Well dear readers, NFL Free Agency is alive and well, and teams are not being shy about spending more money on a chance than you or I might earn in a lifetime. So if you’ve been holding off on your dream of being beaten in to several concussions for the same amount of money it might take to live with constant assistance once your brain has lost some key functionality, now’s the time bro!
Regardless of the insane amount of money swirling in the wind from shining seaboard to shining seaboard, this is an exciting time to be a NFL fan, as you can see your team either literally rise to the top of the glass of high end alcohol, or literally fall to the bottom of the world’s worst toilet bowl. Either way, it’s exciting.
Seattle is no stranger to free agency, although given their quiet approach so far, maybe someone better wake them up. Do the Seahawks have enough fire power on both sides of the ball to survive in 2019? Or are they taking a longer approach with the draft? To answer these questions and more, we tasked Fireside Sports co hosts Bryant Knox (BK) and Casey Mabbott (CM) with providing their opinions (no one with any dignity would call these two idiots experts), and living with the consequences.
Without further ado, here is this week’s lightning round –
1. NFL Free Agency kicks off this week, and while many teams have been quick to pull the trigger on spending their extra cash, the Seahawks have been quiet so far. Should fans be worried they are being too quiet?
(CM) I would be worried. The Rams and Saints are loaded, the Bears are right there, Philly is really good, and who knows what to expect from the Falcons and Packers and Cowboys. Can Seattle really afford to sit idle while the rest of the league is trying to upgrade their rosters? As good as they were down the stretch, if I were a Seattle fan, I’d be very worried that they plan to roll out virtually the same roster and just hope they take a big leap forward. Given their lack of depth on offense and defense, that could spell trouble for a team wanting to get back to the top.
(BK) I do think that the Seahawks have a roster capable of growing organically. But I also think if competing for a Super Bowl is the goal, which is still the case as long as the current regime is in place, worrying is appropriate. The team proved it’s multiple steps away from being championship-ready, and it looks like the trade market is where a significant leap needs to take place, like the Cleveland Browns just pulled off with OBJ.
2. The Seahawks have nearly $30M in cap space, should they be making a push for a marquee player?
(CM) Absolutely they should. In a year when seemingly no players are off limits, some of the biggest names already have new homes, but there are still some great options out there. If they are not satisfied with their level of talent presently on the roster, and given their finish last year they shouldn’t be, they need to get serious and make some upgrades. Pass rush, secondary, wide receiver, tight end, running back, and backup QB all need attention. If they keep waiting, the pickings will get slimmer and slimmer to the point they may need to sign some guys they never even wanted if nothing else than to provide depth they hope to never need.
(BK) They should, but they’re in a spot where they can’t put all their eggs in one basket. I’d, personally, like to see Seattle take something of a Detroit Pistons, circa 2004-05, approach where they commit to two or three very good players, forget superstardom, and build the rest of the roster around a stardom-by-committee approach. So while I may not hate the idea of going after a Tier-1 player, I sort of prefer the idea of hitting two or three Tier-2—to Tier-3—players and finding the perfect combination of system, talent, potential and production.
3. DE Frank Clark has stated he will not sign his franchise tag and wants a new deal. A franchise tag would be in the neighborhood of $15M, should the Seahawks even offer him a one year deal that rich?
(CM) That may sound like a very rich number, but some other guys in a similar age and talent group are already collecting new deals worth more (per year anyway), which will only play to Frank’s plan of getting a long term deal with a nice guaranteed dollar amount on it. $15M fully guaranteed for one season may sound nuts given that Clark has not been a huge impact on defense yet, but he’s the best they have and any other player is going to want as much or more, at least in this case they know what kind of player they are getting and know the investment is worth it.
(BK) I have to be honest here: This situation confuses me. As a casual fan, I’m less familiar with the Franchise Tag than I am, say, the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement at large. And my opinion on the topic has been influenced by Clark’s obscure, downright cryptic comments on Twitter over the past 24-48 hours, let alone the last 30 minutes as of this writing. I’m going to let this one play out without contributing my thoughts for the most part…and then as the past few hours have transpired I’ve 100 percent confirmed that. In the words of Marshawn:
4. Offensive line and the running game were a key part of the Seahawks’ second half surge, but they fell short in the playoffs. Should they be spending money on established players to keep their title window open, or are you confident with the players they have?
(CM) I’m not confident with the talent they have. If you can’t get a free agent, then trade up in the draft or trade for an elite veteran, but no matter what I would make a push to get Russell Wilson the workhorse he’s been missing since Marshawn Lynch left in 2017. Again, it seems like no one is off limits this year so it’s time to shoot for the moon. Chris Carson can’t stay healthy, Rashaad Penny is too raw, and Mike Davis is best as a sidekick to the starter. It’s time to accept that you don’t know how to develop running backs the same way you have developed all the other positions, and swing for an elite player still in his prime just like Lynch was. You have the money and trade assets, make it happen!
(BK) My response to this prompt is largely aggregated from my previous responses, but I think this team is built to compete but not built to compete for a championship—at least not in the next few years without a significant pickup or, the less-likely route, significant organic growth. In my personal opinion, you capitalize on any short-term future you can and you buy in on sure-things. It’s the what Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders just did with their superstar pickups, because it’s better to roll the dice and flop than to sit on the sidelines and fall into obscurity. I think the Seahawks should spend on any tier-1 star willing to take their money…then again, it’s their money, so it’s easier said than done as far as this writer is concerned.
5. Seattle has traditionally shied away from paying out big sums of cash for players from other teams, and prefers to draft and develop their own talent. Are you on board with this ideology or would you prefer to see a big splash in free agency?
(CM) Why does this seem to be a growing trend with Paul Allen teams? I see the appeal in growing a roster organically, but when you play the game of Sabermetrics, sooner or later you become a farm for other teams and not your own. I hate the concept of watching your best players walk just because they actually panned out. The Legion of Boom is gone, and their replacements might get to their level eventually, but so far it isn’t looking good. Right now Seattle is trying desperately to win on the cheap after their last shot worked out, but this is not a game most teams are willing to play. You develop your young talent, pay them, and supplement your core with talent you buy from other teams. It’s the way modern sports works, and the Seahawks had better get on board.
(BK) The Seahawks were in such a good position in their recent history to find the perfect balance. They were set to take an almost Golden State Warriors-like approach by drafting its core and then taking on a few key signings, making a few key trades away from being a contender for the better half of a decade. But if you’re going to commit, you have to commit. You can’t make the minor moves and be afraid to send Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks for Andrew Bogut. And you can’t get to Dynasty Status without a major free-agent signing to boot. Seattle was close, but it may have banked on its own internal development a bit too much.