RENTON — For the first time since the end of the 2020 season, Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown put on a helmet Monday and took to the practice field at the VMAC.
And he did so with no extension to his contract, but with reports the Seahawks might do something to enhance his compensation for the 2021 season.
Brown, who turned 36 last week, had been “holding in” — attending meetings and walkthroughs but not taking part in any on-field drills in “making a statement,’’ as coach Pete Carroll put it, that he wanted an extension to his current contract.
Safety Quandre Diggs also was in a helmet and on the field when practice began Monday. Diggs sat out practice last week, but he said he was not “holding in’’ but simply waiting for “a little business thing’’ to get completed before returning to practice. A source told The Seattle Times that Diggs was finalizing an insurance policy to protect him against injury in the final year of his contract.
Brown is entering the final year of his contract, due a $10 million base salary and another $1.35 million in roster bonuses and incentives. Brown would give up one game’s worth of salary for any game he missed, one reason the Seahawks had been confident all along that Brown would eventually return to practice.
Reports from both the NFL Network and ESPN stated that the team is talking with Brown’s agents about adjustments to his deal, but not an extension. Seattle is known to want to let Brown play this season and then talk about a new deal in the offseason.
One possible adjustment Seattle could make is to guarantee Brown’s roster bonus and incentives, and possibly add others. Seattle did something similar with Marshawn Lynch to end his holdout in 2014, guaranteeing $1 million that had been both roster and incentive bonuses.
Carroll deflected a question on whether the Seahawks are talking to Brown’s agents about doing anything with his contract.
“We’re really ready to play football right now,’’ Carroll said. “That’s where we are. Everything that needed to be taken care of is taken care of, and away we go.”
Carroll said there’s no question about Brown’s readiness for the season, having several times noted that Brown has been diligent in his participation in meetings, walkthroughs and workouts.
“He’s ready to go,’’ Carroll said, affirming Brown will play Sunday in the regular- season opener at Indianapolis. “He’s really healthy right now and I’m really thrilled about that for him. That was one of the things we realized about the process of it that he would not wear him down at all during camp, so he’s got fresh legs coming in.’’
Brown has been Seattle’s starting left tackle since being acquired from Houston midway through the 2017 season, signing his current deal with the Seahawks prior to the 2018 season.
Quarterback Russell Wilson publicly advocated for the team to work out something with Brown, saying the Seahawks “got to figure it out’’ with Brown.
That finally happened Monday as Brown walked onto the field before the start of the 2:30 p.m. practice, playfully greeted by teammates Carlos Dunlap and Diggs as he did.
Carroll: Seahawks have two unvaccinated players
Carroll said before training camp that all but one of the 90 players on the team’s roster were either vaccinated, or in the process of being fully vaccinated, against COVID-19.
With the inevitable roster shuffling of the past month, Carroll said that number is now at two.
Seattle now has 70 players on its 53-man roster and 17-player practice squad.
“We’re at two right now,’’ Carroll said. “I don’t mind telling you.’’
Carroll noted “we’ve had great participation’’ and that he has been “really pleased with everybody’s contribution’’ in getting vaccinated.
Seahawks elevate Mabry to 53 to add tight end depth
Seattle made one roster move Monday, promoting tight end Tyler Mabry from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Seattle had an opening after the trade Friday of cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.
Mabry was on the practice squad all of last season, initially joining the team as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland.
His promotion gives Seattle four tight ends and some insurance with Colby Parkinson continuing to deal with a broken foot.
Parkinson, in his second year out of Stanford, had been off to a fast start in training camp before the injury the week before the first preseason game.
The Seahawks could still put Parkinson on injured reserve and he could return after sitting out three games.
Carroll said it remains unclear how long Parkinson will be out but that the hope is keeping him out now will mean that when he does return he won’t have any setbacks.
“We don’t want to mess it up along the way,’’ Carroll said. “And so we felt like if we don’t have him available here that we can get a couple of weeks to get him ready. That’ll be really important, so that when we get him back, he’ll stay back.’’
Carroll confident in corners
Carroll had not spoken to the media since the Witherspoon trade to Pittsburgh for a fifth-round draft choice in 2023. Seattle signed Witherspoon to a one-year, $4 million contract in March with the thought he’d take over the starting left corner spot.
Asked why it didn’t work out for Witherspoon, Carroll said, “Just didn’t this time around and another club wanted him. And so we had the competition that we had coming up and coming in, we were excited about, and thought that’d be the best way to go.”
Witherspoon’s departure appears to mean Tre Flowers and D.J. Reed are the starting cornerbacks. And that means with rookie Tre Brown remaining out for a few weeks with a knee injury, each of the likely backup cornerbacks will be players Seattle has acquired over the past week or so, notably former Husky Sidney Jones.
But Carroll said he’s not overly concerned about the newness at a key position.
“We’ve got really good guys and we’re really competitive,’’ Carroll said. “And we’ve got fast guys and guys with experience. … We’re excited to see these guys go out and battle and fight for their spots.’’
The Seahawks also are expected this week to sign free agent cornerback Blessuan Austin, who was waived last week by the Jets after starting 16 games the past two seasons.
Once he signs, Seattle will have to make another roster move to create a spot on the 53-man roster.
Wilson, Wagner, Bellore elected captains
Seattle players elected Wilson as offensive captain, linebacker Bobby Wagner as defensive captain and Nick Bellore as special teams captain.
It’s the ninth consecutive year Wilson has been elected, or every season since his rookie year, while Wagner has been a captain six of the past seven years, sharing it with Kam Chancellor in 2017. It is the first time Bellore has been elected a captain.
— Also back to practice Monday was Wagner, who sat out last week after having a procedure on his knee, something he has done annually in recent years just prior to the season.
— Defensive back Ryan Neal, who had been out with an oblique injury, has returned to practice.
— The Seahawks signed Jordan Simmons to the practice squad to fill the spot left by Mabry’s promotion. That means Seattle’s practice squad is back to 17. Simmons started six games last season on the offensive line but was waived in the cut down to 53 last week.