After an expectation shattering 2018 performance from the Seahawks which lead to ten wins and a playoff appearance in a year where some experts predicted they would be drafting in the top ten, Seattle is going to look to bulk up their reset roster for a championship run in 2019. General Manager John Schneider and company were seriously handicapped in 2018, with the contracts of Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril holding their cap space down to just $12 million. To offer a contrast to Seattle’s cap in 2018, which ranked twenty-fifth in the league, the Cleveland Browns lead the league with over $108 million in cap to sign free agents. Even with a minuscule amount of cash, the Seahawks were able to sign key contributors on both sides of the ball in DJ Fluker, Barcavious Mingo, Ed Dickson, and more. Now, with the dead contracts off the books, Seattle rolls into 2019 with over $60 million to blow in the market. With clear holes in the right side of the offensive line and in the secondary after the loss of Earl Thomas, here are a few names the Seahawks should target to file the gaps.
Landon Collins – Strong Safety
Collins was drafted by the New York Giants in the second round of the 2015 draft and his spectacular play has been diminished by the Giants sub-par performance in three of the four years he has spent in the NYC. In four season, Collins has recorded 437 tackles from his safety position, over seventy-five percent of which were solo tackles, with 22 stuffs, where he stopped the ball carrier at or behind the line of scrimmage. He is just as effective in the passing game, with 8 interceptions and 32 passes defended in coverage. After being considered in the defensive player of the year discussion in 2016, Collins was marooned on a Giants team that failed to win more than five games in back to back season. His play did not decline whatsoever from 2016 to 2018 however, until a shoulder injury unfortunately landed him on IR for the final four games of the season. With Collins fresh off of shoulder surgery to begin free agency, the Seahawks may be able to get Collins for less than top dollar, but even if he is still able to command a contract worth $11-$12 million a year, Seattle has a chance to replace the imposing force in the secondary that they clearly lacked without Kam and they need to jump on Collins while they can.
Daryl Williams – Tackle
The Seahawks were able to run the ball better than any other team in the league behind their retooled offensive line in 2018, but Russell Wilson was still sacked 51 times, third most in the league and a career high for Wilson. Giving up up a career high amount of sacks to a guy who has been taken down at least forty times every year since 2013 is a pretty blaring red flag. Some of the blame is on Wilson’s style of play in that he likes to extend plays for long after his initial reads and he is incredibly conservative in his decision making to avoid interceptions on higher risk throws, but Seattle’s line has been perennial Swiss cheese over the years in pass protection and it needs to be fixed already. Adding Daryl Williams can solve a lot of the problems and restrictions that the offensive line play has caused. Since he came into the league in 2015 he has missed a few games here and there before he only played in one game in 2018. His size and power however, at 6’6, 330 pounds, make him incredibly valuable in Seattle’s power running scheme and his career numbers allow him to come in on a team friendly deal akin to DJ Fluker’s contract last year that paid great dividends for the Hawks in 2018. The way this current unit is constructed, with a weak o-line draft class and Duane Brown under contract for just two more seasons at left tackle, a veteran like Williams can sure up the right side of that line enough so Seattle can stop having to dedicate extra linemen and tight ends to that side and really open up the offense.
Frank Clark – Defensive End
Four years ago, the Seahawks took a bit of a risk on Clark when they took him in the second round while he was under investigation, but when the storm settled, Frank put his nose to the ground and now he is one of the premiere edge rushers in the NFL. In his four seasons in Seattle, Clark has recorded 36 sacks to go along with 137 tackles and 10 takeaways, including nine forced fumbles and an interception. He is an absolute dominant force coming off the edge for Seattle, but over 2018, when he fought through an elbow injury in rout to 14 sacks, Frank became one of the outspoken leaders of the Seahawks new, young defensive unit. Players who don’t just play well, who can also lead others and get them to play their best are critical in maintaining a teams culture of winning like Seattle is trying to do. The fact that the year Clark had the best year of his career while Jaaron Reed recorded double didget sacks from defensive tackle shows you that his success does not come at the expense of his teammates. His price tag is going to be high, but he is worth the money based on how consistently he has played thus far and he can really get even better going forward.
With so many young players stepping up for Seattle last year like Chris Carson, Micheal Dickson, and Tre Flowers, the foundation has been laid down to bring in some additional pieces to put Seattle over the top once again. You have to be excited as a Seahawks fan when you think about what can happen with five times the cap, a full slot of draft picks, and a bunch of young guys leading Seattle into their next chapter.