Seahawks face change after lost first season in a decade
After the first losing season in over a decade, it looks like there will be, or should, some changes ahead for the Seattle Seahawks.
The unknown is the depth of these changes and the involvement of owner Jody Allen in the direction to follow.
Could they be massive and possibly include head coach Pete Carroll, general manager John Schneider or quarterback Russell Wilson? May be. It’s more likely that there will be superficial adjustments and the group that led Seattle to the longest success in franchise history will remain intact for another season.
“She wants to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make sure everything runs smoothly,” Carroll said of Allen, who has overseen her brother Paul Allen’s estate since his death in 2018. “He’s a person. extremely competitive in this regard and she doesn’t want any rock left unturned. Exactly as I see it. I feel so connected to that thought that this is what we do.
Seattle ended its disappointing 7-10 season with a 38-30 victory over Arizona on Sunday. Scheduled to be NFC West contenders, the Seahawks had to play trivial games at the end of the regular season and only missed the playoffs for the second time since Wilson was drafted in 2012.
The first losing season since 2011 doesn’t necessarily equate to a complete overhaul. Wilson, Carroll, and Schneider could all return in exactly the same roles, and Seattle would likely be seen as an NFC contender again.
But if the Seahawks are to step up from playoff contender status and return to the championship realm, it could be the offseason for a bigger change.
“Who knows how wide the spectrum is of the changes that are likely to take place, but something has to change,” wide receiver DK Metcalf said on Monday.
Wilson’s move seems the cleanest of all outcomes, as unfathomable as it may be to trade the franchise quarterback. Wilson could bring home a significant amount of draft picks to go with what the Seahawks already have, along with the chances of getting a developing quarterback and clearing significant salary cap space going forward.
Wilson said all the right things late in the season about his desire to stay in Seattle and win additional titles with the Seahawks. And he has some control over the situation with a no-trade clause as part of his latest contract.
“What really excites me, obviously my goal is to win more Super Bowls and my plan is to win them here,” Wilson said. “It’s that simple, so there’s nothing really other than that.”
Passing from Carroll or Schneider – or both – becomes trickier, and would state that the quarterback is at the center of how Seattle advances. Both are under contract for several more years and the buyout of their contracts, as well as the recruitment of their replacements, would represent a significant expense.
Or the status quo stays in place and ownership becomes an outlier this season where Seattle has played without Wilson for 3½ games due to injury and the Seahawks have been unusually bad in close games. Seattle was 3-5 in one-scoring games. They were 18-5 in one-point games the previous two seasons combined.
Everything with Wilson’s season has to be framed around the finger injury that cost him a month of games and plagued him for weeks after his return. After the first game, Wilson seemed to have a hard time working his way through first-year offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s system, only to look fantastic at the end of the season.
Wilson finished with 3,113 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions. But his completion percentage and passer rating were both their lowest since 2017.
The biggest offensive decision for Seattle is Wilson. Right behind him is how Seattle is revamping its racing game and whether what Rashaad Penny has shown over the past five weeks has earned him a return to the Seahawks and a living wage. Penny closed her impressive final stretch with a career-high 190 yards against a strong defense against the Cardinals’ rush. He’s racked up 714 yards and six touchdowns in the last five games. Penny will be a free agent, but the franchise label could be an option for Seattle to explore if a long-term deal cannot be struck.
The tenuous nature of free agency was defined by the dislocated ankle and broken leg suffered by safety Quandre Diggs in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Diggs, a Pro Bowl selection, will be a free agent in the offseason and was set to receive a massive salary after Seattle opted out of signing him for pre-season overtime. Diggs had a career-high 94 tackles and five interceptions.
Other key free agents Seattle must make decisions on include: Penny, LT Duane Brown, CB DJ Reed, TE Gerald Everett, DT Al Woods, C Ethan Pocic, RT Brandon Shell and TE Will Dissly.
Brown, 36, and Woods, 34, both said on Monday that they would like to continue playing.
“I feel pretty healthy now so I plan to keep playing,” Brown said. “Obviously when I signed my overtime I said I wanted to retire here. I didn’t know how I would feel at 36, I didn’t know how I would feel when I finished my 14th grade, and there is a lot to weigh in, but I would love to stay here.
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