Danny O’Neil writes that Yannick Ngakoue fits what the Seahawks need for 2020. (Getty)
A pre-emptive warning: I am going to eventually use a torturous analogy from a black-and-white movie that is more than 25 years old to explain why the Seahawks should be willing to offer whatever draft picks they still have next year in exchange for Jacksonville defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.
The movie analogy is going to be a little silly, but I’m dead serious about the offer. I don’t know if it will be enough. After all, the Seahawks have already sent their first-round pick and their third-rounder to the Jets for Jamal Adams, and Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network said the Jaguars are seeking more than a second for Ngakoue. But Seattle has already invested enough into the outcome of this season that I wouldn’t hesitate to punt the rest of next year’s draft to add Ngakoue to the pass rush.
Now is not the time to get timid about long-term risks. To borrow a poker term, the Seahawks are pot committed, meaning they’ve already staked so much on the outcome of this season that they should be more willing to make additions that will increase their chances of winning, not less willing. What are you saving draft picks for if you’ve already given up your two most valuable chips over the next two years to acquire Adams?
And that brings us to “Clerks,” a movie from Kevin Smith that was released back in 1993. The film chronicles what turns out to be a uniquely miserable 8 hours in the life of one Dante Hicks, who is summoned to work at the convenience store where he is employed on what should be his day off.
Hicks was not even supposed to be there on this particular day, a fact he repeats with annoying frequency. Of particular concern to Hicks is a street hockey game he had previously scheduled, and when no one shows up to relieve him so he can play in said game, he improvises a solution: Summon the other players to the store. He locks up and the game is played on the roof.
Afterward, one of the players asks Dante if he can take a Gatorade from the store. Dante says no, pointing out that if he lets one fellow take a Gatorade, every other player will want one. I present now a redacted transcription of the scene because there are a lot of naughty words in what is a fairly crude film.
• Dante: Hey, I have a responsibility here. I can’t have everybody grabbing free drinks.
• Sanford: Responsibility? What responsibility? You’re closing the (flipping) store to play hockey!
• Randal “The Bezerker”: He’s blunt, but he’s got a point.
• Dante: Will you let me maintain some semblance of managerial control here?
• Sanford: No, all I’m sayin’ is that if you’re gonna’ be insubordinate, you might as well go the full 9, not (chicken) out when it comes to free (Gatorade) to drink.
Ngakoue is the Gatorade. The Seahawks have already packaged off two of their first three picks in next year’s draft for a safety that they think will push them over the top. While you can debate the price that Seattle paid, there’s no question about the motivation: Seattle saw an opportunity to add a player it thinks can get it over that hump of losing on the road in the divisional round of the playoffs as it has in three of the past five seasons.
What’s a few more draft picks to land a pass rusher like Ngakoue? Sure, the Seahawks added Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin in free agency, but Jadeveon Clowney’s asking price was too high and now Darrell Taylor – Seattle’s second-round pick – has yet to be cleared to practice and may not be ready for the start of the regular season.
Some people will worry that Seattle has already given up too much draft capital to win now, but actually, that’s precisely the reason the Seahawks shouldn’t hesitate to give up a little more if it will improve their chances of making that gamble pay off in the biggest way possible.