The Seahawks will have an interesting offseason. Seattle has 31 free agents of some type or other. And they have few draft picks. For Seattle to be great in the future, they need to be brilliant this offseason.
The Seahawks have been very good for half a decade. Well, until 2017, that is. This year with so many injuries and only Russell Wilson on offense, Seattle did not meet expectations. 12s have gotten used to Seattle being good. But that feeling of fans expecting Seattle to win most of their games could be ending soon.
Seattle is an aging team. And aging teams get injured more often. Seattle clearly had a bunch of problems with players getting hurt and changing the narrative of the season.
The other issue is that while Seattle’s drafts the last few years haven’t been terrible, they also haven’t yet produced a position player that has made the Pro Bowl. (Tyler Lockett doesn’t count; He has made the Pro Bowl only as a returner.) The 2018 draft has to be a great one.
But how could that happen? Seattle will have the 18th overall pick in the first round. But after that there is currently a Seahawks silence through the next two rounds. This probably won’t stay this way, but if it does change it probably means Seattle has traded some players that 12s have come to know well.
Currently, Seattle’s 2018 draft looks thusly:
First round: 18th pick
Second and third rounds: No picks
Fourth round: One pick (unknown which number yet)
Fifth round: Three picks
Sixth round: No picks
Seventh round: Four picks
That makes seven picks in the final three rounds but only two in the first four rounds. Not exactly the way John Schneider and Pete Carroll want it to be.
The Seahawks will also have major decisions to make on which of their free agents they will try to re-sign. And how much they can spend on them. Seattle has $19,414,950 available in space for 2018. That’s not a lot.
Especially when some key free agents are Jimmy Graham, Sheldon Richardson, Bradley McDougald and Paul Richardson. If Graham wants $10 million a year he won’t be back. Richardson is probably worth too much to someone else and will be priced out of Seattle. Seattle needs to re-sign McDougald as he would be the starter if Kam Chancellor doesn’t return. Richardson’s return is anyone’s guess.
But the Chancellor issue is also important. He might decide to retire. So could Cliff Avril. Avril and Chancellor are due a combined $17 million in 2018.
Seattle will also probably release Jeremy Lane, among others, and create space. But for every good player the Seahawks lose, they will need to gain one back and that costs money they might not have.
Next offseason is just as crucial. K.J. Wright, Frank Clark, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are just four of the defensive players that currently will be unrestricted free agents in 2019.
Seattle also lost its second round pick in 2019 in the trade to Houston to get Duane Brown. Brown will be a free agent after 2018, too.
In 2011 and 2012, Seattle was a team built on young and hungry players that became a great defense. Offensively, Marshawn Lynch carried the offense with Russell Wilson developing. For Seattle to keep being a playoff team, players like Jarran Reed and Naz Jones and Chris Carson and Shaquill Griffin need to develop as well into Pro Bowl-type players.
If they don’t and Seattle doesn’t find a way to have a fantastic draft this year, the Seahawks will descend into the bottom of the NFC West for several seasons.