The Seahawks now have 10 offensive linemen under contact for 2018. Here's a look at how the pieces might fit.
D.J. Fluker officially signed a contract with the Seahawks on Wednesday, wearing a dazzling red and black suit.
He made quite the first impression.
But his signing brings sharper focus to the vision Seattle apparently has for its offensive line under new position coach Mike Solari, who replaced the fired Tom Cable.
Cable was fired for a reason, and the expectation is that a new coach, with a new set of eyes and more varied schemes and with an emphasis on being bigger and more physical, may make as much of a difference as anything.
Fluker’s signing gives Seattle 10 offensive linemen under contract. Seattle will undoubtedly add a few more — the Seahawks last year had 13 as training camp begin and 15 or 16 isn’t uncommon.
But any free agent additions from here could be more about adding depth and competition. Seattle will also likely draft an offensive linemen or two. But with only the number 18 pick among the first 120 at the moment, the Seahawks could be looking more at sleepers and projects in the mid-to-late rounds unless it were to use its first round pick on a linemen, or acquire more picks in the first three rounds.
Or who knows? The Seahawks have been more mysterious than ever this offseason and maybe there’s another big move afoot upfront.
But there’s also a chance that the Seahawks now feel they have a starting five with which to head into the offseason.
Here’s a position-by-position look at the players under contract on the offensive line and how they appear to project for 2018:
Comment: The team exercised an option on Britt’s contract recently keeping him in the fold through 2020 and making clear he is the center of the present and future. Hunt, a sixth-round pick in 2016, was re-signed shortly after the season and could again be the backup, the role he held as a rookie before spending most of last season on the practice squad.
It won’t be a surprise, though, if Seattle signs someone else to compete for the backup center spot, particularly someone who could play more than one spot. So far in his Seattle career, Hunt has played only center, which can be a liability on gameday when teams typically have only two or three offensive line reserves, each of whom ideally can play more than one position if needed.
Comment: The team made a significant investment to get Brown — a third-round pick in 2018 and a second-rounder in 2019 — and it is thought the Seahawks would like to get him under contract this offseason beyond 2018, the final year on his current deal. What isn’t in doubt is that he will be the left tackle for Seattle in 2018 with the Seahawks banking on a full year from the four-time Pro Bowl pick making a significant difference in the play of the entire line.
Pete Carroll said at the NFL Combine that Fant could be healthy for training camp after suffering an ACL tear in the preseason a year ago. Fant was slated to be the starting left tackle before his injury. How quickly and well he recovers obviously will determine what kind of role he’ll have in 2018. But assuming he does, Fant could get time at left tackle but also at right tackle to push Germain Ifedi with the thought that he could also be able to backup both spots on gameday.
Battle, acquired in a trade last year with Kansas City and then re-signed in January, has played on both sides and could be given a shot at both right and left tackle in camp, especially depending on Fant’s progress.
Comment: While there is almost constant speculation on social media and elsewhere that maybe Ifedi should go back to guard after a penalty-marred season in his first year as the starting right tackle in 2017, all signs point to the Seahawks for now keeping Ifedi at right tackle.
Most notable of that evidence is Carroll’s comment at the Combine that the team is not thinking of moving Ifedi to guard.
“We’re wide open to all the stuff that is going on but not that specifically, no,’’ Carroll said.
Sure, he could change his mind. And sure, maybe he just didn’t want to announce a change at that time. But the fact that Fluker is expected to start his Seattle career at right guard indicates the team is following through with its plan to leave Ifedi at right tackle for now.
As noted above, if he’s healthy Fant could be an option to move to the right side and compete with Ifedi.
Comment: Fluker’s agent, Deryk Gilmore, said Tuesday that the expectation is that Fluker will begin his Seattle career at right guard. Ethan Pocic started there at the end of the season last year but also got five starts at left guard when Luke Joeckel was out and could well move back the left side. Joeckel is a free agent and not expected back, which created the need for finding another guard this offseason, which seems to be the role Fluker will fill.
Roos, a rookie undrafted free agent last year, figures to be in the mix to add depth at both sides at guard.
Comment: The team remains high on Pocic, who got 11 starts last season — six on the right side, five on the left — and as noted above, the assumption is that if Fluker is going to right guard then Pocic likely moves to left guard (since we have heard nothing from the team on any of this, though, all of this is admittedly somewhat of an assumption).
Odhiambo can play both guard and tackle and started at left tackle last season until the trade for Brown. Figure Odhiambo to get looks at a few different spots.
Beavers has played both tackle and guard but the Seahawks listed him at guard when announcing he had re-signed after spending time last season on the practice squad.
His only NFL action, though, is two games at right tackle with the Vikings in 2016.
Both Joeckel and Oday Aboushi — who got eight starts at right guard last season — remain free agents but at this point it seems it’d be a surprise if either were back.