The Morning After: Day 1 of 2020 Seahawks Free Agency
Well…they started. In what will be the most pivotal offseason in recent Seahawks history, Seattle saw their NFC West rivals make some major splashes while they mostly chose to tread water.
The news of the day for the Seahawks was re-signing Jarran Reed, and tendering players like Jacob Hollister, Branden Jackson, and Joey Hunt. They also resigned Luke Willson, giving them four tight ends, pending the likely release of Ed Dickson.
The Reed deal was reported at two years, $23 million dollars. On its face, that’s $11.5M per year. It was just a year ago that people were talking about Reed commanding $17M+ per year. That was before his six game suspension and underwhelming 2019 season.
My guess is we will find that this deal in incentive-laden, as John Schneider likes to do, and the guaranteed money will be closer to $15-20M. That would protect Seattle on the downside if Reed turns out to be more the player from last season than the one from the year before.
Many Seahawks fans have soured on Reed. I see him as a four-year starter who has shown improvement each season before his suspension, and has demonstrated some flash upside. There are far worse places to park some money. Is he likely to be a regular 10-sack player on the inside? Absolutely not. It is more likely that he will never reach that plateau again than that he will do it a second time.
Could he become a regular 4-7 sack player who creates hurries and hits while being a plus run defender? Definitely. You could criticize the deal as not being long enough, but many of us would have been happy to see him sign a one-year deal for around $10M. Seattle basically got a second year at that price.
It’s not the deal that will make Seattle a contender next year, and I would have much rather them go after Chris Jones or Jevon Hargrave, but Reed is a fine player at a reasonable price.
The most disappointing news of the day for the Seahawks was to see right tackle Jack Conklin sign a sweetheart deal to stay close to home in Cleveland and George Fant sign a cheap deal with the Jets. Conklin was a dream signing for Seattle, who could have really helped improve this offense. Fant was a hopeful fallback who likely wanted to play left tackle instead of right.
The increasing fear here is that the Seahawks will return to Germain Ifedi. We can hope they go after Bryan Bulaga, but that definitely is more hopeful than probable. Bringing back Ifedi would be a major mistake. Not because he is the worst player to have at that position, but because there was a chance to dramatically improve that position this free agent period and Seattle would have instead chosen status quo.
Meanwhile, kudos to the Cardinals on following the Seahawks lead in fleecing the Texans by getting DeAndre Hopkins. That will be a great pairing in Arizona. It was interesting to see the 49ers choose the cheaper and lesser Oregon Duck in Arik Armstead over DeForest Buckner. They do get a high draft pick in return that could help them address that gap, but it is not easy to find All-Pro talent, and that is what Buckner was. These are the kind of decisions that keep teams from sustaining their level of excellence over many years. And let’s face it, they still have Jimmy Garoppolo throwing passes.
What I am hoping to hear in the next 24-48 hours is that the Seahawks have signed Jadeveon Clowney, and another pass rusher, and Bulaga. I would also accept Clowney and Chris Harris and Bulaga.
They still have the chance to pull off a game-changing offseason. It could even involve trades as we have seen before. Maybe Darius Slay, the cornerback from Detroit, becomes a possibility. Maybe Yannick Ngakoue finds his way to the opposite end of Clowney on the Seahawks line.
Prioritizing your own guys, as Seattle has done so far, when your team had a pretty bad defense and a horrible pass rush is just not wise. Let’s hope we see the Seahawks really put their foot on the gas pedal soon.