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2024 Free Agency Preview: Biggest Positional Needs For The Seattle Seahawks

Geno Smith - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL DFS Picks

The Seahawks, for the first time since 2009, will have a new head coach. The front office opted to move on from Pete Carroll. Over the past three years, he has fallen further and further behind Sean McVay (Rams) and Kyle Shanahan (49ers). Instead of selecting a strong offensive mind to score with these two offensive geniuses, Seattle decided to hire a defensive guru in Mike Macdonald, former defensive coordinator of the Ravens, in hopes of slowing them down.

Previous divisional editions breaking down each team's 2023 season, their offseason assets, and their top-three positional needs going into the 2024 NFL season can be found here:

The talent on the offensive side of the ball is high, but Seattle needs vast improvements along the defensive side of the ball. There are also questions about Geno Smith's long-term status with the team, which makes quarterback a quiet need for the Seahawks. This is especially true since most head coaches want to pick their future quarterback and Smith's contract allows the team to move on from him very easily next offseason. If you want to take advantage of all of our great premium tools, please use promo code "BOOM" to receive a 10% discount. 

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Season Review and Offseason Assets

Over the past three seasons, the Seahawks have fallen to the clear third team in the NFC West. They had previously been on the same level with the Rams and 49ers, but recently have been unable to compete with them. This past season, they finished 9-8, the same record as 2022. In 2023, however, they didn’t qualify for the playoffs. That three-year stretch was behind a big change in Seattle letting go of head coach Pete Carroll.

The team has since hired Mike Macdonald, the former defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s young, innovative, and had been incredibly successful in his previous gig. He’s essentially the defensive version of Ben Johnson or Bobby Slowik. It was a great hire. Macdonald hired Ryan Grubb, former offensive coordinator for the University of Washington. He also hired Aden Durde, the former defensive line coach for the Cowboys.

The offense took a step back in 2023. They finished 17th in points scored and 21st in yards gained. Geno Smith’s brilliant 2022 campaign is starting to look a bit more like a one-hit wonder. Considering that magical season happened at age 32, that outcome would make a lot of sense historically. The skilled positions in Seattle are loaded, but they need better quarterback play.

The defense was the biggest culprit. They finished 25th in points allowed and 30th in yards given up. They were especially dreadful against the run. They finished 31st in rushing yards allowed, 30th in rushing touchdowns allowed, and 27th in yards per carry average allowed. The defense needs to get stronger up front.

Seattle has just under $13 million in cap space. If they cut Jamal Adams, they’d save roughly $7 million. If they designate him as a post-June 1 cut, the savings balloon to $17 million. If they cut Tyler Lockett, they’d save roughly $7 million. If they designate him as a post-June 1 cut, the savings would also increase to $17 million. Cutting Quandre Diggs would save $11 million. Cutting Will Dissly would save $7 million. Cutting Bryan Mone would save around $5 million.

They have some fairly simple ways of creating some space. The team has free agents Bobby Wagner, Leonard Williams, Damien Lewis, Noah Fant, and Jordyn Brooks to consider re-signing. Williams is the most important player to re-sign. Lewis is an important piece to the offensive line.

The Seahawks own the No. 16 (first-rounder), No. 78 (third-rounder), No. 81 (third-rounder), No. 119 (fourth-rounder), No. 151 (fifth-rounder), No. 194 (sixth-rounder), and No. 233 (seventh-rounder) overall picks in this year’s NFL Draft.

Biggest Needs

1. Interior Offensive Line

Evan Brown, Damien Lewis, and Phil Haynes are all free agents. These three offensive linemen were the ideal starters from left to right guard. They logged 2,332 snaps and made 40 starts. Haynes will turn 29 early in the season. Brown is a former UDFA and will be 28 years old at the start of the new year. Both of these players are likely to be let go. Lewis could be a candidate to be re-signed. However, that still leaves Seattle in need of finding replacements at center and right guard.

Anthony Bradford, their fourth-round pick from the 2023 NFL Draft, played 661 snaps, mostly in relief of Haynes who had been put on IR for a while. Bradford earned a 51.7 overall PFF grade and a 38.9 pass-blocking grade. He made 10 starts and gave up 22 hurries and 28 pressures. He was just a rookie, so some of those struggles are to be expected.

The interior offensive linemen they currently have under contract other than Bradford include Olu Oluwatimi (2023 fifth-rounder) and Curtis McClendon (2023 UDFA). Despite having second-round running backs Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet, Seattle finished tied for the 13th-lowest yards per carry average. Geno Smith was pressured on over a quarter of all his pass attempts. They need to strengthen the interior of their offensive line.

2. Linebacker

Wagner, Brooks, and Devin Bush are all free agents. These three linebackers combined to play 2,222 snaps. 1,972 of those snaps came from Wagner and Brooks, who made 33 starts. Wagner was also selected to the Pro Bowl and finished with 183 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 11 tackles for a loss. Despite being 33 years old, he was still easily one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL.

Brooks had 111 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and eight tackles for a loss. Together, they combined for a staggering 294 tackles, eight sacks, and 19 tackles for a loss. Considering just how poor this defense was at stopping the run, it’s scary to think of just how bad they would have been without these two inside linebackers. Regardless of what Seattle decides to do with these two free agents, linebacker is a huge need they’ll have to figure out this offseason.

3. Defensive Line

Leonard Williams and Mario Edwards Jr. are both free agents. That leaves Seattle with just Dre'Mont Jones and Jarran Reed. Other players under contract include Cameron Young (2023 fourth-rounder), Mike Morris (2023 fifth-rounder), and Myles Adams (2021 UDFA). Williams was acquired via trade midway through the season and made 10 starts with Seattle. He and Edwards played 916 snaps and finished with six sacks, 62 tackles, and 14 tackles for a loss.

Mike Macdonald understands the importance of having strong defensive line play, being able to control the line of scrimmage, and stopping the opponent’s run game. Seattle was unable to do that in 2023. They allowed the second-most rushing yards, second-most rushing touchdowns, fifth-highest yards per carry average, and contributed -40 expected points via their rush defense. That was the worst number in the NFL and the only team below -35 expected points. The front seven of Seattle’s defense needs major work.

4. Other Positions of Need: Safety, Quarterback

 

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