When ESPN published a post on a simulation of the 2021 season for the Seattle Seahawks that had the team starting 0-8, fans were up in arms. Now that the Hawks are 3-8 and staring down the first losing season for the franchise in a decade, many have begun to look past 2021 and to what the future will hold.
For the Seahawks, the offseason will in all likelihood begin in just over a month on January tenth with locker cleanout, and from there questions about the 2022 roster will begin in earnest. In reality, the direction of the team going forward, and the first glimpses at answers to 2022 will begin the Saturday prior when the team will likely make decisions on practice squad players on which it wishes to retain first dibs.
Specifically, after a team has played its final game of the season, the practice squad is dissolved and its members become unrestricted free agents. What that means is that many teams will promote players to the active roster ahead of the season finale, as that prevents those players from becoming unrestricted free agents by turning most of them into exclusive rights free agents. In any case, here are the members of the Seattle practice squad as of today, with the number snaps the player has played for the Seahawks this season in parentheses:
- RB Josh Johnson (offensive snaps: 0, special teams: 16)
- RB Adrian Peterson* (offensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- TE Ryan Izzo (offensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- WR Aaron Fuller (offensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- WR Cody Thompson (offensive snaps: 3, special teams: 12)
- WR Cade Johnson (offensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- C Brad Lundblade (offensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- G Pier-Olivier Lestage (offensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- T Greg Eiland (offensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- DT Myles Adams (defensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- DT Jarrod Hewitt (defensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- LB Aaron Donkor (defensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- LB Tanner Muse (defensive snaps: 0, special teams: 29)
- LB Edmond Robinson* (defensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- CB Gavin Heslop (defensive snaps: 0, special teams: 15)
- CB Mike Jackson (defensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
- DB Elijah Benton (defensive snaps: 0, special teams: 0)
*Would be an unrestricted free agent rather than an exclusive rights free agent after the season, even if promoted to the active roster prior to Week 18.
From there, the Seahawks have several starters who are also unsigned past this season. Since the team can retain the services of exclusive rights free agents through through minimum salary tenders, the eight ERFAs on the roster are less of a concern since the team has control over its ability to bring those players back. That said, there are a handful of players who will be restricted free agents, and those are:
- Bryan Mone (defensive snaps: 304, special teams: 19)
- Bless Austin (defensive snaps: 63, special teams: 44)
- Kyle Fuller (offensive snaps: 436, special teams: 17)
- Phil Haynes (offensive snaps: 0, special teams: 1)
The original round tender, which would be a right of first refusal tender on Mone as an undrafted free agent, is projected to be $2.396M by OverTheCap.com. If the team opts not to extend a tender to any of these four players, they will become unrestricted free agents able to sign with any team without restriction.
Lastly, of course, the Hawks will need to figure out how to handle their long list of unrestricted free agents. That is a list that includes:
- QB Geno Smith (offensive snaps: 203, special teams: 0)
- C Ethan Pocic (offensive snaps: 228, special teams: 11)
- RB Alex Collins (offensive snaps: 243, special teams: 0)
- RB Rashaad Penny (offensive snaps: 46, special teams: 0)
- TE Gerald Everett (offensive snaps: 357, special teams: 0)
- TE Will Dissly (offensive snaps: 383, special teams: 134)
- LT Duane Brown (offensive snaps: 596, special teams: 0)
- T Jamarco Jones (offensive snaps: 153, special teams: 30)
- RT Brandon Shell (offensive snaps: 495, special teams: 29)
- DE Rasheem Green (defensive snaps: 541, special teams: 49)
- DT Robert Nkemdiche (defensive snaps: 157, special teams: 13)
- DT Al Woods (defensive snaps: 448, special teams: 55)
- CB D.J. Reed (defensive snaps: 735, special teams: 16)
- CB Sidney Jones (defensive snaps: 398, special teams: 60)
- S Quandre Diggs (defensive snaps: 839, special teams: 3)
Now, in order to address these holes that will appear in the roster, the Hawks currently hold a half dozen draft picks, which are a 2, 3, 4, 4, 5 and 7.
In addition, they should have somewhere between $40M and $45M of cap space available for their use in free agency, before making any changes to the roster. There are, of course, multiple players whose role and ability to contribute will be questioned, and who could become cap casualties. That said, until those players do indeed become cap casualties, their cost against the 2022 cap will be included in the calculations. (Author’s Note: Yes, I’m sure that as things currently stand the Seahawks have $40M-$45. I know the idea exists that they have more than that. As of right now, they do not. Yes, I am sure of this. And, as regular readers know, I will have no problem correcting you in the comments should you decide to question this fact.)
In any case, that’s a lot of holes that will need to be filled, questions that need to be asked and tough decisions that will need to be made for a team that could be coming off its first season with double digit losses since Jim Mora was in charge.