If the Seattle Seahawks want to reach a third consecutive Super Bowl next year, they will have to address the wide receiver position this offseason.
Seattle’s top four receivers in the Super Bowl were all undrafted, which showed against the likes of Bill Belichick, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. It was clear throughout the season that the Seahawks missed the 898 yards of production that Golden Tate provided them in 2013.
While Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse are fine receivers and Seattle has won with them, the offense could really use a downfield threat. As the roster is currently constructed, Russell Wilson has to be nearly perfect for the Seahawks to be a threat in the passing game.
Seattle may look to the draft for that big target, even in the first round at No. 31. But a more established wide receiver should be available this offseason.
Veteran Andre Johnson has asked for his release from the Houston Texans after learning his role would be reduced. The Seahawks may want to add to some youth to the position, but Johnson would still make sense as a short-term upgrade.
Of course, Johnson would have to actually be released or have his contract re-structured before the Seahawks could acquire him. Houston would obviously prefer to get some value back in a trade, but no team would be willing to take on Johnson’s $16.1 million for next season.
That means the Texans will likely cut Johnson soon, making him a free agent with a number of suitors. The Seahawks have a need at the position, the ability to help Johnson win a Super Bowl before the end of his career and enough cap space to offer him a reasonable contract.
Johnson has put together a Hall of Fame career in Houston, posting seven seasons of 1100 yards or more while averaging at least 14 yards per reception in six of them. When taken into consideration that the best quarterback Johnson has played with is Matt Schaub, those numbers become even more impressive.
Nobody expects Johnson to match his 2013 level of production (109 catches, 1407), but he still figures to be productive in the latter stages of his career. In his age 33 season last year, Johnson caught 85 passes for 936 yards.
That sort of production would do wonders for Seattle’s offense. Even factoring in decline for age, Johnson could still be a huge upgrade for the Seahawks with 700-800 receiving yards and a few big downfield plays.
Grabbing Johnson would also allow the Seahawks to focus elsewhere in the first round of the draft. Seattle needs help at cornerback or could grab someone like Todd Gurley if Marshawn Lynch decides not to return.
A contract for Johnson in the $6-7 million range would be a worthwhile deal for Seattle. Rather than waiting for a rookie to develop, Johnson could make the Seahawks that much more dangerous while their window is still open.
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