One thing the Seahawks sorely lacked last season — despite multiple attempts to find it — was a consistent third receiving threat behind the dynamic duo of Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
Seattle hopes it solved that problem with its move Tuesday to add veteran Phillip Dorsett, who played last season with the Patriots and has been in the league since 2015, when he was the 29th overall pick of the Colts.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported Dorsett has agreed to a one-year contract with the Seahawks, and a source later confirmed the news to The Seattle Times. Other details of his contract were not immediately known. Dorsett made $2.6 million last year with the Patriots when he had 29 receptions for 397 yards and five touchdowns.
The 5-foot-10, 192-pounder had a career-high 33 receptions with the Colts in 2016 when current Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was the team’s quarterbacks coach, a familiarity that likely factored in to the decision to add Dorsett.
Dorsett also said in an interview with ESPN’s Anderson that he felt working with Russell Wilson might give him the best chance of reviving the success he had as a rookie and signed with Seattle over offers from the Jets, Chargers, Raiders and 49ers (with San Francisco reaching agreement with receiver Travis Benjamin at almost the same time Dorsett joined the Seahawks).
““Seattle felt like the best opportunity to be the player I know I can be as a (receiver),” he was quoted as saying. “I spoke to Russell Wilson on face time while he was working out. Shows you his work ethic. That got me extra excited. I think overall it’s just the right fit for me.”
The addition of Dorsett appears to solidify the Seattle receiving corps heading into the April draft. The draft is regarded as exceptionally strong and deep in receivers and some wondered if the Seahawks would even bother to add a veteran in free agency after having earlier brought back David Moore and Malik Turner, who were restricted and exclusive-rights free agents.
But it was also known that Seattle views it a priority to add some playmakers for Russell Wilson, and the team had an obvious need for another receiver to complement the 1-2 punch of Lockett and Metcalf after last year’s struggles to find much consistency behind those two.
Moore, Turner, Jaron Brown and Josh Gordon all had games where they were essentially the third receiver, but none could really take hold of the position.
Gordon was added in October and held the spot for a while before being suspended by the NFL in December for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Gordon is a free agent and remains indefinitely suspended and cannot sign while he is under suspension. It’s unclear when his suspension might be lifted. It was earlier reported by ESPN that his suspension falls under the rules of the previous-collective bargaining agreement and not under the one approved earlier this month, which is more lenient.
Brown began last season as the number-three receiver, playing 59 percent or more of the snaps in six of the first seven games. But after making 14 receptions for 205 yards in that span he was relegated to a deeper reserve role and Moore — whose start to the season was delayed after he suffered a shoulder injury in the preseason — spent a few games working as the third receiver. Brown is now a free agent and not expected back.
Moore then gave way to Gordon, who turned in a few big plays but made just seven catches in five games before he was suspended. Turner then essentially became the number-three receiver, playing 58 percent of the snaps in the divisional playoff loss to Green Bay. But he also had a critical drop late in that game.
The upshot was no other receiver besides Lockett (82 for 1,057 yards) and Metcalf (58-900) had more than the 17 receptions Moore had last year (for 301 yards).
So now the Seahawks will give Dorsett a shot while also seeing if he can fulfill the potential that compelled the Colts to take him in the first round.
Dorsett hasn’t lived up to that billing. The Colts did not pick up his fifth-year option in 2018 and then let him become a free agent last year.
But he still has one appetizing attribute — speed. He ran a 4.33 40 at the 2015 NFL combine and had times of 4.27 and 4.29 at his pro day at Miami.
The Patriots, though, apparently didn’t make much of a move to keep him after his playing time slid late in the year — after playing 62 percent or more of the snaps in seven of the first 10 games he didn’t play more than 48 in any of the last five, including a playoff loss to Tennessee in which he had one catch for 6 yards.
After seeing his playing time decrease, Dorsett said recently he would approach free agency with more of an open mind than he had a year ago, when he said he had his eyes set on the Patriots from the start.
“The way the roles changed in New England in the middle of the season out of nowhere … it took me off the field,” Dorsett said. “So at the end of the day, I have to be smart about it and make the best decision.”
Adding Dorsett gives Seattle eight receivers on its current roster, joining Lockett, Moore, Metcalf, John Ursua, Cody Thompson and Penny Hart.
Dorsett becomes the sixth offensive veteran free agent signed by Seattle since last month, the others being tight end Greg Olsen and four linemen — guard/center B.J. Finney, tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Brandon Shell, and guard Chance Warmack.
Seattle is likely still to sign a backup quarterback before the draft, as well as add a running back or two.
Expect the Seahawks to also dive into the deep receiving corps in the draft, and maybe add another minimum salary free agent or two. But Dorsett is likely the major free agent move at receiver that the Seahawks will make for now.
KENDRICKS’ SENTENCING POSTPONED YET AGAIN
Mychal Kendricks, who was Seattle’s starting strongside linebacker last season but is currently a free agent, has had his sentencing for insider trading postponed yet again. He had been scheduled to be sentenced next week but will now be sentenced on May 29, according to court records.
It is the sixth time his sentencing has been postponed. No reason was given.
Kendricks is also recovering from an ACL injury suffered in the regular-season finale against the 49ers, and it has been unclear if he is in Seattle’s plans for 2020.
Asked about Kendricks at the NFL combine in February, general manager John Schneider was non-committal, saying, “We’ll see how that goes. We’ll see how the rest of the spring goes. I don’t have an answer for you right now. I don’t know one way or the other.”
SEAHAWKS MAKE TWO MOVES OFFICIAL
Seattle on Tuesday also made official two previously reported moves — the signing of offensive tackle Brandon Shell and the trade of a 2020 fifth-round pick to Washington for cornerback Quinton Dunbar.
The announcement of the Dunbar trade confirmed that Seattle dealt the pick it acquired from the Steelers for tight end Nick Vannett last September to Washington, number 162 overall.
That gives Seattle seven picks in the 2020 seven picks in the 2020 draft: First round (number 27), two in the second (59 and 64); third (101); two in the fourth (133, 144); and one in the sixth (214).
Seattle also last year traded its own fifth-round pick to the Lions for safety Quandre Diggs.