The Seattle Seahawks have plenty of positions to address this offseason but wide receiver depth is one of the areas that needs improvement. Seattle clearly has their top two receivers in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but there is a significant drop-off on the depth chart after the star wideouts. David Moore will be a free agent, but the Seahawks would be wise to look for a more consistent option for the team’s third receiver.
Heading into last season, the Seahawks were hoping either Josh Gordon or Phillip Dorsett would emerge to take on this role. Instead, neither receiver played a snap for the Seahawks in 2020. NBC Sports Northwest’s Joe Fann suggests the Seahawks swing for the fences to upgrade the position putting Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on his “wish list” of free agents.
“Smith-Schuster is an ace operating over the middle, a skill set Seattle’s offense could use,” Fann noted. “Like [Curtis] Samuel, he’s accustomed to being part of a deep receiver core which could help him gel with Metcalf and Lockett. Smith-Schuster put up 97 receptions for 831 yards and nine touchdowns last season.”
Smith-Schuster notched 97 receptions for 831 yards and nine touchdowns. The receiver is two years removed from posting 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns.
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Smith-Schuster’s Projected Market Value Is a $16.1 Million Salary
Fann is correct in noting that Smith-Schuster would be an amazing fit for the Seahawks offense, but his price tag is likely going to be higher than what the team is willing to spend. Spotrac projects Smith-Schuster will command a five-year, $80.7 million contract giving him an average annual salary of $16.1 million. The Steelers wideout’s market will likely be helped by receivers like Chris Godwin getting franchise tagged.
For context, the Seahawks just released Carlos Dunlap to avoid a $14 million cap hit and defensive end is an even bigger need for Seattle than receiver. During an interview on 950 KJR Seattle, Fann detailed why the Seahawks would be wise to at least explore the possibility.
“This team lacks an over-the-middle type player and JuJu is so tough across the middle of the field,” Fann explained. “If you look at his numbers, they weren’t insane in terms of yards per catch, but that’s exactly what you’re referring to. He’s a chain mover. He’s reliable. You can get him in space. He’s got some position versatility where you can move him around. I like the fact that he is coming from a crowded wide receiver room and was still able to get his. And that’s exactly what he’d be stepping into with the Seahawks where he’s not the only show in town, but he’s a unique show in town that compliments DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett so beautifully.”
The Seahawks Are Likely Going to Prioritize Improving the Offensive Line
It is no secret Russell Wilson is not happy with the current Seahawks roster and would undoubtedly love another receiver like Smith-Schuster. However, every dollar spent on another position in free agency is money that could have been used to address the offensive line. The one area that Wilson publicly campaigned for improvement is the need for protection against getting hit.
It remains to be seen whether the Seahawks will continue their typical style of bargain-hunting or pay up for one of the top available free-agent offensive linemen. The one thing working in the Seahawks’ favor is that a shrinking salary cap is likely going to cause a number of veterans to sign one-year deals for less money which would allow them to hit free agency again in 2022.
While the Seahawks do need to add better receivers, Smith-Schuster is likely out of their price range. It will be worth watching to see if the Seahawks are able to upgrade the position to give Wilson even more weapons next season.