Friday was a big day for Seahawks rookie offensive lineman Stone Forsythe.
In the morning, he signed his first NFL contract, the standard four-year rookie deal which could pay him up to $3.6 million and included a signing bonus of $166,628.
In the afternoon, he took part in his first NFL practice, a rookie minicamp workout without pads which lasted about an hour.
“Really excited to be out here and be back to football,’’ said Forsythe, who was a sixth-round pick out of Florida.
Every day could be said to be a big day for Forsythe, who at a listed 6 foot 8 is as tall as any other Seahawk — the only other player as tall is undrafted rookie free-agent signee Greg Eiland of Mississippi State, who is also an offensive tackle.
“He’s such a big, good-looking athlete,’’ said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, stating the obvious, which is impossible to ignore when discussing Forsythe.
Should Forsythe make the Seahawks’ roster he wouldn’t be the tallest player in the NFL — tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a two-time Pro Bowler with the Steelers who is now with the Ravens, was among three players listed at 6-9 on rosters heading into last season.
But showing he can play at that height will be a key for the 307-pound Forsythe.
Playing last season for a Florida team that attempted 40 passes a game to 30 rushes, Forsythe rarely had to get in a three-point stance.
“We kind of really never did that at Florida,’’ Forsythe said Friday. “… So it’ll be a different change for me.’’
Carroll has said he wants the Seahawks to run more in 2021, so Forsythe is going to have to show he can be as effective at run blocking as pass blocking to carve out a future with the Seahawks. Questions about how effective he might be in the run game likely influenced Forsythe dropping to the sixth round — he was the 208th overall selection — when some analysts pegged him as possibly going a few rounds higher.
Forsythe may also be in line for something of a redshirt year to try to adjust to the NFL.
Forsythe played last season at left tackle at Florida and that’s where he also lined up Friday with the Seahawks, with Carroll indicating that for now, that’s where he’s going to primarily play.
“He’s got tremendous length and his stature, he’s just built so beautifully,’’ Carroll said. “He’s really just perfectly fit for the position, left tackle.’’
No matter what Forsythe does this year he’s not going to beat out the Seahawks’ current left tackle, veteran Duane Brown.
But Brown is in the final year of his contract and turns 36 in August. When Brown someday departs, he will leave big shoes to fill.
But then, Forsythe knows all about big.
13 UDFA signings announced
The Seahawks on Friday officially announced the signing of their initial class of undrafted rookie free agents.
Twelve had already been reported: Eiland; receivers Tamorrion Terry of Florida State, Connor Wedington of Stanford and Cade Johnson of South Dakota State; running backs B.J. Emmons of Florida Atlantic and Josh Johnson of Louisiana-Monroe; cornerback Bryan Mills of North Carolina Central; offensive linemen Pier-Olivier Lestage of the University of Montreal, guard Jared Hocker of Texas A&M and Jake Curhan of Cal; linebacker Jon Rhattigan of Army; and defensive tackle Jarrod Hewitt of Virginia Tech.
The only new name was Arizona State safety Aashari Crosswell,
Crosswell was a two-year starter at ASU in 2018 and 2019 before playing just one game last season when he was suspended for an undisclosed team violation and opted out of the rest of the year and declared for the draft.
The Seahawks listed Crosswell at 6-foot, 208 pounds.
D’Wayne Eskridge signs his rookie deal
Along with Forsythe, second-round pick D’Wayne Eskridge (No. 56 overall) also signed his rookie contract Friday. The signing of contracts by draft picks is now basically a formality with all draftees getting four-year deals with salaries based on where they were selected. Eskridge’s four-year deal is worth up to $5,953,504 with a signing bonus of $1,689,821.
That leaves only fourth-round pick Tre Brown, a cornerback out of Oklahoma, left to sign his contract (though he is taking part in rookie minicamp).
- Adding the 13 undrafted free agents put the Seahawks’ roster at the offseason maximum of 90. They officially have 91 players. Linebacker Aaron Donkor does not count against the roster as the German native is part of the NFL’s international pathway program.
- The three draft picks all had numbers assigned Friday. Eskridge is No. 1 while Brown is 22 and Forsythe 78.
- The Seahawks do not have any tryout players in camp. Teams were limited to five this year as a COVID-19 precaution. But the Seahawks do have a seven players in the camp who were on last year’s roster but have not accrued a full season of service. Among those players is quarterback Danny Etling, who is the only QB in the camp. Also taking part in the camp is receiver Aaron Fuller, a UW grad who spent all of last season on the practice squad.