No trades at the deadline for the Seahawks. No new faces in the facility or new weapons on the field.
Maybe in previous years this might have disappointed some fans wondering how hard coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were working to improve the team midway through the season. But you won’t find those complaints this year. Or at least you shouldn’t.
That duo already had provided a master class in executive decision-making in 2022 — decision-making that, for now, has disintegrated any doubt that their best work was behind them.
Eight or nine years ago, Carroll and Schneider may have been considered the brains of the shrewdest brass in the NFL. From 2010-12 they drafted Russell Wilson (third round), Richard Sherman (fifth), Bobby Wagner (second), Earl Thomas (first), Kam Chancellor (fifth), K.J. Wright (fourth) and Russell Okung (first), among others. They also traded for Marshawn Lynch in 2010, which may have been the most significant transaction in launching them to the Super Bowl.
To hit pay dirt on so many moves (including picking up undrafted free agents Doug Baldwin and Michael Bennett) in such a short period was a feat we hadn’t really seen in the NFL in ages. Which is perhaps why it seemed so disappointing that the next few years were nothing more than “meh” on the Seahawks’ front-office end.
Unless it was in a special-teams role (see: Tyler Lockett and Michael Dickson) or as an alternate (Shaquill Griffin), no Seahawk in draft classes from 2015-18 made the Pro Bowl. And some of the monster trades over the past several years — whether it be for tight end Jimmy Graham or safety Jamal Adams — ranged from mediocre to detrimental.
So it shouldn’t be all that surprising that the Seahawks have won just one playoff game the past five seasons — just like it was unsurprising that they were considered by oddsmakers to finish with one of the worst records in the NFL this season. Instead, they are in first place in the NFC West, mostly thanks to what Pete and John have done since going 7-10 last season.
First, they traded Wilson to the Broncos. No, this likely wouldn’t have happened if Wilson didn’t express a strong desire to leave. However, Seattle was able to acquire two first-round picks and two second-round picks along with defensive end Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant — both of whom have been impactful.
Given how Wilson has been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league this season, and the Seahawks’ QB Geno Smith has been one of the best, this is playing out as one of the NFL’s great fleeces.
But there were other key signings — such as linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, who came on as a free agent in March and has tallied five sacks and won NFC Defensive Player of the Week. There was defensive lineman Al Woods, who re-signed this offseason and has collected two sacks in beefing up the pass rush. And, of course, there was Smith, who the Seahawks have re-signed in each of the past four offseasons, obviously noticing something about his ability. Consistently keeping Geno on the roster might be Schneider’s and Carroll’s most underrated choices.
But it’s this 2022 draft class that is generating most of the praise for the Seahawk execs. Seattle leads the league in rookie snaps this season. Charles Cross (left side, first round) and Abe Lucas (right side, third round) are just the third NFL rookie duo to start at offensive tackle in the past 50 years, and they are excelling according to the analytics.
Running back Kenneth Walker III (second round) is gaining 5.4 yards per carry, has rushed for 403 yards over his past four games and is the sportsbook favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Cornerback Tariq Woolen (fifth round) is tied for first in the league in interceptions (four) and in the eyes of oddsmakers is second behind Sauce Gardner as the favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Meanwhile, cornerback Coby Bryant (fourth round) leads the league with four forced fumbles — and defensive end Boye Mafe, while lacking spectacular stats, has three starts and two sacks.
There is always an element of luck that goes into drafting, trading and signing. If Schneider and Carroll knew, for instance, that Sherman and Chancellor would become the best in the league at their positions, it’s doubtful they would have waited till the fifth round to draft them. But to score on so many players over the past several months? That’s almost impossible to do if you don’t have a keen eye for talent.
So, no — the Seahawks didn’t make any moves before the trade deadline. No big deal. Not when all the big deals have already taken place.