An impatient Seahawks fan may look at what’s transpired during this NFL free-agency period and feel frustrated. He or she will look at the “C” grade Bleacher Report gave the team for its transactions this month and wonder what the hell the brass is doing.
But those who have followed the Seahawks closely know that judging them based on what they do in March is madness. Beefing up the roster is a 365-day-a-year process with this franchise — and the late moves are usually worth the wait.
Right now 12s are wondering whether defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is going to re-sign in Seattle. However, it was seven months ago that fans were admiring the heist general manager John Schneider pulled off to bring him here in the first place.
A late-August deal in which the Seahawks traded middling players to Houston for one of the NFL’s best defensive players made them instant division-title contenders. And it was hardly the first time they became better late than never.
In 2017, left tackle Duane Brown sat out the first six games of the season for the Texans due to displeasure with his contract situation. The Seahawks were able to acquire him two weeks later, and he still earned a Pro Bowl spot despite his limited appearances.
Seattle missed the playoffs that season but locked Brown down through the 2021 season and made the playoffs the next two. The big fella deserves credit for helping the Seahawks get there.
Of course, you could argue the most critical move the Seahawks ever made came in October 2010. That’s when they traded for a guy by the name of Marshawn Lynch. You can make a strong case that from 2011 to 2014, Lynch was the best running back in football, and that’s while acknowledging the exploits of Adrian Peterson. Without Lynch, the Seahawks don’t win the Super Bowl in 2014, don’t get back there in 2015 and don’t turn Seattle into one of the most football-crazed cities in the country.
This doesn’t mean the Seahawks can’t make headlines in the spring. It’s just when they do, at least lately, it’s about who they aren’t bringing back. Parting ways with Richard Sherman, saying farewell to Michael Bennett, waving goodbye to Frank Clark — those are the money-saving moves that have typically spawned the chatter this time of year. Well, that and the re-signing of their $35 million-a-year quarterback Russell Wilson.
But the impact players coming from the outside? Those often come later.
Last season, the addition of defensive back Quandre Diggs midway through the year gave a huge boost to the Seahawks defense. And in 2017, acquiring Pro Bowl defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson for receiver Jermaine Kearse was the big buzz in early September.
Lynch, Clowney, Brown, Diggs, Richardson? All late pickups for a team that’s won at least 10 games in seven of the past eight seasons. And I haven’t even mentioned the draft, in which Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have consistently hauled in some of the league’s top talent.
The Seahawks are a little different than most organizations in the league. They like to stay flexible with their cap space, and know they can make a move at just about any point in the year.
Frustrating for fans during the free-agency period? Maybe. But almost always satisfying for them come the end of the season.
Perhaps Clowney signs with the Seahawks in the next day or two and gives 12s some instant gratification. It certainly would make the prospects of what the team can do next season more enticing.
But if he doesn’t, fret not. Prolonged as it may be, the Seahawks’ front office always has a plan.