The Seattle Times
A review of the Seattle Seahawks position groups continues with a spot that was record-setting and perplexing in 2020 — wide receiver.
First, a review of the players and their contract status:
Snaps played in regular season: 944.
Contract situation: Entering final season of three-year deal. Due to make $11 million in base salary and count $13.75 million against the salary cap.
Snaps played: 980.
Contract situation: Entering third season of four-year rookie deal. Due to make a base salary of $911,014 in 2021.
Snaps played: 482.
Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent after making $1 million in 2020.
Snaps played: 351.
Contract situation: Entering second season of four-year rookie deal. Due to make a base salary of $78,000 in 2021.
Snaps played: 25.
Contract situation: Re-signed to a futures deal, which carries a base salary of $780,000 in 2021.
One big question entering the season was whether the Seahawks could have two 1,000-yard receivers for only the second time in franchise history. That was answered in the final game when Lockett joined Metcalf in topping the four-figure mark. By then each was on his way to setting his own record — Metcalf topping Steve Largent’s season yardage record with 1,303 and Lockett topping the team’s season receptions list with 100.
Lockett finished with 1,054 yards. That made the Seahawks one of only three NFL teams to have two receivers reach 1,000 yards receiving (the others being Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill and Carolina’s D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson).
Metcalf and Lockett saw their numbers decline in the second half of the season, as the Seahawks’ offense struggled to keep the same pace it had the first half. Coach Pete Carroll made it clear that discretion was the better part of valor when it came to the passing game.
The result was still record-setting numbers, and with both under contract, they have one of the NFL’s best 1-2 punches at receiver.
But everything else was a question in 2020.
David Moore emerged as the third receiver, as gambles on Phillip Dorsett and Josh Gordon did not pay off. They were not a gamble financially, as both made the league minimum salary.
Dorsett had fallen out of favor in New England and arrived in Seattle with a sore foot that caused him to miss the season.
After learning in August that Dorsett’s foot was an issue, the Seahawks re-signed the Gordon, uncertain when he might be available. Gordon had been suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s policies on substance abuse and performance-enhancing drugs.
The Seahawks hoped they might have Gordon for half a season or at least for the playoffs. But they ended up getting nothing. Gordon reportedly had a relapse in his recovery, and he was placed to the league’s suspended list.
The Seahawks had just five receivers see action all season, with Moore, Swain and Hart filling in roles behind Lockett and Metcalf.
Moore had a career-high 35 receptions but for just an average of 11.9 yards, far behind the 17.1 and 17.9 of his first two years with the Seahawks. He was quiet in the second half of the season when defenses began taking away the deep ball. Other than his memorable 45-yard catch that helped break open the game against the Rams, Moore didn’t have a catch for longer than 14 yards in the final eight games (and 55 yards over that span).
Swain, a sixth-round draft pick out of Florida, showed promise. But like Moore he had just six catches for 62 yards in the final 11 games. He finished with 13 catches for 159 yards overall.
Hart was on the roster mostly for special teams and had just one catch for three yards.
There is no shortage of intrigue with what the Seahawks might do at receiver in the offseason.
They might look to extend Lockett’s contract, which could reduce his cap hit. Or they might do nothing, let Lockett play out his contract and see what happens.
The Seahawks know they will have to extend Metcalf following the 2021 season when he may want to be paid close to the top of the receiver market. And he has every right to expect that.
After that, the Seahawks must determine if they need an upgrade at the third receiver. The view here is they do.
Though Moore has had some good moments, he hasn’t established himself as a legit third option, which the Seahawks seemed to make clear with its pursuit of Dorsett and Gordon.
Carroll said after the season the Seahawks hope to re-sign Dorsett. Gordon, who is again indefinitely suspended, should probably — and sadly — not be counted on at this point.
As noted in every part of this series, the Seahawks have just one draft pick in the first three rounds (No. 56 overall). That means addressing anything in the draft will be risky.
That’s one reason re-signing Dorsett — a 2015 first-round pick of the Colts — and hoping for the best may be attractive.
The Seahawks re-signed John Ursua, Aaron Fuller and Cody Thompson to futures contracts when the season ended and may hope that one of that trio — maybe Ursua — might be ready to ascend to a significant role. It’s worth noting Ursua is 26, so time isn’t necessarily on his side.
There is never any shortage of free agents available, but given the presence of Lockett and Metcalf, they aren’t likely to spend big.
Two available free agents with local ties who could be intriguing are former University of Washington star John Ross — you’d think he could at least stretch the field — and Kendrick Bourne, who played at Eastern Washington. Bourne had 218 receptions and 11 touchdowns with the 49ers the past four years.