Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson now faces the toughest schedule in the NFL


Russell Wilson will have six games against three of the best passing runs in 2021. (Getty)

Russell Wilson has come under fire for saying the Seahawks’ offensive line needs improvement, but the Arizona Cardinals simply made their pleas more realistic.

Lots: Watt’s move to NFC West increases Seahawks needs in OL

That’s because three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year JJ Watt agreed to a two-year, $ 31 million deal with the Cardinals.

In Arizona, Watt joins a strong passing career that also includes linebacker Chandler Jones, who tweeted Wilson a small chance about Watt’s arrival at the Cardinals on Monday.

Since 2012, Jones has had the most sacks (97.5) in the NFL, while Watt has the second most (95.5). They now play on the same defense, and the Cardinals, who had 48 sacks last year, could top 50 in 2021 with Watt.

Wilson’s Seahawks suddenly find themselves in a division that has Jones, Watt, Aaron Donald of the Rams, Nick Bosa of the 49ers and a slew of other first-round defensive linemen. It’s six torture games each season that come with the potential for more hits over Wilson.

This will make it more important for Wilson not to hold the ball for an average of 2.97 seconds when backing up, which was the fifth highest in the league last year. This also makes the Seahawks’ hiring of Shane Waldron as offensive coordinator that much more important. Waldron brings Kyle Shanahan-Sean McVay’s offensive flair to Seattle, which means a bit more running, a bit more two-tight end schemes and an emphasis on getting rid of the ball faster.

The addition of Watt to the Cardinals should prompt Wilson to work with Waldron on how to plan the offense away from these great pass-rushers. It also puts Seahawks general manager John Schneider in a position to move offensive line improvements to the top of his schedule.

Schneider has to make the right moves at base and center and make sure he has a solid third tackle in case Brandon Shell or Duane Brown are injured. The six games against NFC West opponents by the Seahawks will be the toughest any quarterback in the league faces this year.

Credit Cardinals GM Steve Keim. Ten teams were bidding on Watt, but Keim stepped up and fulfilled Watt’s wish for more than $ 15 million a year. Watt is a future Hall of Famer and hails from the great first-round draft class of 2011.

A lot of cool things are happening with that class. Cam Newton was the first pick and had a great career in Carolina, but he doesn’t have a team right now after a disappointing year with New England. Cornerback Patrick Peterson, the eighth pick in that draft, is expected to drop the Cardinals into free agency. The Denver Broncos are deciding whether to choose the optional year of linebacker Von Miller, who has been in eight Pro Bowls. Center Mike Pouncey just retired from the Los Angeles Chargers. He was the 15th pick in the 2011 draft and went to the Pro Bowl four times. Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver AJ Green, a seven-time Pro Bowler, is heading to free agency.

Say what you want, but the NFC West is still the most aggressive division in soccer.

The Seahawks traded Jamal Adams. The Rams traded for Jalen Ramsey and Matthew Stafford. The 49ers traded for Trent Williams. The division is loaded with great talent. But teams now have to be careful with the Cardinals. Kyler Murray is a rising star as a quarterback and the defense improved a lot with the acquisition of Watt.

Follow John Clayton on Twitter.

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