While the Seattle Seahawks try to get back on the same page with their star quarterback, they must collectively shift their attention to the quickly approaching 2021 NFL free agency period. After a 12-4 record in 2020, the Seahawks could look vastly different if their numerous free agents do not return in 2021.
Seattle’s free agency decisions will be impacted by the reduced salary cap in 2021
The 2021 season is not the year to have any type of salary cap issues or massive needs. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the entire league has taken a shift, and the revenue has taken a massive hit.
According to Over the Cap, the Seahawks enter the 2021 season with $4.95 million in cap space. This is slightly higher than we expected after the NFL and NFLPA negotiated for a base salary cap floor of $175 million. In spite of the new projections of $180.5 million for 2021, it is still a decrease of $17.7 million from the year prior.
The Seattle Seahawks enter head into the 2021 season with 31 total free agents, 24 unrestricted.
Top Seahawks priorities in 2021
What will the Seahawks do about pending free agent RB Chris Carson?
“We want to run the ball more.” Head coach Pete Carroll said it himself and noted he wanted to be more balanced. While we all enjoyed them letting Russell Wilson cook, he makes the decisions.
Indeed, a case could be made for RB Chris Carson as the most underrated running back in the NFL. He is a back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher and has put up 28 touchdowns in the last three years. Furthermore, he’s also proven he can carry a massive load. In 2018 and 2019, Carson saw 267 and 315 touches, respectively.
The Seahawks rushing attack was non-existent without Carson in the lineup
The question we have to ask, however, is did that type of usage lead to his injury-shortened 2020 season? The fourth-year pro out of Oklahoma State missed four games in the middle of the season with a sprained foot. Seattle went 2-2 in those games, and consequently, never found a rushing attack. Sure, they had a 4.4 per carry average, but Wilson scrambled for 130 of those yards.
Although he was limited to 681 rushing yards on just 141 carries in 12 starts, Carson averaged a career-best 4.8 yards per carry, and scored 5 touchdowns on the ground. In addition, he also finished third on the team with 37 receptions and caught a career-high 4 touchdowns out of the backfield.
In terms of re-signing Carson, it comes down to whether or not the Seahawks feel it is worth having a more expensive contract at running back. Similarly, this situation flies directly in the face of the NFL group-think that running backs don’t matter. Therefore, you should only have them on rookie deals.
According to Spotrac, Carson has an estimated market value of $7.4 million on a four-year, $29.6 million contract. Carson will also be 27 when the season starts. Certainly, that is something I am sure will be discussed with any team looking at the prospective Seahawks’ free agent in 2021. Nevertheless, his play on the Seahawks showed how he could be an addition for any team to pick up in free agency.
Several critical defenders for the Seahawks are free agents in 2021
On the other hand, K.J. Wright and Shaquill Griffin are two guys the Seahawks can’t afford to let go in free agency. The question is, however, how do they retain both knowing that a Jamal Adams-type contract will be coming up quicker than they realize?
Griffin could receive the franchise tag. He had three interceptions in 2020, which was a career-high despite playing in only 12 games. Griffin wants to get paid, and he likely will if he hits the open market. Spotrac has his estimated value at $11 million on a four-year, $44.303 million deal. A franchise tag could cost the Seahawks $15.266 million.
K.J. Wright is the focus of the Seahawks’ offseason when looking at free agents. In truth, Wright is one of the best linebackers in the game, as well as the heartbeat of the Seahawks’ defense.
Seattle Seahawks’ 2021 offensive free agents
FB Nick Bellore, 32
RB Chris Carson, 26
WR Phillip Dorsett, 28
WR Josh Gordon, 30
TE Jacob Hollister, 28
RB Carlos Hyde, 31
G Mike Iupati, 34
WR David Moore, 29
T Cedric Ogbuehi, 29
G/C Ethan Pocic, 26
G Jordan Simmons, 27
QB Geno Smith, 31
G Chance Warmack, 30
T Chad Wheeler, 27
Seattle Seahawks’ 2021 defensive and special teams free agents
CB Quinton Dunbar, 29
DT Poona Ford, 26
LB Shaquem Griffin, 26
CB Shaquill Griffin, 26
S Delano Hill, 26
EDGE/DE Bruce Irvin, 34
DE Branden Jackson, 29
DE Benson Mayowa, 30
DT Bryan Mone, 26
DE Damontre Moore, 29
CB Ryan Neal, 26
FS Damarious Randall, 29
CB Jayson Stanley, 24
S Linden Stephens, 26
CB Neiko Thorpe, 31
LB K.J. Wright, 32
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