The Seahawks have traded for Houston left tackle Duane Brown.
In a dramatic attempt to fix a leaky offensive line, the Seahawks have agreed to acquire three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown from Houston, sending cornerback Jeremy Lane and draft picks to the Texans in return in a move made on the eve of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline.
While the team confirmed that the trade has been agreed to, it won’t become official until players pass physicals and other details are worked out.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider confirmed the basics of the trade, calling Brown “a heck of a player. He’s been a heck of a player for a long time.”
The Seahawks also confirmed that draft picks are involved without giving specifics. Varying reports stated Seattle will send a 2018 fifth-round pick and a 2019 second-rounder to Houston along with Lane (details figure to become official prior to the trade deadline Tuesday at 1 p.m.)
Schneider confirmed that the team will also work to give Brown a contract extension beyond 2018 — when his current deal runs out — which will not only secure Brown’s long-term future in Seattle but also figures to be necessary to make it work from a salary cap standpoint.
“We want him to finish his career here and have him be here for several more years,” Schneider said of the 32-year-old Brown.
The 6-4, 305-pound Brown has played in 133 NFL games and will be viewed as a significant upgrade at the spot over second-year player Rees Odhaimbo, who has been the team’s starting left tackle all season, taking over when George Fant suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason.
Schneider, in fact, said the Seahawks began talking to Houston general manager Rick Smith shortly after Fant was injured on Aug. 18 against Minnesota, which was when Brown was in the midst of the first weeks of a holdout with the Texans in hopes of a new contract. Brown’s holdout, which cost him $3.8 million in lost salary, ended last Monday and he played in his first game with Houston this season Sunday against the Seahawks, on the field for 68 of 71 possible snaps.
Schneider joked that Brown could have just stayed in Seattle instead of flying back to Houston. But while some wondered if the game served as something of an audition for Brown with the Seahawks, Schneider said seeing Brown in action Sunday had little to do with the trade, with Seattle instead having been intent for months on trying to add to the offensive line and viewing Brown as one of the more likely possibilities to acquire.
“He’s an alpha male,” Schneider said of Brown. “He’s a leader. He’s been through a lot of NFL battles. A lot of these guys (on the Seahawks) know who he is. He’s one of those guys, it’s kind of like you saw with (the signing of veteran defensive end) Dwight Freeney coming in last week. It’s like ‘it’s Dwight Freeney!’ They know he looks like a big door.”
Dealing Lane and redoing Brown’s contract allows Seattle to make the trade from a salary cap standpoint as the Seahawks had just $1.4 million in cap room available entering the day.
“He accomplished a lot of great things here,’’ Schneider said of Lane. “… we will miss him around here. He did a great job for us and overcame his injury and everything from (Super Bowl XLIX when he suffered an ACL tear and broken wrist). But he had to be part of the deal.’’
Brown took to social media Monday night to say goodbye to Houston stating: “Thank you to the Houston Texans organization for the opportunity to live out my dream the last 9 years. Thank you to the city of Houston and Texans Nation for the love and support you’ve shown me and my family. You will always hold a special place in my heart. Much Love!!!”
Brown has salaries of $9.4 million in 2017 (with Seattle on the hook for $4.96 million the rest of the way) and $9.75 million in 2018 under his current contract, though those numbers could change with an expected extension. Lane’s contract goes through the 2019 season and has cap hits of $5.25 million this year and $7.25 million in each of 2018 and 2019. Lane’s base salary of $4 million for this year was guaranteed in February and the Texans will have to take on a pro-rated share of just over $2 million in salary for the rest of the season for Lane.
The news of the trade broke less than an hour after Seattle coach Pete Carroll said during his regular weekly Monday press conference that the team would explore available trade options while also saying that the offensive line “got knocked around a little” in Sunday’s 41-38 win over Houston in which the Seahawks were held to a season-low 33 yards rushing on 21 carries, continuing season-long struggles running the ball.
“I thought we would be ahead of it in the running game so we have to make up some ground and have to clean up the leaky activity on the line of scrimmage,” Carroll said.
Carroll also lamented the loss to injury of left guard Luke Joeckel, who had knee surgery two weeks ago Thursday and who Carroll said on Monday could be out another four weeks or so. Joeckel, signed to a one-year deal worth up to $8 million, started the first five games at left guard.
Brown will provide an immediate boost in experience and pedigree, at the least, having also been named a first team All-Pro in 2012 and starting all 133 games he has played during a career that dates to 2008.
He had become something of a team spokesman for the players in regards to a comment made by Houston owner Bob McNair, who was quoted by ESPN Friday as saying that the league couldn’t let the league have “the inmates running the prison” in apparent reference to protests by players during the national anthem.
Brown said after Sunday’s game in Seattle that a meeting with McNair and players on Saturday “didn’t go too well.”
He also said “uh, I don’t know” when asked if the relationship with McNair could be repaired. “Like I said, at this point we’re all trying to play for each other,” he said.
Brown’s contract holdout and displeasure with McNair had helped further fuel rumors he could be traded, though he had said last week when he reported that he wanted to stay with Houston.
Lane entered the 2017 season as the starter at right cornerback as well as nickelback. But he was ejected on the first series of the opener against Green Bay and then after playing two games suffered a groin injury early against the Colts on Oct. 1, which allowed Griffin to take over the right corner role and Justin Coleman the nickelback spot. Lane took to Twitter last Tuesday to reveal that he had been benched calling the move “ridiculous.”
A sixth-round pick in 2012, Lane started 19 games in his Seattle career. His departure means the Seahawks have just 12 players left on their roster from the 2013 Super Bowl winners, only 10 on the active roster.
It’s the second significant trade the Seahawks have made this season as it becomes even more apparent Seattle is in win-now made, having also dealt receiver Jermaine Kearse and second- and seventh-round picks in 2018 to the Jets for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and a seventh-round pick in 2018.
Lane Tweeted a goodbye to Seahawks fans shortly after the trade, stating “Thank you Seattle for the opportunity.I had a blast the 5 years I was here . Now for a new journey ….Houston here I Come !”