Tight end Greg Olsen, a 13-year NFL veteran, will visit the Seahawks as he searches for a new home after being released by the Carolina Panthers on Monday, a league source confirmed to The Seattle Times.
The news was first reported by ESPN and the NFL Network.
Olsen will also visit Washington and the Buffalo Bills. Because Olsen was released, he can sign with teams immediately. Players whose 2019 contracts run out and become unrestricted free agents can sign with new teams beginning March 18.
Olsen told The Athletic that he will meet with Buffalo on Wednesday (Bills coach Sean McDermott is a former defensive coordinator for Carolina) and that the Washington and Seattle visits will follow “sometime in the next 10 days.”
Olsen, who turns 35 next month, spent the last nine years with the Panthers before being released in a cost-cutting move by a Carolina team starting over under new coach Matt Rhule. Olsen had one year remaining on a deal that would have paid him $11.6 million in 2020.
Olsen also told The Athletic he is exploring the idea of retiring from football and immediately pursing TV commentating (he has done some work with FOX), saying “those opportunities are definitely still on the table.”
Both the Bills and Washington have head coaches who also coached him in Carolina (former Carolina head coach Ron Rivera is now head coach of Washington) while Seattle would offer the chance to play for a team with some needs at tight end and alongside Russell Wilson.
But Olsen told The Athletic that he is “still hearing from different teams in different parts of the country,” appearing not to rule out that other teams could get involved.
Olsen, 34, played 14 games last season but missed two late-season contests due to a concussion, including Seattle’s win over the Panthers in Charlotte on Dec. 15.
He also played just a combined 16 games in the 2017 and 2018 seasons due to a foot injury.
And that history, along with his age, figure to make Olsen set to sign a contract with a far lesser dollar figure than he was due to make with Carolina in 2020, should he decide to keep playing.
But Seattle might figure it’s worth a shot to beef up a tight-end position that has some issues heading into the offseason.
Seattle has just two tight ends under contract for 2020, both of whom ended the 2019 season on injured reserve — Will Dissly and Ed Dickson. Dissly is recovering from an Achilles injury suffered in a game at Cleveland on Oct. 13 while Dickson did not play at all last year due to a knee injury and has been widely presumed likely to be a cap casualty himself (Seattle could save $3 million against the cap if he is released, money it could maybe just earmark for Olsen, instead).
Jacob Hollister ended last season as the team’s starter and is now a restricted free agent, meaning Seattle can retain him with a qualifying offer that would give the team the right to match any other offers, while Luke Willson is now an unrestricted free agent. Tyrone Swoopes, the other healthy tight end on the roster when the season ended, is an exclusive-rights free agent.
Olsen was still effective when healthy last season with 52 receptions for 597 yards and two touchdowns, including six for 110 yards against Tampa Bay and eight for 98 against Green Bay. Olsen made the Pro Bowl three years straight from 2014-16.