Stop us if you’ve heard this before.
But as the Seahawks enter another offseason, one of their goals again appears to be to find, or develop, a third wide receiver who consistently puts a little fear into opponents.
Only once since 2017, when Paul Richardson had 44 catches to go along with Doug Baldwin’s 75 and Tyler Lockett’s 45, has Seattle had a third wide receiver catch more than 27 passes (David Moore in 2020 with 35).
Of course, there are only so many balls to go around, and Geno Smith completed a team-record 399 passes this year, with 174 going to the duo of Lockett and DK Metcalf and 110 more going to tight ends.
So, Smith finding targets to throw to was hardly Seattle’s biggest issue this season.
But, if you’re going to have a third wide receiver on the field the majority of the time — Seattle’s primary third WR this year, Marquise Goodwin, averaged 32 snaps a game when he played — you obviously want that player to worry opposing defenses as much as possible to, if nothing else, open up things some for Metcalf and Lockett.
As we continue our Seahawks position overviews, let’s take a closer look at wide receivers.
Snaps played in regular season: 893
Contract situation: Metcalf is entering what is officially the first season of the three-year, $72 million extension signed before last season with a base salary of $2.2 million but a cap hit of $13.72 million.
Snaps played in regular season: 799
Contract situation: Lockett has three years left on his contract and will make a base salary of $9.7 million in 2023.
Snaps played in regular season: 168
Contract situation: Eskridge has two years left on his rookie contract, with a base salary of $1.2 million in 2023. But he has no guaranteed money left on his contract.
Snaps played in regular season: 420
Contract situation: Goodwin is an unrestricted free agent.
Snaps played in regular season: 109
Contract situation: Young has three years remaining on his four-year rookie contract due to make $870,000.
Snaps played in regular season: 56
Contract situation: Under contract for next season at $870,000.
Snaps played in regular season: 34
Contract situation: Hart is a restricted free agent.
Snaps played in regular season: 138
Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent
Others on roster: Cody Thompson, Connor Wedington, Easop Winston Jr.
The Seahawks again had one of the best receiving duos in the NFL in Lockett and Metcalf.
The former had his fourth straight 1,000-yard season to tie only Steve Largent in team history for achieving that feat. The latter had a career-high 90 catches and his second-highest yardage total at 1,048.
The two were a primary reason the Seahawks had the third-fewest drops in the NFL with just 13, as judged by NBCSports.com.
There are always nits you can pick, of course.
Metcalf’s average yards after catch of 2.4 was two lower than any other year in his career, via Pro Football Reference. And Lockett’s 3.3 tied a career low since PFR began charting it in 2018, as yards after catch continued to be a team-wide issue for the Seahawks.
But in general, the Seahawks got what they wanted and needed out of Metcalf and Lockett, who combined to catch 15 of Smith’s 30 touchdown passes (or one fewer than Russell Wilson threw all season).
As noted, the rest of the receiving corps was a little more problematic.
Eskridge, taken 56th overall in 2021 with the idea that he might solve the third-WR issue, again battled injuries and caught seven passes in 10 games.
Goodwin, signed in May to add a speed dimension and maybe push Eskridge some, turned in some solid moments when healthy, with 27 catches in 13 games and four TDs. But he missed four games and the playoffs with injury.
No other receiver caught more than six passes, and that was Treadwell, signed to the practice squad in November and suddenly playing major snaps a month later.
Young, a seventh-round pick, showed some promise and versatility in sometimes lining up as a running back (10 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus), and is a popular choice as a player to break out next year.
But he also appeared to be passed up on the depth chart for the final two regular-season games and the playoff by Johnson, who came off the practice squad to play 26, 29 and 44 snaps in the final three games, including the wild-card loss to the 49ers.
Johnson responded with five catches on seven targets for 60 yards in the final three games.
Hart battled injuries and played the fewest snaps of the last three years. He had just three catches for 20 yards.
Metcalf and Lockett are each under contract for three more years, though the deals may be more accurately viewed as two more years and then “we’ll see” on the 2025 season, when each has a massive cap (Lockett $23.95 million and Metcalf $29.5 million) and no guaranteed money.
They have two of the top four cap hits for Seattle next season at the moment — Lockett at $16.75 million and Metcalf at $13.72 million — accounting for most of the $35.4 million Seattle already has committed to the position for 2023, the ninth-highest total in the NFL.
The team is holding out hope that Eskridge can stay healthy and prove worthy of his selection in the second round. But 2023 shapes up as a make-or-break training camp for him and will also likely bank on some big improvement from Young and Johnson. Their confidence in any of those things happening figures to become evident in how the team handles the draft and free agency.
Seattle may try to re-sign Goodwin, but he turns 33 next year.
But with five picks in the top 84, taking a receiver somewhere can’t be discounted to try to find a relatively low-cost complement to Metcalf and Lockett, if not someone who could step into a starting spot in a few years.
Given the financial commitments to Metcalf and Lockett, it’s hard to see Seattle spending too much on a receiver in free agency. But maybe Seattle could consider someone like Jacksonville free-agent-to-be Marvin Jones, who turns 33 in March and whose value was assessed by Spotrac.com at two years and $3.4 million.
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