9 Veterans Seahawks Could Pursue Before Trade Deadline
As most recently illustrated by the blockbuster deal to land Jadeveon Clowney, Seahawks general manager John Schneider has never been afraid to make a bold move to bolster his team’s roster.
Though the trade deadline remains nearly a month away, trade speculation around the league has already started. Not surprisingly, Seattle has been cited as one of the most active teams putting together the framework to potentially swing a deal before October 29.
In the past, such deadline deals rarely happened, but last year alone, receiver Golden Tate, defensive end Dante Fowler, and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix were dealt to new teams among others. It was one of the most active deadlines in NFL history and based on recent trends, that will likely continue in 2019.
The biggest reason? There’s an unusually wide gap between contenders and pretenders this season. While 18 teams have winning records, four teams remain without a victory, including the Bengals and Redskins. Several other teams sit with 1-4 records.
Unlike prior seasons, those teams already out of playoff contention may be willing to move on from some of their best veterans in an effort to land additional draft capital to expedite the rebuilding process.
Which players could the Seahawks attempt to acquire this month? While it’s unlikely they’ll reel in a big fish like Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, these nine veterans would be worthwhile additions for Schneider to pursue at the right price.
These players either won’t be available, have too big of a cap hit, or the asking price in return will exceed what the Seahawks are willing to pay.
CB Xavien Howard, Dolphins
2019 Stats: 16 tackles, 1 pass defensed
Miami has already received a king’s ransom trading off tackle Laremy Tunsil and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, so even though Howard just signed a lucrative multi-year contract, he’s probably not off limits for the right compensation. But therein lies the real problem for the Seahawks or any other prospective team. To acquire the 26-year old cornerback, any deal would need to be centered around a first-round pick. Any team who brings him on board will have to have tons of cap space as well, as he’s due $75.25 million over the next five seasons and has a cap hit north of $13 million per year over the next two seasons before his contract has an opt-out clause. Given his size and ball skills, he’d be a fine fit in Seattle’s secondary, but he’s simply too expensive.
G Brandon Scherff, Redskins
2019 Stats: 5 starts
Going into the season, the Seahawks expected the offensive line to be an area of strength, but injuries and age have started to show up at multiple spots. Tackle Duane Brown, 34, hasn’t been as effective as his first two seasons in Seattle, while guards Mike Iupati and DJ Fluker continue to deal with durability concerns. Just as they did trading for Brown two years ago, Seattle could dramatically improve its line by acquiring the 28-year old Scherff, who has made two Pro Bowls in Washington and hasn’t reached a long-term extension with the organization. He’s likely to command $14 million or more per year as a free agent next year, however, making him a pricy rental for any team that pursues a trade. Getting the stubborn Redskins to agree to a deal may also be near-impossible, even considering the chance they could lose him for nothing in March.
WR A.J. Green, Bengals
2019 Stats: N/A
Summary: Though it would be prorated for half the season, Green carries a huge cap hit north of $15 million and at 31 years of age, he’s battled injuries over the past several seasons. He hasn’t played a down this season after undergoing ankle surgery. So why would Seattle consider such a move? When healthy, Green is still an outstanding talent on the outside and he hasn’t played with a quarterback as good as Russell Wilson. Teaming him up with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf would give the Seahawks one of the scariest trios of receivers in the league with a top-tier quarterback. Still, his contract would likely need reworked for Seattle and Cincinnati to facilitate a deal, so this seems like an unlikely pairing.
REALISTIC UPGRADE DIVISION
These players should be available at reasonable compensation and would be improvements over what Seattle currently has on the roster.
WR Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos
2019 Stats: 24 receptions, 307 receiving yards, 2 TD
If Seattle doesn’t want to absorb Green’s contract and still seeks an upgrade at receiver, Sanders has a slightly better cap hit and he’s been outstanding coming off an Achilles injury. Through five games, he’s already caught 24 passes and is on pace for over 1,200 receiving yards despite playing on an underwhelming Denver offense. After three straight years with 1,000-plus receiving yards, his production has dipped the last few years, but much of that likely has to do with poor quarterback play. Just like Green, changing zip codes to the Pacific Northwest would give Sanders a major upgrade in the quarterback department. With the Broncos likely looking to save money and gain draft picks, this seems more plausible than the Green trade proposal.
CB Chris Harris, Broncos
2019 Stats: 14 tackles, 1 pass defensed
Staying in the Rocky Mountains for just a bit longer, Harris may also be a viable trade target if Seattle wants to bolster its secondary. Widely considered the best slot cornerback in the business, the 30-year old Harris has made four Pro Bowls and been selected First-Team All-Pro in 2016. He’s also capable of holding his own on the outside, which makes him well-worth renting at around $6 million for the rest of 2019. The biggest holdup may be asking price, as Denver will likely ask for a high draft choice to finalize a deal. With his age and contract status, giving up more than a third may be too steep for a team like the Seahawks who already let Justin Coleman walk in the offseason.
CB Mike Hilton, Steelers
2019 Stats: 20 tackles, 1 interception, 3 passes defensed
Sitting at 1-4 without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers aren’t going anywhere and would be wise to try to accumulate a bit of draft capital. Hilton has enjoyed a solid season thus far, recording 20 tackles and an interception while receiving an excellent 73.2 grade from Pro Football Focus. As the Seahawks saw first hand in Week 2, he’s an outstanding blitzer from the slot who had 4.0 sacks his rookie season and plays with the type of physicality the team looks for at the position. With just one year left on his contract, Hilton could be a candidate for the Steelers to deal away for a mid-round pick. From the Seahawks perspective, they haven’t played much nickel this year, but upgrading the position wouldn’t be a bad idea heading into the second half of the season.
ROLE PLAYER DIVISION
These players would be solid depth additions at worst and could wind up being underrated acquisitions by changing teams.
C Billy Price, Bengals
2019 Stats: 5 games with 1 start
Only in his second NFL season, the Bengals have already appeared to give up on Price, who was a first-round selection out of Ohio State in 2018. He started 10 games at center as a rookie, but received the fourth-lowest grade in the league from Pro Football Focus and then was benched in favor of veteran Trey Hopkins. This looks like a classic case of a talented player who could use a change of scenery and since he was a first-round pick, there’d be the possibility for up to three additional years of club control for the Seahawks if they acquired him. With Justin Britt and Ethan Pocic both set to become free agents after the 2020 season, bringing in a developmental center with Price’s upside makes a lot of sense.
WR Paul Richardson, Redskins
2019 Stats: 20 receptions, 163 yards, 2 TD
Sound familiar? Just two years ago, Richardson left the Seahawks to sign with a five-year, $40 million contract with the Redskins. At that price, he’s far too expensive for what Seattle needs, except his contract has an opt-out clause following this season. He’s struggled to live up to his contract, but in his defense, he’s been catching passes from Case Keenum, rookie Dwayne Haskins, and Colt McCoy this year and has managed to produce 20 receptions. He’s still only 27 years old and finished with over 700 receiving yards his last season with the Seahawks. Teaming him back up with Wilson would add another quality weapon behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
CB Damontae Kazee, Falcons
2019 Stats: 16 tackles
It’s strange to put Kazee, who tied Howard for the NFL lead with seven interceptions last year, in the “role player” department, but he’s had a rough third season in Dan Quinn’s secondary. He currently has a lousy 45.1 grade from Pro Football Focus and his production has declined significantly. This may not all be his fault because, if you’ve watched the Falcons play this year, the entire defense schematically has been a dumpster fire. Seattle could certainly use help at nickel corner and Kazee boasts many of the skills the Seahawks covet at the position. He’s an aggressive tackler who obviously knows how to get his hands on the football. He can be a bit of an undisciplined gambler and has paid for it at times, but he’s certainly a player worth considering if you’re Schneider.