The Joe-ny Awards: Seahawks Offensive, Defensive, Special Teams players of the year
Who were the MVPs in Seattle: Seaside Joe 1439
Geno Smith won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award on Thursday night and that’s incredibly neat. Of all the awards, that’s one of them. It wasn’t one of them from 1967 to 1997, but then Doug Flutie happened.
Remember last year’s Comeback Player of the Year? Sure. We all do! We all immediately could recall that it was Dak Prescott.
Just kidding, it was Joe Burrow.
Until doing research for this post, I had forgotten that either were coming back last year from their devastating injuries a season earlier. But now I do. And now I’m filing back it into forgotten.
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Geno follows Eric Berry, Jordy Nelson, Keenan Allen, Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Alex Smith, and Burrow for the award. Don’t read too much into me being flippant about Comeback Player of the Year; I will be just as flippant for every other honor and I don’t think it’s really all that important to most fans who even wins MVP. Sure, in the moment, it feels like something. And it’s another conversation to have during the season that keeps us occupied for maybe two-percent of the time.
Now we’ve moved on.
Earlier this week, we did some surveys to get your opinions on some hot topics going into the offseason. Here are the results:
Keep Geno Smith? 66% vote YES
Draft a QB at 5? 73% vote NO
Cut Shelby Harris? 63% vote YES
Trade Jamal Adams? 73% vote NO
Draft BPA over Need? 68% vote YES
Better than NFL honors are Seahawks-specific honors. These are decided by an exhaustive process in which I thought about it for a minute.
Share your snubs and flubs in the Seaside Joe comments section and I’ll take it up with the committee. These are three main awards, but I’ve also thought momentarily about some other categories to be shared at a later date, so make you’re SUBSCRIBED to Seaside Joe and tell a Seahawks fan about us.
If every one of you gets just 100 other people to sign up, we’ll all be millionaires.
Offensive Player of the Year - Geno Smith
It’s important to have a distinction between weighing whether the Seahawks should pay Geno Smith something akin to a $32 million franchise tag and giving him his due for the 2022 season. I wouldn’t say it is very common for a team’s offensive player of the year to also be someone considered “expendable at a certain price” but that is where Seattle could be right now.
I gave stronger consideration to Ken Walker III than most other writers would give. The Seahawks went 5-1 when Walker rushed for over 90 yards, the lone loss coming to the potential Super Bowl champions (Chiefs) this Sunday. He’s as dynamic as Seaside Joe expected, if not more so, and he might have played behind one of the worst run-blocking offensive lines in the NFL.
Tyler Lockett had 1,033 yards and nine touchdowns in 16 games, serving as one of the last remaining offensive veterans on the team. Abe Lucas went above and beyond in holding down the right side of the line. DK Metcalf was a little disappointing, but still very good.
Ultimately, every other good player would have been a moot point if Geno Smith had been as bad as most of us expected at the start of the season. There was a lot of terrible QB play in the NFL this year, especially in the NFC, so even in spite of good turnover luck for most of the season and evaporating value as the season went on, I have to give the nod to Geno Smith.
Can the Seahawks get a comparable season out of Drew Lock in 2023, if necessary? If Seattle does part with Geno in the offseason, it will be an even more telling litmus test of supporting cast/coaching/scheme value than the change from Russell Wilson to Geno.
Defensive Player of the Year - Tariq Woolen
For obvious reasons, there were fewer candidates on this side of the ball than there were on offense. It took a monumental comeback effort in the second half of the year for Quandre Diggs to become a nominee. Uchenna Nwosu was alone on an island for impactful edge rushers for most of the season. Al Woods deserves some sort of Honorary Oscar for his impact. Jordyn Brooks is regularly praised by Carroll for being one of the most dependable players he can count on.
But as I wrote in Friday’s bonus post, Tariq Woolen is a very special and unique player, not just for a rookie, and not just for a day three pick.
Woolen’s 14 games with a pass deflection were two more than any other player. He locked down some of the game’s top receivers. He had six interceptions and was never intimidated by the rare chance to be a full-time starting rookie cornerback. Woolen gives Pete Carroll a foundational piece in the secondary and eases up Seattle’s needs at cornerback in the draft and free agency in 2023.
For me, this was an easy decision.
Special Teams Player of the Year - Godwin Igwebuike
Jason Myers was named to the Pro Bowl. Michael Dickson is trending as an all-timer at punter. But for the first time in a long time, Igwebuike gave Seahawks fans something to watch on kickoffs.
It’s hard to believe he only did it for six games, including playoffs.
He averaged 28 yards per kick return, including a 50-yarder against the Panthers and quite a few over 30. He also made three special teams tackles.
Out of nowhere, Igwebuike made himself a must-keeper for 2023.
Share your winners in the comments and share Seaside Joe around the world.
Defensive Rookie of the year - Tariq Woolen.
Offensive Rookie of the year - K9, Honorable mention - Abe Lucas.
Overrated Rookie of the year - Coby Bryant.
Most disappointing player of the year - D'Wayne Eskridge wins for the 2nd year in a row.
Defensive lineman of the year - Shelby Harris was quietyly our most dependable and impactful lineman with a cap hit of only $4.7 mil for 2022. Unfortunately, that jumps to $12 mil with $3 mil dead money if he's released in 2023. He's a nice rotational player but if he stays it will be on a renegioated contract.
MVP - defense - Uchenna Nwosu - He was our only consistent pass rusher, played the run well, and made plays in space that the rest of the team whiffed on. He was cheap too. He's only 26 so I'm hoping for an extension this year.
Unsung Hero - defense - Mike Jackson - Woolen got all of the attention but for a first time starter on a defense with no pass rush, Jackson held his own and was better against the run than Woolen. He's an exclusive rights free agent meaning the Hawks can offer a one year league minimum contract and guarantee his services.
Offensive lineman of the year - Damien Lewis - I hope they move him back to the right side.
MVP - Offense - Geno Smith
Offensive unsung hero - DJ Dallas. Guts, and all he did was perform when given the chance.
MVP - Special teams - Jason Myers
Team MVP - Geno Smith
Coach of the year - Dave Canales
Biggest awards ceremony disappointment - DK didn't virtually slap Seaside Joe for snubbing him.
Godwin made PR and KRs watchable. I'd love to know but I'm pretty sure we have not had a return past the 35 in 2 years, or a punt return more than 7 yards. An absolute MVP for making me actually pay attention to a whole new aspect of the game