The NFL offseason has not been uneventful in the Pacific Northwest with drama raging between the Seattle Seahawks and star quarterback Russell Wilson.
This was brought to a climax earlier in the spring when Wilson took to the media to criticize the organization. Specifically, he’s not happy about the lack of pass protection front of him. Other rumors suggest that a rift exists between the Super Bowl quarterback and longtime head coach Pete Carroll.
While Carroll has attempted to downplay these issues, Wilson was not in attendance for voluntary offseason workouts in Seattle this week. In fact, only 35 players — primarily rookies — were in attendance.
“I support these guys. I support the decision that they’ve made,” Carroll told reporters on Thursday. This comes as other teams have seen near full attendance despite the NFLPA pushing back against in-person OTA’s amid the still-ongoing pandemic.
As for the Seattle Seahawks and the 2021 NFL season, there’s some major concern that this team is no longer a top-end title contender after losing in the NFC Wildcard round a season ago. The competitive nature of the NFC West adds a layer to this. Below, we look at three reasons why the Seahawks should be concerned.
Russell Wilson facing elite pass rusher after elite pass rusher
The Arizona Cardinals’ acquisition of future first ballot Hall of Famer J.J. Watt earlier in the offseason is just the latest example of NFC West teams stocking up on pass rushers. He joins Chandler Jones to form an elite pairing in the desert.
The San Francisco 49ers will return former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa to the mix after he suffered a torn ACL early in the 2020 campaign. Bosa is seen as a generational pass-rush talent and is said to be 100%. Meanwhile, fellow former Pro Bowler Dee Ford seems to be nearing 100% after two injury-plagued seasons to start his 49ers career.
In Los Angeles, Aaron Donald remains the top individual defensive player in the game. He’s earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors twice and is coming off six consecutive All-Pro seasons. Combined, the five players mentioned here have earned 17 Pro Bowl appearance.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line has allowed Wilson to be sacked a league-high 146 times over the past three seasons. Their only plan to upgrade this offensive line was to add veteran guard Gabe Jackson in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders. There’s still a ton of issues at the tackle position in Seattle right now. That’s not great news for Mr. Wilson.
Seattle Seahawks will face an absolutely stacked NFC West
In addition to the pass rushers mentioned above, this division might very well be the best in the NFL right now. The Rams added Pro Bowl quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions for a lesser signal caller in Jared Goff. Stafford immediately makes Los Angeles a legit conference title contender.
In San Francisco, the hope is that last year’s injury-plagued team will be 100% and ready to go in 2021. If completely healthy, the 49ers’ roster is championship caliber. Add in the selection of Trey Lance No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft and an elite skill-position group, and Kyle Shanahan’s squad should be a force in 2021.
As for the Arizona Cardinals, all they did was add seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green to team up with the studly DeAndre Hopkins. The addition of slot receiver Rondale Moore in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft could make Arizona’s offense truly elite should quarterback Kyler Murray take that next step.
An argument could very well be made that the Seattle Seahawks are a step behind all three of these teams. How unproven players perform in 2021 will be telling.
The Seattle Seahawks have a lot of holes
Gone are the days of the “Legion of Boom” in the Pacific Northwest. There’s now some major issues on defense in Seattle. Primarily, this unit’s pass rush. Safety Jamal Adams led the team with 9.5 sacks a season ago. That’s never a good thing. Meanwhile, Seattle moved off its second-leading sack-getter in Jarran Reed during free agency.
Without much of a pass rush to speak of, the onus might fall on Seattle’s inexperienced secondary to step up. Unfortunately, the team also lost its top cornerbacks in Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin in free agency.
That’s going to be a major issues with the Seahawks forced to go up against the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp within the division.
We’re not ready to discount the Seattle Seahawks as a playoff contender. That would be utterly foolish with Russell Wilson sticking around for at least another season.
With that said, there’s a lot of questions in the Pacific Northwest following a drama-filled offseason between the star quarterback and his organization.