Seattle should not welcome back wide receiver Tyler Lockett
Who doesn't love Tyler Lockett? He has been a great football player and he will always be a fantastic human being and that is, of course, more important. While not bringing Lockett back in 2024 would be an extremely tough decision because he is such a good guy to have in the locker room, he will also be 32 years old early in the season and for a player who relies on quickness and speed to get open, that age is getting long in the tooth.
Lockett has never been a physical receiver, but this year he seems to laying off a bit more in fighting for balls. This was true against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 13 when Smith targeted Lockett but Cowboys corner DaRon Bland undercut the pass and simply outmuscled Lockett for the ball. Four of Lockett's targets this year have resulted in interceptions and three of them were simply a defensive back not being afraid of Lockett outfighting him for the ball.
Lockett's catch rate in 2023 (67.8) is his lowest since 2017. His average yards per catch (10.5) is tied for his career low and his yards per target (7.1) is nearly a yard lower than in any previous season. Lockett is also off pace to have another 1,000-yard receiving season which would be his first under 1,000 yards since 2018. He also had an atrocious drop - the ball him in the helmet - late in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys on a drive that could have resulted in a game-winning score for Seattle.
The biggest problem for the Seahawks when it comes to Lockett is that his cap hit goes from $11,060,000 this year to $26,795,000 in each of the next two seasons. Seattle would save $7 million by releasing him before 2024. Jaxon Smith-Njigba could simply slip into Lockett's spot. Again, I do not want Tyler Lockett to ever stop being a Seahawk, but he is also helping the team less in 2023.