Despite widespread cancellations throughout the sports world over concerns about the novel coronavirus, the NFL is continuing its offseason business for now.
And within that business came the news Thursday that the Seahawks are reportedly getting a visit from free-agent tight end Jordan Reed.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report the visit of Reed, who was released by Washington last month, which makes him immediately eligible to sign with any team. Players whose contracts run out and become unrestricted free agents must wait until the start of the new league year Wednesday to sign.
Reports Thursday indicated the league planned to stick to that schedule.
But Pro Football Talk reported Thursday afternoon that the league could delay the start of free agency Wednesday, but it may wait to make a decision until after the player’s vote on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is completed by Sunday.
PFT reported the league does not want to wait for any further delays in the CBA voting process, which was pushed back by the NFLPA earlier this week.
While the business of signing free agents could happen without violating government edicts on limits on large public gatherings and closures of many public facilities, there is a thought the NFL could be nervous about how it would look for teams and players to agree to contracts worth seven- and eight-figures with every other major sport shut down.
With teams not due to report for offseason training programs until next month, the league could delay free-agent signings for a week or two without much of an impact (for a precedent, the league did not hold a free-agent signing period in 2011 during the player lockout until July).
The NFL did make one significant move Thursday when it announced that its annual spring league meetings, set for March 29 to April 1 in Palm Beach, Florida, have been canceled. League business that is typically conducted at those meetings, such as discussing rules changes, may be done remotely or postponed until the next regularly scheduled meetings May 19-20.
Many teams throughout the league announced that their scouts will no longer travel for Pro Days and that most travel will be suspended with employees ordered to work at home.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Seahawks had made no official announcements about any changes to its business operations due to the novel coronavirus.
The Seahawks’ reported interest in Reed comes after the Seahawks signed veteran tight end Greg Olsen last month to a one-year deal worth up to $7 million.
The signing of Olsen, which came after he had been released by Carolina, gave the team another playmaker for Russell Wilson and some insurance as tight end Will Dissly recovers from an Achilles injury he suffered in the sixth game last season. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said at the NFL combine last month that Dissly should be ready for the start of the 2020 season.
But the visit by Reed shows the Seahawks are still looking at all options to add to the offense.
Reed was released by Washington after an injury-marred seven-year career in which he never played an entire season and sat out all of 2019 after suffering a concussion in the preseason, his seventh documented concussion, according to The Washington Post.
He has also battled foot, toe and hamstring injuries over the past three years and will turn 30 in July.
But when healthy, the former Florida standout has been one of the more productive tight ends in the NFL, notably in 2016 when he was selected to the Pro Bowl after making 66 catches for 686 yards and six touchdowns. That came on the heels of a career season in 2015 when he had 87 receptions for 952 yards and 11 scores.
Olsen and Dissly are the only two tight ends the Seahawks have under contract. Jacob Hollister, who emerged as the starter late in the season, is a restricted free agent and the expectation is that the team will keep him. The Seahawks have also indicated they would like to re-sign Luke Willson, who returned to the team early last year after a trade of Nick Vannett to the Steelers. Willson will be an unrestricted free agent.
Tyrone Swoopes, who also ended last season on the active roster, is an exclusive rights free agent.
It was also reported Wednesday that the Seahawks would get a visit this week from free-agent cornerback T.J. Carrie. But with sports cancellations happening quickly, it’s unclear exactly how the NFL’s business will proceed over the next few days and weeks.