Reading into what coaches say about pending free agents in the moments after a season ends can be risky, There’s little reason not to say that a team hopes mostly everyone will be back.
So it was with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on Monday as he talked to media members in his season-ending news conference via Zoom. When asked about some of Seattle’s 24 pending unrestricted free agents, Carroll said he hoped nearly all of them will be back.
Carroll, though, said to expect one will almost certainly be back — receiver Phillip Dorsett. He missed the season because of a foot injury after signing a one-year, veteran-minimum deal last spring as a free agent.
Carroll said Dorsett, a 2015 first-round draft choice by the Colts. might have been able to return had Seattle reached the Super Bowl.
“I talked to Phillip yesterday,” Carroll said. “We’re just like throwing this season out. It didn’t work out for him, and bring him back and let’s start all over again with all the same high hopes.”
Dorsett had surgery, and Carroll said “he’s fixed” now. Seattle signed Dorsett with hopes he could be the third receiver after Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. That again would be the hope, especially with David Moore — who held that role this season — also a free agent. Carroll said Moore “had his best year,” so he might also return.
Seattle is listed as having around $17 million in cap space for the 2021 season by OvertheCap.com.
Here’s what Carroll said about the Seahawks’ notable free agents:
Linebacker K.J. Wright
In his 10th NFL season, K.J. Wright moved to strongside linebacker in the base defense, and Carroll said, “He had a terrific season. Maybe his best season. So I’m hoping he’s coming back and playing for us.”
Wright said Sunday he hopes to stay, too, while adding he’d entertain other possible offers. And he might get some after ranking eighth out of 88 NFL linebackers this year by Pro Football Focus.
Running backs Chris Carson/Carlos Hyde
Seattle’s top two running backs are free agents. But Carroll indicated strongly he hopes both will return and, with Rashaad Penny, form “a pretty dynamic group.”
Chris Carson figures to be tougher to retain given his age (26 to Carlos Hyde’s 30) and his 1,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019.
Carroll said Carson is “a huge priority, and we’ve love to have him back.” Of Hyde Carroll said, “He’s one of our guys. … We’re trying to get him back.”
Defensive ends Benson Mayowa/Carlos Dunlap
Seattle’s pass rush took off in the second half of the season when Carlos Dunlap was acquired via trade with the Bengals and Benson Mayowa got healthy. Dunlap finished with five sacks, and Mayowa had six.
Dunlap has one season left on his contract, but with a $14.1 million salary-cap hit that has led to some conjecture about whether the team gives him an extension to spread that out. Mayowa is a free agent.
“We’d like Benson to come back with us, and be part of it,” Carroll said. “Counting on Carlos to be part of it.”
Cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin/Quinton Dunbar
Both members of Seattle’s starting cornerback duo are free agents. Shaquill Griffin might want to test the market. Quinton Dunbar is coming off knee surgery that Carroll said appeared to fix everything.
“So we’re talking to him like we’d like him to come back,” Carroll said of Dunbar.
D.J. Reed’s emergence late in the season as a capable starter, and with him under contract for one more year, could change the approach with Griffin.
But in keeping with the theme of the day, Carroll said the hope is Griffin returns.
Defensive end Bruce Irvin
Bruce Irvin played just two games this season after signing a one-year deal in the spring to return, suffering an ACL injury against the Patriots.
Carroll said Irvin recently had to have a second surgery because “he needed some support, and he’s come out of that really well.”
But Carroll said, “He’s behind (in his recovery) because of that.”
Though Carroll didn’t say it, Irvin’s health status obviously will impact his free agency.
Offensive linemen Mike Iupati/Ethan Pocic
Two of Seattle’s usual five starters on the offensive line are free agents — left guard Mike Iupati and center Ethan Pocic.
Iupati has manned the left-guard spot the past two years but is 33 and has battled neck/stinger issues the past two seasons.
If there was any player Carroll might have foreshadowed as not being back, it might have been Iupati when discussing the left-guard position.
“And then the left-guard spot with Mike and Jordan (Simmons) and Kyle Fuller, we need to improve there,” Carroll said.
As for Pocic, Carroll indicated the team wants him back, saying “Pocic had his first chance starting at center, and he’ll get better.”
- Carroll confirmed that safety Jamal Adams will have surgery soon on his left shoulder to fix a labrum tear and on his hand to repair two broken fingers.
- Asked if he expected his coaching staff to return, Carroll said it was not something he would specifically address but added he was “counting on everybody coming back.”
- Tight end Greg Olsen is a free agent but has been expected, at age 35, to retire and head into a television analyst role. Carroll said only “got to talk to Greg again and see what he’s doing.”
- Carroll said safety/nickel cornerback Marquise Blair is recovering well from knee surgery and should be ready for the start of next season.
- Rookie defensive end Darrell Taylor was impressive in practicing for the first time last week, Carroll said, and might have been active to play this week. “He’s going to be a factor, there’s no doubt,” Carroll said during his 710 ESPN Seattle radio show.
- The Seahawks re-signed 11 members of their practice squad (which dissolves when the season ends) to futures contracts, meaning they join the roster when the new league year begins March 17. They are: OL Tommy Champion, QB Danny Etling, WR Aaron Fuller, WR Penny Hart, CB Gavin Heslop, DL Cedrick Lattimore, OL Brad Lundblade, TE Tyler Mabry, CB Jordan Miller, QB Alex McGough and WR Cody Thompson.