This offseason is a big one for the San Francisco 49ers. The team has to find a way to re-sign left tackle Trent Williams while navigating the NFL’s complication salary cap situation.
The Niners hold the No. 12 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and should be able to add a talented piece to a roster that is among the best in the league when fully healthy. The 49ers won the NFC West and made it to the Super Bowl in 2019, but injuries robbed them of any chance at a return trip.
The team San Francisco will try and unseat in the NFC West next season is the Seattle Seahawks.
Led by quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks went 12-4 and won the division. The regular season’s success didn’t carry over to the playoffs, where Seattle was bounced in the opening round by the Los Angeles Rams.
Head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have had to deal with some drama already this offseason. Wilson was reportedly unhappy with the team’s offensive scheme and let the front office know about it during the season. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was fired after the loss to the Rams. He was replaced by Shane Waldron late in January.
Here is where the Seahawks finished in several key categories last season:
Offense: Total yards (17th), total DVOA (fifth), passing DVOA (sixth), rushing DVOA (ninth),
48 total sacks allowed.
Defense: Yards allowed (22nd), total DVOA (16th), passing DVOA (20th), rushing DVOA (seventh), total sacks (seventh).
Wilson was getting MVP-hype during Seattle’s hot 6-2 start as the offense looked like a juggernaut. However, the defense was abysmal over the first half of the schedule, giving up the most yards of any team in NFL history through eight games. The unit began to turn things around during the second half of the season, but some of it was fool’s gold.
The Seahawks played four games against teams with a record better than .500, going 2-2 in those matchups. They only played one team with a winning record over the final six weeks of the season, which was when the defense rebounded.
Cap space: As things stand, Over the Cap has Seattle with a little more than $3.5 million in cap space.
Key unrestricted free agents: K.J. Wright, Chris Carson, Quinton Dunbar, Shaquill Griffin, Benson Mayowa, Carlos Hyde, Jacob Hollister, Bruce Irvin.
Like most NFL teams, Seattle will have to get creative with its cap situation. Schneider will have his work cut out for him with star safety Jamal Adams up for an extension as well. Adams is due $9.8 million but could be a camp holdout while he waits for a new deal. Budda Baker of the Arizona Cardinals had the highest AAV of any NFL safety last season at $14.75 million. It’s hard not to envision Adams’ new deal eclipsing that mark.
Wright has played 10 seasons with the team but could be out of the Seahawk’s price range. Spotrac projected Wright’s market value at $7.1 million. If the veteran linebacker isn’t willing to give Seattle a hometown discount, he could be looking for a new home when free agency kicks off in less than two weeks.
The secondary could take a hit as well, with corners Griffin and Dunbar due for significant raises. Griffin has said he would like to re-sign with the Seahawks, but the organization might have to choose between him and Dunbar.
Carson is another interesting name on the list. The running back averaged 4.8 yards per rushing attempt and finished with 968 total yards and nine touchdowns last season. Spotrac projects Carson’s market value to be north of $7 million.
Although Seattle’s offensive line played better last season, the unit got mauled by L.A.’s defense during the Wild Card Round. Schneider and Carroll will more than likely try and add a piece or two during the offseason.
As long as the Seahawks have Wilson, they will be a handful to deal with. The rivalry between San Francisco and Seattle reignited in 2019. It looks like both franchises will be playoff contenders again next season.