It’s also entirely possible that Pete Carroll is cashed as a coach, and it’s time to move on to some fresh blood.

The bottom line is: if the defense stinks, there’s no way the Seahawks are winning any shootouts. If the defense stinks, the floor is zero victories. The offense will be THAT mediocre.

We all point to the 1992 Seahawks as the epitome of a terrible offense. Not just a franchise nadir, but also one of the very worst offenses in NFL history (at least modern NFL history, since the merger). I will say that I don’t think the 2022 Seahawks offense will be THAT bad. There are still some talented players. Metcalf and Lockett are up there among NFL wide receiver duos. We’ve got some talented guys at running back. The tight ends look solid. If the O-Line is even remotely competent, we should be able to easily surpass 8.8 points per game.

But, this is obviously a different game than the one that was played in the early 90s. It’s a lot easier to score nowadays, all the rules changes have seen to that. Nevertheless, I think we’re going to find this team to be VERY difficult to watch. Geno Smith’s “good” numbers – in, again, not turning the ball over and hitting his checkdowns – mean nothing if we can’t convert third downs. Mean nothing if we can’t convert field goal drives into touchdown drives. Mean nothing if we can’t score in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. He can complete 100% of his dinks and dunks for all I care, but if we’re not able to reliably slice and dice our way through opposing defenses, it’s all going to be worthless.

And that’s assuming we roll with Geno! Just imagine how bad things could get if Drew Lock is the guy. Someone who decidedly isn’t as careful with the football. Yet, also someone who isn’t even remotely accurate as a deep-ball passer. It’s all well and good to have a cannon for an arm, but if you’re always over-throwing guys by 20 yards, then what use is it?

The only hope, really, is that Shane Waldron is able to unlock the Sean McVay offense – even if it’s a slightly watered-down version – to the point where Smith or Lock can be to us what Jared Goff was to the Rams when they were all together. That, and the offensive line holds up, and the running game is more dynamic than we could’ve possibly imagined. But, here’s the rub: even if the running backs play some elite ball, defenses are just going to gear up for the run and load the box, because they know our quarterbacks will never be able to beat them with their arms.

It feels bleak! It feels like 27th truly IS too high of a ranking for this offense. It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if the Seahawks are averaging somewhere in the realm of 15 points per game and we go something like 3-14 or 2-15. There’s just NOTHING holding this team together right now except for the coaching staff. And I don’t care how good the coaches are, they aren’t out there on the field taking care of business. If they don’t have the players, then they’re effectively useless.

Bad quarterbacks – even with the talented skill position players we have around them – will alienate the entire team. If we’re truly awful to start the season, expect it to snowball. Expect this team to give up. And once that happens, there’s no bottom limit to how bad this team can be, in every facet of the game.

I would say – in a TL;DR situation – to expect a lot of field goals this year, but who knows with Jason Myers?! If he’s as bad as everyone else, then watch out!

The Seahawks Weren’t Totally Uninteresting In A Pre-Season Loss In Pittsburgh

I had scheduled myself to write about the Mariners today and the Seahawks tomorrow, but we’re flip-flopping after an underwhelming series loss to the Rangers of all teams.

I didn’t watch the Seahawks game live, because I have better things to do than watch quasi-meaningless pre-season games. But, you know what I don’t have better things to do than? Watching quasi-meaningless pre-season games the next day on DVR when I already know the outcome of the game!

I’ll just get this out of the way early so we can all move on: I’m not crazy about pre-season announcing booths in general, but the addition of an otherwise quite charming Michael Robinson brought the homerism to a new level. I didn’t bother to write down any specific criticisms, but at points I was wondering if we were watching the same players. Like, he’d praise their attributes that they clearly don’t exhibit! To counter-balance that, I thought the addition of Michael Bennett was delightful, and I particularly enjoyed his interviews on the field. He’s a wild card in the best possible way (even though it’s clear he’s been instructed to also juice up the homerism). Curt Menefee, as always, is a pro’s pro and we’re lucky to have him doing our games. He has no reason to! We’re not interesting from a national perspective without Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner anymore!

The game result is – as has been mentioned everywhere – not important. The Seahawks got down 14-0 through the first quarter, we managed to execute a 2-minute drive heading into halftime to cut the deficit to 17-10, then we tied it on our first possession after halftime. We swapped touchdowns and 2-point conversions after that, to make it 25-25 late in the game. Then, a critical stop by the Seahawks defense was rewarded with a devastating sack/fumble, and the Steelers scored a TD with just 3 seconds left in the game to give the game its final score, 32-25.

Pre-Season Quarterback Report

As has been the case pretty much all off-season, Geno Smith worked with the starters and Drew Lock worked with the backups. In this particular game, Geno worked the entire first half and Drew worked the entire second half.

And, as expected, neither one really stood out, at least to my eye. They’re both crappy-to-mediocre backup quarterbacks in this league. And yet, I came to a definite conclusion while watching this game, as Geno Smith tottered his way to a sack in an imploding pocket (even though he had plenty of time to throw it away): if I have to watch a full season where Geno Smith is my team’s starting quarterback, I’m going to blow my fucking brains out.

Mind you, I don’t expect that to be the end result of my life, so let’s just say I’ll be taking every opportunity to casually skip even regular season Seahawks games this year.

I don’t want this to sound like I’m gung-ho over Drew Lock, because I’m very much not. But, man, we fucking know what Geno Smith has to offer. He was shitty with the Jets (and other teams) and he’s shitty now. Age and sitting behind Russell Wilson has not magically made him better. There’s no savvy to his game. He looks way too long to his first read, for one thing. That makes him frequently late in throwing to that first read if he decides it’s open. Otherwise, it makes him late to his secondary reads, so it’s like he holds on Read 1, and then a few seconds later decides to check it down to his final read. This is especially aggravating when it’s 3rd & long and the check-down gets tackled well before the first down line to gain.

That’s why you can see his stats from Saturday – 10/15, 101 yards, no turnovers – and think that’s not so bad. Last year, in three games, he completed over 68% of his passes largely in this fashion (looking pretty spry against probably the league’s worst defense in Jacksonville), which again leads one to think he’s not so bad. Think again. Think long and hard about the Geno Smith you’ve watched over the last decade.

I just can’t with him. All things being equal – and they do look pretty equal – give me the unfamiliar. Drew Lock, to his credit, did some good things in this one. He doubled the number of touchdown drives that Geno gave us, he completed one more pass for one more yard in the same number of attempts. But, he also took double the number of sacks, including the game-sealing fumble at the end (where he was supposed to recognize the blitzer off the edge and adjust the play/protection accordingly).

You look for moments where a quarterback can show you what he’s got. That was Drew Lock’s moment. The game was tied, there was just over a minute left and we got it on Pittsburgh’s side of the 50 yard line. All we needed was 20-25 yards for an easy game-winning field goal. That’s a moment where you MUST orchestrate a game-winning drive for your team. Granted, it was the pre-season, so it was backups against backups. But, that makes it all the more important if you’re Drew Lock and you’re trying to be a starter in this league. Starters don’t fuck that up. Starters see that blitzer and make mincemeat out of the Steelers on that play. This is going to be Lock’s fourth year in the league; if you can’t see a pretty obvious blitz off the edge by now, then I just don’t think it’s ever going to click for you.

And yet, I still would prefer to see Lock as our starting quarterback this season. Partly because he’s Not Geno Smith, but also because I think he sucks just a little bit more. I think he’s going to be a little more reckless with the football, where Geno might be a little more careful. I think he’ll cost us maybe an extra game or two, where Geno might do just enough to game manage his way to victory. It’s the difference between going 8-9 and 6-11, but that’s a pretty big leap in the NFL draft standings, and that’s all that matters right now.

Because, clearly, neither of these guys deserve to be around and playing in meaningful football games in 2023.

Other Pre-Season Tidbits

I was quite impressed with the offensive line throughout this one. If there’s one positive takeaway, it’s that the depth up front is likely to be our biggest strength.

By extension, I thought the running backs looked great as well! Granted, Rashaad Penny was out with injury (of course), but that just meant more Kenneth Walker. He didn’t break anything, but he looked solid in general. More eye-opening was what we saw from DeeJay Dallas and even Travis Homer, who both got busy running AND pass catching. Great day from that room!

I was pretty appalled by our run defense, especially when you saw a good chunk of our starting interior linemen out there for much of the game. Even in the first half, the Steelers were ripping us to shreds.

Cody Barton is Just A Guy. I don’t know where anyone got the opinion that he’s going to be a good player for this team, but he’s not. He’s just a warm body. His deficiencies might be covered up a little more when Jordyn Brooks is out there being a beast. But, when Barton is the main guy, you can see just how slow he is, how bad his instincts are, and how he gets run over on the reg. If ankle tackles where the runner still falls forward for 2-3 extra yards are your jam, then sign up for more Cody Barton. But, as for me, I prefer an inside linebacker with some juice.

Bit of a mixed bag from our receivers. I thought the rookies Bo Melton and Dareke Young looked solid. No D.K. or Lockett in this one, nor any Swain or Dee Eskridge (naturally). We did get our first look at Noah Fant, who will definitely have a big role in this passing game. That being said, Fant isn’t going to be much of a blocker, especially out in space, so we’ll have to adjust our expectations accordingly. Also, he needs to work on his footwork, because he had a great opportunity along the sidelines, but couldn’t get his second foot down in bounds.

I was pleased to see Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson make big impacts in the pass rush. And I was thrilled with the two sacks from Boye Mafe! He might be raw, but his speed is NFL-ready, no doubt about it. Shelby Harris looks like a quality addition to the interior, and I think it was Myles Adams who stood out quite a bit in the second half (I believe he was wearing #95 in this one, but I could be mistaken). I don’t know how many DTs we can carry, but I’m rooting for Adams.

I’m going to withhold too much judgment on the secondary for now, because we were looking at a lot of inexperienced guys out there on the boundary. I will say that Justin Coleman looks bad and old and slow; he probably shouldn’t make this team. Promisingly enough, Tariq Woolen got the start on one side and was hit or miss. I say “promisingly” because he was always expected to be more of a project, so the fact that the team trusts him enough to start him right out of the gate is encouraging for his overall talent level. I’ll need to see better ball skills, and turning his head when the ball is in the air, but otherwise there are things to build upon, as well as things to point to and praise. On the other side, we saw a lot of Coby Bryant. I don’t know where he’s ultimately going to end up (if it’s outside or as a nickel guy), but sort of the same deal: some good things to point to, some things for him to work on. You wouldn’t expect either guy to be finished products right out of college, but I like that they both have the trust of these coaches this early in their careers.

That being said, if Sidney Jones and/or Artie Burns continue to be injured throughout this season, we could be looking at significant growing pains from our secondary. Granted, neither of our starting safeties – Quandre Diggs & Jamal Adams – played in this one. Here’s hoping they can paper over where we’re limited on the outside.

Finally, I’ll just say the kicking game looked shaky as hell! Jason Myers doinked one in off the upright and did not look sharp; he was also knocking some kickoffs short, but that may have been by design to test our coverage units (who graded out pretty poorly, in my layman’s opinion). Michael Dickson punted a bunch into the endzone, which is entirely unlike him. I’d say the old line about how it’s pre-season for everyone, including punters, but what else does he do with his time in training camp? He punts! Where’s that magic leg we’ve seen for four years?! That magic leg we’re paying Top-Of-The-Punter-Market prices!

Pay That Myan Hees Munny: D.K. Metcalf Gets A Contract Extension

When in doubt, listen to Teddy KGB.

3 years, $72 million, with $30 million of that as a signing bonus, and just over $58 million guaranteed. It’s the highest signing bonus of any wide receiver in NFL history, but that’s mostly due to the way the Seahawks like to do business, with no second year guarantees built in.

So, we’ve got D.K. Metcalf through the 2025 season. He’ll still be a relative bargain – assuming he stays healthy – for the next two seasons. Then, in 2024, the contract starts to balloon, and we’ll assume after that the economics of the NFL will come into better focus. Either he’ll have earned another contract extension, or he’ll be cut because maybe he gets hurt or the Seahawks go on a rebuild, or maybe he just plays it out and we see what happens.

I’ll be very interested to see what the wide receiver market looks like after 2024. As we’ve seen this offseason, contracts for wide receivers are exploding. Some of them are downright stupid. What we’re seeing, though, is an unprecedented collection of young, elite wide receivers coming up for deals and getting paid accordingly.

It feels like a bubble, though, right? Every year there are more and more elite young receivers entering the NFL. The rules of the game today make it safer than ever to be a receiver and extend your career. At what point does the NFL unlock the magic system where teams start to realize they don’t need “elite” wide receivers? They just need some good ones, under reasonable contracts. When will Moneyball come to the NFL in regards to this wide receiver gold rush?

In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Denver Broncos showed the rest of the NFL that you could generate a quality running game with pretty much whatever running back you had on hand. If the scheme is right, and your linemen are capable, then it doesn’t totally matter who’s handling the rock. In the years since, we’ve seen running back contracts hit a definite ceiling. You have to be superman Derrick Henry to really set any kind of bar (or you have to have a senile old man running things, in the case of Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys). Running backs are now largely considered to be disposable and interchangable. Teams would rather have a collection of cheap, competent runners – making the lives of fantasy football owners miserable in the process – because of what I stated above, combined with the likely injury risk every running back faces.

In short, the running back bubble burst. I think that’s coming for the wide receivers next.

What we know for a fact is that the quarterback bubble is never going to stop expanding. It’s like the universe itself; it’s just going to keep going and going until the end of time. The quarterback bubble is going to likely expand at a greater rate than the NFL salary cap as a whole expands. So, teams are going to have to find a way to cut costs somewhere. Receiver seems like the most likely best option.

So, I guess, what I’m trying to say is good for D.K. Metcalf! Good on him for being drafted at the right place, at the right time in NFL history! Good for him being so elite!

Now, he’s gotta catch balls from the likes of Geno Smith or Drew Lock. Now, he’s gotta suffer through an uncertain quarterback future where a likely rookie takes over in 2023. Now he’s gotta try and help us bridge the gap between Russell Wilson and whoever our next elite quarterback ends up being.

My guess? D.K. Metcalf won’t be here the next time the Seahawks have an elite quarterback. That’s just playing the odds, though.

TL;DR, do I like the move?

This is one of those I struggle to have a strong opinion about. The pure, raw, emotional fan in me likes having D.K. Metcalf in a Seahawks uniform because he’s so damn fun to watch. I’ve been on him since the day we drafted him, and he’s yet to let me down. And, as we enter this period of shaky quarterback play, I know for a fact that this offense is going to be a fucking bummer to watch week-in and week-out. Give me SOMETHING to look forward to. If football is supposed to be entertainment, then from a pure entertainment perspective, there’s no one else like D.K. Metcalf on this team. His bigtime catches, his bruising playing style, his ability to get under the skin of opponents: inject it all into my veins.

The rational, analytical fan in me, however, wonders what the point is. Are we rebuilding or not? The team would never admit to such a thing, but it seems clear with the quarterbacks we’ve got on the roster that we’re not REALLY playing for 2022. It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that – unless they make a deal for Jimmy G – the plan is to use a high draft pick next year on our quarterback of the future.

So, what we’ve done is effectively signed D.K. Metcalf through his prime years. He’s never going to be much better than he is right now. He might be smarter, more savvy. But, the combination of athleticism and speed is never going to be better than it is right now. For one of those prime years, he gets Geno/Drew throwing somewhere in his vicinity. For another of those prime years, he gets a rookie (who will likely be playing with training wheels, like Russ did for much of 2012). Then, we’ll see, but we know for sure that half of his remaining years here will be a struggle.

How will that affect his psyche? How will he respond on the sidelines? I don’t care who you are, when you make a name for yourself in the NFL and start getting paid at near the top of the market, you get a big head. It happens to everyone. And wide receivers are fucking divas, man. That’s just the way it is. When will he get disgruntled and start making scenes because he’s not getting the ball enough? You know it’s going to happen. Is this all going to be pointless, because he’s never going to be part of the next great Seahawks team, whenever that ends up being?

And, of course, the dynasty fantasy football owner of D.K. Metcalf is annoyed because his value is effectively decimated. I just have to hope that he gets enough TD opportunities throughout the years to make up for his dearth in actual receptions.

Overall, though, I think I’m more happy that he’s here and I get to continue watching him every week. I also do see the value in not totally bottoming out from a talent perspective. Having guys like D.K. around keeps everyone else engaged and trying hard. It shows that – in spite of our terrible QB situation – we’re still interested in turning things around and ultimately winning it all. It’s just going to require some patience.

That having been said, my philosophy hasn’t changed either. If I had my druthers, we’d be constantly running it back with the likes of Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Golden Tate. Give me mid-tier guys with good hands and clean route running over a monster #1 receiver. What’s good for fantasy football isn’t always good for winning NFL games.

Thankfully, I don’t expect the Seahawks to win too many of those over the next year or two. So, the least we can do is have some fun watching D.K. Metcalf make opponents’ lives miserable.

How Long Will It Take The Seahawks To Find Their Franchise Quarterback?

19 of the 32 NFL head coaches were hired in 2020 or later. That gives you some idea of the kind of turnover we’re talking about in the league. It also gives you a little bit of an idea of how many well-run franchises are out there. The teams with head coaches hired since 2020 by and large haven’t been very good. There are exceptions, of course; Tampa and New Orleans had legit guys either retire or take a year off. But, for the most part, when you think of the worst-run franchises in the NFL – the Giants, Jets, Texans, Jags, Bears, Lions, Commanders, Browns – and even the mediocre franchises – Panthers, Cowboys, Falcons, Dolphins, Eagles, Vikings, Raiders, Chargers – they’re all on this list.

I would say the best-run orgs with new head coaches are the Broncos, Saints, and Bucs. The Broncos just made a huge move to bring in Russell Wilson. The Saints are on year two of trying to replace Drew Brees. And we’re well aware of the Bucs and how they’ve done with Tom Brady.

It’s no coincidence that to win in the NFL – and therefore to be considered a well-run organization – you need a quality quarterback. But, even that doesn’t guarantee anything. Do we think the Bengals are a well-run organization? Of course not. But, they lucked into Joe Burrow, who seems to be a generational talent. Do we think the Cardinals are well-run? No way! But, they’re saddled with Kyler Murray through a second contract, and we’ll get to watch them fail to make a Super Bowl for many years to come. The Titans and Colts have won a lot of games in recent years, but I don’t think either franchise is super thrilled with their quarterback situations.

What I’m trying to get at here is the Chicken/Egg question: are well-run organizations more prone to finding quality franchise quarterbacks? Or, is it the quality franchise quarterback that makes an organization appear to be well-run?

What makes it tricky is the fact that head coaches don’t usually get opportunities to stick around through multiple quarterback changes. Either the coach finds his quarterback, and they make a pact to run it back for a long time, or the coach is brought in after the quarterback is already in place – maybe having underachieved during a prior head coach – and they make a pact to run it back for a long time. But, very rarely – especially in today’s game – do you bring in a coach, and he sticks around beyond the one main guy.

Bill Belichick, obviously, went from Drew Bledsoe to Tom Brady to Mac Jones (we’ll see on how good Jones ends up being). If Mac Jones pans out, I think that speaks very highly of Belichick and the organization as a whole being an environment that’s able to foster quarterback development. But, he’s also the greatest head coach of all time, so what are we talking about here? He’s a one of one. If anyone can do something like that, it’s him.

The Steelers will be an excellent case study, because Mike Tomlin is the second-longest tenured head coach in football, and as a whole they are considered to be probably a top five organization. They’re moving on from Ben Roethlisberger for the first time since Tomlin has been there. If they can turn Kenny Pickett into a star – especially when he wasn’t graded out super-high in this poor overall draft class for quarterbacks – then that’s another notch in the belt of Organization being more important than simply finding a fluke of a quarterback in the lottery that is the NFL Draft.

The Ravens succeeded pretty well in transitioning from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson (and even Tyler Huntley balled out in limited duty); the fact that they’ve won as much as they have speaks volumes. The Chiefs obviously hit the aforementioned lottery with Patrick Mahomes, but would he be the consensus #1 quarterback alive without Andy Reid’s system? The Rams certainly took it to another level when they brought Matthew Stafford into the fold, but they were winning at a tremendous clip with Jared Goff of all people. The 49ers have been pretty injury-prone under Shanahan, but he’s definitely built up a solid overall roster, and if Trey Lance hits, I think that’s another feather in his cap.

Clearly, this is all preamble before I talk about the Seahawks. I would put the Seahawks up there – at least in the top 10, if not the top 5 – in well-run organizations. But, maybe that’s mistaken. Maybe that’s the homer in me. After all, we’re talking about the VAST majority of our success coming in years where Russell Wilson was the starting quarterback. Clearly, we fared a lot better when we had a bomb-ass team around him – a bomb-ass team built through Pete Carroll and this organization – but even when the team around him faltered, Russell Wilson kept things afloat, almost by himself.

Before Russell Wilson, it was two years of rebuilding, with mediocre quarterback play (though, to be fair, I don’t know if even Russ could’ve won with the collection of “talent” we had in 2010 and 2011). Now, in 2022, it’ll be just the third season without Wilson at the helm for Pete Carroll & Co.

One thing’s for sure: I don’t believe our next franchise quarterback is on the roster at the moment. Geno Smith is a mediocre quarterback at best, Drew Lock might be even worse, and Jacob Eason seems to be destined for the XFL or USFL or working at a car dealership. Best case scenario, 2022 will be a rebuilding year akin to 2011. If everything goes right and we’re able to build up the roster around the quarterback position, maybe we luck into that franchise guy in 2023 and beyond.

Assuming we don’t trade for Jimmy G – who I would not place in that franchise quarterback bucket, especially since now we’re talking about not one but two teams who’ve given up on him – then we’re talking about 2023 at the earliest. But, even if we’re bad this year – which most people agree that we’ll be in the bottom 10, and maybe bottom 5 – that’s no guarantee that the guy we draft next year will be The Next Russell Wilson, or The Next Fill-In-The-Blank.

Think about all of those teams who’ve hired a new head coach since 2020. You don’t think they tried repeatedly to draft their franchise guy? For some of those organizations, that’s all they ever do! The Bears are STILL trying to find The Next Sid Luckman!

But, I also believe there’s something to the notion that better teams – with a solid foundation in place, both in coaching, as well as personnel – are better able to find those franchise guys, just as they’re better able to win with perhaps sub-par guys (see: the Titans). We’ll find out how true that is with the Seahawks, when they presumably draft a quarterback next year in one of the first three rounds (almost certainly in the first round, but you never know). I think that’ll give us a pretty good sense of what we’re dealing with here. There’s a good contingent of Pete Carroll haters out there – or, at least, Pete Carroll doubters – and I think they’re all of the same mind, that this team needs a breath of fresh air before we go out and find the next quarterback. I disagree. I want Pete Carroll here during these uncertain times. Why? Because he led us out of the wilderness during the LAST period of uncertainty.

Growing up, the Seahawks went from being a relatively well-run organization – through at least the early portion of the Chuck Knox era – to without question the worst-run organization. We were a laughingstock in the late 80s and early 90s. Really, it wasn’t until we hired Mike Holmgren before things turned around. He built us into winners. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, just as I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Pete Carroll was able to do what he did in the last decade. Winners find a way to win. They attract other winners.

Obviously, it’s fair to question whether or not the game has passed Carroll by. I think that’s the argument for a lot of the doubters. We’ll see. I think he’ll get through this year no matter what our record is. Then, I think he’ll get 2023 to see if we can turn things around and start looking competitive again. If we fade in 2023, then I highly doubt he’ll have 2024 or beyond to do anything.

The next two years will say a lot about the question of Organization vs. Quarterback. Can we find and develop the next franchise guy? Can we win with just an okay guy? If not, then there’s no way this doesn’t get blown up by 2024. And if THAT comes to fruition, then who the fuck knows how long it’ll take to find our next franchise quarterback? We could be talking decades!

2024, not so coincidentally, will also likely coincide with the Seahawks potentially being sold to a new ownership group. That’s something else to keep in mind. Maybe that’s a reason to keep Carroll an extra year or two, to make the transition. But, all that uncertainty might make a clean break ideal for all parties, especially if the Seahawks are bottom-dwellers over the next couple seasons.