The Seattle Seahawks started their 2022 offseason with a seismic shakeup. Following a disappointing 7-10 finish to their 2021 campaign, the Seahawks agreed to ship All-Pro quarterback Russell Wilson to Denver for a package of young players and draft picks. This Seattle Seahawks team needs to fully embrace the rebuild now.
Seattle didn’t stop there. The team also cut ties with long-time linebacker Bobby Wagner, releasing the 10-year veteran. Now, general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll need to chart a path forward.
Subpar Offense in Seattle
The Seahawks started 2021 with the tenth-best odds (+2500) to reach Super Bowl LVI, but started went 2-5 through the season’s first seven weeks and lost Wilson for an extended period of time due to injury. The team couldn’t overcome key injuries throughout this lost season, and much of that affected the offense.
Seattle ranked 10th in rushing yards per game (122.0), but spread their carries amongst six different players throughout the season. The passing game lagged behind, ranking 24th in the NFL at 201.9 passing yards per game. The Seahawks finished 17th in scoring, averaging 21.9 points per game.
The loss of Wilson obviously creates a vacuum under center, especially considering Geno Smith didn’t impress during his time as Wilson’s injury replacement last season. The Seahawks have high-end talent at wide receiver, but not much else stands out about this offense.
The Seahawks said goodbye to their franchise leader in tackles when they released Wagner. Cutting the six-time All-Pro provides Seattle with more than 16 million in cap space for next season.
Even with Wagner manning the middle of the defense, the Seahawks struggled at times last season. Seattle ranked 28th in total yards allowed per game (379.1), but finished sixth in scoring defense (20.3 points per game). They really struggled against the pass, allowing 265.5 passing yards per game, but were nearly league average against the run (113.6 rushing yards per game, 17th).
Seattle finished with the ninth-fewest sacks last season (34), just five more than the team ranked second-to-last. The Seahawks ranked 29th in sack percentage (4.9), 26th in pressure percentage (22.1), and 18th in QB Hits (93).
Beyond the void left by Wagner in the middle, this Seattle Seahawks team needs to address the secondary. Quadre Diggs was Seattle’s best safety and he’s hitting free agency, as are cornerbacks D.J. Reed and Sidney Jones. Seattle invested two first-round picks in safety Jamal Adams, but it’ll be interesting to see if he sticks around for this roster retooling.
Seahawks Draft Capital and Cap Space
This Seattle Seahawks team needs to decide whether or not they’re going to bottom out and stockpile draft picks, or pivot in hopes of a roster retooling keeping them competitive. According to OverTheCap.com, the Seahawks now have the third-most cap space ahead of free agency. Seattle now sports more than $49 million in cap space, although the team’s carrying a staggering $40 million in dead money.
Aside from their free agents in the secondary, the Seahawks see Duane Brown’s contract expiring, as well as tackle Brandon Shell’s. Other free agents for Seattle include; running back Alex Collins, tight ends Will Dissly and Gerald Everett, and defensive tackle Al Woods.
Prior to the Wilson trade, the Seahawks draft capital stood among the worst in the league, behind only the Chicago Bears. The trade for Adams left Seattle with just six draft picks in 2021 before the deal with Denver helped replenish the cupboard. Now, the Seahawks draft has the flexibility to go in several different directions.
Following the Wilson trade, the Seahawks actually moved up from what would have been their first-round pick had they not dealt that selection to the New York Jets. Seattle holds three picks in the first 41, with the No. 9 overall selection, and picks 40 and 41 in the second round. The Seahawks also have pick No. 72 in the third round, pick 115 in the fourth round, picks 145 and 153 in the fifth round, and pick 227 in the seventh round.
Seattle Seahawks Team Needs in 2022
Again, this Seattle Seahawks team needs to decide what it hopes to accomplish with these recent moves. If the team hopes to remain competitive, this is simply a roster retool. If they’re entering a full rebuild, Seattle still holds valuable assets that might secure additional draft capital. The team is reportedly taking calls on Tyler Lockett ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.
By trading away the franchise leader in passing yards, completions, and touchdowns, the Seahawks swooped into the market for a quarterback. Drew Lock, who came over in the Wilson trade, has underwhelmed in his three-year career. This indicates that the Seahawks draft could address this team need with the No. 9 pick overall.
If Seattle opts to fill this team need in the 2022 NFL Draft, they’ll likely have the top pick among prospects, including Malik Willis or Matt Corral. Should the Seahawks pass on a quarterback this time around, they’ll have two first-round picks in 2023 to address the position.
The Seahawks draft could address the dire need this team has on the backend of the defense. After a disappointing season from Jamal Adams, and with the impending free agency of Quadre Diggs, there’s a clear need at safety for Seattle. What’s more, the team’s top two corners, Sidney Jones and D.J. Reed, are also free agents.
Ahmad Gardner fits the mold of what Seattle has searched for in the past with their cornerbacks. His combination of size and speed would serve him well in the Seahawks’ Cover 3 system.
3. Offensive Tackle
While the offensive line wasn’t a major issue for the Seahawks last season, Seattle sees three of its five starters from last season headed to free agency. Duane Brown is coming off his fifth Pro Bowl berth, but the left tackle is 36 years old. The Seahawks’ offensive line surrendered the eighth-most sacks last season (46) and the unit finished 25th in Pro Football Focus’ rankings.
The 2022 NFL Draft sports several high-end o-line prospects. And while it’s unlikely the top-tier tackles will drop to No. 9 overall, this Seahawks draft could still see the team land a solid blindside blocker in Ole Miss’ Charles Cross or Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning.
Other Seattle Seahawks team needs for 2022 include linebacker, safety, and defensive tackle. The Seahawks draft could use a wide receiver, too, if Lockett is traded.