Welcome to our fantasy football wish lists where we’re going through each NFL team and listing three things we’d love to see them do this offseason for fantasy reasons (but also real football reasons).
Extend Frank Clark… or let him walk
Frank Clark was slapped with the Franchise Tag on Monday and as of now, he’ll play the 2019 season with a $17.128 million salary. It’s imperative that the Seahawks work to sign him to a long term extension, from a monetary standpoint. Defensive ends have held the 2nd-highest Franchise Tag cost since 2012, although cornerbacks were tied with them that year at $10.6 million. Given the consistently rising cost of the position, Seattle would be wise to lock him up on what would one day end up being a steal of a deal. It’s worth noting though that Clark has had off-field issues with women, ranging from physical violence to online harassment. The aforementioned extension suggestion is a purely pragmatic one with the goal of keeping Seattle’s pass rush intact. That being said, if Seattle wishes to change its locker room culture, perhaps the move instead would be to rescind the Franchise Tag offer and seek out a player that doesn’t have the history that Frank Clark brings to the table.
Move on from the archaic, self-sabotaging offensive strategies
In my piece for the Cascadia Sports Network, I detailed the final chapter in Seattle’s 2018 season—their playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Highlighting parts of Warren Sharp’s postgame analysis, I broke down the means with which Seattle beat itself. It’s simple really, Pete Carroll refuses to acknowledge the empirical data that’s brought to light new truths about the basics of football: establishing the run while in order to reach 3rd-and-manageable is a losing strategy.
There are very simple tweaks that can be made to an offense (ie. throwing the ball to running backs on 1st rather than 3rd, taking deep shots early and often, running the ball out of 2 and 3-wide receiver formations in the red zone rather than jumbo packages) that lead to teams by and large, winning more games. Year over year, data suggests that high yardage totals lead to high point totals which leads to more games won. A handful of teams have figured this out—fewer than you’d think given the “Today’s NFL is a passing league!” mantra that we see vomited from the Jason Wittens and Booger McFarlands of the world. While it’s true that passing is up, few teams are doing it as intelligently as those who’ve run the game for the past 5-10 years. And yes, the Seahawks have been a regular playoff contender during that timespan, however, this is due to both our defensive prowess and Russell Wilson’s cheap rookie deal paving the way for a bevy of free agent signings -- the latter effectively making this team Pete Carroll-proof on offense.
Figure out the free safety position
The Seahawks need to get their free safety position sorted, stat. The jury is out on Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill. It takes time to learn Pete Carroll’s defense so there’s no doubt that he’d prefer to have one of these in-house options separate himself from the other. That being said, there are a handful of free agent names that the Seahawks should look into. Guys like Adrian Amos and Ha-Ha Clinton Dix could be contenders. The big name though is Landon Collins. Billed as a strong safety, the dude is just an all-around playmaker. If Carroll could get to working with him, who knows what he could unlock? Another option is to sign Collins and move Bradley McDougald over to free safety. McDougald is a more of a swing safety than he is a true strong safety. The purse strings are awful tight -- roughly $33 million in cap space -- now that Frank Clark has been Franchised. Collins might be worth it though.
The final thing to consider is burning our 1st round pick on one of the draft’s top safeties. They showed us, way back in the day, how highly they value the free safety position by drafting Earl Thomas #14 overall in 2010. However, the front office likely wants to trade out of the 1st round, given their lack of a 2nd round pick. Acquiring two top-60 or so picks with one of Thompson or Hill panning out is likely the outcome they’re most hoping for.