Seahawks free agency: What did Seattle accomplish?
Seattle made only marginal moves in free agency with the biggest moves being acquiring a kicker and retaining three free agents. But each move certainly comes with some value to the team moving forward.
Seattle shocked many by going 10-6 last season with a relatively young roster. If internal improvement among the younger players plays out then the Seahawks, armed with the league's top rushing attack a year ago and one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, should be right back in the playoff mix.
But can they become Super Bowl contenders? That remains to be seen. But there's no denying that the Seahawks are at least as good as they were last season following the start of the free agency period.
Right guard D.J. Fluker
Seattle led the NFL in rushing last season in large part because of the attitude and desire infused with the addition of D.J. Fluker, acquired last spring after the New York Giants released him.
Fluker gave the Seahawks a legitimate veteran guard and changed the balance of the offensive line. With the loss of veteran J.R. Sweezy to Arizona this week, it became imperative that Seattle resign Fluker, and it did, giving the six-year veteran a two-year deal worth $9 million.
Fluker will remain the starting right guard, but who will start at left guard now that Sweezy is gone? (Continue on for the answer).
Kicker Jason Myers
Kickers can be ballers, too.
Having a kicker be your biggest free agent acquisition isn't exactly going to bring sexy back, but in a league where most games are close, having a good kicker is a must. Myers, who signed a four-year deal worth about $15 million, is certainly an upgrade over the 41-year-old Sebastian Janikowski. A Pro Bowler with the New York Jets last season, Myers made 33 36 field goal attempts (91.7 percent) while making six of seven from 50 yards or more and 11-of-12 from between 40 and 49 yards.
The irony here is that the Seahawks had Myers in camp last season but cut him in favor of Janikowski.
Seattle now has two Pro Bowl kicking specialists from 2018 on the roster. Rookie punter Michael Dickson made the NFC Pro Bowl team.
For a team not built to win very many games in blowout fashion - seven games last year were decided by three points or less - having elite performers at punter and kicker can make all the difference for the Seahawks.
Linebackers K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks
The feel-good story of free agency for Seattle is the return of linebacker K.J. Wright. Plagued by injuries last season, Wright played in just six games counting the playoff loss at Dallas.
It seemed iffy that Seattle would bring Wright back given that he will turn 30 in July, and that Seattle has famously moved on from other former star veterans such as Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch and Earl Thomas (who signed with Baltimore this week).
But Wright and Seattle came to terms on a two-year deal worth $15.5 million to bring back one of three remaining players form the Super Bowl era (Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson are the others).
A linebacking trio of Wagner, a healthy Wright and Mychal Kendricks, also retained after spending part of the season with Seattle, should be quite formidable.
Guard Mike Iupati
Back to the offensive line.
The loss of Sweezy to Arizona created a hole at left guard that theoretically could be filled by Ethan Pocic, a second-round pick in 2017 that has yet to live up to that billing but has certainly shown flashes. Pocic could ultimately win that job but the addition of guard Mike Iupati, 31, offers veteran insurance just in case Pocic isn't quite ready.
Luptai, an eight-year veteran who has played for San Francisco and most recently Arizona, is a four-time Pro Bowl performer with 114 career starts under his belt.
He is a big (6-5, 335), physical lineman that should do well in Seattle's rushing attack.