We’ve reached the conclusion of the first week of free agency, and while the Seahawks haven’t been the most active team in the NFL, they’ve made some notable moves and had some equally significant departures.
Here’s a recap of what has transpired and what is left to accomplish.
CB Shaquill Griffin (Jaguars)
RB Carlos Hyde (Jaguars)
WR Phillip Dorsett (Jaguars)
WR David Moore (Panthers)
TE Jacob Hollister (Bills)
None of those departures are overly surprising, though it was reported that the Seahawks made a strong run to retain Griffin before he decided to return to his home state of Florida. The losses of Dorsett and Moore likely confirms that Seattle is in the market for at least one veteran wideout.
DT Poona Ford (signed to two-year extension)
TE Gerald Everett (signed to one-year contract)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (signed to one-year contract)
C Ethan Pocic (signed to one-year contract)
G Gabe Jackson (acquired via trade with the Raiders in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick)
RB Chris Carson (signed to a three-year contract)
Each move by Seattle this week served a specific purpose. Let’s start on the offensive line, where the Seahawks made a splash trade for Jackson. They’ll owe him $9.5 million for the next two seasons and they’re also now down to just three draft choices this year, but it was a move the team had to make.
The guard market in free agency was measly at best, and Jackson figures to be a significant upgrade over Mike Iupati and Jordan Simmons, assuming he steps in at left guard and Seattle doesn’t opt to shuffle Damien Lewis to the left side. The Seahawks are banking on Ethan Pocic taking a step forward in his second season as a starter, and the presence of Jackson might benefit Pocic as well. Seattle is likely done making significant moves along the offensive line in free agency, but don’t rule out the team taking one with their second-round pick. This year’s class is deep at guard and center.
Witherspoon’s $4 million deal serves as a budgeted replacement for Griffin. With D.J. Reed sure to start on one side, presumably on the left, it will be Witherspoon and Tre Flowers competing on the right side. There’s still a chance that Seattle brings in one more corner, potentially Quinton Dunbar.
Signing Ford to an extension rather than using a second-round tender helps save Seattle some money in 2021 while ensuring he’s under contract for 2022.
Everett got similar money to Greg Olsen a year ago ($6 million compared to Olsen’s $7 million), but will be expected to produce at a much higher level. His familiarity with Shane Waldron in Los Angeles should give Seahawks fans confidence that the team’s new OC signed off on signing Everett. He likely was the one who pushed for it. Everett is a supreme athlete and gives the Seahawks some much-needed yards after the catch ability and a potential seam stretcher. Seattle will use Everett in more of a featured capacity than he ever was with the Rams.
Seattle getting Carson back on Friday was a surprise, at least for me. I had assumed Carson, who was likely hoping for $8-10 million annually, would be too expensive for the Seahawks. He will make just over $7 million over the next two seasons on his new contract. While still pricey, Carson was easily the best running back on the market, and there's value in retaining a known commodity. That checks off another box on Seattle's to-do list as the Seahawks should be set at running back with Carson, Rashaad Penny, DeeJay Dallas, Travis Homer and Alex Collins.
What’s left to accomplish:
Edge rusher (at least one)
First thing’s first, Seattle will need to create some cap space, and it will be interesting to see how John Schneider goes about doing so. Edge rusher should end up being the team’s biggest remaining investment. Carlos Dunlap and Jadeveon Clowney are options to bring back to Seattle, but the Seahawks could also turn to a cheaper option like Aldon Smith. The level of investment in free agent edge rushers will indicate how much Seattle is banking on a big season from 2020 second-round pick Darrell Taylor, who didn’t play a snap as a rookie.
Mike Davis and Josh Reynolds are options at running back and receiver, respectively. Don’t be surprised if Seattle brings back Benson Mayowa and/or Bruce Irvin. K.J. Wright and Dunlap are likely going to end up being too expensive, but heck, maybe not given Carson's market being lower than expected. You can't rule anything out at this point with those two.
Cody Barton will be a player who will be watching closely whether or not Seattle signs a potential replacement for K.J. Wright. If Wright were to depart with no one replacing him, Barton would be penciled in to start at SAM with Jordyn Brooks playing full time at WILL.