Having already assembled what could be a starting offensive line in 2021, the Seahawks on Wednesday agreed to terms with a pair of key backups from last season to add depth and competition — guard Jordan Simmons and tackle Cedric Ogbuehi.
Sources confirmed reports that each will return in 2021. Simmons agreed to a one-year deal, and that is also likely the case for Ogbuehi. Financial details were not available for either deal Wednesday afternoon.
That means the Seahawks have six of its top seven offensive linemen back from 2020 in terms of snaps played. Simmons started six games at left guard in place of the injured Mike Iupati. Ogbuehi started four games at right tackle when Brandon Shell was sidelined.
Simmons, who has been with the Seahawks since 2018, became an unrestricted free agent last week when he was not tendered. That would have meant a $2.13 million nonguaranteed salary and cap hit for Simmons for getting the lowest restricted free-agent tender.
The expectation was that the team wanted Simmons back on a cap-friendly deal that may include some bonuses and incentives. Simmons figures to again serve as depth for the Seahawks as they traded for Gabe Jackson, who is likely to start at left guard.
After re-signing center Ethan Pocic last week, the Seahawks return their other four offensive line starters: Shell, right guard Damien Lewis, left tackle Duane Brown and Pocic.
Ogbuehi, who played last year on a one-year deal with the Seahawks worth $2.3 million, figures to again serve in a role as a backup swing tackle. Ogbuehi, the 21st overall pick of the 2015 draft, has 29 career starts, with 25 coming in the 2016 and 2017 seasons with the Bengals.
Re-signing Simmons and Ogbuehi gives the Seahawks 12 offensive linemen under contract, six of whom started at least four games for the Seahawks last year, along with Jackson, who started all 16 for the Raiders.
Other offensive linemen under contract for 2021 are guard Phil Haynes, center/guard Kyle Fuller, guard/tackle Jamarco Jones, center Brad Lundblade and tackle Tommy Champion.
The Seahawks will surely sign a few more offensive linemen, usually taking 15-17 to training camp.
Offensive-line depth became more important last season with new NFL rules allowing teams to have up to 55 players active on gameday rosters as long as at least eight were offensive linemen.
The Seahawks’ apparent starting five of Brown, Jackson, Pocic, Lewis and Shell — plus the return of Simmons and Ogbuehi — gives them what would appear to be a clear top seven heading into camp, with Fuller projecting as a backup center and guard and Jones as a backup swing tackle with the ability to also play guard.
Simmons played at USC and began his career with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent. After starting three games for the Seahawks in a reserve role in 2018, he missed the 2019 season due to a knee injury. Simmons played 593 snaps last season, fifth-most of any offensive linemen. Among his six starts was the late-season win over the Rams that clinched the NFC West.
Pro Football Focus charged him with three quarterback sacks allowed in 401 pass-blocking snaps in 2020.
Ogbuehi played 277 snaps last season and gave up one sack in 168 pass-blocking snaps, according to PFF.
The Seahawks have re-signed seven of their own free agents since the signing period began last week — Simmons, Ogbuehi, Pocic, running back Chris Carson, defensive tackle Poona Ford, defensive end Benson Mayowa and fullback Nick Bellore.