The contract the Seahawks are giving J'Marcus Webb also indicates he could be slated for a starting tackle spot in 2016.
The Seahawks signed an offensive tackle Tuesday.
But it wasn’t Russell Okung, who remained mulling over his options even as a few of them appeared to close.
Instead, it was former Oakland Raider J’Marcus Webb, who signed a two-year contract worth $6 million with the Seahawks.
The 6-7, 325-pound Webb played mostly right guard in 2016 for the Raiders, starting the first 13 games of the season there. But he started the final three at right tackle, a position he had also played earlier in a career that dates to 2010.
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And while Webb could end up at either spot, the Seahawks listed Webb specifically as a tackle in a press release announcing his signing, as strong an indication as the team — which otherwise is remaining silent during the free agent process — could give about where he could play.
Garry Gilliam played right tackle for the Seahawks last season but could be moved to the left side depending on what happens with Okung, which could open the door for Webb on the right side.
Webb could also end up replacing the departed J.R. Sweezy at right guard, though the Seahawks may be looking at second-year player Mark Glowinski to fill in there.
And depending on how things turn out, Webb could end up contending for the left tackle spot, a position he played during the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the Bears (he originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round pick of Chicago in 2010. He started at right tackle for the Bears against the Seahawks in a divisional playoff game in 2011 won by Chicago 38-24).
Regardless of where he ends up, the money given Webb, which included $2.45 million guaranteed, indicates the Seahawks see him having a significant role on the team in 2016. For the moment, his $3 million annual salary makes him the highest-paid offensive lineman on the team. Webb’s $3 million per-year average would be among the top 20 guards in the NFL in 2016 but would rank No. 42 among right tackles.It was also a significant raise for Webb, who made $745,000 in 2015.
The money also makes Webb the highest-paid of the three outside free agents the Seahawks have signed so far. The other two are defensive tackle Sealver Siliga (one year, $1.4 million) and offensive lineman Bradley Sowell (one year, $1.5 million).
Sowell played left tackle for the Cardinals in 2013 and was a reserve the last two seasons, and is likely projected initially as a likely replacement for Alvin Bailey, the team’s primary guard/tackle reserve last year. Bailey signed last week with Cleveland as a free agent.
The signings of Sowell and Webb give the Seahawks 11 offensive linemen under contract.
But one big question remains — the status of Okung.
Seattle’s starting left tackle since 2010, Okung — who is serving as his own agent — was said to still be considering his options after having taken visits to the Giants, Lions and Steelers over the weekend.
However, the Steelers appeared to be off the table after Pittsburgh on Tuesday signed free agent left tackle Ryan Harris, previously of Denver.
And the Giants also appeared to be exploring non-Okung options, reportedly setting up a visit with Oakland left tackle Donald Penn. Penn, who turns 33 next month, has also been reported as an option for the Seahawks depending on what happens with Okung.
That meant that the battle for Okung could come down to the Lions (who are looking for competition for incumbent left tackle Riley Reiff) or the Seahawks. A league source reiterated that the Seahawks remain an option for Okung.
Pro Football Talk reported that some around the league are questioning Okung’s apparent desire for a contract that would pay him $11-13 million annually, especially since he is recovering from surgery last month to repair a dislocated shoulder suffered in the Seahawks’ divisional playoff loss at Carolina.
Seattle’s left tackle options also thinned out, though, as Kelvin Beachum, formerly of Pittsburgh, signed with Jacksonville.
That appeared to leave the Seahawks left with signing either Okung or Penn to fill their apparent left tackle opening, or waiting for another player to fall into their lap (such as a player released later) or waiting for the NFL Draft April 28-30.
The signings left the Seahawks with a little over $10 million in cap space (though that number does not include the $6.5 million that will come off when Marshawn Lynch officially retires).