The equation remains relatively uniform no matter what coach, manager, scout or fan you talk to.
The equation is simple. If your team is built to win now, you continue to supplement the roster with win-now players, even if that means sacrificing prospect, draft or financial capital.
A particular team built to win now comes in the form of the Seattle Seahawks, who recently acquired safety Jamal Adams and a 2022 fourth-round draft pick from the New York Jets in exchange for 2021 and 2022 first-round draft picks, a 2021 third-round draft pick and safety Bradley McDougald.
The trade, while not cheap, addressed Seattle’s secondary, which was bottom-six in passing yards allowed last season (263.9). The trade not only gives them a young defensive back, but arguably the most elite player at that position. The cherry on top comes in Adam’s versatility everywhere and can provide flexibility for the rest of the secondary to play around potential nickel and dime packages.
The trade, however, might have given the Seahawks something else. Something more important to their bid at another Lombardi Trophy. Something other NFC Super Bowl hopefuls lack.
Stability, however, does not specifically mean in terms of solely the secondary. The secondary is improved.
Stability in terms of overall roster and team balance.
The defense is already improved. When looking at the team offensively, well, there is not much explaining to do. It is good. Under the quarterback captainship of Russell Wilson, the Seahawks averaged 25.3 points per game during the 2019 season, which ranked ninth in the entire NFL. At 31, Wilson is in his prime heading into 2020. You have Wilson’s receiving weapons in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf, who collectively caught 1,957 yards during the 2019-20 regular season. Running back Chris Carson, who rushed for over 1,200 yards last season, looks to remain healthy for a potentially productive postseason slate should Seattle make it, as the 25-year-old fractured his hip before he could collect any playoff snaps last season.
The roster speaks for itself. Stability, however, comes in other shapes and sizes, including coaching.
With COVID-19 resonating throughout the league in terms of less in-person contact with players and coaching staff, the Seahawks have the liberty of having a good rapport with their coaching staff due to seasons worked with them. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer enters his third season with the team. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. enters his third season. Then, of course, you have Pete Carroll, who enters his eleventh season as Seahawks’ head coach.
Solid familiarity with the coaching staff, coupled with a roster still young enough to improve and expand their playmaking ability? Seems like a good blend.
The roster, the coaching and the chemistry is there. Seattle is in the driver’s seat.
Other NFC playoff hopefuls, arguably, do not possess all of these luxuries. The defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers have a great roster and coaching staff but questions linger after Super Bowl 54 to whether QB Jimmy Garoppolo can lead them to a championship. Green Bay, while formidable due to having Aaron Rodgers, brings concern at wideout in addition to Rodgers being 36. The New Orleans Saints, while plentiful with offensive weapons, must start to consider if 41-year-old Drew Brees can halt father time. Can Tom Brady hold it off as well, and, perhaps more importantly, develop championship-caliber chemistry with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his first year with the team? Can Minnesota ride on the Kirk Cousins’ train to a Super Bowl under a newly-minted offensive coordinator in Gary Kubiak? The Dallas Cowboys have the offense and the offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore, but can first-year Cowboys’ head coach Mike McCarthy coach the Big D to a Super Bowl bid despite the secondary being an uncertainty? Can Carson Wentz put together a healthy campaign and utilize a wide receiver core that is relatively young and unproven?
The list goes on, and the questions become clearer when looking at other NFC Super Bowl hopefuls.
Yet, in all of the noise, Seattle remains balanced in roster structure, talent and chemistry in the locker room. The holes, on paper, are not as noticeable when compared to other teams.
The equation to win, again, is simple. If you are built to win now, go for it.
Seattle went for it in the Adams deal, and while he will bring Pro Bowl-caliber defending in the secondary, the trade reinforces and solidifies the balance Seattle possesses and maintains over other NFC teams.