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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Tim Weaver

Leonard Williams trade a bad move by Seahawks, according to PFF

What a difference a month makes. For the minute there, it really did seem like these Seattle Seahawks had a window to break into the Super Bowl contender conversation, or at least overtake the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West race. Fast forward a handful of games and the Seahawks don’t look any better than they did last season, while the Niners are now considered five-point favorites on a neutral field against any NFL team. As for Sunday’s matchup in Santa Clara, they’re favored by 12.5 points.

To be fair, nobody sees what’s coming and the Seahawks made an aggressive move to try to punch through the scrum and emerge as a real contender. That’s why they traded second and fifth-round picks to the New York Giants in exchange for defensive end Leonard Williams, one of the top interior defensive linemen in the league.

Unfortunately, that trade has aged poorly pretty quickly. While Williams has performed well on the field it’s become painfully clear that the Seahawks are still very far behind the best teams in the game – making the draft capital they gave up more precious than anything Williams might offer.

Here’s a nugget from Pro Football Focus which takes Seahawks general manager John Schneider to task for the move.

“The decision to move second- and fifth-round picks for Leonard Williams, a 29-year-old pending free agent who is not franchise-taggable, has received virtually zero criticism, despite it being an arguably worse move than the Chicago Bears trading for Montez Sweat. Understandably, the Seahawks saw a window to get aggressive after the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers dropped three straight games, but Seattle subsequently got demolished 37-3 by the Ravens in Week 9.”

If your knee-jerk reaction is to call PFF wrong one should keep in mind that truth hurts – and getting defensive is likely a sign you know they’re right.

The Seahawks can still get a high-end comp pick back if they let Leonard Williams walk in free agency. However, the fact that Williams has bought a house in the Seattle area indicates he intends to sign a long-term contract after this season is over.

Williams is a great player, but the trade is a questionable move and part of a broader trend of mismatched pieces on this roster. While there are some quality young foundational pieces in place, their franchise quarterback just turned 33, their defense would probably fall apart without their 33-year old middle linebacker and a lot of key contributors are on the wrong side of that critical 30-year old landmark.

What are we doing here? Where is the window, exactly? How do Schneider and Pete Carroll plan to break into that elusive tier of top-eight teams when they keep getting decimated in the trenches by any team that really matters, even after they’ve invested a ton of resources on their defensive line?

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