Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bold Predictions, From Tarvaris to Irvin

It used to be that the best part of taking a jog was getting to load up my iPod with a bunch of Seahawks podcasts and listen to about 30-40 minutes of Seahawks coverage. The only thing better has been biking more often, which has upped the listen time to around 1-2 hours. This morning's ride included a good dose of John Clayton, Mike Sando and my stand-bys, Dave "Softy" Mahler and Brock & Salk. A few things came to mind that are worth discussion. I believe these things to be true, and will explain why.

Tarvaris Jackson will be released before July
Most analysts have now accepted that there is truly a three-way competition for the starting position in Seattle. Many scoffed at the notion, saying Pete Carroll was not serious about it. That talk has all but disappeared now that each player is splitting even reps and rotating with the #1 unit. Tennessee recently announced they would pick their started by the third pre-season game. Many folks are saying they expect the same with Seattle. They are wrong.

The key missing aspect of that analysis is Josh Portis. Anybody that thinks Carroll and John Schneider are okay with losing Portis without compensation are not listening carefully. Portis has reportedly made major strides during the off-season, and was a promising, albeit raw, prospect when last season ended. At 6'3", he does not have Russell Wilson's height questions, his arm strength is in Jackson's realm, and his athleticism is elite. Can he read a defense and throw with accuracy? Probably not well enough to be a starter for another year or two. This three-way competition is stealing reps from Portis. Schneider is not naive enough to think he can hide Portis on the practice squad. Remember, it was once Schneider's job to scour other team's practice squads for prospects. He knows there are no secrets in this league.

If Jackson was tearing it up in the OTAs, or even in the upcoming mini-camp, this story might be different. There has not been a single report of Jackson performing at a level higher than last season so far. He is due over $4M this season, and will not win the starting job by simply matching his play from last year. That means he probably enters training camp as the #2 or #3 guy on the depth chart. Sure, they could re-negotiate his deal, but it makes more sense to cut ties as soon as it is clear he will not be the starter. Doing so will give Matt Flynn, Wilson and Portis reps, while also avoiding any cost or messiness of having Jackson on the roster. Many players have roster bonuses in June or July, which is why veterans end up released around this time every year. It also gives that veteran the maximum amount of time to find a new home.

Jackson's time in Seattle has come to end. He knows it. The team knows it. Carroll and Schneider are not the types to prolong roster decisions they know need to be made. Keep an eye out on this one.

Bruce Irvin will be the first Seahawk to ever win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
There have been 46 NFL Defensive Rookies of the Year (DROY) since the league started handing out the award in 1967. Seattle has had a football team for 37 of those years. They have drafted hundreds of players in that time. None of them have even won the DROY honors. Bruce Irvin will snap that streak.

Irvin's idol, Von Miller, won the award last season while posting 64 tackles, 11.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Irvin is not likely to match those tackle numbers, but could very well eclipse the sack total, and be one of the flashiest rookie defensive additions in Seattle since Shawn Springs.

Breno Giocomini is a solid starting tackle in the NFL who held up well against good pass rushers last season. He already has found a seat on the grass as Irvin crossed him up with an inside move that had Giocomini tripping over himself. He comes into the league with one job, and one focus: sack the quarterback. Very few rookies drafted this year will have a focus that clear that matches their natural talents so well.

Morris Claiborne is a great player. Luke Keuchly and Mark Barron may be as well. Melvin Ingram was a favorite of mine. All of them will have far more than one thing to learn and be great at. Each of them will be left looking up at the podium when Irvin stars on a Top 5 NFL defense this season with 12+ sacks. Mark it down.

Chris Clemons will get a raise for this season
Osi Umenyiora just renegotiated his deal with the Giants. He did not get an extension, but appears satisfied and eager to play out this year. That had been a pretty acrimonious and public contract dispute, so why the sudden satisfaction? Umenyiora probably got a little bump in pay for this one season, and was given a guarantee that he won't be franchised next season so he can hit the open market.

Seattle won't be franchising Clemons, so there is little to gain from that. Giving Clemons a bump in pay for his final season would be just what the doctor ordered. Take the money saved from releasing Jackson, or at least part of it, and give it to Clemons. The team can afford it. It does no harm to future cap considerations, and would smooth over the biggest potential distraction for what should be the best defense Seattle has ever put on the field.

It makes too much sense for this smart front office not to do.


6 comments :

Ryan Comer said...

T-Jack being released by July really is a bold prediction. The only reason I would give pause to that idea is that I'm sure Pete and John want Flynn to have as much competition as possible and I'm not sure they're entirely sold on Wilson giving enough of it. I'm sure it would make them feel a lot better about Flynn to see him own T-Jack leading up to the preseason.

And do they really like Portis enough to diminish the quarterback competition in order to keep?

Neil said...

I Agree with you big time on T-Jack. He has been given his chances, and with a deep stable of talent and potential talent behind him and his expensive price tag, I could see him released even sooner to be honest.

DROY for Irvin is pretty bold, but not out of question. I don't question his talent, I think honestly that his impact will be dependent on our run D. IF our run D can do it's job and keep the O in 2nd and 3rd and long situations, Irvin gets more snaps and more chances to prove himself.

Just my $.02.

Rorygee said...

On releasing TJack: the concern would be that you go into the regular season without a qb who has started more than one game in the NFL. The league gets fast in the regular season and without a qb who has been around the block, even as a back up, it could me a long year. The team has made a lot of strides in other areas to take such a huge risk.

broadbill birdwatcher said...

Nice article as usual. I agree that a TJ release and Clemon's salary bump would be a matched set of smart moves. TJ at QB give a team a decent shot at mediocrity only. If MF and RW struggle this year, then we'll need Barkley, and we'll be in a better position draft wise to get him.

And here's hoping you're right about Bruce The Younger.

Hawkman said...

All I can say is I hope you are right. Tjax has had seven years in this offense and he still can't consistently read the D over more than half the field. Time to move on and see what you got, Plus I believe Flynn will be fine. And the rest is icing , but sounds great- only DROY is a HUGE get if it is possible.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for cutting TJ. I understand wanting security at QB, but don't agree with TJ being it. I think that's Flynn's job. This team will have a QB who can throw 50 yards on a wire. That's not Flynn. It's Wilson and Portis.Carroll played it safe last year at QB and regretted it every time he needed 4th quarter points.