OC Darrell Bevell, QB Tarvaris Jackson, WR Sidney Rice, TE Zach Miller, G Robert Gallery, DE Jimmy Wilkerson, DT Alan Branch, K Jeff Reed.
Early Draft Picks:
OT James Carpenter, G/C John Moffitt, OLB K.J. Wright, WR Kris Durham, CB/FS Richard Sherman, S Mark LeGree.
OC Jeremy Bates, QB Matt Hasselbeck, TE Chris Baker, OT Sean Locklear, G Stacy Andrews, C Chris Spencer, OLB Will Herring, ILB Lofa Tatupu, S Jordan Babineaux, K Olindo Mare.
2011 Seattle Seahawks Offense:
The miserable state of Seattle's offense can be summed up in one sentence: The backfield is comprised of Tarvaris Jackson and Marshawn Lynch. Yuck.
The Seahawks refused to sign Matt Hasselbeck to a long-term deal, so they acquired Jackson because he played under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in Minnesota. While the system familiarity helps in a shortened offseason, it ultimately doesn't matter because Jackson stinks. With the Vikings, he had a great game once in a while that made some onlookers think that he had a future as an NFL starter. Too often, however, Jackson would follow that up with a multi-turnover outing.
Jackson won't be nearly as effective in Seattle for an obvious reason - he won't have Adrian Peterson. Lynch mustered a Super Mario star-power type of touchdown run against the Saints in the playoffs, but he's a lazy player who lacks motivation. He's also not that very good. Lynch has never averaged more than 4.1 yards per carry in his career. His 3.6 YPC in 2010 was a professional-worst.
The offensive line definitely had a hand in Lynch's struggles, but that unit won't be much better in 2011. The hiring of Tom Cable will help in the long run, but his impact in a shortened offseason will be somewhat minimal.
Seattle acquired three new linemen to help Cable: left guard Robert Gallery, who played for Cable in Oakland, and rookies James Carpenter and John Moffitt. Gallery is talented, but is far from a lock to stay healthy; he's missed 14 games in the past two seasons. Carpenter and Moffitt, meanwhile, won't be very effective because of the lockout. The former has already been penciled into the starting right tackle slot, though he was widely considered a reach as a first-round selection.
Fortunately for Jackson and Lynch, the Seahawks' offensive line isn't completely inept. Left tackle Russell Okung surrendered only four sacks in 12 starts as a rookie. Center Max Unger is a skilled lineman, though he curiously missed 15 games in 2010 with a turf toe injury.
General manager John Schneider made sure that unlike Hasselbeck last year, Jackson would have multiple reliable targets to throw to, paying truckloads of cash to free agents Sidney Rice and Zach Miller. Rice had a great 2009 campaign with Brett Favre, but is a one-year wonder whose only priority this offseason was money. Why else would he sign with the Seahawks, who are at least two seasons away from being a winning team?
Miller makes more sense, since he just wanted to get out of Oakland. However, the Seahawks overpaid for the tight end's services as well. Nevertheless, Rice and Miller will join the resurgent Mike Williams in a pretty solid receiving corps. If only they had someone who could throw the ball to them...
2011 Seattle Seahawks Defense:
The Seahawks have plenty of monstrous, 320-plus-pound bodies up front, which makes their 19th ranking against the run somewhat surprising to outside observers. Looking more closely, however, Seattle restricted its first five opponents to 74 rushing yards or fewer before struggling in the middle of the year. This trend coincides with the dual injuries of 330-pound left end Red Bryant and 325-pound defensive tackle Colin Cole, both of whom went down in early November. Seattle's rush defense was never the same.
Cole should be good to go, but Bryant is coming off a torn MCL, so there's naturally some concern. Perhaps newly signed Jimmy Wilkerson and Alan Branch can help if Bryant isn't 100 percent to start the season.
The rest of Seattle's front line is comprised of two players who were dominant last year. Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane was stout in terms of stopping the run and rushing the passer, and received a well-earned 5-year, $25 million contract from the franchise. Right end Chris Clemons, who did nothing in Philadelphia, registered 12 sacks in 2010, including one against the Bears in the playoffs. Clemons will miss defensive line coach Dan Quinn, who took a job as Florida's defensive coordinator. Still, there's no reason Clemons shouldn't have another great season.
With Quinn gone and third-down pass-rusher Raheem Brock (9 sacks) now 33, it's only natural to assume that Seattle will log fewer sacks this year, which would obviously impact a secondary that already isn't very good. Ranking 26th against the pass in 2010 (7.3 YPA), the team didn't make any immediate upgrades this offseason. Cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings will need to rebound off mediocre campaigns in which they surrendered a combined 13 touchdown passes. Their only help will come from free safety Earl Thomas, chosen with the 14th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Thomas played well last year, despite the fact that his running mate, Lawyer Milloy, was dreadful. Unfortunately, 232-pound Kam Chancellor will start at strong safety instead.
Milloy is gone, but Seattle's most controversial departure this offseason is Lofa Tatupu, who was cut because he didn't want to restructure his contract. Tatupu, 29 in November, is coming off knee surgery and is no longer the player he once was. Still, it was a bit crass of the Seahawks to treat their franchise player like this.
Stud linebacker David Hawthorne will slide into Tatupu's vacated spot in the middle of the defense. Hawthorne isn't very well known - he's not nearly as famous as disappointing third-year strongside linebacker Aaron Curry - but he'll quickly make Seahawk fans forget about Tatupu. Oft-injured Leroy Hill will join them at weakside linebacker, replacing Will Herring.
2011 Seattle Seahawks Schedule and Intangibles:
The Seahawks aren't kidding about this whole 12th man thing. The deafening noise at Qwest Field is why they were 25-4 as hosts from 2005 to 2007. They were 5-4 at home last year despite having a pretty bad team.
While Seattle is great at home thanks to its great fans, the team is pitiful on the road. Since 2007, the Seahawks are 8-26 as visitors.
Ask any professional football gambler or handicapper when you should bet against Seattle, and they'll tell you to do so in 1 p.m. East Coast games. They had three of those since 2008, and lost by a combined score of 99-35 to the Bills, Giants and Dolphins. Unfortunately, the Seahawks have three 1 p.m. East Coast battles in 2011 - and two are against the Steelers and Giants (the third versus Cleveland).
Though Jim Mora Jr. unprofessionally blamed Olindo Mare for blowing a game against the Bears because of two missed field goals, Mare drilled 73-of-83 attempts in three years with the Seahawks. Mare is gone, unfortunately, and Seattle has replaced him with the unreliable Jeff "Jersey Shore" Reed, who was a pedestrian 24-of-32 in 2010.
Punter Jon Ryan wasn't very good last season, maintaining a 41.7 average, though he hit 27-of-78 boots inside the 20.
Seattle's return game was brilliant in 2010; Leon Washington took three kickoffs to the house and averaged 11.3 yards per punt return. The Seahawks did surrender a punt return themselves, however.
The Seahawks have only three winnable games outside their pathetic division: Browns (road), Bengals (home) and Redskins (home). Certain losses will come to the Steelers (road), Falcons (home), Giants (home), Cowboys (road), Ravens (home), Eagles (home) and probably the Bears (road).
2011 Seattle Seahawks Analysis: Though they upset the Saints, the Seahawks statistically were the worst team to ever qualify for the NFL playoffs. This happened because San Francisco, St. Louis and Arizona were even more dreadful. But that's definitely not the case this year. The 49ers have a competent head coach; Sam Bradford is more seasoned; while Kevin Kolb is a huge upgrade over John Skelton.
If Seattle thinks it's going to win with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback, the front office is deeply mistaken. A major upgrade is needed there, and it seems as though the Seahawks will be in position to land Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley or Landry "Lance" Jones in the 2012 NFL Draft.
By now, Seattle fans have heard it all. Their draft stinks, yadda, yadda, yadda. Trent Dilfer looked like he was going to have a stroke as he continuously bashed their draft picks on Saturday afternoon.
I don't think it was that much of a train wreck. Did the Seahawks reach for some players? Sure, but they had a plan, and that was to fix their offensive to help Charlie Whitehurst and Marshawn Lynch.
One thing the Seahawks didn't do that they'll have to take care of in free agency is find a replacement for free agent Brandon Mebane. This, of course, is secondary to adding a veteran quarterback to compete with Whitehurst.
Overall 2011 NFL Draft Grade given on 5/1/11: C
2011 NFL Draft Individual Grades:
25. James Carpenter, OT, Alabama
What the hell is this? James Carpenter is a second-round prospect at best, and if the Seahawks wanted to improve the line, Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod were both there. Vikings and Eagles fans have to be thrilled, because this selection passes both of theirs as the strangest in the 2011 NFL Draft. Sorry, Seattle fans. (Pick Grade: Millen on Crystal Meth)
75. John Moffitt, G/C, Wisconsin
I like this offensive line pick much better than the other one. John Moffitt fits the range and figures to upgrade a very weak offensive front. If Marshawn Lynch struggles in 2011, he won't be able to blame the offensive line again. (Pick Grade: B)
99. K.J. Wright, OLB, Mississippi State
K.J. Wright was one of the better players available entering Day 3 of the 2011 NFL Draft, but I would have liked to have seen the Seahawks address some of their greater needs. (Pick Grade: C)
107. Kris Durham, WR, Georgia
Kris Durham? No one had Durham in their top 200, so you have to really question this pick. There were far superior prospects at receiver available. (Pick Grade: F)
154. Richard Sherman, CB/FS, Stanford
Richard Sherman is an underrated defensive back who flashed at the Senior Bowl. He fits the range and fills a need. I thought the Seahawks would address the cornerback position earlier. (Pick Grade: B)
156. Mark LeGree, S, Appalachian State
Think Pete Carroll wanted safety help after Lawyer Milloy was torched in the playoff game at Chicago? Mark LeGree is a bit of a reach in the middle of Round 5, but he drew a ton of interest from teams. (Pick Grade: C)
173. Byron Maxwell, CB, Clemson
The Seahawks didn't address their secondary early in the 2011 NFL Draft, so they're making up for it here. This is the right range for Byron Maxwell. (Pick Grade: B)
205. Lazarius Levingston, DE/DT, LSU
I think this is a reach, but it makes sense. The Seahawks need an insurance policy just in case Red Bryant can't make it back from injury. Lazarius Levingston can play five-technique in Seattle's weird defense. (Pick Grade: C)
242. Malcolm Smith, OLB, USC
I'm not sure about spending a second pick on a linebacker, and it's not like Malcolm Smith is some mega steal. How about a developmental quarterback? (Pick Grade: C)
It was a fun ride, but you really have to wonder how much that playoff berth cost Seattle in the long haul. Instead of picking at No. 8 in the 2011 NFL Draft, the team now has the 25th overall selection. That would be fine if the Seahawks weren't a rebuilding team with lots of holes on their roster.
Dolphins sign OT Ray Willis
Redskins sign OT Sean Locklear
Seahawks re-sign DE Raheem Brock
Titans sign S Jordan Babineaux
Giants sign G Stacy Andrews
Seahawks sign TE Zach Miller
Seahawks sign DE Jimmy Wilkerson
Seahawks re-sign CB Kelly Jennings
Seahawks cut ILB Lofa Tatupu
Seahawks sign DT Ryan Sims
Bears sign C Chris Spencer
Seahawks re-sign DT Brandon Mebane
Seahawks re-sign OLB Leroy Hill
Seahawks sign DT Alan Branch
Seahawks re-sign DT Junio Siavii
Seahawks re-sign FB Michael Robinson
Seahawks sign WR Sidney Rice
Seahawks sign G Robert Gallery
Titans sign QB Matt Hasselbeck
Panthers sign K Olindo Mare
Seahawks re-sign OLB Matt McCoy
Saints sign OLB Will Herring
Seahawks sign QB Tarvaris Jackson
Seahawks cut G Stacy Andrews
Seahawks sign DE Pierre Allen
Seahawks sign S Jeron Johnson
Seahawks cut TE Chris Baker
Seahawks waive QB Nate Davis
Seahawks re-sign RB/KR Leon Washington
Seahawks re-sign CB Kennard Cox
Seahawks re-sign CB Roy Lewis
Cornerback: Seattle has to fix its atrocious secondary. Kelly Jennings is a free agent, so someone like Brandon Harris could be targeted at No. 25 in the 2011 NFL Draft. Re-signed Kelly Jennings; drafted Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell
Strong Safety: Greg Olsen had done nothing all year. In come the Seahawks with Lawyer Milloy at strong safety. First drive - deep touchdown to Olsen, beating Milloy easily. Milloy is done. Fortunately, there will be tons of safety options available on Day 2 of April's draft. Drafted Mark LeGree; signed Jeron Johnson
Right Tackle: If Seattle doesn't re-sign Sean Locklear, the front office could target a substitute with an early draft pick. Drafted James Carpenter
Left End: Raheem Brock went berserk at the end of the season, recording eight sacks in the team's final seven games. He's a free agent, so he'll have to be replaced if he leaves. Re-signed Raheem Brock; signed Jimmy Wilkerson and Pierre Allen; drafted Lazarius Levingston
No. 1 Wide Receiver: Neither Mike Williams nor Golden Tate is a No. 1 receiver. Seattle could target Jonathan Baldwin or Torrey Smith with the 25th pick, but will probably look elsewhere. Signed Sidney Rice; drafted Kris Durham
Right Guard/Center: Depending on where the Seahawks want to use Max Unger, they'll need a new interior lineman to replace injury-prone free agent Chris Spencer. Signed Robert Gallery; drafted John Moffitt
Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck could be entering his final year with the Seahawks, and I don't think Charlie Whitehurst is the answer. Jake Locker could be an option if he falls on Draft Day. Signed Tarvaris Jackson
Kicker: Olindo Mare is a free agent.
2011 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Zach Miller, TE, Raiders. Age: 25. Signed with Seahawks
Zach Miller has caught at least 56 passes in each of the previous three years. I'd like to see what he could do in a more potent passing attack.
Sidney Rice, WR, Vikings. Age: 25. Signed with Seahawks (5 years)
Sidney Rice is one of the league's top young receivers. He caught 83 balls for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009. He's only had one great year, hence just the four stars.
Robert Gallery, G, Raiders. Age: 31. Signed with Seahawks (3 years)
Robert Gallery is a talented guard, but can't stay healthy. He has missed 14 games in the past two seasons.
Tarvaris Jackson, QB, Vikings. Age: 28. Signed with Seahawks
Tavaris Jackson can be a decent backup quarterback in the NFL. No one aside from Brad Childress thinks he can start, however.
Alan Branch, DT, Cardinals. Age: 26. Signed with Seahawks
Alan Branch offers nothing in terms of a pass rush, but can stuff the run effectively when he's motivated.
Pierre Allen, DE, Nebraska. Age: 23. -- Signed with Seahawks
Jeron Johnson, SS, Boise State. Age: N/A. -- Signed with Seahawks
Jimmy Wilkerson, DE, Saints. Age: 30. -- Signed with Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks Free Agents:
Salary Cap: No cap.
Brandon Mebane, DT, Seahawks. Age: 26. Re-signed with Seahawks (5 years, $25 million)
Brandon Mebane has always been great against the run; this year, he added some pass-rushing skills to his repertoire, allowing him to serve as an every-down player in Seattle's defense.
Olindo Mare, K, Seahawks. Age: 38. Signed with Panthers (4 years, $12 million; $4 million bonus)
Remember when Jim Mora Jr. unprofessionally blamed Olindo Mare for a loss to Chicago last year? Well, Mare went 24-of-26 that season and 25-of-30 in 2010.
Leon Washington, RB/KR, Seahawks. Age: 29. Re-signed with Seahawks (4 years, $12.5 million)
Despite breaking his leg in October 2009, Leon Washington returned three kickoffs for touchdowns this season. Maybe he'll get more touches on offense next year.
Lofa Tatupu, ILB, Seahawks. Age: 28.
Lofa Tatupu is no longer the elite inside linebacker he once was. Tatupu is coming off two knee surgeries and was already somewhat of a liability in coverage. Perhaps he can recover and improve his play a bit, but it's doubtful that he'll ever be a Pro Bowl-caliber athlete again.
Sean Locklear, OT, Seahawks. Age: 30. Signed with Redskins
Sean Locklear is pretty abysmal when it comes to opening up lanes for running backs, but he does a really good job in pass protection. He surrendered only five sacks in 2010 (including the playoffs).
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seahawks. Age: 35. Signed with Titans (3 years, $21 million)
Matt Hasselbeck looked like he belonged in a glue factory at many points during the year, but played really well in the postseason. He was ultimately betrayed by close to a dozen drops by his receiving corps in Chicago, but he proved that he can still get it done if he has the support around him.
Raheem Brock, DE, Seahawks. Age: 33. Re-signed with Seahawks
Raheem Brock was arrested for a DUI in early November. After that, he went on a tirade, recording eight sacks in the team's final seven games. Where did that come from? I'm not sure, but Brock turns 33 in June, so it's unlikely that he'll be able to continue this level of play for long.
Kelly Jennings, CB, Seahawks. Age: 28. Re-signed with Seahawks (1 year)
A low-end starting cornerback, Kelly Jennings is hit-or-miss in coverage.
Chris Spencer, C, Seahawks. Age: 29. Signed with Bears (2 years)
The injury-prone Chris Spencer had a rocky start to his 2010 campaign, but improved toward the end of the season.
Leroy Hill, OLB, Seahawks. Age: 28. Re-signed with Seahawks
Leroy Hill played really well for Seattle in 2009, but missed all of last year with an Achilles injury. He also got into trouble for marijuana and domestic issues.
Jordan "Big Drop Babs" Babineaux, S, Seahawks. Age: 29. -- Signed with Titans (1 year)
Roy Lewis (ERFA), CB, Seahawks. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Seahawks
Divisional Rival History: Arizona Cardinals: Arizona won six of seven prior to the 2010 season. Kurt Warner's absence hurt, as the Seahawks swpet this series. San Francisco 49ers: The Seahawks and 49ers split the season series the past three years. St. Louis Rams: The Seahawks have won all but one of the 12 matchups after the Rams knocked them out of the playoffs in 2004.
Features to be Posted This Offseason:
2011 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well - Live on Draft Day!)