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State of the 2024 Seattle Seahawks: Can new regime get Geno Smith, defense back to winning form?

Where does your squad stand ahead of the 2024 NFL season? Adam Rank sets the table by providing a State of the Franchise look at all 32 teams, zeroing in on the new faces to know, one significant fantasy spin and the stakes at play in the campaign to come.

Members of the Seahawks organization, Seahawks fans around the world, and those who still enjoy saying just because it remains funny 鈥

It's a new day for the Seattle Seahawks. The Legion of Boom/Russell Wilson/Pete Carroll era is completely in the rearview. Frankly, the last few years of the franchise's run under Carroll mirrored that of the final season of Scrubs. Sure, there were some familiar faces and maybe a few enjoyable moments. But it was never the same as it once was, and it probably would have been better had they pulled the plug a few years prior.

2024 brain trust

Table inside Article
Head coach Mike Macdonald
General manager John Schneider
Offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb
Defensive coordinator Aden Durde
Special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh

Roster reshuffling

Below is a rundown of the Seahawks' most notable roster developments for the 2024 season, including this year's draft class, as well as key acquisitions and departures via free agency and trade.

Table inside Article
Draft class (round-pick) Key additions Key departures
Byron Murphy II, DT, Texas (1-16) Sam Howell, QB Drew Lock, QB
Christian Haynes, OG, Connecticut (3-81) Laviska Shenault, WR Will Dissly, TE
Tyrice Knight, LB, UTEP (4-118) George Fant, OT Colby Parkinson, TE
AJ Barner, TE, Michigan (4-121) Laken Tomlinson, OG Jake Curhan, OT
Nehemiah Pritchett, CB, Auburn (5-136) Johnathan Hankins, DT Jason Peters, OT
Sataoa Laumea, OT, Utah (6-179) Jerome Baker, LB Phil Haynes, OG
D.J. James, CB, Auburn (6-192) Tyrel Dodson, LB Damien Lewis, OG
Michael Jerrell, OT, Findlay (6-207) Rayshawn Jenkins, S Evan Brown, C
K'Von Wallace, S Jordyn Brooks, LB
Devin Bush, LB
Bobby Wagner, LB
Jamal Adams, S
Quandre Diggs, S

New faces to know

Mike Macdonald_Headshot
Mike Macdonald
Head coach

Macdonald joins the Seahawks after serving as the Ravens' defensive coordinator for the last two seasons. He spent the last decade working with at least one of the Harbaugh brothers, including nine years with John in Baltimore. (He spent 2021 with Jim at Michigan.) I kind of like that the Seahawks are bringing in some of that Harbaugh pedigree to a division that has a Shanahan and a McVay. And speaking of McVay ... Macdonald is now the youngest head coach in the NFL (36 years old), having replaced the league鈥檚 oldest coach in Carroll. I鈥檓 sure that won鈥檛 be mentioned at all this season, so I鈥檓 glad you鈥檙e reading that here -- because there is just no way broadcasts beat that storyline into the ground. Actually, given the history of Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll, they have a lot of good stuff to work with. 

Ryan Grubb_Headshot
Ryan Grubb
Offensive coordinator

This is a really interesting hire. Grubb replaces Shane Waldron, who is now in Chicago. Grubb didn鈥檛 have far to move on the work front, having spent the past two seasons as OC of the Washington Huskies, where he did a great job with quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and wide receiver Rome Odunze. U-Dub averaged 37.7 points per game during Grubb鈥檚 time there, so I鈥檓 really excited to see what he鈥檚 going to bring to the Seahawks. 

State of the QB

I love the story of Geno Smith. Him taking the mic in 2022 and saying, 鈥淭hey wrote me off -- I ain't write back, though." That was some amazing theater. But the reality is the veteran is a good quarterback. He's solid. But is he a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback? He has thrown 50 touchdown passes over the past two seasons, and he's had 19 games with at least two TD throws since 2022, tied for third-most in the NFL behind only Patrick Mahomes (21) and Josh Allen (20). That's great. Smith also has posted 16 games with a 100-plus passer rating in that span. However, a good portion of that production came in 2022, not 2023. He went from 30 touchdown passes in '22 to 20 last year, despite Seattle adding another stud receiver for the '23 campaign in Jaxon Smith-Njigba. And the Seahawks had just 11 rushing touchdowns, so it's not like the offense was out there crushing it. I like Geno and I'm happy he got paid last offseason. But he was right when he said he has "everything to prove" in 2024. The Seahawks might have to re-assess the plan at quarterback (they did trade for Sam Howell this offseason) if Grubb can't get the 33-year-old back to those 2022 numbers.

Most important non-QB

Byron Murphy II
DT · Rookie

The rookie defensive tackle is going to be the most important piece for Mike Macdonald鈥檚 new defense, as the anchor of a unit that lost veterans Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks and Quandre Diggs this offseason. Last season, Macdonald鈥檚 Ravens had the league鈥檚 top scoring defense (allowing 16.5 points per game) and sixth-best total defense (allowing 301.4 yards per game), while the Seahawks were 1-6 in games in which they allowed at least 28 points (8-2 in other games). The disruptive Murphy will play a big part in Seattle鈥檚 defense, which will eventually carry this team -- either this year or down the line. Murphy is the first defensive building block in this new era, and it all feels similar to how those early 鈥楬awks defenses in the Carroll era were built. 

My HOTTEST Seahawks fantasy take:

I'm back in on DK Metcalf.

My favorite thing in fantasy is people trying to fade Metcalf in dynasty leagues or claiming that he's slowing down at the old age of -- checks notes -- 26. DK has been a low-end WR2 in fantasy over the past couple years despite Geno's rebirth. There is no denying that. But this is an entirely different coaching staff and a brand-new coaching philosophy under OC Ryan Grubb. You can't make a fair projection on Metcalf based on what happened the last two seasons. So ... I'm back in on DK! Grubb's offense at Washington ranked 130th(!) in rushing attempts in the FBS last season (although, his Huskies ran a TON of screens, which could be great for running backs in PPR). With a middle-of-the-road offensive line, I expect Grubb to emphasize quick throws to take advantage of DK's skill set (SEE: last year鈥檚 Dallas game). I'm not going to draft DK in the first round, but you're foolish to dismiss him this season based on what happened last year.

2024 roadmap

Three key dates:

  • Week 1: vs. Denver Broncos. All right, Russell Wilson is no longer in Denver, which takes a bit away from this matchup. I get that. But still, there is something about Geno Smith going up against the team that helped launch his rebirth. And since the Seahawks don't play Pittsburgh (Wilson's new home), this will have to do.
  • Week 6 (TNF): vs. San Francisco 49ers. The Seahawks kick off NFC West play with a prime-time game against the 49ers. I do love having the divisional games start later on in the season (why this isn't a universal thing, I'll never know), giving Mike Macdonald a chance to get his bearings.
  • Week 18: at Los Angeles Rams. The Seahawks end the season with a pair of roadies at Chicago and Los Angeles. I'm not sure if the Seahawks will be competing for a playoff berth or not, but hey, stranger things have happened.

For 2024 to be a success, the Seahawks MUST:

A) Win the Super Bowl
B) Make a playoff run
C) Earn a playoff berth
D) Finish above .500
E) Show progress

My answer: E) Show progress. The Seahawks went 9-8 in each of the past two seasons and made the playoffs in 2022, but part of the reason for the coaching change is you never got the feeling they were a threat to make the Super Bowl. And while having years of success is great -- because winning is fun -- Seattle is 1-4 in postseason games since 2017. That was a big sticking point. NFL teams are judged by Lombardi Trophies, fair or not. What you want to see from the Seahawks this year is the formation of building blocks for a championship team.

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