Stop DK Metcalf? 'Watch Me!' Says Centerpiece of Seattle Seahawks Roster Build – Sports Illustrated

The Seattle Seahawks, having traded away quarterback Russell Wilson in March, aren't expected to boast a high-scoring offense in 2022. Until his long-term replacement under center is found, that likely will remain the case for the organization.
But for those tired of the gloom-and-doom narrative with Wilson now playing in Denver, after locking up superstar receiver DK Metcalf with a record-breaking three-year, $72 million extension, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the franchise's future.
And among those who think that? DK himself.
This week, in leading up to a Dallas preseason game in which Metcalf plans to play, he was asked about how he will combat physical and psychological ways to stop him.
“Just watch,” Metcalf said. “I mean I can’t really give you an answer for that. I’m going to show you how I won’t let it affect me.”
If Metcalf cannot be stopped? The roster, as currently constructed, might be going in a positive direction eventually.
The Seahawks have most of their projected starters on the offensive side of the ball under contract through at least the end of the 2023 season. General manager John Schneider and the front office have quickly built a foundation that should set up their next franchise quarterback for success, whether that winds up being Drew Lock (presently in a duel with Geno Smith as the Seahawks prep to close the preseason in Dallas), a 2023 draft pick, or a veteran acquisition.
At the skill positions, Seattle has inked Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to lucrative multi-year contracts in the past calendar year, ensuring one of the NFL's best receiving duos will stay in the Pacific Northwest through 2025. Behind them, Dee Eskridge and Freddie Swain each have at least two years remaining on their respective rookie deals and incoming rookies Bo Melton and Dareke Young could be contributors down the road.
After picking up athletic tight end Noah Fant's fifth-year option, the Seahawks will have two years to evaluate the former first-round pick and see where he fits into long-term plans. Fant, Colby Parkinson, and Will Dissly, who signed a three-year contract in March, will be around for at least two more seasons, providing a quality, diverse tight end group.
In the backfield, Rashaad Penny will become a free agent again in March after re-signing on a one-year, $5.75 million deal. If he has a big season, Seattle could easily re-sign him, but the arrival of second-round pick Ken Walker III (presently hobbled) gives the team a talented hedge at worst. DeeJay Dallas has two more years under contract, while Travis Homer will be a free agent next spring, creating some long-term questions from a depth perspective.
Most notably, the Seahawks invested two draft picks in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas to infuse youth and talent into their offensive line. Both tackles will be under contract through at least 2025, with Cross potentially a candidate to have his fifth-year option picked up for 2026. In the interior, guard Damien Lewis still has two years remaining on his rookie deal to grow with the rookie tackles and veteran Gabe Jackson remains signed through 2023.
Of course, Seattle still has to figure out the plan at center, which remains an area of concern beyond this season. Reunited with offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and line coach Andy Dickerson, who coached him in Los Angeles, Austin Blythe signed a one-year contract in March and will have to prove himself worthy of a long-term contract replacing departed starter Ethan Pocic. Given Jackson's age, his future with a rebuilding franchise may be up in the air as well.
Then there's the biggest red flag: who is going to play quarterback? More likely than not, that player isn't on the roster in the present. Finding a franchise signal-caller isn't easy and even considering the immense talent at the position in next year's class, there's no guarantee the Seahawks will land a long-term successor for Wilson in the 2023 NFL Draft.
But overall, Schneider and staff have to be pleased with the state of the roster given the upheaval that took place this offseason. With Metcalf, Lockett, Cross, Fant, and Lewis set to be around until at least 2023, Seattle has the building blocks in place to quickly climb back into contention.
Most importantly, the Seahawks will also have the draft and financial capital to dramatically improve their roster and plug in gaps over the next few years. OverTheCap estimates they will have nearly $40 million in cap room next spring and over $100 million in cap space in 2023. Additionally, if they have a quarterback they covet in next year's draft, they have the ammunition to move up and select that player with two first-round picks and two second-round picks.
While clouds loom over Seattle in the present without a surefire franchise quarterback on the roster, the future undoubtedly looks far brighter with talent already on the roster and an abundance of cap space and draft picks. The onus will fall on Schneider and the front office to capitalize on those resources over the next two offseasons and if they can, a lengthy rebuild in the post-Wilson era could be accelerated immensely.
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