Unlike other premier professional sports leagues such as Major League Baseball, the NFL trade deadline often comes and goes unnoticed.
This year, however, NFL teams have been far more active than usual, as several marquee trades have already happened with a week still remaining until the deadline.
Last Saturday, the injury-plagued Jaguars launched the festivities by acquiring running back Carlos Hyde from the Browns. Over the past 24 hours, the Cowboys dealt a premium first-round pick to the Raiders for receiver Amari Cooper and the Saints added yet another ex-Ohio State standout to their secondary by swapping a fourth-round pick and seventh-round selection with the Giants for cornerback Eli Apple.
Even with the abundance of activity over the past few days, former NFL general managers such as Joe Banner predict even more fireworks over the next week as teams jockeying for playoff positioning aggressively seek upgrades.
With his team sitting just outside of a playoff spot at 3-3, could Seahawks general manager John Schneider brew up another one of his signature splashy moves?
While Schneider has never been reluctant to pull the trigger to acquire talent, as shown by past trades to land Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham, and most recently Duane Brown at last year’s deadline, there’s a few significant reasons why it seems unlikely Seattle will swing a deal this time around.
1. The Seahawks only have four selections currently in the 2019 NFL Draft and won’t want to trade away additional draft capital.
Last season, the Seahawks went all-in, trading away a second-round pick and receiver Jermaine Kearse to land defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson in September and eventually acquiring Brown from the Texans in exchange for a 2018 third-round pick and 2019 second-round pick. Seattle managed to extend Brown in August, but Richardson left for Minnesota as a free agent, making the decision to trade for him as a one-year rental a highly questionable one.
Schneider will always be a bit of a riverboat gambler, but he doesn’t have much ammunition to bring to the poker table these days, and that’s probably a good thing.
As a result of last year’s two mega-deals to acquire Richardson and Brown as well as recent trades for quarterback Brett Hundley and safety Shalom Luani, the Seahawks only have four picks in next year’s draft. Seattle still has its valuable first-round selection, but without a pick in the second, sixth, and seventh rounds, it wouldn’t make sense at all for a team in the midst of what is still essentially a rebuild to unload it as part of a mid-season trade.
2. Despite being on the verge of a playoff spot, Seattle’s current salary cap standing creates major limitations on any potential moves.
For the past six seasons, the Seahawks have been well-positioned to make Super Bowl runs and the front office could justify mortgaging draft picks and cap space for players like Harvin and Graham who were expected to be the missing piece to win another Lombardi Trophy. Aside from the Brown trade a year ago, however, most of Schneider’s bold trades have backfired, and this current squad doesn’t appear to be just one player away from contending.
Even if Schneider maintains status quo and actively calls other teams about potential trades as you’d expect, the Seahawks aren’t in a position financially to make a move for any players who could actually move the needle during the stretch run. While high-profile names such as Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson would instantly improve Seattle’s roster and playoff odds, the front office will once again be hamstrung by salary cap issues created by a series of bad contractual decisions in recent years.
As it currently stands, the Seahawks have only $5.047 million left in cap space according to OverTheCap.com. While that’s enough space to potentially add a serviceable player, it’s not even close to what would be needed to acquire an impactful star like Peterson, who currently has a cap charge just shy of $15 million for 2018. Add in the aforementioned lack of draft picks to provide as compensation and swinging a trade appears improbable, if not impossible.
3. Seattle will already add talent to the active roster without having to trade away assets at the deadline.
Around this time last year, the Seahawks roster took major hits due to injuries, including losing Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor to season-ending injuries in Arizona. This year, the Seahawks will benefit from getting healthier around the trade deadline, as Wright, tight end Ed Dickson, and defensive end Rasheem Green all returned to practice on Monday.
Wright’s value to the Seahawks cannot be understated, as coach Pete Carroll says the former Pro Bowl linebacker has been a “fixture” in the team’s defensive success since arriving as a fourth-round pick in 2011. With 700 career tackles to his name, he will bring extra stability and leadership to Seattle’s young defense heading into the final 10 games of the season.
Already missing rookie tight end Will Dissly, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 4, Dickson’s return from a groin injury will feel like the perfect mid-season trade. Though best known for his blocking ability, the nine-year NFL veteran will provide another security blanket for quarterback Russell Wilson, as he’s caught 178 passes and 12 touchdowns during previous seasons with the Ravens and Panthers.
Green may be the most important returning player for Seattle, as the team’s pass rushing struggles have been well-documented throughout the first six games. If there's a position the team could use reinforcements, it's defensive end. The third-round selection out of USC flashed great promise during the preseason and if he’s fully-recovered from an ankle sprain, he could be a real difference maker rushing off the edge for the Seahawks in the second half.