The Seattle Seahawks have gone from contending for Super Bowls on a yearly basis to struggling to defeat inferior opponents. In fact, it’s fair to wonder whether it’s time for the franchise to undergo a full-scale rebuild.
After all, how much longer can the Pete Carroll-John Schneider-Russell Wilson trio remain intact?
With the NFL’s oldest head coach and the league’s most overrated general manager failing to properly support the future Pro Football Hall of Famer, it wouldn’t be a shock to see significant changes take place in Seattle during the 2022 NFL offseason following a 7-10 campaign.
And if the Seahawks want to get back to contending for division titles, here’s the path they must take.
Biggest offseason questions
Will Russell Wilson don a Seahawks uniform in 2022? Or will the superstar signal-caller wear another team’s colors next season?
There’s no doubt he will dominate headlines this spring, and it will be interesting to see how the situation unfolds. On one hand, the Seahawks could look to recoup assets for a player who still carries tremendous value. On the other hand, perhaps ownership would rather retain Wilson and make sweeping changes at head coach and GM.
Ultimately, though, no matter what happens with the eight-time Pro Bowler, the Seahawks must figure out what their identity will be moving forward. What exactly is the best version of their offense? How can they consistently slow down opposing offenses in the post-Legion of Boom era?
This is a team with a few blue-chip players, including Wilson, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Bobby Wagner. However, this is a team that lacks depth and could use an infusion of talent on both sides of the ball at multiple positions.
Will Schneider still be in charge of putting together the roster? Or will someone else take over and be tasked with finding the right pieces?
Top free-agency decisions
Key free agents: Duane Brown (LT), Quandre Diggs (S), Gerald Everett (TE), Rasheem Green (DL), Rashaad Penny (RB)
The Seahawks elected not to sign Duane Brown to a long-term deal over the summer. As such, the veteran left tackle will hit free agency this spring. An experienced blindside protector who’s easily been Seattle’s best lineman for years, it will be fascinating to see how the team handles him.
Brown turns 37 in August, and he’s dealt with injuries throughout his lengthy NFL career. Will the Seahawks extend themselves to re-sign an aging player with durability concerns?
Meanwhile, what does the future hold for Quandre Diggs?
Another veteran who arrived via trade, the soon-to-be 29-year-old defensive back earned his first Pro Bowl berth in 2020. Given his age and the fact he spent the first half of his career playing for the lowly Detroit Lions, Diggs may want to find a new NFL home that offers him a legitimate shot to win a Super Bowl ring. Plus, with one expensive safety on the books, the Seahawks may not have enough room in their budget to accommodate a lucrative extension for the Houston native.
2022 NFL Draft needs and potential targets
Top picks: Second round (own), third round (own)
Draft needs: OT, OG, CB, DE, LB
Thanks to the Jamal Adams trade, the Seahawks don’t have a first-round pick in the 2022 draft. Instead, they’ll have to wait until the second round to make their initial selection.
What positions should be on their radar?
As a testament to how poorly Schneider has performed at his job, the Seahawks still need to upgrade their offensive line. Both the tackle and guard spots represent areas of need. Day 2 targets could include Ohio State’s Nicholas Petit-Frere, Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele, and Washington’s Jaxson Kirkland. If the Seahawks go interior o-line, Boston College’s Zion Johnson would be an excellent fit in the second round.
Moving over to defense, Seattle could get better at all three levels via the draft. Cornerback remains the most pressing issue, as the team lacks anything remotely resembling a shutdown player at the position.
Who could the team target on Day 2?
If big, long corners still matter in Seattle, Mississippi State’s Martin Emerson (6-foot-2, 200 pounds), Missouri’s Akayleb Evans (6-foot-2, 198 pounds), and Virginia Tech’s Jermaine Waller (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) could be in play.
1 player on each side of the ball who must step up in 2022
The Seahawks spent the 56th overall pick in the 2021 draft on Western Michigan wideout D’Wayne Eskridge, but he hasn’t made much of a blip on the radar as a rookie. The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at his pro day, so he has the track-star speed to threaten defenses deep. With teams focusing their attention on containing the dynamic duo of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Eskridge needs to become a viable threat in the passing game in 2022 for whoever starts at quarterback.
This shouldn’t be a shocker, but the defensive player who must step up next season is far and away Jamal Adams. The highly paid hybrid safety/linebacker simply hasn’t lived up to the hype, and his limited skill set can cause problems. If he can’t make progress as a coverage player, he has no shot at justifying his $17.5 million annual salary.
Then again, the Seahawks never should have given him that type of deal in the first place.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference