So what is there to look forward to with the Seahawks’ season is over?
Here are two key dates — the NFL free-agent-signing period begins March 17 (and the “legal tampering” period starts March 15), and the NFL draft is April 29-May 1.
The Seahawks’ participation in the draft doesn’t figure to begin until April 30 thanks to the Jamal Adams trade, which sent the Seahawks’ first-round pick to the New York Jets. The loss to the Rams means that pick is 23rd overall in the first round, and means Seattle isn’t set to pick until 56th overall in the second round. It’s worth remembering the Seahawks traded their third-round pick, meaning they have only one pick among the first 120 selections.
Here’s what else there is to look forward to — a new Seahawks mailbag, which we’ll continue to do regularly through the offseason.
This mailbag includes an email question and some from Twitter, with questions edited for clarity and brevity:
From email: (The Rams loss) got me thinking if it was their worst performance in a playoff game. For my money it was probably the sad antics vs. the Raiders in the AFC title game in ’83, but at least that team won a couple games, including beating (Miami) and (coach Don) Shula and (Dan) Marino on the road. (The Rams’ game) was the most disappointing performance I would say.
A: To be clear, the key phrase here is “worst performance.” Obviously, there is no more disappointing or frustrating playoff loss in Seattle history than the New England Super Bowl, and it’s sort of hard to fathom if there ever could be.
Not that it comes anywhere near to the Super Bowl, but I’d throw the divisional playoff loss to Atlanta following the 2012 season as another disappointing loss in the playoffs. I think there’s a feeling among some close to the team that the 2012 squad was better by that point of the season than the team a year later that won it all.
But as far as worst performances you may have a point.
The Seahawks are 17-18 in the playoffs all-time. That includes a 12-3 record at home, and home losses are especially disheartening. Teams work all year for homefield advantage in the playoffs.
Their other two home playoff losses also came in the wild-card round — following the 1999 season against Miami (20-17) and following the 2004 season against the Rams (27-20).
But those were 9-7 teams that didn’t have the expectations this year’s squad did.
The biggest margins of defeat in Seahawks playoff history are a 42-20 loss at Green Bay in the divisional round following the 2007 season and a 31-10 divisional loss at Miami following the 1984 season. But both games came after a win the previous week, and they were an underdog in both (7.5 points at Green Bay and 5.5 points at Miami).
The conference-title-game loss in 1983 came at the end of a Cinderella run to even reach the playoffs followed by postseason wins against Denver and Miami. The Seahawks had defeated the Raiders twice that year, but L.A. was 12-4, was a seven-point favorite and would win the Super Bowl in a rout two weeks later. It was one of the most dominant playoff runs in NFL history. L.A. won its three playoff games that year by a combined 73 points.
In the Pete Carroll era, the Seahawks got routed on the road in the divisional round at Chicago (2010), Carolina (2015) and Atlanta (2016). But each came a week after a win and they were an underdog in all three, and twice against Super Bowl-bound teams.
Put another way, Seattle’s loss Saturday was the fourth time it has lost a playoff game as a favorite, the others coming in the aforementioned home losses to Miami and the Rams (3.5- and 4-point favorites, respectively) and at Houston (2.5 points) following the 1988 season, a game the Seahawks lost in overtime,
The Seahawks were a 3-point favorite Saturday and lost by 10 to a team it had defeated 13 days earlier, a team that had a shaky quarterback situation.
Given that context, Saturday’s loss is right there with the most disappointing playoff performances in team history.
Q: @xnoapologiesx asked via Twitter: What is your feeling on K.J.’s (K.J. Wright) return? Are one of (Cody) Barton or BBK (Ben Burr-Kirven) actually being looked at to be full-time players, or will they bring back K.J. on the cheap?
A: It’s worth reiterating that this year of free agency is difficult to predict because the NFL salary cap likely will be lower than expected because of revenue losses caused by COVID-19. The cap could be as low as $175 million compared with this year’s $198.2 million. Every team must deal with that, obviously, but a lowered cap could compress the market for some players.
It might also make some players more amenable to taking offers before free agency hits, and possibly a veteran such as Wright, who seemingly would stay as long as the offer is in the ballpark of what he would want.
Wright played well at strongside backer this year in the base defense, and weakside in the nickel. Barton and Burr-Kirven would again be bargain backup options at linebacker who have proven to also be reliable on special teams.
Keeping the Seahawks’ linebacking corps together for another year makes sense, and given that Wright probably doesn’t want to start over in his 11th NFL season, I’d think keeping him is something the Seahawks should be able to work out.
But, maybe it won’t be quite that easy. NFL reporter Josina Anderson tweeted Tuesday night that Wright wants a new deal “commensurate” with his market value. Wright averaged $7 million on the deal that he just completed, and may want more than that. If he’s really willing to move, that might come somewhere other than Seattle. But the guess here remains that he stays.
Q: tylahss asked via Twitter: “What do you think the odds are that we bring Shaq (Shaquill) Griffin back?’’
A: I’d put those odds at far less than those to keep Wright, and maybe most of the Seahawks’ other notable free agents.
Griffin just ended his four-year rookie contract, which paid him $3.25 million, and at age 25 is hoping for a big payday.
The Seahawks have just over $17 million in cap space for 2021, according to OvertheCap.com, so some tough decisions will have to be made.
The Seahawks two corners remaining under contract who have started significantly — D.J. Reed and Tre Flowers. Also a free agent is Quinton Dunbar, who is coming off a tough first year in Seattle that ended in knee surgery. But that might also make Dunbar a cheaper option, and maybe a viable one if the Seahawks think he can return to how he played in 2019 with Washington.
There are also quite a few veteran cornerbacks set to hit free agency (and yes, Richard Sherman is one of them, though I’m not sure I’m willing to believe yet that a reunion could be possible). And though the Seahawks haven’t had a ton of luck adding veteran cornerbacks in the Carroll era, signing one who is cheap would make sense.
A trio of Dunbar/Reed/Flowers as the outside cornerbacks, Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair (who is expected to be ready for camp) as the nickels and adding a relatively inexpensive free-agent addition might be attractive to the Seahawks. That depends on how the market turns out for Griffin, who I expect will want to test it.