We’re two full weeks into the NFL free-agent signing period.
While the Seahawks might not have been the most active team — the Patriots took that mantle and ran away with it on Day One — they’ve done their share, especially in the last week as they reloaded their defensive line after making big moves to solidify their running-back and offensive-line corps.
To quickly recap what the Seahawks have done:
- Signed four outside free agents — defensive end Kerry Hyder, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, defensive tackle Al Woods and tight end Gerald Everett.
- Made one trade, acquiring guard Gabe Jackson from the Raiders for a 2021 fifth-round draft choice.
- Re-signed eight of their free agents — defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa, running back Chris Carson, fullback Nick Bellore, defensive tackle Poona Ford and offensive linemen Ethan Pocic, Jordan Simmons and Cedric Ogbuehi.
With free agency entering the second and third phases — when signings slow as teams turn their attention to the draft — it’s a good time to assess what the Seahawks have done and still need to get done.
So, let’s rank the Seahawks’ position groups in terms of need.
Cornerback: Are Witherspoon and the returning D.J. Reed and Tre Flowers enough to make a winning cornerback group? Maybe. The Seahawks seem likely to add another veteran, be it re-signing Quinton Dunbar — which seems the highest percentage move — or, possibly, Richard Sherman. The recent moves to beef up the defensive line don’t leave much money, which might be an issue with Sherman.
Linebacker: So what’s going to happen with K.J. Wright? Things have been quiet on that front as the Seahawks have attacked other, seemingly more pressing, needs and there hasn’t been much linking Wright to other teams other than an SI.com report Friday that said the Cowboys were always one of his “dream teams.’’ The Seahawks surely are hoping to get a bargain on Wright, as they ended up doing with Dunlap, Carson and a few others whose markets didn’t develop the way they might have thought.
If they don’t re-sign Wright, are the Seahawks content to go with Cody Barton as the strongside linebacker? Maybe they could wait to sign Bruce Irvin if he shows he has recovered from a knee injury suffered last September that required a second surgery. Irvin sent out a cryptic tweet last week that some took as indicating he might be done with football, stating “I think it’s time.’’ Still a little left to sort out here.
Receiver: Do the Seahawks need to add someone to compete for the third receiver spot? They obviously didn’t consider it a priority, watching David Moore and Phillip Dorsett sign elsewhere and not bringing in any replacements. Maybe the Seahawks are happy with the idea of Freddie Swain/Penny Hart/John Ursua competing for that spot. But the guess here is they will add a cut-rate veteran or two at some point.
Among the available names are former Seahawk Golden Tate, former 49er Marquise Goodwin, Cordarrelle Patterson (who could also help the return game) and Tavon Austin, who played a season with the Rams in 2017 when new Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron was there. And then there’s the wild card — Antonio Brown. Until he signs elsewhere, rumors will persist that the Seahawks will be interested.
Offensive line: The Seahawks have 12 offensive linemen under contract, including six of the top seven from last year along with prized trade acquisition Jackson. His $9.6 million salary-cap hit is the largest of any newcomer, indicative of the expectations that greet his arrival. The guess here is that the Seahawks are done making significant veteran free-agent additions to the line, but using their second-round draft choice on a lineman makes all the sense in the world.
Defensive tackle: The surprising release last week of Jarran Reed shook things up at this spot (Reed signed quickly with the Chiefs on Sunday with a one-year deal reported to be worth $5 million, less than the $8.5 million he was assured of making with Seattle in 2021). Quickly adding the veteran Woods — who in 2019 arguably played the run as well as Reed, and that will be his primary duty now — and re-signing Ford to buy out his restricted free-agent year was rated by Pro Football Focus as one of the best moves of any team in free agency. Adding one more low-cost vet to this group at some point might not be a surprise.
Quarterback: Yes, the view here is Russell Wilson will still be a Seahawk in the fall. But he needs a backup. All they have behind Wilson are Danny Etling and Alex McGough, neither of whom has taken a snap in an NFL game. Geno Smith, the backup the past two years, is a free agent and could be a candidate to return. Being as cap-strapped as they are, the Seahawks can’t really afford to spend much on a backup.
Defensive end: The rapid-fire signings last week of Hyder, Mayowa and Dunlap took care of things at this position, as the Seahawks added that trio to L.J.Collier, Rasheem Green, Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson. Re-signing Damontre Moore to add depthmight be in order.
Tight end: Signing Everett to add to the duo of Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson gives the Seahawks a pretty good trio. But adding one more low-cost vet before camp might not be a surprise.
Safety: With Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs under contract for 2021, the Seahawks are set for this year. (Ryan Neal also is under contract and Marquise Blair could always be used at safety, as well.) But you’d think getting a long-term extension done with Adams will be a focus following the 2021 draft.
Running back/fullback: The re-signing Carson gives the Seahawks five tailbacks with experience — in fact, five who were all drafted by the team in the past five years — setting up what will be a good competition for spots on the 53-player roster. The re-signing of Bellore to a two-year deal also sews up the fullback spot.
Special teams: The Seahawks are set with their battery of kicker Jason Myers, punter Michael Dickson and snapper Tyler Ott, who have all made a Pro Bowl at some point in the past three years.