What are the Biggest Offseason Decisions for the Seattle Seahawks?
It was a great first half for the Seahawks in the NFC Wildcard Game against the NFC West Divison Champion 49ers. The Seahawks moved the ball well, minimized mistakes, and got pressure on Niners QB Brock Purdy to head into halftime with a one point lead.
In the second half the 49ers fired on all cylinders. San Fran took the lead in the third quarter never to look back. The Niner D held the Hawks to 6 second half points while putting up 25 of their own en route to ending Seattle's season with a 41-23 win and a spot in the NFC Divisional Round. A lot went right this season for the Seahawks, but there are some decisions that need to be made this offseason if Seattle wants to challenge for the NFC West crown.
The Geno Smith Decision
Hands down, this was the best season in Geno Smith's nine years in the league. He set the Seahawks record for passing yards in a season (4,282) along with personal bests in passing yards, Adjusted QB Rating (61.0), passing TDs (30), overall TDs (31), completions (399), attempts (572), and average yards per pass (7.5)...but is he THE guy?
This is first chance Smith has had to start since his second year with the Jets and he made the most of it. Smith is a free agent and will certainly receive offers from other teams in need of a QB leaving the Seahawks with a decision...re-sign Smith to a contract or go in another direction.
In the final year of his current deal, Geno Smith was tied for 35th highest paid QB in the NFL this season at $3.5 million. You can expect Smith's camp will be looking for a 3 year deal and $12-15 million per year at a minimum. If they decide to move on, the free agent class of QBs feature Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady, Jameis Winston, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Mason Rudolph, and Gardner Minshew II.
If you go the draft route, are any of the three top rated QBs, Bryce Young of Alabama, C.J. Stroud of Ohio State, or Will Levis of Kentucky (pictured), that may be there at the 5 spot will fit the system and be an upgrade? This is the toughest offseason call John Schneider and company need to make.
The Lines on Both Sides of the Ball Need Help
The Offensive line made progress this year thanks to the additions of first rounder Charles Cross from Texas A & M (pictured) and third rounder Abraham Lucas out of WSU.
They still need to improve in pass protection as they gave up 46 sacks. Both centers, Kyle Fuller and Joey Hunt, are free agents. Even if the bring one back, they need to upgrade center as well as upgrade at Guard.
On the Defensive side, they need a consistent pass rush. Whether it is a bull rushing end or a run stuffing tackle, the line needs one or two more playmakers as they had the 10th worst pressure rating in the NFL. A solid line make your secondary look better and frees up your linebackers to cover or come up and play the run. An inconsistent line allows your secondary to be picked apart and allows offensive linemen to get to the second level and block linebackers. The line was credited with 23.5 of the team's 45 sacks this season, slightly over half. The line should be driving sacks and pressures, not splitting with linebackers and defensive backs.
Two Drafts Picks in the First Round
The Seahawks will pick 5th and 20th in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Geno Smith decision will have a direct impact on the 5 pick. Re-signing Smith means a defensive lineman at 5 and maybe another defensive lineman at 20 or an offensive lineman at 20.
If they let Geno sign with another team, using the 5 pick on a QB may be the way to go, unless they feel they can get an Anthony Richardson (Florida, pictured) later in the first, or can work magic with a Spencer Rattler (South Carolina) or Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) in later rounds. Keep in mind...all four of the starting QBs in the AFC Divisional Round were first round picks (two number one overall in Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence) and the NFC has one (Daniel Jones, Giants).
The Seahawks exceeded all expectations this season and perhaps put talk of a complete rebuild on hold for a little while longer. The ability to answer a number of off season questions will also determine if the rebuild remains a rumor or becomes closer to fact.
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Gallery Credit: Rachel Cavanaugh