Are the Seattle Seahawks aiming towards the future or are they aiming to win now?
Truthfully, it’s a little bit of both.
This offseason, if you examine who the Seahawks have signed, traded for, or drafted you could clearly see that they are trying to win now but also build towards the future.
The Seahawks had needs at wide receiver, safety, running back, corner back, depth on the offensive line, and a future quarterback.
Through free agency, the Seahawks filled two of those needs. They signed wide receiver T.J Houshmandzadeh to a five-year, $40 million contract.
The signing of T.J. falls into the category of winning now because he gives the Seahawks a true No. 1 wide receiver, but at the same time it falls into the category of building to the future.
Housh will be the Seahawks' No. 1 wide receiver for five years, until they draft the next Andre Johnson, which could be A.J Green from Georgia—that’s the future.
Seattle also signed defensive tackle Colin Cole to a five-year, $21 million contract. That signing falls into the same one as Housh. The only difference is he’s a lot younger than Houshmandzadeh, so he will be around longer into the “future.”
The next move is what made the Seahawks offseason interesting.
That began to show that the Seahawks were not just aiming to win now but to build to the future. What added to that speculation was when the Seahawks restructured Redding’s contract. It states that he will be a free agent next year; he’s going to make only $2 million this season.
They just blew up the rest of his contract. So, for Redding it’s a one and done.
After the draft, the Seahawks used the free cap space, which was created when the Seahawks let of Leroy Hill, to sign CB Ken Lucas to fill a hole at CB opposite Marcus Trufant.
Now, for the 2009 NFL draft. The Seahawks had the fourth overall pick, the highest pick since 1997. So, with the Seahawks having MLB Lofa Tatupu already in the fold, and Leroy Hill refusing to sign the franchise tender, the Seahawks lucked out.
The Kansas City Chief’s passed on OLB Aaron Curry for DE Tyson Jackson. So it was too easy for Seattle.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell strolled to the podium and announced the following: "With the fourth pick in the 2009 NFL draft, the Seattle Seahawks select, Aaron Curry, linebacker, Wake Forest."
Which was great for the Seahawks because they didn’t know about Hill, they traded away Peterson, and Aaron Curry was the best player in the draft and the best player available on the board when the Seahawks picked at four.
Now, the Seahawks have quite possibly the best young LB corps in the NFL, with Leroy Hill, Lofa Tatupu, and now Aaron Curry. Curry falls into the category of “win now” but mainly building towards the future.
The biggest move that the Seahawks made that shows that they are building towards the future was when they traded their second-round pick to the Denver Broncos for their first-round selection next year, which a lot of people around the league suspect will be sixth overall or higher.
That gives the Seahawks two first-round picks next year, which is any team’s goal if they are building towards the future. For the rest of the draft, they took the following players:
Wide receiver Deon Butler in the third round, who is more of a “build to the future” player. Quarterback Mike Teel in the sixth round, definitely a “build to the future” player, but I see him as the next Charlie Frye for Seattle.
Strong safety Courtney Greene could turn out to be a “win now” type of player depending on if he beats out Brian Russell for the starting job. Defensive end Nick Reed in the seventh round could also be a “win now” player.
Every team wants to try and win right now, which is exactly what the Seahawks are trying to do.
But Tim Ruskell is smart, he knows that he has a lot of aging veterans on his team like QB Matt Hasselbeck (34), LG Mike Wahle (32), LT Walter Jones (35), WR T.J Houshmandzadeh (31), DE Patrick Kerney (32), and FS Deon Grant (30) among others.
Ruskell's moves include bringing in top young talent and locking them in long term, like CB Marcus Trufant (six years $50.2 million), MLB Lofa Tatupu (six years $42 million), OLB Leroy Hill (six years $38 million).
They have also signed/drafted OT Ray Willis (re-signed), OT Sean Locklear (five years $32 million) and drafted OLB Aaron Curry, C Max Unger, DE Lawrence Jackson among others.
Don't forget that next year the Seahawks have two first-round picks (Denver and their own).
They passed on Mark Sanchez this year, so look for the Seahawks to take QB Colt McCoy with Denver’s pick, which will be in the top 10. That way, McCoy can either learn under Hasselbeck or it means they traded him which would also be smart because they could pick up another first or second-round pick.
Then with their own pick they could target a free safety like Eric Berry or Taylor Mays. Most likely it will be Mays, because Berry is going to go in the top five and Seattle should pick around hopefully 32. They could possibly trade up to get Mays.
Those are really the only two positions that Seattle needs to fill. Running back they can get in the second round or via free agency. But hopefully Julius Jones pulls a Michael Turner this season.
So overall, Ruskell has made all the right moves and has put this team in a position where, if they can stay healthy, they can make a deep playoff run and possibly a Super Bowl run.