RENTON, Wash. – The minute minicamp ended Thursday, Seattle Seahawks players went scurrying to their summer vacations.
They are not scheduled to return until July 27, when preparations will begin in earnest for the 2021 season.
But before closing the book on the offseason program, here’s a look at five things we learned during minicamp.
Expect Adams to sign new contract before the season
The week began with reports that Adams would not attend minicamp because he wants a contract extension. He is entering the last year of his deal and is due to make $9.86 million in 2021.
That story shifted as the Seahawks gave Adams an excused absence to stay in his native Texas to handle a family issue.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that the team and Adams have had “good talks” and said of a deal that “it’s coming.”
Some might have been quick to paint those comments as Carroll’s usual optimism or simply an attempt to gloss over any hang-ups in getting a deal done with Adams, who undoubtedly wants to be the highest-paid safety in the NFL. That would mean getting at least $15.5 million per season.
But all indications are that the Seahawks will get a deal done with Adams and likely right around the start of training camp on July 31.
The Seahawks are heavily motivated to get it done, having given up two first-round picks for him. And for another, getting it done in late summer fits the usual timeline for finalizing big extensions, such as Russell Wilson in 2015 and Bobby Wagner in 2015 and 2019.
That may not stop the chatter during the offseason. But figure by the time the Seahawks next hit the practice field, or shortly after, Adams’ future will be secured.
Linebacker depth may confirm there’s no room for veteran Wright
The Seahawks’ biggest remaining unsigned free agent from 2020 is linebacker K.J. Wright, whose 10 years with the team made him the longest tenured on the squad last season.
The Seahawks said the door is not closed for a Wright return. But it might have inched a little closer in that direction during minicamp as the Seahawks got good looks at the two young players they plan to use instead of Wright – weakside linebacker Jordyn Brooks and strongside linebacker Darrell Taylor. Those are the two spots Wright played a year ago, and the thought is that more than money or cap space, the main reason the Seahawks won’t bring him back is to allow the two younger players to have full-time roles.
Taylor, a 2020 second-round pick, was moved to SLB before rookie minicamp and can also be used as a rush end in the nickel. Taylor didn’t play last season while still recovering from leg surgery. But he made it through every offseason practice – the full pads workouts in camp will be a truer test – and according to Carroll showed everything the team hoped.
Carroll called Taylor’s play “a real highlight” of the offseason program adding he had “the brightest camp” of anyone on defense.
Carroll also lauded the progress of third-year linebackers Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven and said the linebacker position “is really strengthened.”
An injury, in particular, could change things. But for now, the Seahawks seem to like what they have at linebacker.
Carroll is letting Waldron do his thing
You wouldn’t expect early reviews of the team’s new offense to be anything but positive this time of year. Still, it was telling just how gushing players and Carroll sounded about the job new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron is doing so far.
Players mentioned they like Waldron’s emphasis on tempo – not just going no-huddle but simply quickening the pace of the entire operation – and the freedom his offense gives receivers in routes.
Carroll raved about Waldron’s ability to teach an offense he has called “intricate.”
Carroll seemed so impressed that he noted that for now, Waldron has full control of the offense. Carroll, whose forte is defense, has acknowledged that at times he can’t help but meddling in the offense.
“I have not gotten in his way because he has such command of what he’s doing,” Carroll said. “He knows how it fits together, and he’s been able to orchestrate the teaching process in a way that’s allowed us to do quite a few things for this offseason. You can hear from the players, they’re impressed with him. He’s just left them with a really good impression of his command, his verbiage.”
Don’t forget about left tackle Brown
The most surprising event of the past week may have been the news that 35-year-old left tackle Duane Brown wants a new contract. He is entering the final year of his deal, due a base salary of $10 million this season.
Brown attended camp but watched from the sidelines wearing a hoodie.
That he didn’t take part is no big deal. He might not have done much anyway to save the wear and tear.
Brown’s age had led to the idea that he might play out the season. But with Brown apparently forcing the issue of his future, expect something to get done to assure he is content.
The Seahawks cannot afford a sudden problem with the player who has been the best and most consistent offensive lineman the past four years in what is a win-now season – and after the offseason that was with Wilson.
The Seahawks can also work a new contract in a way to bring down Brown’s 2021 cap hit of $13.35 million. It just seems hard to fathom, in a season with so much on the line, that the Seahawks would let this become an issue.
Don’t forget about defensive back Blair, either
One of the more optimistic sights of the past few weeks was that of defensive back Marquise Blair taking part in almost everything, seemingly without restriction, at almost exactly nine months since he suffered an ACL injury against New England.
The Seahawks could have waited until training camp to get Blair on the field much.
But Blair was ready, so the Seahawks got him out there. Blair appears to be the front-runner for the nickel corner spot again but could also be used in some specialty packages that might take away of his safety abilities.
A return to health for Blair could also have ramifications on whether the Seahawks re-sign free safety Quandre Diggs following the 2021 season. He is also entering the final year of his deal and once they give Adams a considerable raise it could consider Blair a cheaper heir apparent at the FS spot in 2022.
Blair played safety in 2019 before moving to nickel in 2020, and Carroll said “he’s ahead of schedule in terms of learning his football. He’s much further along than he was a year ago at this time.”
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