My Favorite Seahawks Move So Far This Offseason

This blog post on Field Gulls popped up late last week at just around the same time I had a similar idea for my own blog. Of course, they posted first, so credit where it’s due for getting the job done ahead of me. But, that’s still not going to stop me from voicing my own take!

As I’ve talked about, it’s been a very Seahawky offseason so far. No real big outside free agent splash signings; we kept our own highest-priority free agent, we shuffled off some money in the form of overpaid cap casualties, and we brought in a bevy of bridge guys on short-term, inexpensive deals to fill out the roster around our core. So, when you look at that list of players on the Field Gulls link, it’s not going to knock you out.

On the whole, I would say I like what the Seahawks have done. I can’t say I’m totally in love with it, but then again, I don’t know what I can really expect. We were in pretty bad shape the last few years, both from a salary cap standpoint, as well as an underperforming veterans standpoint. It really says something when the Seahawks have exactly one player from their 2020 draft class on their roster, and that’s only because Darrell Taylor lost a year of eligibility due to coming into the league with an injury (at this point, based on what we’ve seen from him through three seasons, it would be a longshot to see him getting a proper second contract with the Seahawks).

My point is, it’s not like the Seahawks could afford to spend lavishly in free agency. And, with our stupid 9-8 record – and the fact that we traded away a second round pick for Leonard Williams last year (which was only necessary BECAUSE our salary cap situation was so shitty) – it’s not like we have a solid cache of draft picks to fall back on. So again, what did I really expect? We came into this offseason with one hand tied behind our back, we used what cap casualties we could to loosen that binding, but ultimately there’s only so much money to go around, and a lot of roster spots needed to field a team.

If I’m being honest, the Seahawks move that got me the most excited is the hiring of Mike Macdonald. My second-favorite move is hiring Ryan Grubb. My third-favorite is firing Clint Hurtt. But, that doesn’t seem to be in the spirit of the exercise.

My favorite player move, then, has to be Leonard Williams. Simply because he’s the best player we signed, period. He’s either the best or second-best player on our defense, and I’d put him probably in the top five most impactful players on the entire team. Dude is a stud, on a team that’s kind of in short supply of them.

But, I dunno, that signing doesn’t feel like it’s in the spirit of the exercise either. Just as similar favorites – cutting Jamal Adams, not overpaying for Bobby Wagner, and not REALLY overpaying for Damien Lewis – are also not in the spirit. In my mind, the question posed in the title of this post has to do with NEW players. What’s my favorite incoming Seahawks move?

If it feels like slim pickin’s, that’s because it is. Two incoming free agents on 2-year deals, everyone else is on a 1-year deal. The most money – SURPRISE – is going to a safety. I want to say Rayshawn Jenkins – or one of the two middle linebackers – is my favorite move, but to be honest, I don’t know those guys from Adam. I’m sure one or more of them will make a great impact, but right now, they’re all J.A.G.’s to me.

I can’t bring myself to put Sam Howell in this category, even though I like him. I do think he has potential. Sure, he’s most likely in the range of Drew Lock to Baker Mayfield, which isn’t tremendous. I mean, before last season’s resurgence with the Bucs, we were talking about Baker being an injury-prone bust for crying out loud! But, with the right development, and a little luck, maybe Howell turns into something more? Maybe he’s a Rich Gannon or a Jeff Garcia type. Someone who’s better than a Game Manager, but obviously well short of a Hall of Famer. Someone who – on the right team – can lead you to a Super Bowl, but is going to need a lot of help to push you over the edge.

My biggest beef with the Sam Howell deal is that we traded for him to be a backup. I mean, maybe that’s what he deserves to be, after leading the league in interceptions and sacks endured; it’s probably not the worst idea in the world to let him sit and learn a little more. But, if the whole point is to bring in a young player on a cap-friendly contract, you’re not exactly extracting any value from that deal by sitting him for one of the two remaining years before he’s a free agent. I think the odds are long that he comes in and blows everyone away in Training Camp. With a new team and a new offensive coordinator, he’s not going to overtake a dependable – if uninspiring – veteran in Geno Smith. The only way Howell plays extensively is if Geno REALLY shits the bed, or succumbs to injury, which, we’ll see.

So, if I’m being honest, I think my favorite move is bringing back George Fant!

The Seahawks clearly struggled last year on the O-Line. Abe Lucas apparently has a chronic knee issue that’s always going to limit him in one way or another (if it’s not practice reps, then it’ll be games played), and he’s coming off of some sort of clean-up procedure done this offseason. The hope was to get two more years of competent tackle play from Lucas and Charles Cross, but I don’t know if you can count on that. When you factor in needing to replace all three interior linemen spots, it’s pretty demoralizing knowing that one of your tackle spots is also unreliable.

I think we’re all of the mindset that the Seahawks are going to draft guard with their first pick (probably after they trade down a time or two). My guess is, we won’t stop at just one draft pick; there will be multiple interior linemen drafted. That’s a lot of youth up front – especially when you add last year’s picks of Anthony Bradford and Olu Oluwatimi – so it’s nice to have someone like George Fant on the roster. Someone who can capably slide into either tackle spot in a pinch, as well as someone who can mentor the younger players. Lord knows we’re not getting either quality from Stone Forsythe!

It’s not the sexiest move the Seahawks have ever made, but George Fant is 100% my favorite incoming player on this team.

But, taking the question a little more abstractly, I think my favorite “move” of all is the fact that the Seahawks are eating all of Jamal Adams’ dead money this year, and the fact that we seem to be cleaning house financially, so as to be in a position next year to really make some headway on this rebuild. It’s not a tank job; I’m sure we’re still well-positioned for another 9-8 season in 2024. But, there’s bound to be plenty of money for next year to go out and have some fun. Maybe we’ll get a party boat!

Everybody Hates Pete Carroll

Boy do they ever!  Seahawks fans want to RUN THE BUM OUT OF TOWN like he’s a Chinaman living in Tacoma in 1885.

I’ve got friends (or, really, just one friend) who want him fired today (or at the end of the season at the latest).  I’m listening to these guys on the radio who went from projecting a 10-win team after that victory in New York, to absolutely crushing him at every move.

I can’t imagine that hat is helping matters any, either.

Is there some reason why I have to be the voice of reason here?  The guy has coached in 24 regular season games with this team!  You KNEW this was going to be a rebuilding project when we signed him!  This was a team that combined for 9 wins in two seasons before he got here; then he somehow took them to the playoffs and guided them to one of the most memorable victories in Seahawks history!

The bullshit I’M getting sick of the most?  About how we’re being compared to the 49ers.  Look at San Francisco!  Look at what THEY’RE doing with a college head coach and a miserable quarterback!  THEY’RE 7-1 right now, which obviously means they’re better than us!  That’s it!  And I hate to break it to you, but they’ve been rebuilding that team for WAY longer than we have!  They haven’t had a winning record since 2002!  For the record, that’s back when they had Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens.  They’ve gone through HOW many regime changes since then?  Like a million?  Is that what you want, Seahawks fans?  A new head coach every two fucking years?

The 49ers are good now because they’ve been drafting higher than us for damn-near a decade.  That’s it.  It happens.  It’s not because Jim Harbaugh came in there with the secret to success with Alex Smith.  They’ve got a stacked team (especially on defense) because they’ve had high draft choices and they (for the most part) haven’t fucked them up.  And besides, Alex Smith isn’t THAT bad.  If you have a stout running game and give him some weapons, he can be an okay game manager.  He’s certainly no Charlie Whitehurst.

Which brings me to the next huge knock against Pete Carroll:  WE HATE FOOTBALL JESUS!  Not only is he the worst quarterback since Dan McGwire, but we gave up multiple draft picks to get him!

To which, I say, so what?  How many bonehead picks did Mike Holmgren give us in his first few seasons?  I know I generally tend to take Holmgren’s side as a GM, as he built the bulk of that Super Bowl team (and NOT Tim Ruskell), but that’s neither here nor there because there were some whoppers on Holmgren’s draft board as well.  Lamar King anyone?  Jerramy Stevens anyone?  No GM is going to be perfect.

And for the record, I’ll give Pete (and John Schneider, I guess) even MORE of a pass on that Whitehurst trade because:  look at how many starters (or potential starters) he drafted in the later rounds these last two drafts!  How about the bulk of what’s going to be our starting secondary next season (when we get Walter Thurmond back)?

Also, let us not forget the most important move Pete Carroll made since he got here:  moving Red Bryant to defensive end and featuring him as a catalyst in our defense being one of the very best against the run when he’s in the game.  Obviously there was a dearth of talent at pass-rushing when he got here; so Carroll did what he could with what he had.  And I’ve got to say, it’s worked out pretty damn well so far for a young defense that’s going to gel together as a top-flight unit in the coming seasons.

There are too many people here who hate Pete Carroll because he’s Pete Carroll, and I think that’s just stupid.  This team isn’t losing games because he’s supposedly a “rah rah” guy.  This team isn’t losing games because he’s not a huge hard-ass like Mike Holmgren.  This team is losing games because the TALENT isn’t there.  Most of THAT you can blame on Tim Ruskell making chicken shit out of his chicken salad draft picks when we were winning all those divisions.  You can also blame the fact that Matt Hasselbeck got old and Mike Holmgren never bothered to develop any young quarterbacks behind him (even though he’s supposed to be this huge QB guru).  How many times did we squander late-round draft picks on go-nowhere QBs when Mike was here?  How many of those guys are playing football in any capacity right now?  Is it safe to say Mike Holmgren struck gold with Brett Favre and then hit some kind of minor lottery with Matt Hasselbeck?  How come he couldn’t do anything with any other QB in his tenure (either here or in Green Bay)?  Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about THAT?

Pete Carroll inherited a no-win situation.  Then, he promptly took that team to the playoffs last year.  Are Seattle fans retarded?  Did that somehow raise your hopes coming into this season?  The Seahawks won 7 games and practically BACKED into the playoffs!  They were NOT a good team last year!  And yet, all of these people who were praising Pete Carroll and praising the direction of this team are now on his ass like brown on shit because he STILL has a terrible team.  It’s YEAR TWO!  We’re one of the youngest teams in the NFL!  Tarvaris Jackson is here for one more season at the most and Charlie Whitehurst’s going to be sitting on the bench for his final 8 games in a Seahawks uniform!

Let us all CALM the fuck DOWN!  The Seahawks are GOING to draft a quarterback in next year’s Draft; it’s a foregone conclusion.  Yes, this year the ‘Hawks are going to stink.  They also stunk in 2008 and 2009, but we can’t keep firing coaches every time the Seahawks win 5 games or less!

And just because the 49ers are 7-1 doesn’t mean they’re all that great.  Over half of their wins are against pretty mediocre teams.  They’re CERTAINLY not going very far in the playoffs this year, you can count on that!  All it means is that the 49ers are taking advantage of a shitty division, like they should’ve done last season if Mike Singletary wasn’t a complete moron.

Meanwhile, I thoroughly enjoy the direction Pete Carroll is taking this team.  I like the youth-infused team.  I like that all of these promising athletes are going to grow up together so one day they can be an elite force in the NFL.  And I LOVE that’s he’s unconventional on gameday!  You know who was the very definition of Conventional?  Tyrone Willingham!  That guy is going to punt on 4th and inches from the opponent’s 40 yard line EVERY SINGLE TIME!  I like a coach with some balls!  A guy who’d rather have the touchdown instead of the field goal.  The win instead of overtime.  I LIKE that he puts pressure on the other team with his decisions!  Have some of those decisions backfired?  Of course they have; but eventually (when we get more TALENT on this team), those moves are going to start working and he’ll look like a genius.

In spite of all that, the pressure is on.  Not just from the fans and media who seemingly have been biased against him from the start.  Pete Carroll needs to hit and hit big on the next quarterback he brings in here.  That’s why Andrew Luck would’ve been so thrilling; it would’ve put US in the driver’s seat for NFL glory in a few years.  Failing that, we’re going to have to find someone who comes damn close.

Or else all of this discontent that’s building right now will boil over into outright hostility at the end of next season.  And we’ll be in an unfavorable position once again:  a constant cycle of regime change.  Like the Mariners, and the Sonics before them.

You know, for a city that’s perceived to be a walk in the park compared to New York, Philly, Chicago, and Boston, they don’t seem to compare to the quick hatchet jobs Seattle coaches and managers face.  Every two years, the fans and the media turn on guys before they’ve had a chance to put their plans to work!