When the Philadelphia Eagles traded JJ Arcega-Whiteside to the Seattle Seahawks for Ugo Amadi, it felt like one of the more improbable moves of Howie Roseman’s career.
Mind you, it wasn’t because the Eagles’ GM was able to get an incredible return for a player he was planning on releasing or because Amadi was a diamond in the rough performer who would go on to start for years to come. No, the reason Eagles fans the world over were shocked in the best way to see JJAW traded away was because Roseman actually found a team willing to give something up for his services.
Now granted, Amadi was probably headed for the waiver wire before he landed in Philadelphia. Despite playing a ton of meh snaps as the Seahawks’ slot cornerback, Seattle replaced him with Justin Coleman in free agency and Coby Bryant in the draft and thus wasn’t all that eager to keep him around. But still, the Eagles jumped on the opportunity to get something for nothing and were able to then re-route Amadi to Tennessee for a conditional sixth-round pick that may be included in the Chauncey Gardner-Johnson trade.
All things considered, things worked out pretty darn well for the Eagles. They have great depth in their defensive backfield thanks to the Gardner-Johnson acquisition and actually had to say goodbye to a few wide receivers and tight ends who would have made the team in the past; players like Noah Togiai, Deon Cain, and Greg Ward.
But what about Seattle’s side of the equation? Did JJAW work out in the Emerald City? Well, considering he was waived in the trimdown to 53, the answer to that question appears to be a resounding no.
The Seattle Seahawks learned the same lesson as the Philadelphia Eagles about JJAW.
On paper, the Seattle Seahawks could use a wide receiver like Arcega-Whiteside. Sure, they have top-end talent in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and opted to keep four more wide receivers, including one-time Eagle Marquise Goodwin, but only one of those four other receivers, Dareke Young, is taller than 5-foot-11, and the rookie seventh round pick out of Lenoir Rhyne isn’t exactly expected to make a huge impact this fall.
Considering the Seahawks are a run-heavy team who will likely lean into that identity with Geno Smith and/or Drew Lock under center this fall, having a big, blocking receiver who can contribute on special teams and cross-train at tight end could be incredibly valuable.
The problem? JJAW just didn’t show up for the Hawks.
After receiving two targets in his Seattle preseason debut against the Chicago Bears – neither of which he caught – Arcega-Whiteside didn’t log a snap against the Dallas Cowboys in the team’s preseason finale and was quietly waived shortly thereafter. While this decision may have been tactical in order to sneak the former second-round pick onto the practice squad, it’s just as likely Pete Caroll realized what Philly fans know all too well: Arcega-Whiteside just isn’t very good.
In the NFL, every team misses on draft picks now and again. All of the tape, measurables, and interviews in the world can’t perfectly predict how a player will perform going from the NCAA to the NFL, and that will remain the case no matter how advanced analytics metrics become. While trading away Arcega-Whiteside for what effectively amounts to a sixth-round pick is a pretty significant loss on investment, it’s better than losing him for nothing, which is the situation Seattle finds themselves in.