July 30, 2019
Happy Training Camp, my 12s! It's been an anxiety-spiking off-season for all of us with the expected retirement of Kam Chancellor, the unexpected retirement of Doug Baldwin, the messy departure of Earl Thomas, and the big pre-draft trade of Frank Clark. Like clockwork, many social media bobbleheads are confidently predicting the Kingdome-level implosion of this team in 2019. They were wrong in 2018, as usual, because.. uhh... Pete and John.. uhh... Find a way.
(apologies for trying to drop an Ian Malcolm reference without even busting out a proper meme...)
It's worth noting that the organization has a stable front office with a harmonious GM-Coach relationship, that this is a team coming off a 10-win season, that the aforementioned GM successfully stockpiled draft capital and locked up our offensive and defensive superstars to long-term deals, and that the team's cap situation is solid and the roster is getting younger rather than older. So, I feel pretty good going into the 2019 campaign.
But, what if you're thinking about blowing some dough on a new Seahawks jersey? That's not a decision to be made lightly. You don't want to end up like me in 2007, the crest-fallen owner of a kicker's jersey who bolted via free agency less than a year after you bought the threads (and he turned out to be a total shitbasket to boot). I'm here to help, so let's get into it.
As usual, let's start with the 1st Commandment of jersey ownership: NEVER PUT YOUR JERSEY IN THE DRYER! Dryers kill jerseys! Don't do it under any circumstances. If you abide by this decree your jersey(s) should hold up for a nice, long spell. If possible, hand-wash them or wash them on the delicate cycle in cold water by themselves. Quality-wise, there's no compelling reason to opt for the more opulent Nike models. The $100 replicas ("game" jerseys) are plenty expensive, and will look sharp for years with proper care. In my experience, the screen-printed numbers on the "game" jerseys actually hold up better and longer than the stitched-on ones adorning the more expensive Nike jerseys. Please note - If you are lucky enough to fit into a "youth" size, those are significantly cheaper.
For the purposes of this guide, I'm setting aside throwbacks (though I'm hanging onto my gunmetal blue Matthew Hasselbeck jersey until the red & swelling Sun swallows the incinerated Earth - Sidebar on throwbacks that are sold at NFL Shop: It's nice that there are more options right now than I've seen in years past. I saw Largent, Jones, Easley, Kennedy, Alexander, and Zorn. Those are all great choices! Also, I think it's neat that you can now get a Ricky Watters or a Warren Moon jersey. I had both of those back in the 90s and I should have held onto them. But - Bosworth? And you can get a Moon jersey - Who only played in 25 games as a Seahawk - but you can't get a Dave Krieg? Boooo. Weeeak!).
I'm also not going to address personalized jerseys and #12 jerseys (I've changed my tune on the #12's over the years. I used to be dead-set against buying them, but given how precarious roster spots can be under PCJS's rule, I can't blame a fan for playing it safe with such a substantial investment).
I have a weird thing about not wanting to wear an injured player's jersey. I'm not a superstitious type, but I feel out of sorts if I'm wearing a player's jersey while he's hurt. Thus, I tend to shy away from players who have a history of injury problems. I'm also hesitant to buy a jersey of a rookie or a new free agent acquisition. What if they suck? Then you're wearing a big 'ol shroud of suck, aren't you?
So what jerseys should you avoid? Which ones are risky buys? Which ones are awesome, at least somewhat unique, and not likely to burn you a year from now? Let's start with the solid no's.
Last year, I advised y'all against getting an ETIII or a Frank Clark jersey. Sadly in Earl's case, and GLADLY in Clark's case, I was proven right. So who should y'all stay away from this season?
Jarran Reed: Suspended for six games to start the season, due to hit free agency in 2020, and... nah, I'm not gonna buy a jersey of a guy who's been accused of violence against women.
Mychal Kendricks: Solid player, and I'm glad it looks like he'll be available for all of the 2019 season. But he's a free agent in 2020 who might still be heading to prison for insider trading. Nope.
Ezekiel Ansah: A new free agent on a 1-year deal who is coming off a significant injury? That's like a perfect storm of "don't buy."
Other Notable Players Who Are Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) After the 2019 Season: George Fant, Mike Iupati, Jaron Brown, Nick Vannett, J.D. McKissic.
Notable Restricted Free Agents After the 2019 Season: David Moore
Coming Back From A Major Injury: Will Dissly
Rookies: JS worked his Dwight-Schrute at-the-Dunder-Mifflin-garage-sale magic to get us 11 picks in the 2019 draft. Wow! I still wouldn't run out and get any of these kids' jerseys just yet, even though I'm pretty psyched to see what D.K. Metcalf can do.
Other Notable New Free Agents: Jason Myers, Mike Iupati, Geno Smith
THE 10 BEST OPTIONS
10. Shaquill Griffin
Quill experienced a horrific sophomore slump in 2018 but I fully expect him to bounce back to his rookie-year form in year 3 with the Seahawks. His rookie deal runs through the 2020 season. Sidebar: I haven't bought that sweet-looking Griffin Brothers Pop Figure set yet because I'm not 100% convinced that Quem makes the roster this fall. But once he survives? I'm probably plopping down the $ to get that.
9. K.J. Wright
Wright is one of only three players remaining on the roster from the XLVIII-winning team (along with Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson). Injuries limited him to five games last season, but he was effective enough to convince PCJS to sign him to a new 2-year extension that will keep him in Seattle through the 2020 season.
8. Michael Dickson
Yeah, he's a punter. But he's a sexxxxxxy punter. Pro Bowl and All-Pro his rookie season and already one of the best (if not the very best) punter in the NFL. It certainly doesn't hurt in my book that he's cute and Australian, either. He's also under team control contract-wise through the 2021 season.
7. Poona Ford
The UDFA Longhorn over-delivered in his rookie season, ultimately ending up as the 10th best interior defensive tackle in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. With multiple pieces around him being replaced for one reason or another, he'll be expected to repeat that surprising performance in 2019. His rookie deal keeps him in Seattle through the 2020 season.
6. Duane Brown
The Hawks have swiftly improved their offensive line play, and Brown is one of the biggest reasons why. After being acquired from Houston, he's extended his stellar run as one of the best left tackles in the game. If you want to stand out from the crowd and get an offensive lineman's jersey, #76 is a great choice. He's under contract through 2021, but the main concerns with him are his age (34) and past injury issues.
5. Bradley McDougald
McDougald is coming off an outstanding 2018 campaign where he had a knack for making big plays in crucial spots and was, according to Pro Football Focus, the 4th best safety in coverage last season across the league. He's also under contract through the 2020 season, so if you want his jersey there's no good reason to wait.
4. Chris Carson
Last season Carson bounced back from a catastrophic 2017 injury to become the primary weapon in Seattle's ground attack. He became the Seahawks' first 1000-yard rusher since 2014 and provided a number of eye-popping highlights, punctuated by his full flip in Charlotte against the Panthers. Injuries are a bit of a lingering concern, and his touches may decline if the Hawks embrace a running-back-by-committee approach.
3. Tyler Lockett
Lock singed a contract that will keep him in Seattle through 2021, and is coming off a season where he saw career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. With Angry Doug's retirement it's safe to say that he'll be Wilson's number one target in 2019. Given that last year RW3 had a perfect passer rating when targeting Lockett, and also given that Lock leads all receivers since 2009 on this metric, today's a good day to snap up a #16 jersey.
2. Russell Wilson
I remember going to bed that one night this spring worried that I would wake up to news that our franchise quarterback had been traded. That was never likely - Russ will be a career Seahawk unless some bizarre circumstance intervenes - but with PCJS, you can never rule out the bold, unpopular, maybe even perplexing move. What did I wake up to in the middle of the night? An uncomfortably intimate Instagram post from the WolfBadger, naked in bed with his wife, telling us a deal got done. As the kids said for a minute there - Weird flex, but ok. The important thing is that our most indispensable player is locked down through the 2023 season.
RW3 is such a joy to watch. I was at the Kansas City game last December, and the sheer spectacle of him out-dueling Patrick Mahomes was close to overwhelming. No one throws a better deep ball than Russ, and there's no one that I'd rather have with the ball in his hands when needing a score to win the game. His game is bewitching, and I have no doubt that his most magical and death-defying feats are yet to come.
1. Bobby Wagner
Four appearances on the All-Pro first team. Five-time Pro Bowler. Only 29 years old, and under contract until 2022. Devilishly handsome. Total Bad Ass. Bobby edges out Russ mainly due to relative novelty/the fact that his jersey will be the next one I buy. One thing that has stung over the last year and change is seeing future Ring-of-Honor inductees on that dominant defense leave the team - And in the cases of ETIII and Sherm, the divorces were very public and painfully bitter. Seeing Bwagz commit to staying in Seattle, and then also muse about wanting to be a career Hawk with multiple rings and a "jersey in the rafters?" That's exactly what us 12s want to hear from the best linebacker in the game.
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