The Seahawks on Wednesday made a move that likely fills out their offensive line heading into the NFL draft later this month, re-signing three-year veteran Jordan Simmons. Terms of the deal were not immediately available.
Simmons was an exclusive-rights free agent but was not tendered by the Seahawks, which made him an unrestricted free agent. The Seahawks apparently did that so that they could offer Simmons what is termed a “split” contract, which will decrease the team’s potential salary-cap hit if Simmons were to again go on Injured Reserve, as he did a year ago when he missed the entire season due to a knee injury. Seattle has signed players to similar split contracts in the past, one example being former defensive lineman Jesse Williams.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll had mentioned in his end-of-season news conference that Simmons was one of the young players he hoped the team would be able to keep in 2020.
The official re-signing of Simmons gives the Seahawks 16 offensive linemen either signed or having been given qualifying offers (here’s a recent breakdown of the potential roles for each).
Seattle might well rest at that number until the NFL draft, when many expect the Seahawks to use one of their seven picks on a linemen, if not also signing one or more undrafted rookie free agents.
The signing of Simmons also gives Seattle 67 players signed, tendered or reported as having agreed to deals (meaning Bruce Irvin and Luke Willson, whose signings have not been processed yet). Teams can have up to 90 on their offseason rosters. Seattle has seven picks in the draft, so that leaves the Seahawks with ample room to sign a few more free agents and/or UDFAs after the draft.
Simmons joined the Seahawks in September 2018 off waivers from the Raiders and ended up making three starts that season.
In Simmons’ first two starts at right guard in place of D.J. Fluker, the Seahawks had their two highest-rushing totals of the season — 273 yards against the Rams and 214 against the Vikings — compelling offensive-line coach Mike Solari to say “we’re excited about him” and raising the idea he could compete for a starting role in 2019.
However, Simmons battled a knee issue throughout last offseason and was placed on IR in August to have surgery. Simmons also battled knee issues in his career at USC, limited to just 21 games and two starts.
But assuming he is healthy in 2020 he figures to be thrown into the competition at guard — specifically left guard, which is vacant after the Seahawks did not re-sign last year’s starter, Mike Iupati.
Seattle also signed free agent B.J. Finney to potentially fill that role but he could also be a factor at center, where Justin Britt is recovering from an ACL injury and also has been the subject of conjecture that the team could look to release him to save $8.5 million against the salary cap (the Seahawks could also redo Britt’s deal to spread out the cap hit to future years).
Jacksonville on Wednesday also made official the signing of defensive tackle Al Woods, who spent last season with the Seahawks.
According to OvertheCap.com, Woods will qualify as a free-agent loss for Seattle in determining potential compensatory picks for the 2021 NFL draft. But at the moment, Seattle does not have enough free-agent losses to offset its free-agent gains to qualify for picks. Seattle, though, could potentially still qualify for picks if, say, Jadeveon Clowney and another free agent or two sign with other teams.