(This series focuses on the x-factors/wildcards on the Seahawks roster who will make or break Seattle’s 2020 season.)
Boy do the Seahawks desperately need one more standout year from Duane Brown.
The four-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro is coming off of an injury-plagued campaign in 2019. Brown missed four regular season games and the first-round of the playoffs with bicep and knee injuries.
When he was on the field, Brown showed he was still capable of playing at a high level, and he gave the Seahawks everything. His return in the Divisional Round against the Packers, just two weeks removed from knee surgery, was downright heroic for the 34-year-old.
Brown has 12 seasons of wear and tear from repelling edge rushers under his belt. But can the Seahawks get 16 games out of Brown in Year 13? Brown told reporters this offseason that he feels 100% thanks to an offseason of rehab and a focus on yoga and injury prevention.
“This year my goal is just to stay as healthy as possible and be out there every Sunday,” Brown said back in May. “That’s all I’m really concerned with.”
Brown might be the only holdover from Seattle’s offensive line last year. There will be new faces from center to right tackle with the team’s left guard job also up for grabs in training camp. That puts a lot of pressure on Brown to be the stabilizing force, both in his play and what he brings as a leader.
“If he can’t perform or is injured, they’re sunk,” Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune said on a recent episode of the Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast. “They need him. He may be the only returning starter to this offensive line.
“He’s the best blocker they have, and he’s the backside protector to Russell Wilson. That’s why they pay him the bucks that he’s got. He’s still a Pro Bowl-caliber player when he’s not hurt. He’s also become a force in that locker room as a voice and example-wise to the rest of the team.”
Brown will make $12.5 million in 2020 and has a $13 million cap number in 2021. He’s certainly playing for his future this season as Seattle can cut him next offseason and save $11 million with just $2 million in dead money.
The Seahawks would gladly pay him that money if Brown is able to earn it this fall.