When free agency began in the NFL’s offseason, many expected the Seattle Seahawks to make a big splash and sign a high profile player. Although it looked like Seattle was going to come up on the short end of the stick during free agency, the team entered this week significantly better than how it ended last week and the best part is they are only going to get better with the draft and even free agency.
Seattle took care of home, as they say, by retaining Marshawn Lynch, Red Bryant and Michael Robinson. The Seahawks now need to resign linebacker David Hawthorne, making the unit that ranked 9th in total defense in 2011 the same in 2012. Seattle’s defensive weakness was getting sacks and applying pressure on the quarterback, so it would not hurt if they add another defensive lineman. The Seahawks did just that by adding former Titans DT Jason Jones on Saturday, making Seattle’s defensive front four, as currently constructed, one of the best in the NFL. Jason Jones is a dominant 3 technique DT that has the ability to get to the quarterback. The open market was not very friendly to Jones, due to the sub-par 2011 season that he had. However, it should be noted that he played out of position last season and that may have hurt his season. Seattle is hoping that Jones produces for them in the same way that Carlos Rogers did for San Francisco last year, a very good player coming off an average season and then revitalizing his career in a new environment. Jones figures to start alongside Brandon Mebane, who is a solid NT in the 4-3 defense and this will allow Jones to play at his natural position, a 3 technique DT and apply pressure through the B gap.
It will still benefit Seattle to add another edge rusher and they still have the cap space to add a player like a Kamerion Wimbley via free agency. Wimbley is a versatile defensive end who can play in both the 4-3 or 3-4 defensive schemes. However, the addition of Jones, as mentioned, takes off the pressure to look for an edge rusher through free agency and now with the signing of QB Matt Flynn, Seattle can use their 12th pick in the draft to find that defensive end. Seattle now has the chance to draft, what many consider, the best defensive end in this year’s draft, Melvin Ingram from the University of South Carolina. Ingram is very quick and strong at the point of attack, he is versatile enough to play anywhere along the defensive line and can even play OLB in a 3-4 set. Seattle should not pass on this prospect and should use their first pick on Ingram to make their defense one of the best in the NFL.
Of course a team still needs to score in order to win games. The Seahawks offense came away as big winners so far this offseason. As mentioned, Seattle was able to bring back the running back that carried their team last season and now also added a possible franchise quarterback in Matt Flynn. Many are skeptical about Flynn and it is ok to feel that way, after seeing the Kolb experiment in Arizona last season. However, this situation is very different, as Flynn will be coming to a team that is running an offense that is very similar to that of Green Bay, unlike Kolb having to learn a completely new system. Also, Seattle has a much better offensive line and running back to take the pressure off of Flynn. Reports also state that in that final game against Detroit, where he threw for 480 yards and 6 touchdowns, Flynn was running the full offensive playbook, showing that he has command of a complicated West Coast Offense. Being that Flynn already has knowledge and command of this offense, his transition to Seattle should be a smooth one, now Seattle should just give him some more weapons to work with.
The Seahawks recently had a meeting with former Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe, and although Seattle has Zach Miller, this signing should be considered. Shiancoe has always been a very good pass catching TE and can help Seattle’s new quarterback instantly. This also gives Seattle two tight ends that complement each other, as their styles of play are very different. Zach Miller has always been a bruiser that can catch the ball inside and Miller has also been good in protection, where he was mostly used last season. Shiancoe, on the other hand, prefers to go down field and catch the ball. Although this combination is not as talented as New England’s, for example, both men are still very capable tight ends and should help the quarterback. Seattle should continue looking for another speedy receiver to compliment Sidney Rice, and with most of the capable free agent wide receivers being signed, it looks to be more than likely that Seattle find that player in the draft.
Although free agency got off to a slow start, other than resigning their own, the Seahawks actually came out of the week as one of the biggest winners in the NFL. They were able to add another defensive lineman to help apply pressure and may have solved their quarterback problems by signing Matt Flynn. Seattle can now use the NFL draft to add the best edge rusher in the draft and find other complimentary pieces to add depth across the team. Personally I like the direction that Seattle is heading in, they are young, aggressive on defense, solid on special teams and have a lot of great pieces on offense. John Schneider and Pete Carroll, have done a great job of turning the team around in just a couple of seasons, and with all of the additions and player developments, it should not come as a surprise to Seattle back in the playoffs next season.