Seahawks Must Avoid Roster Landmine While Playing in a Pandemic
At the offset of the NFL offseason, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson asked his franchise to go add stars. While it did take a while, Seattle fulfilled that request by trading for safety Jamal Adams last month.
Prior to that deal, Seattle took a more practical approach for most of the offseason.
Either through careful planning, dumb luck, or a combination of the two, Seahawks general manager John Schneider seemed to make it a priority to add quality depth over star power and in an offseason without any OTAs or mini-camps, this decision may make all the difference in 2020.
However, as it goes with teams who have had to pay their quarterback, Schneider couldn't fill all the holes on his roster. He needed to take some risks in certain areas. And in the midst of a global pandemic, picking where to add the depth to your roster was more critical than ever.
While having a quarterback on a rookie contract is a cheat code to add multiple stars, the post Super Bowl Seahawks proved you can pay your quarterback and nearly all of your star players. At the end of the Seahawks' first championship run, it wasn't the lack of star players that ended their reign. It was the lack of quality backup options to cover the holes as an aging roster inevitably dealt with more injuries. Lack of depth is what "killed" the Seahawks, not a lack of talent.
While fans clamor for the best 22-man roster possible, the simple reality of the NFL is that your best 22 will almost never be active at the same time and those odds get even worse as nagging injuries take their toll throughout the season. And that is where the Seahawks failed. By desperately trying to keep every star, they let solid role players slip through the cracks.
This spring, the Seahawks did not fall for this trap. They spread the love, and their remaining salary cap space, amongst a group of more than a dozen players. But eventually, the financial well runs dry and because the team does have stars they need to pay, like Wilson, they simply can't afford to be 3-deep at every position.
Perhaps nowhere was this better exemplified than the left tackle position. The Seahawks have their left tackle and Duane Brown is a pretty good one. But ask yourself this: if Brown got hurt, or god forbid tested positive for COVID-19, who would block the blindside of the franchise quarterback? Remember, George Fant isn't around any longer. Do you know who it is?
Well if you guessed Jamarco Jones, you might be right. We actually don't know that Jones is absolutely Brown's backup. But if he is "the guy," how good do you or the Seahawks feel about it? And what if Jones isn't the backup? What if instead, it's Cedric Ogbuehi or Chad Wheeler?
In the middle of a pandemic, the Seahawks are one injury to the 35-year old Brown away from asking one of those three tackles with little game experience to protect the blindside of their franchise. It's a major swing and miss from the franchise in what has been an otherwise solid offseason from Schneider and company. It's the landmine that the Seahawks desperately need to sidestep.
Thankfully, Seattle knows where it's buried. But while the focus remains on finding another EDGE rusher or defensive tackle, the Seahawks should be scouring the market for a decent backup option. After all, it only takes one misstep to activate a landmine.