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Seahawks' Rumored Interest in Receiving Market Makes Sense

Despite spending a recent second-round pick on Dee Eskridge and having DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett atop their depth chart, the Seahawks are reportedly showing interest in adding more receiving talent this offseason. Ty Dane Gonzalez explains why fans shouldn't be surprised by that development.

Coming off their worst season in the Pete Carroll era and faced with several key contributors hitting free agency in a little over a week's time, the Seahawks have a ton of work to do this offseason. 

Needs are aplenty for a roster that finished the 2021 season in the NFC West's cellar, hampered by injuries and inconsistent play throughout. Some of these areas of focus include both offensive tackle spots, pass rush and cornerback—most of which have been weakened by the team's free agent class. But those aren't the only spots general manager John Schneider and company are apparently looking to upgrade at.

Putting a bow on the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, ESPN's Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler compiled a report of everything they had heard over the past week in Indianapolis. Among the insights offered: Seattle has apparently been active in the wide receiver market. 

"One Seattle development this week," writes Fowler. "The Seahawks have been asking around on the receiver market. That's interesting because they are already loaded at wideout. Maybe they just want depth ... or maybe it's something more."

This report may come as a surprise to some. After all, as Fowler alludes to, the Seahawks boast two All-Pro talents at the top of their receiving corps with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. They also spent their top draft choice in 2021 on Western Michigan receiver Dee Eskridge.

But Eskridge went on to miss seven games after suffering a uniquely severe concussion in Week 1, and Metcalf dealt with a lingering foot issue that wound up requiring surgery in February. Pair that with the midseason absence of quarterback Russell Wilson, who struggled to return to form following reconstructive finger surgery, and the Seahawks' aerial attack failed to muster any sense of consistency for an extended period of time. 

While it's relatively easy to take a step back, recognize the circumstances of Eskridge's lost rookie campaign and be hopeful for a far better outcome in 2022, one could argue Seattle is not in a position to count on such a bounceback. Add in the limited ceiling of third-year man Freddie Swain, whose numbers were greatly inflated by multiple blown coverage-assisted touchdowns, and there's more left to be desired from the team's tertiary receiving threat.

For most of the year, that No. 3 option was tight end Gerald Everett. But after signing a one-year contract with the Seahawks last spring, the South Alabama alum is set to head back to the free agent market later this month. 

Whether Everett returns or a similar investment is made at tight end, it would still behoove Seattle to add more depth to its group of pass catchers. The team has been fortunate enough to make it through the last three seasons without Metcalf or Lockett missing significant time, but the lack of certainty behind them is worrisome in the event of an injury. Furthermore, on top of having more security, such a move could make the Seahawks' offense more dynamic—depending on the talent brought in, of course.

Speaking with Jake Heaps and Curtis Rogers of Seattle Sports on Monday, Fowler provided more context on the caliber of wideout the Seahawks are pursuing, noting that the team has inquired about players who would land somewhere in the $8 million to $10 million range (h/t Brandon Gustafson). 

As one would expect, this eliminates the upper echelon of free agent receivers. That means no Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson or Mike Williams. One other name who may have to be ruled out is Odell Beckham Jr., given that his 2022 season is in jeopardy due to the torn ACL he sustained in Super Bowl LVI. 

Fowler added that the Seahawks are looking to add a "second-tier" receiver. From a free agency standpoint, that begins with the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, D.J. Chark and Will Fuller—high-upside talents who aren't expected to net a ton of dollars on a short-term commitment, thanks in part to injuries or other circumstances that have recently derailed their respective careers. Zay Jones, Christian Kirk, T.Y. Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders, Cedrick Wilson, Russell Gage and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are some other possibilities whom may land on Seattle's radar.

With Metcalf expected to land a lucrative contract extension this summer and Lockett already the ninth-highest paid player at his position in terms of annual salary, a one- or two-year deal would work best for the Seahawks if they decide to pursue any of the aforementioned free agents. 

As far as the trade market goes, not many receivers fit the criteria Fowler laid out. Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley and his salary cap hit of $11.1 million would have been the most ideal option on this front, but the news of his year-long suspension for gambling on NFL games takes him out of consideration. 

Amari Cooper of the Cowboys and Mike Evans of the Buccaneers are the two big names being floated around in trade rumors, but the money for either would far exceed the Seahawks' reported level of comfort. The Giants' Sterling Shepard, Panthers' Robby Anderson, Patriots' Nelson Agholor and Commanders' Curtis Samuel are among the few trade candidates who line up well financially, but none are likely enticing enough for Schneider to sacrifice significant resources for.

Alternatively, there are also potential trade targets who wouldn't necessarily raise Seattle's offensive ceiling, but offer a good mix of depth and potential—relative to their projected low cost. Some names to keep an eye on here are N'Keal Harry of the Patriots, Denzel Mims of the Jets and Darius Slayton of the Giants. 

Additionally, the upcoming draft is once again rich with talent at the receiver position. While a stacked pass rushing class and a solid group of offensive linemen are likely at the top of the Seahawks' shopping list, they could use one of their six selections on a receiver. Each of their last three draft hauls have included at least one. 

Evidently, options are abound for Seattle to stockpile receiving talent this offseason. Taking that into account, along with the structure of its roster, 12s should not be taken aback by the team's reported interest in the receiving market, or if it follows that up with a fairly substantial move. The odds of that happening look pretty decent right now, and it makes a world of sense if so.