It was a choppy winter in Seattle. After the painful and early elimination from the play-offs, rumors spread that the team’s star – Russell Wilson – would be unhappy with the way things turned out. It even went so far as to want Wilson out of Seattle and the Chicago Bears as a potential destination. For a moment it also looked as if veteran head coach Pete Carroll had to make way to keep Wilson on board. However, the storm abated, and eventually Wilson and Carroll go together again in search of a second Super Bowl.
The biggest source of dissatisfaction with Wilson was the lack of protection in 2020. Often Russ had to run for his life because the O-line collapsed. That O-line had to be tackled during the off-season. The Seahawks came across guard Gabe Jackson who came over through a trade with the Oakland Raiders. The defense also had to be thoroughly rearranged. It was pretty disastrous, especially in the first part of last season. Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon replaced the departed Shaq Griffin. That is not an immediate upgrade, but it is a considerably cheaper option.
Elsewhere in the defense, the focus has been on the D-line with the arrival of DT Al Woods – already his third pass in Seattle – and DE Kerry Hyder. Former All-Pro Aldon Smith also signed a contract, but had to pack his bags again in August. Offensively, tight end Greg Olsen ‘s retirement was met with the signing of Gerald Everett. The Seahawks also spent significant resources renewing some key players. Carlos Dunlap, who revived the nonexistent pass rush last year, signed on. Also nose tackle Poona Ford wanted to stay and running back Chris Carsonsigned a two-year deal. The most important contract extension, however, was for safety Jamal Adams. The 2020 Second-Team All-Pro signed a $70 million four-season contract. He became the highest paid safety in the NFL.
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We can be brief about the draft of the Seahawks. There weren’t many picks to spend in Seattle. Notably, the trade for Jamal Adams left the Seahawks without picks in the first and third rounds. In the end, the Seahawks had to settle for just three picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
In the second round, the Seahawks chose Western Michigan wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge. Eskridge is a bit older at 24, but with his speed, the Seahawks firmly believe in his potential. Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown was chosen in the fourth round. Brown isn’t the biggest, but in Seattle they think they’ve got the new DJ Reed. The Seahawks’ third and final pick was Florida tackle Stone Forsythe.
The Seahawks offensive was spectacular at times last season. Certainly during the early part of the season, the detractors found no answers to the fireworks of Russell Wilson and his two-headed monster Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. This deadly trio returns and will receive help from rookie D’Wayne Eskridge from the lock. New tight end Gerald Everett also gives Wilson extra opportunities to get rid of the ball.
That was a problem in the second half of last season. Teams knew that if they could keep Metcalf and Lockett out of the game, Wilson would have few other options left to do damage. Metcalf in particular hopes that these lightning rods will allow him to do even better than his 2020 breakout season. Chris Carson returns to the backfield. Carson has suffered a setback from 2019, but is still a reliable running back who can take some of the pressure off all-rounder Russell Wilson.
The O-line should also keep the pressure off Wilson. Despite the quarterback’s grievances, the line wasn’t doing too badly in 2020. According to PFF, they were the 14th O-line in the National Football League (NFL); so a middle one. With the addition of Gabe Jackson at right guard, things should be even better in 2021. The rest of the group has remained the same; with left tackle Duane Brown still leading the way. He seems to be getting better every season. In any case, he will have to remain the king of regularity, because the pressure from the top defenses in the NFC West that the Hawks will experience will not be small.
Defensively, it was not good in Seattle last season. Certainly the pass defense was dramatic in the first part of 2020. The Seahawks looked like they were going to give up a record number of yards, until they finally managed to change course, with the arrival of Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap boosted the pass rush and that turnaround should continue into 2021. Behind the D-line, the Seahawks can still count on the outstanding Bobby Wagner. After 2020, he was already allowed to call himself a First-Team All-Pro for the sixth time. In addition to him, we will not see KJ Wright again this season. Wright’s contract was not renewed and he is still a free agent. The Seahawks are fully committed to home-grown talent Jordyn Brooks. The 27th pick from 2020 can show in his second season that that confidence is well-founded.
The secondary is a question mark in Seattle despite the presence of Jamal Adams. This is mainly due to the change at cornerback. Shaq Griffin and Quinton Dunbar are no longer with us and so we get two new starters at the corners this season. Ahkello Witherspoon joined and DJ Reed can now really start the season as a full starter after his successful replacement of the injured Dunbar last season. However, there are doubts about this duo. On paper, the quality of the corners has already decreased compared to 2020; That pass defense was not a great success. Fortunately, the Seahawks can count on two real certainties when it comes to safety. Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs are top players in their position.
The Seahawks face the start of the new season with some doubts. Russell Wilson’s discontent has caused stress in the front office and defensive quality seems to have been lost. However, there is still a solid roster and more options for Russell Wilson offensively. However, the Seahawks lack depth in several positions. Ultimately, the team will go where Russell Wilson goes. If Russ starts cooking again, the wins will follow. History tells us that the chance of a weak season for Wilson is slim. Therefore, the Seahawks will once again compete for the prizes, even though the competition in the NFC West is fierce. The division title will be a dime on its side, but it is by no means impossible; despite the doubts.