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The Seattle Seahawks will report to training camp on July 26. That gives us about three and a half weeks to fill what is normally the quietest portion of the NFL’s calendar year. Before they take the field at the VMAC, there are a few important orders of business we’d like the team to address.
Here are three things we’d like to see from the organization before training camp begins.
Add more depth at quarterback
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The biggest position battle at training camp this year will come at quarterback between Geno Smith and Drew Lock. The winner will be Seattle’s starting QB Week 1 when Russell Wilson and the Broncos come to town for what wll be a much-hyped Monday Night Football matchup.
Smith and Lock both have their positive attributes. However, neither one of them has proven they can be a viable long-term QB1 at this level. Both should be ranked in the 25-30 range among the 32 projected No. 1 guys around the NFL this year. That makes them good backups but bad starters, which doesn’t bode well for the team’s win total this year.
The Seahawks should roll the dice and try to find an upgrade at quarterback before training camp. Baker Mayfield of the Browns is the most popular target and probably their best chance at doing so. However, his contract is a sticking point and depending on how Deshaun Watson’s disciplinary hearings go, Cleveland might have to come crawling back to Baker and ask him to start this year ahead of Jacoby Brissett. Odds are Mayfield’s team will colorfully tell them to take a hike, but we can’t completely rule out him staying put with the Browns for another year.
The other big name at QB that might get moved this offseason is Jimmy Garoppolo of the 49ers, who are not going to trade him to a division rival. However, if San Francisco releases Garoppolo from his obscene contract – which carries an almost-$27 million cap hit this year – then Seattle should at least consider bringing him in. While he wouldn’t be a huge upgrade over Smith or Lock, we’d feel more confident if Garoppolo was under center than either of those two.
Wild card options include trading for Gardner Minshew or signing Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton. We’d be satisfied with any of these names to add more depth at the game’s most important position.
Re-sign Carlos Dunlap (or add another OLB)
(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Looking at the team’s depth chart, the edge rusher rotation appears to be the most-uncertain element on the other side of the ball. The Seahawks are loaded at safety, corner and defensive tackle and have at least two solid options at inside linebacker. Outside linebacker stands out as a potentially problematic position, though.
Right now, Seatte’s edge defenders fall into one of four categories. First, there’s the team’s top free agent Uchenna Nwosu, who is guaranteed to start given the size of his contract and his experience. Then, there’s Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson, who are heading into their third year in the NFL. Next, there’s the the team’s two draft picks at this spot: Boye Mafe and Tyreke Smith. Lastly, there’s the guys on the bubble who probably won’t make the 53-man roster.
Either way much will depend on how well Taylor, Robinson and the rookies perform this year. However, we’d feel much better about their chances of fielding a strong pass rush if they added another veteran to the mix. At the top of our list is former Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who was officially released on June 1 and recently visited the Panthers.
Since coming over in a deal with Cincinnati at the trade deadline in 2020 Dunlap has been this team’s top pressure producer, totaling 13.5 sacks, 28 quarterback hits and 39 hurries in just 25 games. Re-signing Dunlap and starting him opposite Nwosu is likely the best move this team can make to improve its defense before the season begins. Seattle’s recent hosting of Mario Addison for a free agent visit is a sign they’re considering their options at this position. Addison has since signed with the Texans, but we’re not picky. Any experienced EDGE who has double-digit sack potential would work.
Get clarity on major injuries
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
One of the many reasons why the Seahawks tanked last season was a plethora of injuries to key players – most notably Russell Wilson’s finger issue that kept him on the sidelines for three weeks and took several more games for him to fully recover from.
No unit suffered more than Seattle’s secondary, which got bit hard by the injury bug in the second half of the season. That laundry list of issues included another shoulder injury for Jamal Adams, a broken fibula for Quandre Diggs and a knee problem for rookie cornerback Tre Brown that required surgery.
Looking ahead, the Seahawks might have issues if those three are not back to 100% healthy by training camp. The organization will have to decide whether it’s worth adding more depth to the back end in case one of them is uanble to start the season on the active roster.
The other major injury update to watch for is Chris Carson’s neck, which kept him on the sidelines for all but four games last year and also required surgery. The most important thing here is the medical staff making the wisest recommendation for Carson’s long-term health. No amount of production is worth a potential career-ending or life-altering neck injury. Seattle has plenty of horsepower at running back after re-signing Rashaad Penny and drafting Ken Walker. It would be irresponsible to put Carson back on the field unless they are 100% convinced there’s no risk of his re-aggravating it.