The Seattle Seahawks were already set to look for some offensive line help this offseason. Before they could add anyone to the unit, they lost a key blocker.
Mike Iupati, an 11-year veteran who had started 25 games for the Seahawks the last two seasons, elected to retire at the age of 33. He confirmed his decision to The Spokesman-Review's Peter Harriman, saying, "My body was telling me it was time to close the door."
Iupati's retirement grabbed the attention of Russell Wilson, who wished him well in retirement on Instagram.
Iupati played his college ball at Idaho before being a first-round pick (17th overall) by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2010 NFL Draft. He played five seasons for the 49ers, making one AP All-Pro Team in 2012 and making the Pro Bowl in four consecutive seasons, thrice for the 49ers and once for the Arizona Cardinals.
During his career, Iupati played exclusively in the NFC West. The only team he didn't suit up for in that division was the Los Angeles Rams. All told, Iupati started 139 of 140 his career games played and only had one season in which he played less than 10 contests.
Iupati confirmed that he would miss playing football and also spoke about how much he loved playing in Seattle to end his career.
With Iupati gone, the Seahawks are going to have to have a hole to fill at the left guard spot.
As currently constructed, Jordan Simmons, who made six starts on the interior offensive line last season, would be penciled in as the replacement for Iupati. But given that Russell Wilson has expressed frustration with the team's blocking, Seattle seems likely to add to their offensive line this offseason, so there's no guarantee that Simmons will be the starter.
And, in fact, Iupati's retirement only makes it more likely that the team will look to add talent to their blocking unit via free agency and the draft.