Newest Seahawks (Janikowski, Morris, Johnson) are a very puzzling mix
The Seahawks made some interesting decisions in the free agent market this week. By interesting, I mean what the heck is going on?
The Seahawks signed cornerback Dontae Johnson on Wednesday. They followed this move by adding two more players Friday. The first was potential backup quarterback Stephen Morris. Later in the day they announced veteran kicker Sebastian Janikowski joined the team.
One of these moves is a big deal. As for the other two, I honestly wonder what Pete Carroll and John Schneider are thinking. I’m certainly not the only one who has some questions about bringing Dontae Johnson to Seattle.
Let me deal with the quarterback first. Johnson is in Seattle for one reason only, and that reason is workouts begin Monday. Until Friday, Russell Wilson was the only quarterback on the roster. As great as he is, he can’t throw to four receivers at once.
Hence, the Seahawks sign a guy who has never thrown a pass in a league game, instead of an actual backup quarterback. At some point, I’m sure Seattle will get a player they can trust if Wilson needs to take a series off. So the deal for Morris gets a pass. For those playing at home, Pro Football reference has a mere 22 transactions listed for him. That doesn’t include being waived by Washington or signed by Seattle. So he has compiled 24 more transactions than pass attempts. Yes, the Seahawks still need a backup quarterback.
Signing Sebastian Janikowski was a smart move. While he may not have the greatest range anymore, he’s extremely accurate. We covered Janikowski in depth yesterday, so I’ll just mention this. In 2016, Steven Hauschka missed two kicks inside the 30 and two more between the 40 and 49. He also missed six extra points. Yes, I’d still rather have Hauschka than Janikowski. 2016 was perhaps Hauschka’s worst year. It’s easy to look back on a former player and forget they weren’t flawless, then hold their replacement as wanting. No, I’m not talking about Blair Walsh.
Do the Seahawks really need Dontae Johnson?
Unlike Stephen Morris, Dontae Johnson has actual game experience. Despite only getting six starts in his first two seasons with San Francisco, Johnson has a lot of experience. He was in for over 800 plays in those years. In year three, he had zero starts and saw his snap count drop to 100. Basically, the immortal Rashard Robinson took his snaps.
In 2017, the 49ers overhauled their defensive backfield. Hmmm… sounds familiar. Anyway, with Tramaine Brock leaving for Minnesota and Jimmie Ward shifting to safety, San Francisco had to put somebody out there. So Johnson, whose highest snap count was 11 until the last two games of the season, was anointed the starting right corner.
As my compatriot Lee wrote, this deal amounts to a trade of Richard Sherman for Dontae Johnson. I just don’t see the point of bringing Johnson in. Sherman and Johnson do both play football, that’s true. But that’s the end of their similarities. As Lee pointed out, Pro Football Focus ranked Johnson 118th among all cornerbacks. Who knew there were that many cornerbacks?
So, 118th. After starting all 16 games last year, Johnson now has been on the field for 1,959 plays. He has the grand total of two interceptions in his career. I’ll give him this much, he took both of them to the house. And he had 68 tackles last season. That’s a heck of a lot for a cornerback, but at least he can tackle. Still, he ranked 118th. I mean, Jeremy Lane ranked ahead of Johnson. All I can think of is this: please please please get Byron Maxwell to sign.
Signing Sebastian Janikowski makes sense, as he’s been reliable for well over a decade. Signing Stephen Morris even makes sense, because Brian Schottenheimer doesn’t want to tear his own rotator in spring workouts. But Dontae Johnson? I suppose as long as it’s a low dollar contract and the Seahawks are eyeing him strictly for depth, it could make sense.
On the bright side, at least Johnson can watch Jaron Brown blow past him every week now. That has to be it it. He’s a confidence booster for our newest wideouts. Brilliant!