There has been a lot of speculation this offseason about the Seattle Seahawks moving on from Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman. Those are three of the top players on the Seattle roster, and over the past several years they are arguably three of the top players at their positions. I will delve into how the Seahawks could possibly try and replace them for the 2018 season.
I don’t want them to be gone, they are team leaders and some of the best Seahawks ever. The NFL has enough talent to punish teams that try and keep players past their prime, and I am not saying these players are liabilities. I am just entertaining the possibility that they are not in Seattle at the start of the year.
The Legion of Boom has been one of the best and most recognizable secondaries in the NFL for years now. Let’s see what they would look like if the Seahawks did not make any roster changes except dropping them.
Shaq Griffin and DeShawn Shead/Jeremy Lane/Justin Coleman would be the corners. Assuming Byron Maxwell doesn’t re-sign and/or start next year.
Bradley McDougald would take one safety spot, also assuming he re-signs. I think he can play either safety spot in Seattle’s system, he’s better at strong safety though, and that leaves one spot open for possibly Delano Hill as a strong safety or Tedric Thompson as a free safety. Both rookies, Hill and Thompson, barely took any snaps on defense this past year.
That doesn’t sound very good when you think about it, there are players with potential but they are replacing All-Pros. At least there is still free agency and the NFL Draft to find replacements in this hypothetical scenario.
Let’s look at some of the top free agent defensive backs that will be available for the Seahawks.
Aaron Colvin from the Jaguars has been more successful as a slot corner than an outside corner so far in his career. He also did not allow a single touchdown pass in more than 500 snaps in 2017. He could be a great addition to the secondary but he does not fit the mold Seattle usually sticks to for cornerbacks. Colvin will also probably be given a large contract by a team that has more cap room.
Kyle Fuller almost did not make the Chicago Bears roster this year. He did not let that slow him down though. Fuller was one of four players who broke up or intercepted at least 20 passes in 2017. He is a player who has a good nose for the ball and is a willing tackler. Fuller could be in line for a big pay raise this offseason because of his on-field work. I think he would work well with what the Seahawks do on defense, and he has shown he is a willing learner with the Bears.
Eric Reid might be a familiar name to Seahawk fans, he has played for the 49ers for a few years now and is a proven playmaker. There is speculation that teams will shy away from signing him because of his protests during the national anthem. I don’t think teams will be scared of signing him, but if they do the Seahawks are one of the more outspoken teams in terms of social justice and he could fit in with the culture. Reid also has experience playing both safety positions, setting up a nice safety duo for Seattle if he and McDougald can play either role.
Lamarcus Joyner is more like an Earl Thomas replacement. His time with the Rams started as a cornerback and they moved him to safety where he has flourished. Joyner is a good centerfield player who can sit back in the middle of the field in cover one or cover three and be effective. In 2017 Pro Football Focus gave Joyner a 90.3 grade out of 100, he is the top rated free agent safety this year and was the third ranked safety in the entire league. He can cover and even though he is a smaller defender he can hit as hard as anyone.
I am only looking at players I think the Seahawks would grab with their first-round pick here.
Derwin James has been connected to the Seahawks in a few mock drafts that I have seen, and I love that pick. James is a super athlete with the smarts to learn Seattle’s system and fill in for Kam Chancellor. James can play the pass well, but his strength is his ability to play the run. He is a great leader and even shows up on weekends to run film sessions. This is a guy that would be great on many teams and when he puts it all together he could be a Pro Bowler for a long time.
Josh Jackson from Iowa might not even make it to the Seahawks’ pick this year. He has a lot of buzz around him right now, and some mock drafts have him going in the top ten picks. I think he will slip a little on draft day because of a slower 40-yard dash time. This is highly speculator, but from watching him play I don’t think he has game breaking speed. I think that will show up on draft day and people will get infatuated with the NFL Combine results like they do every year. Jackson has great tape as a collegiate cornerback and he shows up in big games, like his three-interception game against Ohio State. He has good length as a corner and due to his ball skills and football intelligence I think he could really add some talent to the Seahawks secondary.
It’s hard to think about the Seahawks without Chancellor, Sherman and Thomas but the NFL means Not-For-Long and they won’t be around forever. Personally, I hope they all play for the Seahawks next year and spend their entire professional careers in Seattle. It would be strange to see them in another jersey. And this article is by no way an indictment of these players, it is just speculation about a possible scenario if Seattle decides to blow up their roster.