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2023 Seattle Seahawks Offseason Preview

Ken Walker

Ken Walker

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to argue for any team other than Seattle giving us the most surprising season in 2022. After trading Russell Wilson in the offseason, it was seemingly obvious that the Seahawks were headed for a rebuild. Geno Smith, however, didn’t get the message. He beat out Drew Lock for the starting gig before Week 1 and opened the season on a tear. Smith was dialed in and got the squad to 6-3. The Seahawks stumbled down the stretch but clung on to their playoff hopes with some help from the Lions in Week 18. They were ultimately dispatched by the 49ers in the Wild Card Round, though not before Smith had secured himself the Comeback Player of the Year award. Rookies Ken Walker and Tariq Woolen were also in the running for awards, though voters ultimately went elsewhere.

Key Offensive Stats

  • Points per game: 23.9 (9th)
  • EPA per play: 0.01 (12th)
  • Dropback EPA per play: 0.06 (11th)
  • Passing yards per game: 231.4 (11th)
  • Rush EPA per play: -0.07 (20th)
  • Rush yards per game: 120.1 (18th)

From start to finish, Geno was arguably the league’s most accurate quarterback. His 5.7 completion percent over expected led the NFL by a wide margin. This also propelled him to a top-10 finish in adjusted yards per attempt. Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf both surpassed 1,000 yards. Both wideouts also ranked top-25 in yards per route run. Rashaad Penny went down with a broken fibula in Week 5 but was seamlessly replaced by Walker. The Michigan State alum and second-round pick topped 1,000 rushing yards with his third straight 100-yard game in Week 18.

Key Defensive Stats

  • Points per game: 23.6 (25th)
  • EPA per play: 0.03 (26th)
  • Dropback EPA per play: 0.05 (19th)
  • Passing yards per game: 211.5 (13th)
  • Rush EPA per play: 0.01 (26th)
  • Rush yards per game: 150.2 (30th)

Seattle’s defense let the offense down often, giving up 30 or more points four times. They were also one of just three teams to give up 40 points twice during the regular season and no team other than Seattle gave up 40 points in the playoffs. The Seahawks’ defense gave up big plays (one EPA or greater) at a top-10 rate on the ground and through the air. Rookie corner Tariq Woolen was a revelation, intercepting six passes and breaking up 16. Uchenna Nwosu, brought in as a free agent, also stepped up, tallying 9.5 sacks.

2023 Offseason

Notes

Cap Space

$24.4 million

Draft Picks (Top-150)

5th, 20th, 37th, 52nd, 83rd, and 123rd

Notable Free Agents

QB Geno Smith, RB Rashaad Penny, C Austin Blythe, LB Cody Barton, S Ryan Neal, DT Poona Ford, and S Johnathan Abram

Cut Candidates

RG Gabe Jackson ($6.5 million in savings), DT Shelby Harris ($8.9 million), DT Quinton Jefferson ($4.5 million)

The Seahawks have an extra pick in the first and second rounds because of the Wilson trade. They are also top-10 in cap space available, so they have more than enough ammunition to up the stakes for a stronger playoff run in 2023.

Team Needs

EDGE

Pro Football Focus graded the Seahawks’ pass-rush as the 28th-best unit in the league. Bruce Irvin could be brought back to fill this hole in the short term, though the 36-year-old isn’t likely to be playing for much longer.

Guard

Damien Lewis, the only interior lineman drafted by the Seahawks in the past three years, has been solid at left guard. Center Austin Blythe retired and right guard Gabe Jackson has struggled in recent years, possibly putting him on the chopping block.

Wide Receiver

Quarterback was originally the Seahawks’ biggest need, but they addressed that spot before the start of free agency. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are one of the better receiving duos in the league, but the Seahawks got virtually no production from anyone behind them on the depth chart. This is a position the team will likely look to fill on the second and third days of the draft.

Coaching Changes

Quarterbacks coach Dave Canales was hired as the Bucs’ next offensive coordinator. Rams senior offensive assistant Greg Olson was hired to replace him in Seattle. Olson has spent 20 years in the NFL serving as a positions coach and offensive coordinator. Defensive assistant Sean Desai was also hired away. He will serve as the next defensive coordinator of the Eagles.

Outlook

The Seahawks squared away their first loose end of the offseason when they signed Geno to a three-year, $105 million contract. The deal puts him on par with Kirk Cousins and Jared Goff for yearly earnings by a quarterback. Assuming the Seahawks are done addressing the quarterback position, they now have a war chest of draft picks that can be used solely on upgrading a roster that was already good enough to make the playoffs. If they can support Geno with a better defense and possibly extra firepower at receiver, Seattle will have a strong outlook for 2023 and beyond.