Seahawks Could Be Suitor for All-Pro ‘Playmaker’: Analyst

Pete Carroll


The Seahawks could be an ideal landing spot for safety Jessie Bates.

The Seattle Seahawks could be an ideal landing spot for one of the top young players in the league.

As noted by Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox, the Seahawks are “poised” to be a team that emerges as a major offseason player. Seattle has started off the 2022 as arguably the league’s most surprising team at 5-3. Despite trading nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos during the offseason, the Seahawks’ offensive unit has been a major powerhouse led by journeyman QB Geno Smith.

As Knox notes, Seattle could be a team that targets Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates. The former All-Pro selection is due to be a free agent during the offseason after he was slapped with the franchise tag by Cincinnati this year.

“Hypothetically, the NFC-West-leading Seahawks could look to improve their 27th-ranked defense by adding players like Davenport, Gardner-Johnson and Jessie Bates III in free agency,” said Knox.

Seahawks Lacking Playmakers in Defensive Backfield

Knox has a point. While the Seahawks could very well make it to the postseason due to their high-powered offense, the defense is a major weakness likely preventing Seattle from emerging as true Super Bowl contenders. Outside of ranking 26th in scoring defense, the Seahawks simply aren’t very good on the defensive side of the ball.

Seattle ranks 21st in passing yards allowed and 28th in rushing yards allowed. While the Seahawks force turnovers well as an overall unit — ranking sixth in the league in turnovers forced — they rank 21st in interceptions forced. That’s where a player like Bates can help.

Bates Considered One of Top Defensive Playmakers in NFL

Despite his deficiencies in pass defense, there aren’t many defensive backs that make more game-changing plays than Bates. As Knox mentions, Bates has 11 interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown since entering the league in 2018.

“In four-and-a-half seasons, he has logged 11 interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown,” says Knox. “He’s appeared in all but two games since being taken in the second round of the 2018 draft. He’s played 99 percent of the defensive snaps in the games in which he has appeared during that span.”

In fact, Bates saved his best performances for the Bengals’ postseason run last year. According to Pro Football Focus, Bates turned in by far the highest defensive grade of any defensive back (90.0) during the playoffs. By comparison, the second-highest defensive grade (81.9) was by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Antoine Winfield. Furthermore, he allowed just four completions on 11 pass attempts for a completion rate of 36.4 percent.

While there are many positives with the 25-year-old safety, there are also negatives associated with Bates. Over the past two seasons, he has drastically struggled in pass coverage.

“Bates isn’t the most consistent back-end defender,” says Knox. “After allowing an opposing passer rating of 70.7 in 2020, he has allowed an OPR of over 100.0 both last season and this year. What Bates is, however, is a reliable and ball-hawking playmaker.”

If the Seahawks do make a move for Bates, they’ll likely have to make a decision when it comes to Quandre Diggs. Diggs has two years left on his deal with Seattle, but they could move on from him during the 2023 offseason, which would result in an $8.2 million dead cap.

According to PFF, Diggs has registered a 62.7 defensive grade this season, ranking 49th out of 87 safeties.

If the Seahawks want to take the next step towards becoming a Super Bowl contender, signing Bates could play a major role in doing so.

Similar Posts