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Field Gulls - All Posts The stupidest name in smart football analysis.

  • Russell Wilson was worth more wins than any other NFL player according to new metric
    by Tyler Alsin on January 22, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images For everyone who felt like the Seattle Seahawks this season would have been bad without Russell Wilson, we have an update: you are correct. For those who took it to this level, maybe not so much... The Seahawks would be 0-4,000 without Russell Wilson.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) January 13, 2020 The most recent analysis says that the Seahawks would be 7-9 this season using a replacement quarterback. Pro Football Focus (PFF) has declared that Russell Wilson was the best player in the NFL this year by Wins Above Replacement (WAR), naming him their Most Valuable Player (MVP) and throwing some shade at Pete Carroll along the way (LOL). What is PFF WAR? Well, I’d attach a couple of videos here to let the experts themselves walk you through it, but - and I say this with all honesty - they’re not even as good as this article hopes to be, which is to say, they are very bad. PFF is notorious for not explaining anything about what they’re doing. We’ll highlight some of the more interesting features in this piece. Numbers! Wilson being in first is as surprising as the Seattle Seahawks running on 1st and 10. Him being in first by that much, however, is more like the success of D.K. Metcalf. We all knew it was possible, but looking at numbers makes you wonder what the other guys did wrong. According to PFF, Wilson was a full 1.12 wins ahead of runner-up Patrick Mahomes. Russell Wilson won’t win the MVP this year, but his performance lines up with some of the great QB performances of the last decade. The water is a bit muddy here, but I believe that the biggest difference under PFF’s new formula is accounting for close wins, which has lowered the WAR ceiling across the board. This is their statement on the change we don’t actually use the number of wins each team achieved in our training of the model to map production to wins. Taking inspiration from Justis Mosqueda, we count all games decided by eight or fewer points as half of a win (regardless of which team actually won), which significantly increases the year-to-year stability in team strength. 14 of Seattle’s games this season qualify as games decided by eight or fewer points, which is kind of nuts. Here’s how the formula actually works, according to the brief synopsis that PFF offered recently: Summarizing: They use their standard 1-100 grades wherein somewhere around 88 is doing pretty good. A certain level of mystical sorcery takes place by trying to assign value for each player based on play and position especially (Running backs don’t matter is strong with these folks). Highlight that the Cincinnati Bengals are are worse than a replacement level team. Where things get really interesting is following PFF’s insistence that most NFL players are within a pretty small range of talent and impact. Below is their attempt to chart the difference in WAR in consecutive seasons. It does do a phenomenal job of showing how difficult it is to repeat a stellar performance. To oversimplify, a point below the blue line means that a player did not do as well the following season. Anything above the blue line (roughly) would represent what us common folk call “an improvement over last year”. That giant black hole indicates not only that most players play at largely the same level as all other players, but also that they are generally the same year after year. Notice specifically the right end of the chart - two of the 5.0+ WAR performances far below the median, and the third right at it. Even more striking, six of the seven 4.0+ WAR seasons were not repeated, while only one was. Wilson’s 2019 campaign put him squarely in the midst of some of the best seasons an NFL player can have. At least, according to Professional Focus on Football. Here’s what PFF had to offer about the difference in roster between Wilson and his MVP rival Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens: While Jackson had an entire offense built around his strengths and had a coaching staff that embraced analytics to extend drives and steal fine winning margins, Wilson was dealing with a situation that consistently put him behind the eight ball then asked him to dig the team out of a hole. The fact that he was able to do just that as consistently as he did only stands testament to his MVP-caliber season. Now we know full well that Carroll is rigidly dedicated to analytics, we’re just not always sure what numbers he’s using. Refreshingly, however, PFF concluded that in terms of value, Russell Wilson was king. What we can say, though, is that based on everything PFF is currently able to quantify, Russell Wilson, and not Jackson, added the most value to his team and is, therefore, the league’s MVP. When you try and see the entire board, Wilson dealt with much more adversity than Jackson did and was significantly ahead in terms of PFF WAR. So, Russell Wilson wins the award for a season in which there were two outstanding candidates. Fascinating that it takes a $35 million average to secure an additional four wins. Equally fascinating that Wilson was an entire win better than anybody else this year.

  • How much is Jarran Reed looking to make as a free agent?
    by John P. Gilbert on January 22, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports The Seattle Seahawks saw their season end against the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs, and while the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs still need to decide who will hoist the Lombardi this year, the Hawks have several decisions to make soon. In particular, on the defensive side of the ball, the Seattle defensive line could be gutted by free agency. Here’s how many snaps each member of the Seahawks defensive played in 2019: Jadeveon Clowney: 605 Quinton Jefferson: 589 Rasheem Green: 546 Poona Ford: 506 Jarran Reed: 479 Al Woods: 450 Branden Jackson: 418 Ziggy Ansah: 338 L.J. Collier: 152 Bryan Mone: 89 In case you haven’t figured it out, the players whose names are bolded in obnoxiously large font are set to be free agents come March. (Author’s note: I apologize for the obnoxiousness of the size and bolding of the soon-to-be free agents. I attempted to simply bold them, but when they ran through the name link tagger, they didn’t look different enough to be meaningful. Thus, you now get to enjoy the impending free agents bolded in “Heading 2” font. -JPG) All but Jackson are set to be unrestricted free agents, while Jackson is slated to be a restricted free agent. Obviously, everyone knows that Jadeveon Clowney is the big name guy who could lead a team to break the bank in free agency and land a whopper of a contract, and many Seahawks fans appear to be hoping that either Jefferson or Reed will give the team a hometown discount and sign a contract that is a great deal for the team. It appears as though fans looking for Reed to take a bargain contract with the team may be disappointed. Early last week, Reed had this to say on Twitter. RESPECT is what it’s all about— jarran reed (@1j_reed) January 14, 2020 Now, while I’m certain some will tell me I’m reading too much in to that, and that the tweet is far too ambiguous to state that it is a statement from a player looking for big money in free agency. However, there’s more to the puzzle. Yikes that’s disrespectfully low— jarran reed (@1j_reed) January 22, 2020 So, for those doubters about my interpretation of the first tweet, $8-10M is “disrespectfully low”. In short, just like with Frank Clark last offseason, it doesn’t appear as though Reed is looking to give any kind of hometown discount to the Hawks, nor should he. Reed fulfilled the obligations of his contract, and he’s now earned the ability to become a free agent and make as much money as he can. As for my projections on what kind of contract Reed could land, I’ll be doing projections for most Seahawks free agents in February, so you’ll have to stick around deeper into the offseason in order to see my highly valuable thoughts on that.

  • The Seahawks will be free to spend big in free agency
    by Alistair Corp on January 22, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images With the Seattle Seahawks’ 2019 season finished, they are out of the salary cap wilderness. The Seahawks carried a considerable amount of dead money on their cap through this season (over $26M), in large part due to the untimely end for both Kam Chancellor and Doug Baldwin. Now they enter the 2020 free agency period with a tremendous amount of flexibility, resources and reason to spend. According to Over the Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald, Seattle is projected to have the ninth most cap space when the new league year begins, at $57.9M. This includes projected rollover from the previous season. Teams with the most projected cap space in 20201 Colts- $91.8M2 Dolphins- $91.4M3 Bills- $81.8M4 Bucs- $81.5M5 Cowboys- $79.5M6 Broncos- $62M7 Giants- $61.9M8 Titans- $54.5M9 Seahawks- $57.9M10 Raiders- $53.3MFull list --->>>https://t.co/JdRg7AJ5FG— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) January 20, 2020 Adding to John Schneider and the Seahawks’ flexibility ahead of free agency is a trio of cuts which would balloon the team’s cap space up to $71.075M: Justin Britt (savings of $7.3M), Ed Dickson ($3M) and D.J. Fluker ($2.875M). Those three, plus the existing dead money hits from Gary Jennings and Amara Darboh, come out to a cool $5,105,503 dead money charge—or essentially a fifth of what Seattle was on the hook for in 2019. The Seahawks projected cap space would be welcome in any offseason, of course, but it might be arriving at just the right time. Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap also speculated that, because of the expiring CBA, teams may not be able to roll unspent cap space over from 2020 to 2021—essentially putting teams in a “use it or lose it” scenario. If Schneider and Seattle’s past as team builders is any indication, they will not hesitate to use it. One other thing on the rules for next year. Id think there is a chance that if you dont use the cap room you wont be able to carry it over since the CBA could run out. So if you were saving cap room for a rainy day, 2020 free agency may be that rainy day— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) January 20, 2020 Of course, the Seahawks won’t be bringing in nearly $70M worth of outside free agents. In house, Jadeveon Clowney, George Fant, Mike Iupati, Al Woods, Germain Ifedi, Quinton Jefferson and Jarran Reed all could be worth retaining at various price points. Looking a year ahead, 2021 free agents Shaquill Griffin and Chris Carson could be extended, too. Regardless of how Seattle approaches free agency, they will have the cap space to maneuver almost however they see fit. With stars from the Seahawks and other teams set to hit the open market and potentially no reason to hang onto extra space for the future, Seattle and Schneider could be approaching a spring of big spending.

  • Shaquem Griffin earned a place in the pass rush rotation for 2020 and beyond
    by Alistair Corp on January 22, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images The start to Shaquem Griffin’s career was a whirlwind, and that’s only counting up to half-time of his first career game against the Broncos. Crushed the Senior Bowl. Not invited to the Scouting Combine—then invited, and put together an inspirational performance. Watched 140 names go ahead of him in the 2018 NFL Draft, only to finally get drafted to the same team as his twin brother. An injury to defensive stalwart K.J. Wright opened the door for Griffin to start in Week 1 of his rookie season, on the same defense as his brother Shaquill. By half-time, Shaquem Griffin had been benched, at fault for a Denver touchdown and overmatched in space against an NFL passing attack. By Griffin’s second training camp he was no longer the fan favorite and inspirational story, he was an embattled sophomore, fighting for a roster spot in a position group that had a minimum of seven NFL-caliber linebackers. A roster spot seemed far away when Griffin went down with a knee injury which robbed him of the majority of the preseason. However, despite the injury and lack of opportunity, Griffin stuck on the 53 to begin the 2019 season. As the pass rush appeared more and more toothless, the calls for Griffin to crack the defensive line rotation grew louder. Here was a player who totaled 18.5 sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss over his final 26 college games, toiling away as a backup linebacker and on special teams, while the Seahawks were unable to create pressure against even the worst offensive lines. In prime-time against the 49ers in Week 10, Griffin got that opportunity as Seattle’s pass rush came alive with five sacks and 10 QB hits. Griffin played just 14 snaps in San Francisco, but it was immediately evident his speed fulfilled a need the Seahawks’ front had been crying out for. In Seattle’s next game, against the Eagles, Griffin’s snaps rose to 25 and he notched two QB hits and several more pressures. Ezekiel Ansah’s no-show 2019 hurt the Seahawks. Not only did they need a secondary rusher, they needed the type of rush he would have brought: Speed off the edge. When Ansah did show up—most notably in the regular season win in Philadelphia—he was winning with power. Instead, it was Griffin who brought the speed Seattle needed off the edge. Your browser does not support HTML5 video. In that same Seahawks victory, Griffin displayed another outstanding way he can disrupt the opposition, which proved to be perfect for the star player alongside him. Griffin is able to loop inside from the edge with tremendous short-area quickness, causing confusion and creating opportunity for those around him. A big part of why Ansah’s missing speed killed Seattle is that Jadeveon Clowney is a narrow rusher, someone who wins with either power or his devastatingly effective inside swim moves. He won’t threaten the corner, and it made the Seahawks’ pass rush all too predictable. The way Griffin could loop inside with devastating pace or turn the corner on an opposing tackle enabled Seattle to overload a certain side, and eased the predictability issue when he was on the field. As Griffin proved toward the end of the Seahawks’ divisional round loss, when he combined with his brother for a sack on Aaron Rodgers, he can make a difference for Seattle’s defense. Though it took until Week 10 for Griffin to see the field as a pass rusher, the sophomore averaged a pressure once every 7.5 rushes, with a total pressure percentage of 13.3 percent. It’s a small sample size, but over a full season (minimum 300 rushes) that would be a higher pressure percentage than edge rusher luminaries such as Calais Campbell, Melvin Ingram, Everson Griffen, Jason Pierre-Paul, Brandon Graham, Yannick Ngakoue, Jerry Hughes and Frank Clark, among others. Griffin became the Seahawks’ agent of chaos at the line of scrimmage over the second half of the season, pressuring opposing quarterbacks and creating countless more opportunities for the rushers around him with his frenetic energy. Griffin began the 2019 season fighting for a roster spot, but finished it by proving he deserves a role in 2020 and beyond.

  • Decision time for Seahawks on Jacob Hollister
    by John P. Gilbert on January 22, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports The Seattle Seahawks will be busy this offseason, likely working to retain several of their own free agents, including Jadeveon Clowney and Germain Ifedi, but in the coming weeks the team will also need to decide how to approach each of its four Restricted Free Agents (RFAs). The list of RFAs the Hawks have is: Jacob Hollister, Joey Hunt, Branden Jackson and David Moore and for each of those players the team will need to decide whether or not to extend a RFA tender. If they decide not to extend a tender, then the player becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent (to head off the question, non-tendered RFAs who become UFAs do not count towards comp pick calculations). If the team decides to extend a tender offer to a RFA, there are three different levels of tender offer that can be extended: First Round tender, Second Round tender or Original Round tender. Each tender comes with a salary determined by formula and specified by the league. While the exact tender amounts for RFAs for the 2020 season have yet to be announced, OverTheCap.com has historically been very close on the tender amounts, and their current projections are as follows: First Round tender: $4.667M Second Round tender: $3.278M Original Round tender: $2.144M The way the tenders work is that they are an offer for a one-year contract at the specified amount. If another team wishes to sign an RFA to a contract once free agency starts in March, they are required to give up a draft pick corresponding to the round of tender placed on the player. So, for example, if a player is given a second round tender and another team signs the player to an offer sheet, the new team must then send its second round pick to the player’s prior team. Now, in the middle of all of that, the player’s former team has the right of first refusal and can opt to match the contract given to the player in lieu of accepting the draft pick. In the case of an Original Round tender, the draft pick the new team would be required to give up is the same as the draft pick originally used to select the player when they came out of college. Now, in Hollister’s case, since he originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent, if an Original Round tender is used and another team signs him to an offer sheet, no draft pick compensation would need to be sent. The Hawks, however, would still retain the right of first refusal and be given the opportunity to match whatever contract Hollister signs with another team. So, with the mechanics of the tender system now laid out, it seems likely that the Hawks will extend one of the tenders to Hollister in order to bring him back for the 2020 season. Thus, the question becomes which level of tender they will choose to use. First round tenders are typically only used on players who play at premium positions and excel at their positions, such as the New England Patriots did with Malcolm Butler in 2017. With Hollister having cleared waivers when he was released at the end of training camp, it seems unlikely that even his productive 2019 campaign would move a team to the point where it would be willing to part with its first round pick in exchange for his services. That means there is no real need to consider the First Round tender. That leaves the Second Round tender and the Original Round tender. The difference between the two is not large, likely barely more than a million dollars, and the Hawks certainly have the cap space this offseason to afford the extra million. The question that needs to be answered is whether the team is afraid another team could sign Hollister to an offer sheet if he signs the original round tender. If the answer to that question is yes, and after a 41 catch, 3 touchdown performance in just 11 games it likely is, then it might make sense for the team to use the higher of the two options. A second round pick seems a high price to pay for a move tight end with questionable blocking skills, so it would almost certainly ensure Hollister is with the team again in 2020. So, my guess is that the team opts to extend a second round tender to Hollister, and that he and Russell Wilson team up once again to terrorize opponents this coming season.

 

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