The Seattle Seahawks are a darn good football team, let’s not be mistaken about that. However, there were plenty of times during the 2014 season (including playoffs) when it became evident that Darrell Bevell‘s offense was in need of more playmakers in the passing game.
Sure, Doug Baldwin is a good receiver, but he has yet to truly leave his mark on the Seattle offense. While Jermaine Kearse made a few remarkable catches, he also had costly mistakes (just look at the NFC Championship game). Chris Matthews burst onto the scene in Super Bowl XLIX, but can he be counted on consistently in the future?
Those are just a few of the question marks that have surrounded the Seattle passing attack since Percy Harvin was traded. Luckily for general manager John Schneider, the NFL Draft and free agency feature plenty of options to find players who can give Russell Wilson the weapons necessary to become truly dominant.
The Seahawks have roughly $25 million to spend this offseason, though that number is a little misleading. Wilson is expected to become the NFL’s highest paid player while Marshawn Lynch looks to be in line for a significant pay increase. Boom – just like that the $25 million quickly becomes money well spent. Then one must consider that the Seahawks have 15 unrestricted free agents. A list that include receivers Kearse and Ricardo Lockette as well as key players such as cornerback Byron Maxwell and linebacker Malcolm Smith. Needless to say, there will be no Randall Cobb or Demaryius Thomas marquee acquisition this offseason.
Improving through the draft is the most likely scenario for Pete Carroll‘s team. But first, there are a few names who could be upgrades for the Seahawks through free agency. The first intriguing player is Kenny Britt. The 6-3 receiver has never quite lived up to his 2009 first round selection, but he has the ability to be a key target for Wilson in the red zone as well as a big body across the middle of the field. Equally as appealing is the fact that he could fall right into Seattle’s price range.
Eddie Royal is another name that could be a productive addition in the northwest, though his price tag could be just out of the Seahawks’ reach. Royal could give the offense a speedy threat that could stretch the field – a step below what a healthy Harvin could bring to the table. As he showed during his time in San Diego, Royal isn’t afraid to go across the middle either. With 15 touchdowns over the past two seasons in San Diego, he has shown the ability to be a threat down the field as well as inside the red zone.
In the draft, Auburn receiver Sammie Coates could be a perfect fit – he will likely be available at the end of the first round and is exactly what Seattle needs. He is a vertical runner that can easily stretch the field, something that will not only leave Wilson salivating but also will have Lynch chomping at the bit with more room to run. Perhaps the most prominent skill Coates possesses is one that Seattle (or Bevell) wishes they had Sunday – he excels at fighting for passes in traffic.
One other name that will be worth keeping an eye on possible in the second round is Devin Funchess out of the University of Michigan. At 6-5, 230 pounds, Funchess would immediately give Seattle size that has been lacking in their receiving unit for recent years. While Funchess is an impressive route runner and blocker, he does not possess the ability to stretch the field like Coates or even Ohio State standout Devin Smith (and he would be another addition that would be beneficial for Seattle).
There is no doubt that Schneider will address the passing game this offseason, and luckily for him there are quite a few names that could find success catching passes from Wilson. It’s crazy to even consider, but a more productive passing attack means an even more dominant ground game lead by Lynch – and that is scary to imagine.
Cover Photo: Kevin Liles/USA TODAY Sports; Getty Images
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