The Seahawks are signing Luke Joeckel to a one-year contract to beef up the offensive line, according to several reports.
The Seahawks will sign veteran free agent offensive lineman Luke Joeckel to a one-year contract, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter since confirmed by several other reports.
The signing would be the first for Seattle of the 2017 free agent signing period, which began Thursday at 1 p.m. Seattle time. According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Joeckel could make up to $8 million on the one-year deal.
Joeckel was the second overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars out of Texas A&M but struggled to hold down the left tackle job in his first three years with the Jags and was moved to left guard last season.
And he comes with a significant health question as he played only four games before suffering a season-ending knee injury, ultimately needing surgery to repair ACL, MCL and meniscus tears. Such injuries typically require 9-10 months of recovery so Joeckel likely wouldn’t do anything with the Seahawks until the start of training camp. But the team obviously must be thinking he can make it back.
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That Joeckel has experience playing both guard and tackle fits with the thought that Seattle was looking to add some veteran and versatile depth to the offensive line.
But given that he could earn up to $8 million, the Seahawks must be viewing him as having a chance to compete for a starting tackle spot, both of which were far from solidified at the end of the 2016 season with undrafted rookie free agent George Fant on the left side and Garry Gilliam on the right side after taking over for Bradley Sowell, who had earlier replaced a struggling Gilliam only to be unable to win the job himself.
Joeckel’s reported possible salary would also make him by far the highest-paid Seattle offensive linemen as the Seahawks went into the day with $8.2 million committed to the entire group for the 2017 season, according to OvertheCap.com. At the top of that list was Gilliam with a possible $1.8 million thanks to a recent tender he received as a restricted free agent.
Joeckel became an unrestricted free agent after the Jaguars declined last year to pick up a fifth-year option on his contract for the 2017 season that would have paid him roughly $12 million.
It was also reported that veteran guard T.J. Lang of the Green Bay Packers will take visits to Seattle and Detroit. The 29-year-old Lang was voted to his first Pro Bowl following the 2016 season but also had hip surgery in January that teams will want to check out themselves. ESPN referred to the surgery as attempting to fix “a genetic problem that has gotten worse” through the years.
Lang, who will turn 30 on Sept. 20, has 94 career starts since entering the NFL in 2009.
Lang was reported to be visiting Detroit Wednesday afternoon. He is a native of Royal Oak, Mich., and attended Eastern Michigan University.