Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Peering into the WR Crystal Ball

As we await the decision to be made on Percy Harvin's hip injury, the speculation of Seattle's receiving group's ability to carry the team on a Super Bowl run is being called into question.

I understand the mindset of both those who are panicked and those that are not. On the one hand, this team was 11-5 last season without Harvin and stands to improve upon that record simply based on experience alone.  On the other hand, the addition of Harvin provided the Seahawks with yet another offensive dimension that would strengthen all other aspects to their offense.

No matter how you look at it-- it's a bummer.  However, it's no reason to lose any hope for the season.

Brock Huard of 710 ESPN Seattle made a great point this morning.  He said that the acquisition of Percy Harvin wasn't a move made specifically for the 2013 season, but one for the next 3 or 4 seasons.  I think that's a great point that must be considered when looking into the future of the Seattle Seahawks.

There's a lot of tremendous players, many who have been integral in the team's recent success, who will be coming due on some big money contracts in the next few years.  The sad truth is that we won't be able to keep everyone together-- the downside of scoring talent on the cheap is that, if you're talent assessment is correct, eventually you'll have to pay up.

Golden Tate is one of those players.  Tate's rookie contract expires at the end of this season and many have suggested that the Seahawks, unable to resign him under the cap, will let him walk.  I don't believe this will be the case.  I understand and agree with the argument that you can't have Harvin and Sidney Rice under large contracts while keeping Tate-- I just disagree that Tate will be the casualty of that scenario.

It's my speculation that Rice will be the receiver most likely to be sporting a new uniform in 2014.  There are several factors that lead me to that speculation and when you weigh them out it just makes sense that Seattle either restructure Rice's contract or attempt to trade him next offseason.

For starters, Rice is under contract next offseason and Tate is not.  At the very least, you can get something back for losing Rice that's reflective of his market value.  This, in and of itself, is not sufficient grounds for making that move, but it's one of many factors leading you to that decision.

The other and perhaps most pressing of reasons is the clear and obvious rapport that Golden Tate has with Russell Wilson. Wilson is always quick to heap praise on Tate in interviews and the two seem to have a good off-field relationship, as well.  Look no further than this image of the two and their significant others on Halloween last year as Goldenlocks and the 3 Bears.

Additionally, I think Rice is eating up far too much of the salary cap than he deserves.  Don't get me wrong-- I think he's a terrific receiver, but he's being paid as though he's an elite receiver and I don't think that he will be called upon to perform like an elite receiver nor do I believe that he will be healthy enough to be relied upon as such. Rice has elite talent, but in this offense, he will be a role player.  The team will continue to identify as a run-first offense and Rice will have a big role in the passing game but he will not be relied upon like a Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald.

Lastly, I think that Seattle could afford to move away from Rice after this season.  Now, that will be contingent on the marked improvement of Tate, the continued emergence of Doug Baldwin, a relatively healthy Harvin and rookie Chris Harper needs to show that he could step up into a starting role if called upon next year.  I believe that, if Golden Tate continues to progress with Russell Wilson as he did last season, that he could be a legit #1 receiver.  If Harvin, Baldwin, Harper and even Jermaine Kearse can stay healthy and productive-- I wouldn't be worried at all about trotting that group out in 2014.

Best case scenario in my opinion would be for Rice to have a spectacular, healthy season en route to a Seahawks Super Bowl victory.  In the offseason, Seattle trades him to a receiver-starved team like the Jets, Patriots or Panthers for a first round pick that is used on drafting Washington Tight End Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Seattle then resigns both Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate to long term, reasonable deals and the ensuing Seahawks dynasty avoids salary cap concerns at least for a while.

Wishful, speculative thinking for sure, but don't get me wrong-- in my mind, it's all about this season.

No comments:

Post a Comment