The most important part of the Seahawks’ passing game is the defensive line.
That’s right, you heard me. I don’t give a rip if Russell Wilson is throwing to Percy Harvin, Golden Tate, Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin, or Jiminy Cricket. It doesn’t matter. The Superbowl is a perfect example of why.
The defensive line play of Seattle won that game. Peyton Manning, a Hall-of-Fame quarterback and 5-time league MVP, got absolutely stifled. He never had time to get comfortable, and the Seahawks manhandled the best offense in NFL history as a result.
I just can’t see the ‘Hawks moving away from the formula that has made them so formidable. They play tenacious defense, they run it down your throat, and they don’t turn the football over. Also, in a classic case of the “rich getting richer,” they got lucky in the third round of the 2012 draft and stole a brilliant young quarterback. For these reasons, I truly don’t see the Seahawks’ wide receiving corps as a prominent piece of their team makeup. Important, yes. Prominent? Nope. But for the sake of being thorough, let’s check these guys out.
First up is Sidney Rice. Completely expendable. Forgive me, Sidney. But you gave us only one memorable year in Minnesota, and it took a Hall-of-Fame QB in Brett Favre to bring it about. Rice is currently being held together by an assortment of bailing wire, duct tape, and prayers. He’s suffered a couple of knee injuries, a hip injury, an ACL tear…the NFL has not been kind to this guy’s body. As an SEC fan I’m glad he signed a big contract with Seattle, because I think he’s cooked. I expect the Seahawks to let him walk. This decision should be aided by the emergence of Jermaine Kearse, a tallish (6’2) wide receiver who has shown an ability to win jump balls, to block, and to come up big in the clutch. Also, he’s cheap. Much cheaper than Rice. The ‘Hawks can save over 7 million by letting him walk in 2014.
Next up is Mr. Electric himself, Percy Harvin. You know, Harvin was actually beginning to shed the dreaded “injury-prone” label from my point of view in recent years. Then he screwed me in the 2012 fantasy season. As a result, I didn’t go near him in 2013, thankfully. Harvin is the ultimate tease; a player with ungodly talent that you can’t count on to always be healthy. If drafted for your fantasy squad, you’d better have a backup plan in mind. The Seahawks would be wise to do the same in real life, which is why they should be thankful for the next guy…
Doug Baldwin. A total stud. Baldwin is a rugged, fearless guy. He’s always been discounted because of his size, and he plays angry as a result. He embodies the psyche that a guy like Pete Carroll looks for. To me, Baldwin seemed to step up the most in the postseason, making consistently tough catches that allowed the Seattle offense to keep moving. I think he is well-suited for slot duties and I don’t expect him to leave Seattle anytime soon.
Golden Tate, the enigma, last but not least. The problem with Tate is that the Seahawks already have a guy who does what he does—and Harvin does it with more explosiveness. Both guys are among the most dangerous receivers in the league due to their ability to make players miss, but Harvin is a legitimate threat to score from anywhere, and he’s more versatile.
In Tate’s favor is the fact that he is willing to take slightly less money to stay in Seattle. He is also sticky-fingered. He dropped only 3 passes in all of 2013, and seems to have a solid rapport with Russell Wilson. However, he has looked overmatched at times as a number one wideout, and the ‘Hawks already have a guy for that role in Harvin. I think Baldwin and Kearse have both shown an ability to make enough plays in the passing game to keep Seattle afloat, even if Harvin were to become injured again.
As a result, I just don’t think the Seahawks need Golden Tate. They would be welcoming in a rookie wide receiver if I had control of the reins in Seattle. I expect the Superbowl champs to be relatively conservative with their money, with their primary offseason goal being to lock up Michael Bennett if at all possible. I do hope the (free agency) waters are kind to you, Golden. Doug Baldwin will gladly eat up all those targets you leave behind in 2014.