The Seahawks have already checked a box off their offseason to-do list.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday that veteran tight end Greg Olsen has signed a one-year, $7 million deal with Seattle.
Former Panthers’ TE Greg Olsen is signing a one-year, $7 million deal that includes $5.5M gtd with the Seahawks, per source. Olsen visited and negotiated with Buffalo, Seattle and Washington but felt most comfortable with the Seahawks.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 18, 2020
Olsen immediately provides the Seahawks with an insurance policy on Will Dissly, who will be working his way back from a torn Achilles in 2020. Seattle needed a quality option, and the Seahawks opted to go the veteran route rather than find a tight end in the draft.
Beyond that, Olsen showed in 2019 that he can still be productive. The 34-year-old (soon to be 35 in March) caught 52 passes for 597 yards and two touchdowns last season. His debut with the Seahawks will mark the beginning of his 14th NFL season. Olsen was originally drafted in the first round by the Bears in 2007. He spent four seasons in Chicago before playing for the Panthers for the last seven.
Schefter reported that Olsen was also in deep talks with Washington and Buffalo, but ultimately signed with Seattle due to the allure of playing with Russell Wilson. The two have crossed paths during the Panthers and Seahawks many matchups over the last several seasons, and they also each made the Pro Bowl in 2015. For his career, Olsen has 718 receptions for 8,444 yards and 59 touchdowns.
Once Dissly is healthy, Olsen will allow the Seahawks to regularly operate out of 12 personnel. That works perfectly given Seattle's current set of skill players as DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are the only two dependable wideouts on the roster. Having Metcalf, Lockett, Olsen and Dissly on the field at the same time should be a regular occurrence in 2020.
Ed Dickson still has a year left on his contract but he isn't likely to remain on the roster following this move. Jacob Hollister is still an option as a No. 3 tight end. Seattle would be wise to keep Hollister (he's currently set to become a restricted free agent) around given his moderate success in 2019 (41-349-3) as well as the injury histories for both Olsen and Dissly.
Olsen benefitted from hitting the open market prior to the official start of free agency, which doesn't begin until March 18. The tight end and the Panthers mutually parted ways on Jan. 30 which made him an immediate free agent. Seattle quickly showed interest, as did Buffalo and Washington (notably coached by Ron Rivera now). Because he was released, signing him won't cost Seattle a compensatory pick as ESPN's Brady Henderson wisely pointed out.
Two thoughts from Colombia on Greg Olsen: he won’t cost the Seahawks a comp pick since he was cut. That’s significant. Would they have guaranteed a 35-year-old $5.5M (per @AdamSchefter) otherwise? And it’s a strong indication that Ed Dickson won’t be back. https://t.co/KEMOr7VSuO— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) February 18, 2020
It makes sense that Olsen opted to play with Wilson rather than Washington's Dwayne Haskins or Buffalo's Josh Allen. Wilson gives Olsen the security that the Seahawks will be in contention for what is likely to be one lone season in the Pacific Northwest. Olsen is set to embark on a broadcasting career once he finally decides to call it quits. Many thought that the tight end had played his last snap. Instead, he'll be one of Wilson's go-to targets in 2020.