How Badly Do The Seahawks Need Jamal Adams?

I’m just going to get this out of the way up top: I want the Seahawks to give Jamal Adams an extension. I want them to make him the highest paid safety in the league, and I want him here and happy at least for the duration of THIS new deal (maybe not on a third contract, though). But, while these things tend to sort themselves out with no real trouble, there are occasions where the team and the player are too far apart in their values, and too stubborn to make that move towards the middle. That’s when you see things blow up, with players holding out, with teams making hasty trades to try to recoup some of their lost capital, with both sides doing their best to save face in the aftermath.

I don’t THINK things will blow up with the Seahawks and Jamal Adams, but I’d be a fool to totally bury my head in the sand and believe everything is going to be hunky dory.

We have to be ready to live in a world where Jamal Adams has played his last down in a Seahawks uniform. So, let’s look at what we have here, and ask ourselves: is what we have (on defense) enough?

The Seahawks have made a lot of improvements, without a lot of deficits, to make the pass rush better than it has been in the last couple years. And remember, the pass rush wasn’t too bad in the back-half of 2020! We brought back Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa on team-friendly deals. We obviously retained Rasheem Green and L.J. Collier. We get to witness Alton Robinson hopefully take a leap from his first year to his second. We get to HOPEFULLY see why it was so important for the Seahawks to trade up to draft Darrell Taylor last year. Our big free agent splash was to sign Kerry Hyder, who looked really good for the 49ers a year ago. And, the possible cherry on top – assuming there are no further legal issues – is Aldon Smith, who is looking to continue to resuscitate his once-amazing career.

Along the interior, we lost Jarran Reed, which is a blow, no doubt about it. But, we still have Poona Ford and Bryan Mone. We brought back Al Woods to be a big plug in the run game. We have a bunch of really young guys to develop behind them. And, we’re taking a flyer on Robert Nkemdiche, who has been a HUGE bust thus far in his NFL career, but was nevertheless a first round pick in 2016 for a reason. If anyone is going to get the most out of this guy, I would venture to say it’s the Seahawks. He’s gotta want it, of course – and I think that’s the biggest hurdle of all – but if he’s interested, he’s got all the tools to be really special.

So, is that enough? Boy, there is A LOT to like, especially among the defensive ends. It’s not the highest-profile pass rushing unit in the league, but I really do believe they can be effective.

But, let’s try to be objective here. Essentially, it’s the same group as last year, only we traded Reed for Hyder. That concerns me, because finding interior pass rushing is so much harder. How good will Hyder be rushing on the inside, in this system? I guess we’ll find out. I’m also at a point with Taylor where I’ll believe it when I see it; he’s still a rookie in my eyes, since he has yet to play a down in the NFL. And, you HAVE to worry about depth, especially if/when the important guys get injured. Green and Collier are okay complementary pieces, but how diminishing will those returns be if they have to play on an every-down basis?

Most importantly of all, if we agree this is pretty much the same group as last year, you have to concede that the 2020 Seahawks also had Jamal Adams, his blitzing, and his 9.5 sacks out of the secondary. How effective will that group be in this hypothetical scenario where we DON’T have Adams?

That’s something I really don’t want to think about.

The wild card in all of this is what the Seahawks might get in return, if they were forced to trade Adams. Let’s say, for instance, we deal him for another team’s disgruntled holdout? What if we were to get Stephon Gilmore from the Patriots?

There’s a lot of risk there, obviously. Adams will be 26, Gilmore will be 31. But, given Adams’ style of play, I’d say the injury risk is probably a wash; the risk with Gilmore is more in the realm of old age slowing him down. Gilmore MIGHT be savvy enough to use his veteran wiles and sustain through the guaranteed money years of his next deal, just as Adams MIGHT not blow out a vertebra in his neck in the next 2-3 years.

In the short term, though, this could be an interesting move. Instead of valuing pass rush above all else, we’ll take our existing pass rush and combine it with vastly improved coverage in our secondary. Instead of D.J. Reed and whoever, it’ll be Gilmore and Reed and some really solid depth behind them. Improved coverage, in its own way, can aide in generating pass rush, by giving our guys enough time to beat the opposing team’s blocking.

Of course, the obvious dream scenario is to extend Adams AND trade for Gilmore. But, I don’t know if we live in that kind of world where I get to have whatever the fuck I want. Odds are, Gilmore is a pipe dream, and it’s better to set our focus on Adams.

In the end, the Seahawks don’t need Adams quite as much as they did heading into the 2020 season (mostly thanks to last year’s in-season trade for Dunlap). But, if we have our sights on winning another Super Bowl, I think Adams is vitally important.

Championship teams need superstars, period. Jamal Adams is a superstar. We’ve already seen that he can be wildly effective in this system, so now it’s time to pay the man and get to work.

The Seahawks Extended Michael Dickson

All right, we won’t have to worry about the punter position for a few more years. The Seahawks announced in the last week that they extended Michael Dickson for 4 years, $14.5 million. This is on top of his 2021 season that sees him making over $3 million, so we’re looking at one of the highest-paid punters in the NFL.

By the looks of it, I’m pretty sure Dickson – by total value and dollars per year – is second only to Johnny Hekker of the Rams, which feels about right. At the time of his next deal – assuming he’s still kicking ass and taking names – I would expect Dickson to be #1 overall. This is the price you pay for elite punting. And, as a guy who witnessed some atrocious punting by the Seahawks at times in the 90’s and early 2000’s, I can tell you this isn’t necessarily a place you want to skimp.

The Seahawks play a particular style of football that lends itself to rely on the punter more than, say, the Kansas City Chiefs. On top of this, as the Seahawks’ defense has trended steadily downward since the L.O.B. glory days, punting becomes quietly critical. The more field a mediocre defense gets to defend, the higher the likelihood that we turn touchdowns into field goals and field goals into punts by the other team. So, the more often a punter can help a defense – by booting the ball inside the 20 and 10 yard lines – the better the outcomes the Seahawks will have as a result. It’s all very scientific and analytical, I don’t want to bore you here.

The cool thing about having an elite punter is when the defense isn’t mediocre any longer. If everything happens as it’s supposed to – guys stay healthy, certain guys improve more to their potential, Jamal Adams signs his extension and plays this season – then the difference in yardage an elite punter can squeeze out of the Special Teams is enormous. That’s not just turning touchdowns into field goals and field goals into punts, but more drives into safeties and turnovers. Pinning a team deep in its own end – combined with the advantage of having fans in the stands again – can elicit at least comparisons to the glory days of Seahawks defense. Again, it’s all very technical and complex.

Anyway, I’m a fan. I’m a fan of this deal and I’m a fan of Big Balls Dickson. We got to enjoy Dickson for three years on a rookie deal, and he was set to get a huge raise anyway in 2021 since he made an All Pro in that time. The difference between a rookie deal and what he’s making now is about $3 million per year. In NFL parlance, that’s peanuts. I’m fine paying that figure if it means we get the best punter in the game through the majority of his prime punting years.

In The First Round Of The 2021 NFL Draft, The Seattle Seahawks Selected Veteran Jamal Adams (*Jerking Off Motion*)

There are a lot of tired draft day cliches out there, but the hard sell of teams to their fans about why they don’t have whatever draft picks they happen to be lacking is one I’m getting particularly sick of in recent years. They always justify it the same way: we never would’ve found anyone this good at that spot in the draft.

By this logic, shouldn’t you just trade all of your draft picks for quality veterans every year? Or, at the very least, suffer some disappointment in the fact that you weren’t able to trade them for veterans, and got stuck with these Not Nearly As Good college players? That just happen to be significantly cheaper, younger, and less influenced by other coaches and schemes. That could also, not for nothing, develop INTO quality veterans if everything breaks right.

The point is, we don’t need the hard sell. Most of us are adults, and we understand the Seahawks are in a situation where they’re desperately trying to win another championship. That means taking calculated risks to try to significantly bolster your roster, and sometimes those risks come at the expense of the NFL Draft. It happens.

Also, it would be nice if the Seahawks got off their asses and completed this Jamal Adams extension, because it’s really not something I want to have to worry about all summer, especially when there are other potential moves to be made to fill in around the fringes. For as happy as I am with how well we were able to incorporate Adams into our defense, and with his massive impact in helping us win the NFC West, I’m NOT going to be happy if we only have him for one or two years, because he holds out or forces another trade or something.

As I think I said earlier in the week, I have no interest in watching the NFL Draft tonight. I’m treating it like a lot of other things that have little-to-no bearing on my happiness: wake me up when it’s over and just give me the Cliff’s Notes.

The Seahawks Don’t Seem To Give A Shit About The 2021 NFL Draft

Get ready, in the coming days – if it hasn’t been written about ad nauseam already – to read about how the Seahawks used their first and third round picks to bring in Jamal Adams, and about how their fifth rounder was used to bring in highly-touted offensive guard Gabe Jackson, and how their sixth rounder was used to move back into the 2020 draft to select Stephen Sullivan (who is no longer with the team … oops!), and I guess one of their seventh round picks was used to help bring in Carlos Dunlap (forgetting that he was mostly a money dump for the Bengals who wasn’t going to play much for them anyway).

If you look at all of THAAAAAT, then the 2021 Seahawks draft looks pretty good, right gang?! Anyone who’s anyone would gladly take three high-quality starters out of any draft, and that doesn’t even factor in the potential of the guys the Seahawks, you know, actually draft!

Yawn.

Snort.

Spit.

The Seahawks currently sit with three draft picks as a result: 2nd round (56), 4th round (129), and 7th round (250). It’s a good thing we don’t have any long-term holes we need to fill, right?! Oh, wait.

You can’t talk about a Seahawks draft without mentioning that we’re most likely destined to trade back to acquire more picks. Even in a normal year, that’s always the modus operandi; six picks magically become 11, without any rhyme or reason. Of course, usually we have a low first rounder to dangle to teams in the upper second round (being able to control a player for a fifth year is a pretty nice carrot to offer), and this time we don’t, so we’ll see how it goes.

You also can’t talk about a Seahawks draft without mentioning that they usually select someone you wouldn’t suspect, at least with their first choice. I liked this blog post about how reading Seahawks mock drafts by national experts are a waste of time. It’s so fucking true. I mean, I would argue (and that post astutely points out) that mock drafts are a waste of time period, but this is the Internet; what is it if not a giant time-suck?

What’s great about this year is that I get to skip Thursday night entirely, so I don’t have to pretend I give a shit about a bunch of college players I don’t remember and hardly ever watched. I might tune in to watch the first hour or so, to stay informed on where some of the quarterbacks go. But, my point is, it’s not necessarily appointment viewing, and not necessarily something I have to endure to the bitter end.

That brings us to Friday, where I … can easily skip the first hour or so! The Seahawks don’t pick until close to the END of the second round. So, I can take an afternoon nap, make an involved dinner, finish my newspaper, and still have time to see the Seahawks trade down.

I mean, if the Seahawks don’t care about the NFL Draft, why should I?

What do we need? I have no idea. An offensive lineman, probably. Center? That might not be a bad idea; see if one of the better centers is available? Cornerback depth is probably a good idea. Maybe a strong-side linebacker. Maybe another running back to throw on the pile. Maybe a tight end. I dunno, there are lots of ways the Seahawks could go. They could draft a huge, run-stuffing defensive tackle for all I know!

Someone on the Mitch Unfiltered podcast said that while it’s almost a given that the Seahawks trade down with their second round pick, they shouldn’t trade down too far. I wholeheartedly agree. The lower you go, the less likely you’re going to find an impact guy who can contribute right away. 56, or thereabouts, feels like the limit to me. Honestly, I wouldn’t even care if we didn’t trade down EVER in this draft. And I CERTAINLY don’t want to see them continue to rob from future drafts to select guys in the current draft (especially if they’re only going to waive these players anyway).

This needs to be the year where everyone puts on their Big Boy Recruiting Pants and campaigns like hell for all the undrafted guys that are out there. Since no one attended games, and since there wasn’t a real combine, there are probably a lot of quality players that are going to fall through the cracks. That’s where our front office needs to do what they do best, and find those diamonds in the rough. Take advantage of a weird time in league history and discover undervalued assets.

I don’t have a gameplan or a wishlist for the Seahawks. I suppose what I said above: a center, a cornerback, and maybe a tight end would be appropriate. But, they’re going to take whoever they want to take, and it’s our job to find a way to get on board.

The Seahawks Are Signing Aldon Smith

Someone on Twitter reported that the Seahawks are signing Aldon Smith to a 1-year deal, and I just couldn’t wait! This is terribly exciting news!

Obviously, there are two ways you have to write about Aldon Smith: the man and the football player. The man is … kind of a lot, and predominantly negative. Admittedly, I’m not super informed on all that he’s been involved with, but Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence are more than enough. For (some of? all of?) these things, he was suspended by the NFL from 2016-2019. He was reinstated, so he must have gone through extensive work on himself to make it back (it’s hard to return from an indefinite suspension like that; most people can’t hack it), but, you know, it feels wrong to be excited. I don’t know what he did or didn’t do to the woman he allegedly did whatever to, but it couldn’t have been good. At some point, you have to know better the first time when it comes to violence; if you’re not capable of that kind of rudimentary awareness, do you even deserve a second chance?

That’s not for me to decide, thankfully. He’s back in the NFL, he’s up for grabs in free agency, and the Seahawks have apparently gone and grabbed him. What am I going to do, not root for the Seahawks? That’s fine for other people to take a stand on, but if you dig deep on pretty much everyone and everything, you’re going to find darkness that people might say you should take a stand on. The safe bet is to sit alone in a room twiddling my thumbs for all of eternity. Failing that, I’m going to separate the man from the art, as they say. I’m going to continue to watch football and root for the Seahawks, so cram your opinions up your ass about everything else. I’m not a monk; sue me.

GREAT NEWS, EVERYONE! Aldon Smith is joining the Seahawks’ pass rush!

Smith played for the Cowboys last year (a fairly mediocre defense, as far as I can remember), and appeared in every game. I seem to recall him having a better season than he did (only 5.0 sacks), but I imagine my opinion is skewed because 3.0 of those came against the Seahawks in Week 3. He was a starter, and apparently started to wear down as the season went along, but that’s okay! Because I don’t think he’ll be a starter for the Seahawks if things break they way they’re supposed to.

Carlos Dunlap and Kerry Hyder figure to be our starters at either end. Smith, presumably, would be the next man up at one of those end spots, with Benson Mayowa also providing tremendous value on pass rushing downs. That’s FOUR quality pass rushers! Not counting what we might get from holdovers like L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Alton Robinson, Darrell Taylor, and Bobby Wagner and the rest of the linebacking unit. I mean, it’s not a ton of sacks from those guys, but if everyone contributes anywhere from 2-5 in the season – on top of what our big dog defensive ends rack up – that’s a force to be reckoned with!

Oh, and let us not forget Jamal Adams blitzing from the secondary and his 9.5 sacks last season. He still figures to be the highest paid safety in the game, and therefore a significant part of what we do from a pass rush perspective.

What an embarrassment of riches! This is, no joke, a championship-level pass rushing unit. To be fair, don’t look behind the curtain over there at what we’re doing with the cornerback spots … it’s fine, it’ll be fine, but LOOK OVER HERE! Sacks on sacks on sacks!!!

I feel so great about what the Seahawks have done this offseason, and it’s still not done! All it really cost us was Jarran Reed, Shaquill Griffin, and maybe K.J. Wright (how Wright is still not signed by anyone yet is appalling to me). With what we had for cap space, it’s truly remarkable.

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.

Uhh, I think It’s Time For The Seahawks To Extend Michael Dickson, You Guys

With yesterday’s news of Carlos Dunlap being cut as a cap casualty, I thought I’d hop on Spotrac to see what the Seahawks’ salary cap looks like for 2021. While it has yet to be determined what the actual cap will be in the NFL, Spotrac is going off of a $185 million valuation; it’s interesting how that figure keeps going up based on initial worries of it being around $175 million or so. That’s still a drastic reduction from the $198 million it was in 2020, but not such dire straits that we need to be jumping out of tall buildings or anything.

Anyway, if we assume $185 million is the figure, the Dunlap release leaves the Seahawks with around $25 million in money to spend (minus whatever we need to save for draft picks and IR replacement players). Not the worst shape I’ve ever seen. Indeed, the Seahawks are only sitting on a little over a million dollars in dead money, and exactly one million of that is going to B.J. Finney. Again, not too shabby.

We’ve got a little over $89 million going to our top five players (Wilson, Wagner, Lockett, Reed, Brown), and, of course, there’s Jamal Adams’ extension to factor in (which could be a reduction in his nearly $10 million salary, if we rework everything and are able to spread money out over his signing bonus).

Beyond those guys, we’ve got our dwindling NFL Middle Class. Quandre Diggs is making just over $5.5 million, Brandon Shell accounts for over $5 million, Jason Myers is just over $4 million (he was extended through 2022, and as a guy who didn’t miss a field goal last year, is well worth his salary), and the player with the 10th-highest salary on the Seattle Seahawks is … Michael Dickson?!

Now, I know what you might be asking, because they were the first words that popped into my brain when I saw he’s earning $3,456,540 this year: “Wait, isn’t he still on his rookie contract?” And, yeah! You’d be right! He was drafted in the fifth round in 2018; 2021 is the final year of that deal. You’ll recall that Rashaad Penny was a controversial first round pick in 2018, and he’s set to make less money than our late-round punter. What gives?!

Well, Michael Dickson has an All Pro and a Pro Bowl berth under his belt, and has been among the very best punters in all of football in his young career. Per NFL rules, he has earned a “Proven Performance Bonus” which is one of those things I’m sure I was aware of, but never really gave too much thought to until I noticed that our punter is our 10th-highest paid player in a cash-strapped season (at least, as of March 9th; I’m sure that will change in the weeks and months to come).

If you look at this chart, you will see Michael Dickson is currently the second-highest paid punter in the NFL in 2021. Including Dickson, there are 13 punters earning more than a million dollars. Eight of those players are earning between 2 and 3 million, which I think is a figure one would expect to see next to a highly-rated punter in the NFL. And, certainly, with the way the Seahawks play football (largely conservative), the punter here has more impact than it does in a place like Kansas City, for instance, or other teams who tend to score on a high percentage of drives and otherwise go for it on 4th down over punting on a more regular basis.

I guess my point is, I like Michael Dickson, and I want him to be on the Seahawks for a very long time, but I don’t know if I like the idea of us paying upwards of $3.5 million per season for ANY punter. I know, in the grand scheme of things, we’re talking nickels and dimes here; but the Seahawks had among the fewest leftover salary cap dollars in the entire league last year. Every nickel and dime counts! Especially this year, where we’re in a Win Now mode, and trying to fill numerous holes on this team.

This feels like another case where we can extend him now and net a little savings in the short term with a signing bonus, while maybe controling him at a more reasonable figure for the next four years, when presumably the NFL’s salary cap will shoot back up again thanks to the new TV deal and everything else. I mean, it’s Michael Dickson, he’s young and elite; this should be a no-brainer! Assuming he doesn’t suffer some fluke catastrophic injury, he should be good to go for another decade!

I know it’s not the most pressing thing the Seahawks need to do, but sometime over the spring or summer, maybe let’s get this done and take one thing off our plate that we will otherwise have to worry about later.

I Would Like The Seahawks To Re-Sign Carlos Dunlap Please

Carlos Dunlap was set to have over a $14 million cap hit against the Seahawks in 2021, including over $3 million in a roster bonus due at some point this month. As a result of that, the fact that the NFL’s overall salary cap is going down this year, and the fact that the Seahawks didn’t have a ton of extra cap space laying around anyway, Carlos Dunlap was cut today.

It sucks, but it makes sense. This was apparently the agreement all along – after the Seahawks traded for him last year, and talked him into taking a reduced salary in the short term – so he would get a chance to test the free agent waters as a 32 year old. After all, this might be his last chance to really cash in on an open market.

I know it can be tricky when it comes to giving a lot of money to aging veterans in the NFL. I know, in fact, that the Seahawks have had recent landmines they’ve stepped on in the form of Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor (among others), who weren’t even as old as Dunlap is right now! You just never know when someone is going to suffer a career-ending injury (but, you DO know that the likelihood tends to increase with age). That’s why the smart money is NOT extending or signing guys on third or fourth contracts, unless they’re “prove-it” type deals that can be team friendly if they fail to live up to pre-signing hopes. But, in this case, I don’t care: I want the Seahawks to re-sign Carlos Dunlap. Even if it’s a three or four year deal, whatever (mostly because most of the money on those deals are only guaranteed for the first two years anyway).

Sometimes you have to take a chance. The Bucs took a chance at signing a lot of older defensive linemen, and look at what happened this past season! Defensive linemen tend to age a lot better than various other position groups. They’re not relied upon for speed so much as power, and power tends to stay with you the longer you’ve had it. Speed, on the other hand, declines much more rapidly, which is why you don’t see a lot of elderly safeties or linebackers.

Carlos Dunlap was FAR AND AWAY the best pass rushing defensive lineman for the Seahawks last year. There’s an obvious reason why Jamal Adams – a safety – led the team in sacks. Yes, part of that is because he is especially-great. But, while 9.5 sacks is MOST impressive for a person in your secondary, it’s not all that special compared to what linemen are supposed to get. Your best pass rusher SHOULD have double-digit sacks. And, I have no doubt that if Dunlap had been with Seattle for the entire season, he easily would have eclipsed that mark.

While I would have preferred not subjecting ourselves to this kind of risk – of letting Dunlap peddle his wares elsewhere, with a good likelihood of not being able to match other offers – it also does make sense to see where the market for him really is. The Bengals didn’t think very highly of him, and they definitely could have used someone of his talent and experience in their current rebuild! But, they are also notoriously cheap, so it would make sense that they’d cut and run a year or two early.

My educated guess is that Dunlap is looking to play for a winner (because he’s stated as much). My hunch is: most good teams will see what he was still able to accomplish last year and be on board with signing him. I would like to believe that the Seahawks have a leg-up, of sorts, because he knows our system, our coaching staff, and experienced at least a little bit of winning (even though the playoff exit was a bitter pill to swallow). That being said, the Seahawks are still based in and around Seattle, where almost no one in sports wants to spend their time. So, I couldn’t even say with any amount of certainty that the Seahawks – if they did just match another team’s offer – would have the tiebreaking edge. Most likely, we’d have to take that deal and improve upon it somewhat; to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse (in the non-lethal sense, of course).

That sounds grim. That sounds like there’s a less-than 50% chance of him returning. But, there is some good news. Like, for instance, he did have some nagging injuries last year that limited his playing time. A foot injury, if I’m not mistaken, and those are NEVER good. They nag, they linger, and they progressively worsen the more you’re on your feet; football players NEED to be on their feet to be effective. It’s right there in the name! So, that might downgrade his value to the rest of the league. As will, of course, the state of the NFL’s salary cap; the Seahawks aren’t the only ones who need to cut costs to make ends meet. As will the fact that those other cuts are also likely to be quality players too! There are going to be TONS of viable options out there on the free agent market; I wouldn’t say Carlos Dunlap is the best of the best. He might have to wait it out a little bit before finding a deal that’s to his liking. The longer he has to wait, the better our chances are to swoop in and steal him at the last minute.

This isn’t a be-all, end-all thing. This isn’t like re-signing Russell Wilson in his prime. But, I think Carlos Dunlap is VERY important to Seattle’s chances in 2021 and 2022. I do NOT believe in the younger guys behind him, at all! So, if we can’t bring Dunlap back, we sure as shit better figure out a way to get someone comparable to his talent level in here. Because this defense needs HELP!

And, quite frankly, it would be nice to not have to have this exact concern heading into each and every fucking season from now until the end of time.

Sigh, The Russell Wilson Temper Tantrum Continues

What did I JUST SAY? God, this is so dumb.

There was a big article that came out yesterday that I didn’t read, because I don’t subscribe to The Athletic. But, I follow enough Seahawks-adjacent people on Twitter to get the jist of it. Russell Wilson – according to some – “approached the Seahawks about a trade”. Now, just to keep things above board, according to Wilson’s camp, he did not demand a trade, but if such a deal were to happen, they did give a list of teams he would agree to go to.

How thoughtful of you.

I mean, call it what you want, but when you have a No-Trade Clause built into your contract, and you approach your current organization with a list of teams you’d be willing to play for – if something were to magically form out of thin air, I guess! – can we please stop shitting a shitter and just call it what it is? You can nudge-nudge, wink-wink your way through all of this if you want, but we all know what’s happening here.

In the report in The Athletic, the teams mentioned were the Jets, Dolphins, Raiders, and Saints. However, according to Wilson’s crew, those teams are actually the Cowboys, Saints, Raiders, and Bears.

Here’s the thing: Russell Wilson isn’t the be-all, end-all of quarterbacks in the NFL. We all know that. Yes, he’s VERY good. Yes, he’s one of the 3-5 best quarterbacks in the game today. Yes, he is that proverbial Franchise Quarterback everyone talks about. You obviously don’t need Russell Wilson to win a championship in the NFL, but you DO need a franchise quarterback. And so, while I am willing to listen to any trade offers, they will be a total non-starter if we don’t get a franchise quarterback in return.

There aren’t many teams who have that to pony up. Of the four teams on Wilson’s list, arguably only the Cowboys have someone they could send us, but that’s Dak Prescott (who would need to be franchise tagged first, who is also coming off of a DEVASTATING injury to his ankle). I have no interest in the Raiders’ Derek Carr, nor whoever the Bears and Saints have on their scrap heap.

Of the teams The Athletic brought up, the Jets and Dolphins make the most sense. I don’t know how the Seahawks feel about Tua Tagovailoa, but if they believe in his potential to hit it big, between that and all the draft picks they could send our way, I don’t think the Seahawks would take much of a hit in the short term, before returning back to prominence. As for the Jets, they can keep Sam Darnold, or fucking throw him to the God damn wolves, but I want no part of him on the Seattle Seahawks. The Jets do, however, have about a million high draft picks (including #2 overall, as well as both of the first rounders we sent to them in the Jamal Adams trade). I’d be willing to entertain a conversation that afforded the Seahawks the opportunity to draft the second quarterback this year.

New York and Miami would be obvious choices for Wilson as well when it comes to whatever business empire he’s building for his post-football life. Frankly, I don’t see why he wouldn’t want to go to those teams.

But, that’s everything, isn’t it? He gets to choose. He gets to hold the Seahawks hostage in this deal. I know I JUST talked about not automatically jumping to the defense of the billionaire organizations in these types of arguments, but what can I say? I root for clothes. I’ll say this: I think the no-trade clause is a brilliant idea for the player. You shouldn’t have to worry about waking up one day and find out you’ve just been dealt to some also-ran because your team got tired of you. But, if YOU are the one demanding (or requesting, or approaching, or whatever) for a trade, then you can’t just waive your no-trade clause for the few teams you like. You have to leave the team open to maximize its value for you. Remember, YOU want out; the team would rather honor its contract. So, it makes no sense to then restrict the Seahawks.

Really, Russell Wilson needs to get his priorities together. Does he want to win football games? Or does he want to put up tons of numbers and win MVP awards? It’s fine to want both, but you HAVE to value one over the other, so which is it? If he truly wants to win, then as I’ve argued before, Seattle is one of the best places for him. But, if he’s going to be a poopy pants about the offense not being high-flying enough, then he’s full of shit when he says his ultimate goal is to win.

You know what winners say? Winners say, “I don’t care if I have to hand the ball off 100% of the time, as long as our team comes away victorious.” You know what stats-obsessed prima donnas say? “I’m tired of being hit so much and I want to run the offense my way.”

As has been discussed, Russell Wilson is one of the most media-savvy people in the NFL. He’s been able to elude controversy just as he has so many defensive linemen barrelling down on him. But, there’s a tremendous amount of insincerity when you know exactly what he’s going to say before he’s said it, because he’s already said it a million times before. He’s phony. When his brain is on autopilot in an interview, and his mouth is running a thousand words per minute, there’s no one who says less with more. But, when he’s pressed to give an honest answer – like in that infamous Dan Patrick interview a few weeks ago – he stammers and stutters and sometimes lets slip out the actual, honest truth. It’s rare, though. But, in those moments, you can see what Russell Wilson is all about.

Russell Wilson is all about Russell Wilson. That shouldn’t be shocking; there are countless other quarterbacks on countless other football teams who are the exact same way. That doesn’t make him a bad guy, or a bad player. But, as a fan, it’s hard, because it feels like we’re all being gaslighted. I don’t know how else to reconcile the lip-service he pays towards winning, while at the same time forcing himself out of one of the winningest organizations in the league.

I dunno, maybe Pete Carroll really sucks that much. That’s always on the table too, I suppose.