New Seahawks tight end Gerald Everett is no stranger to change.
For reasons that include one of the schools he was attending disbanding its football program — the University of Alabama-Birmingham in 2014 — Everett attended five colleges in five years.
“Transition really isn’t something new for me,’’ said Everett, who ended up graduating from the University of South Alabama before embarking on an NFL career that saw him spend the last four seasons with the Rams before signing with the Seahawks last month.
And that experience adapting quickly is something he will rely on to make a quick transition to Seattle, Everett said during an introductory Zoom meeting with media on Thursday.
But one of the attractions of the Seahawks to Everett — and vice versa — is that he is already familiar with the offense of new Seattle offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. Waldron spent the last four years with the Rams, serving in 2017 — Everett’s rookie year — as tight ends coach and the past three years as pass game coordinator.
Knowing he was hitting free agency, Everett said the idea of signing with the Seahawks “was always there, lingered in my head’’ once Waldron was hired in January.
Everett called Waldron “a mastermind’’ and said, “Shane has definitely been pivotal in my career and definitely been a mentor. … I really can’t wait to see what he is going to do in Seattle.’’
Nor can the Seahawks wait to see what they’ll get out of Everett, who turns 27 in June and is coming off the best season of his career, having 41 receptions for 417 yards and a touchdown in 2020.
That’s in contrast to Seattle’s big free agent tight end signing of last year, Greg Olsen. While a certain Hall of Famer, he was 35, had been battling injuries and was obviously on the downside, having since retired.
That Seattle guaranteed Everett $6 million — not a lot less than the $7 million Olsen got and more than the Seahawks so far have paid to any free agent offensive skill position player — speaks to the team expecting him to play a big role. (Pro Football Focus rated Everett as the third-best tight end available in free agency after Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, who each signed with the Patriots.)
And while Everett may not need the extra motivation, by signing just a one-year deal (it includes a voidable second year to reduce his cap hit for 2021 to $4 million), he knows he’s playing in 2021 with the chance to strike it rich again in 2022 when the salary cap will be higher.
Asked about signing a one-year contract, Everett said he considered more than just finances in picking the Seahawks.
“I just wanted to take the best offer,’’ he said. “And I feel like a lot of times, monetary might not be the best option. That might more so be the pieces that are already on a team, an example like a Russell Wilson. You know I wasn’t able to play with a quarterback like Russ up to this point in my career.’’
Everett also knows there will be plenty of opportunity for a big season in Seattle after a 2020 campaign in which the tight end spot was generally considered disappointing. Olsen never made the impact hoped for, and Will Dissly was used a bit more inline and also seemed to need time to shake off the rust after suffering a second-straight season-ending injury early in 2019.
That left Jacob Hollister leading Seattle’s’ tight ends with 25 receptions. But Hollister is gone now, too, having signed with Buffalo.
That leaves Everett and Dissly as the only two tight ends on the roster with significant NFL experience. Backing them up is 2020 fourth-round pick Colby Parkinson, who played just 51 snaps last year after breaking a foot in a workout in June. Also on the roster is second-year player Tyler Mabry, an undrafted free agent out of Maryland a year ago whom the team is said to be high on.
And Everett seems fully bought in to Seattle already — he was wearing a Seahawks shirt as he talked from Los Angeles.
He’s also already started to get to know Wilson and said he is making plans to join the Seattle quarterback for some informal workouts soon in San Diego that he said will also include DK Metcalf and other Seahawks receivers.
Signing with the Seahawks also means Everett gets to see his former teammates twice in 2021.
“Coming from LA to Seattle really is an exciting move because I’m a fan of rivalry and I really can’t wait to see the Rams again,’’ Everett said. “But you know it’s a business and we’re all just having fun. It’s a blessing to be here and you know I really can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.’’
Jarran Reed situation explained more fully
An NFL Network report Thursday, that was confirmed by sources to The Seattle Times, cast some additional light on the departure of defensive tackle Jarran Reed, who was released by the Seahawks last Friday and on Wednesday was announced as officially signing with the Chiefs.
As was reported at the time, Seattle decided to try to trade Reed — and if not able to trade him, to release him — to save $8.9 million against the salary cap. As was reported then, that decision came after the Seahawks and Reed could not agree on a restructured contract that would have dropped Reed’s cap number for 2021 significantly.
Specifically, the team hoped to use “void years’’ with Reed, something the Seahawks had never done before this year but have on at least five other contracts. Void years are essentially fake years tacked on to the end of the contract that allow for a bonus to be spread out further over the salary cap. In Reed’s case, the Seahawks wanted to turn most of his $8.9 million salary for 2021 into a bonus (players have to at least take a minimum salary, so Reed would still have had to have a salary of at least $990,000 in 2021).
The maneuver would have given Reed the same amount of money — in fact, with it being bonus he’d theoretically get it immediately. But Seattle would have been able to spread it out over 2-3 years or so, cutting his cap hit to maybe $3 million for 2021.
Reed, though, countered that he wanted a longer-term deal, something the Seahawks did not want to do. And unlike in a strict salary conversion with a player who has a long-term contract, Seattle needed Reed’s approval (the Seahawks would not need that with Wilson, for instance, since his contract runs through 2023).
That logjam led to Reed’s release.
And at the moment, it looks like a money-losing decision for Reed as his one-year deal with Kansas City is said to be worth up to $7 million with $5 million guaranteed. As he would have with Seattle, Reed will become a free agent again following the 2021 season.
Seattle quickly signed veteran Al Woods last Friday and for now appears set with the trio of Woods, Poona Ford and Bryan Mone as their rotational defensive tackles in the base defense.