Moving On

The 4 Biggest Questions Facing the Seahawks This Offseason

From keeping Clowney to protecting Russ, these are the big questions Seahawks leadership will have to answer.

By Ryan Phelan January 15, 2020

Is letting Russ cook on the agenda for 2020?

Well, Russell Wilson tried his best, but the season-ending press conferences are coming a couple weeks earlier than Seattle fans had hoped. Despite a second-half surge, the Seahawks are out of the playoffs after their comeback attempt against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers fell just short.

But with an elite quarterback, there’s always next year. As the book on this Seahawks season closes, let’s turn to the biggest questions for the team heading into the 2020 offseason.

Where in the world will Jadeveon Clowney end up?

After Seattle fleeced the former first overall pick from the Houston Texans back in August, Clowney is entering free agency for the first time in his career.

Despite some inconsistency when it comes to his sack numbers, the defensive end put up a strong performance this year, including a monstrous showing in Seattle’s mid-season win in San Francisco. Unfortunately, after leaving that contest with the win, Clowney also left with a core injury that will now require offseason surgery to repair. 

By all accounts, Clowney has enjoyed his time in the Pacific Northwest, but whether or not the Seahawks are willing to spend big money at the position remains a question, given the team's decision to trade Frank Clark last offseason rather than bring out the Brink’s truck.

Can the coaches reinvent themselves?

Look, I’m certainly not an NFL coach. But it seems that if you’re going to pay Wilson $35 million per year, it would behoove the offense to let him unleash his passing ability before the fourth quarter. When the run game is relying on a recently unretired Marshawn Lynch and fourth-stringer Travis Homer, it’s time to let Russ cook (as Twitter demands).

With a focus on establishing the run and playing hard-nosed defense, Pete Carroll turned himself into a Seahawks legend and the best coach in franchise history. But with a defense that looks more ordinary than extraordinary and a now years-long propensity to fall behind early in games while the run is being (not-so) established, next year will be an important test to see if Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer can fit the offensive scheme to their personnel.

Will the offensive line be a little less offensive?

Russell Wilson is a dangerous scrambler. But a continually subpar offensive line is helping defenses catch up to the man: Wilson was sacked a league-leading 48 times this year. The Hawks struggled to keep the O-line starters, including Duane Brown, George Fant, and Mike Iupati healthy all season long, and the inconsistency showed in the unit's play week after week. 

With a huge monetary investment in Wilson, the Seahawks need to find a way to protect their quarterback and give him more time to make decisions. And with both Fant and Iupati entering free agency this offseason, management needs to decide what next season's offensive line is going to look like.

How will the Seahawks keep pace with the league?

While the Seahawks have a few free agents of their own they should be looking to maintain, including the aforementioned Clowney, they should keep an eye on how the balance of power around the league shifts with free agency. 

Wide receiver A.J. Green, running back Melvin Gordon, and possibly Tom Brady could be on the move from the offensive side of the ball, while Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones headlines potential defensive upgrades that a team like Seattle might pursue if money allows.

NFL free agency negotiations begin on March 16.

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