Seahawks in contact with 3 free agents
What Seattle's plans reveal about their draft intentions
There has long been talk about why the NFL doesn’t hold the draft before free agency. Perhaps then teams could pick players based more on how they fit with the franchise and less about needs; then going out into free agency to plug what’s left following the draft. I’m not sure that the player’s association would love this though, since it could lead to fewer free agents getting contracts and maybe even making less money because teams are more content after the draft.
Whatever the case, that’s not how it works and the Seattle Seahawks have given us plenty of signals in free agency as far as how they feel about the 2022 NFL Draft class and what positions they will likely target—and which they’ll put off—based on how Pete Carroll and John Schneider have operated so far.
First, here’s an interesting chart from Brad Spielberger that reveals the amount of draft capital invested in each position by each team since 2011. The Seahawks have the third-lowest investment at QB (ahead of Atlanta, Detroit) and the sixth-most at interior defensive line.
Seattle has also heavily invested in edge players and wide receivers, followed by linebackers, guards, and running backs.
How will the Seahawks approach the 2022 draft?
As you know, I’ve always suspected that Seattle’s main two targets in this draft are an outside linebacker/edge and offensive tackle. Even before free agency and the Russell Wilson trade, I suspected that the team would invest in Rashaad Penny, Quandre Diggs, and Sidney Jones. I also said that the Seahawks would re-sign Gerald Everett, and even though they sided with Will Dissly, the point about tight ends remains the same. My fifth and final free agent retention prediction was for Rasheem Green and Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday that Seattle remains in contact with Green, who met with the Panthers and Ravens recently. But the Seahawks are keeping that door open, just as they appear to be doing with Duane Brown, Brandon Shell, and Carlos Dunlap.
The other free agents who Seattle has met with recently are defensive lineman Mario Addison and safety Damontae Kazee.
This lines up with my draft pick predictions, as well as the “30 visits” that the Seahawks have had (Safeties: Rodney Thomas, Deontai Williams, Percy Butler) with prospective selections so far: Seattle will DEFINITELY be adding a safety to the roster but probably not Kyle Hamilton or Lewis Cine. The safeties who they’ve met with thus far are all projected as undrafted free agents and Kazee, who once served as a subpar replacement to “Kam Chancellor clone” Keanu Neal with the Falcons, is not of starter quality but could definitely start.
Kazee has started 48 games over the last four years and it would have been more if not for injury. The Seahawks are going into next season with more than Diggs, Jamal Adams, and Marquise Blair—or they’re not expecting one of those latter two to be here in September.
Addison is of starter quality. His only downside is that at 34, Addison is projected by Guinness to be one of the world’s oldest people by 2090. However, Addison has 51 sacks over the last six seasons and he’s the exact 3-4 defensive end who I said the Seahawks might be targeting as Shelby Harris insurance in the middle rounds of this draft. If Seattle wants to sign Addison it means one of two things:
They get Addison or Green, maybe don’t draft DE
They don’t get Addison or Green, maybe draft DE
Addison may not be signed until after the draft, which is true of most free agents right now, if not all. These free agent meetings make it clear that Pete and John see needs at S and DE and they’re prepared to address them but not for a high price.
The Seahawks have met with Minnesota’s Boye Mafe, a defensive end projected in the late-first/early-second range right now, so there is a look there for maybe a high pick as long as he can get to the QB. Seattle has also met with Sauce Gardner and Desmond Ridder… but sidenote, I wonder if Cincinnati safety Bryan Cook is a player who they covet on day three?
I’m going to cover 30 visits very soon, but the Seahawks haven’t hid their intentions to eye wide receivers and cornerbacks no later than the fourth round of this draft. What they do seem to be hiding a bit better is tackles and edge players other than Mafe. It makes sense to talk to Sauce—as I’ve written, he’s probably the best bet bluechipper to be available at nine—but ultimately my prediction remains the same:
They trade down and select Bernhard Raimann in the 20s.