The Seahawks should go full throttle in their rebuilding project. Deal Russell Today
By Steven Toroni
We are now three years removed from the Seattle Seahawks bizarre catastrophe of a loss in Super Bowl XLIX. You know, the game in which The Seahawks were one yard away from winning their second Super Bowl in a row. If Marshawn Lynch took the ball on the final play and barreled his way in for a touchdown, I probably would not be writing this article right now. As fate would have it, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks called a play that would haunt Seahawks fans for years to come. Russell Wilson threw an interception to Malcolm Butler on the goal line on an attempted slant route for Ricardo Lockette.
As cringe-worthy as that moment in history is to recall for Seahawks fans, what perhaps is more painful are the events that have transpired since that night. While the Seahawks were resilient in making the playoffs two years in a row after the 2015 season, early exits left a lot to be desired in the grunge Capital of America.
Now coming off a season where they did not make the playoffs for the first time in the Russell Wilson era, the Seahawks have more questions in terms of their future than ever before under the eight-year tenure. The draft is this week and Seattle has holes to fill on offense and defense. The only thing the Seahawks know for sure going into next season is that their quarterback, despite the lack of help around him on offense, is one of the best in the league. And that is exactly why they should trade the four-time Pro Bowler
Here are seven reasons why it’s time to trade Wilson so that Seattle can build for the future and avoid mediocrity for the next three years.
- The End of the “Legion of Boom”
Nobody has been on record of questioning the direction of Seattle more than the prolific ex-Seahawk Richard Sherman. He felt that the Seahawks did not give him a fair chance, as they released him soon after the 2017 season. The cornerback tore his Achilles’ tendon and Carroll and the Seahawks were not willing to risk the health of the 30-year Sherman. The move seemed odd considering that Sherman was the undeniable leader of the infamous “Legion of Boom” that was made up of Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor and spearheaded one of the most feared defensive units in the history of the NFL. Letting Sherman sign with the 49ers acts as the first step towards a full-blown rebuild. Sherman said in a recent interview on UNINTERRUPTED’s the ThomaHawk Show “I think they’ve kind of lost their way a little in terms of how they see players and how they evaluate players.”
- Earl Thomas On His Way Out?
Trade rumors have centered around Thomas all offseason. His name was linked to the Cowboys, but news cooled off in recent weeks. That is until Dallas released Dez Bryant and freed up $8 million of cap space. Sherman was the first Jenga piece to be removed from the tower that was the LOB, and trading Thomas would make the entire puzzle that the franchise has built crumble to the floor. According to John Clayton of ESPN Seattle, the Seahawks are still entertaining trade offers for Thomas and he has been vocal that his preferred destination is Dallas. Clayton suggested that the Seahawks would be willing to part with the three-time Pro Bowler for a package that includes a second and fourth-round pick.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) April 23, 2018
The Cowboys just officially moved safety Byron Jones back to cornerback, a position he played in his rookie season, which clears space for Thomas on the field. The NFL Draft is in Dallas on Thursday and what better way to get the place rocking than making a blockbuster trade on draft day? If Seattle trades Thomas, they would be doing the franchise a disservice by keeping Wilson while the defense enters a total reboot.
- Pete Carroll is Out Sooner than Later
Carroll will be 67-years old by Week Two of 2018. While he has done a fantastic job with the Seahawks in nearly a decade, it seems that the Seahawks are now a part of a personal experiment that Carroll is trying to carry out for his final years in Seattle. When asked about going into a full rebuild, Carroll deflected the question at NFL league meetings in March. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, however, Carroll contradicted himself when asked if he felt re-invigorated with the roster changes saying “No question. I think more than ever, I’m fired up.”
If he wants a rebuild, why not just go all in? The defense still has Pro Bowl talent, but the offense does not have the weapons surrounding Wilson to help him out enough to get to the playoffs. Wilson, behind a dreadful offensive line, led the Seahawks last season with three rushing touchdowns, which is an absolute joke for a team that has prided themselves on running the football for years.
- To Tank or not to Tank?
The NFC West bodes more competition for the Seahawks than ever before. The roster of this club, combined with the schedule of having to face the Rams twice and 49ers with Sherm-revenge implications twice screams 2-2. The Seahawks were 9-7 last season and it is unlikely they improve from that record. With no major moves in a positive direction this offseason, 8-8 is a feasible finish not only for 2018 but for 2019 and 2020 with this roster. While newly-acquired guard D.J. Fluker and a potential first-round offensive linemen selection to come will help solidify the line, Wilson will still be required to work his magic in order to generate offense with a lack of playmaking weapons.
So who would be a suitable trade partner? The Browns have nine picks in 2018, including the first and fourth overall. Trade Wilson to Cleveland for Tyrod Taylor, the fourth overall pick and a second-round selection.
If the Seahawks were to successfully trade Wilson and Thomas in this scenario they would have the fourth and 18th overall picks in the first round, two second-round picks, and two selections in the fourth round to go along with their three fifth and seventh round slots respectively.
Wilson would get a new opportunity on a team that has loads of talent on the offensive end and the Seahawks would avoid potential 8-8 seasons for the next few seasons while building a foundation for the future. With all the draft picks they acquire in this scenario, a 4-12 or 5-11 season would most likely be in play for 2018, setting the franchise up very nicely with a high draft pick in 2019.
- 2018 QB Draft Class
This is the year to get the quarterback of the future. There are five or six first round prospects at the position and more in the later rounds. If the Seahawks have the fourth overall pick they could potentially get Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. Mayfield at 6’1” and with the ability to extend a play with his legs, has drawn comparisons to Wilson and would be the perfect replacement in Seattle. However, if the Seahawks decided to take the best defensive prospect and give themselves elite talent at a premium position, then they could take edge rusher Bradley Chubb and use the second-round pick from the Browns (either 33 or 35 overall) to acquire Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, who is a first-round prospect depending on who you ask.
This is the year to make the move on Wilson because of the draft capital the Seahawks can get with many opportunities at a future franchise quarterback. Perhaps the Seahawks do take Chubb at four, or they could get the best offensive linemen in the draft, Quentin Nelson of Notre Dame. In this scenario, if Lamar Jackson slips to the 18th overall pick, Seattle would have their guy. Jackson flashes brilliant accuracy as a passer out of the pocket and has 4.3- speed with athleticism that has not been seen at the quarterback position since Michael Vick. If you are going to trade a Russell Wilson, giving Jackson the opportunity to back up Taylor in his first season would put a smile on the face of Seahawks fans. Jackson would be able to learn from Taylor how to be a professional in the NFL in a system that suits him perfectly.
- How Long Will It Take to be a Contender?
The Seahawks are going to be mediocre next season, there is no getting around that. Bobby Wagner and Thomas can only do so much for the defense while Wilson runs for his life making plays on the offensive end. At this rate, the Seahawks will hang around mediocrity for three years, by which time Wilson will be 32 years old.
Trading Wilson now will give the Seahawks a chance to acquire elite-level prospects during this time span and allow the franchise to be competitive for years to come. The best-case scenario with Wilson and the current pieces of this Seahawks roster is they are a contender by the time Wilson, Wagner and Thomas are all in their 30s. At that point its Super Bowl or bust.
- The Los Angeles Rams
If anyone has not gotten the memo yet, the Rams are built to win now and for the foreseeable future. Their roster is absolutely loaded on both sides of the ball with a young coach who is an offensive mastermind. Sean McVay led the Rams to a 11-5 season last year and the team improved substantially this offseason as they acquired Brandin Cooks, Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib, and Marcus Peters. Adding that kind of talent to a team that already rosters Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald is intimidating for the Seahawks, who are moving backwards.
As the Rams gear up for the opening of their $5 billion stadium in 2020, they look to be a team who will compete for a deep playoff run not only in 2018, but for years to come. The Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park/City of Champions Stadium will be hosting the Super Bowl in 2022 and the Rams are building their roster as if they plan to be the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl game on their home turf.
With the Rams presumably locking up the NFC West for a few seasons, along with the up-and-coming 49ers squad led by Jimmy Garoppolo and head coach Kyle Shanahan, the best the Seahawks will be able to muster is a wild card spot. However, 8-8 and 9-7 will put teams on the outside looking in more times than not.
Trading Wilson now gives the Seahawks a chance to go full rebuild – as opposed to dipping their foot in the tank pool. In a year of premier quarterback talent, the Browns have the draft capital to give the Seahawks a chance to invest in their future while Wilson is put into a position where he can succeed again.