Instead of drafting a tight end to add some depth to that position, the Seahawks just waited a few days, making a trade Monday with New England to acquire tight end Jacob Hollister in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2020.
The trade was officially announced via the NFL’s daily transactions wire.
Hollister entered the league in 2017 as an undrafted free agent and has generally served as the team’s No. 3 tight end since then behind Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen, when healthy — Hollister was limited to eight games last year due to injury and did not play in New England’s Super Bowl win over the Rams.
He has played in 23 games for the Patriots the last two seasons with two starts, making eight receptions for 94 yards, on the field for 89 snaps on offense in 2017 and 56 last season and also a regular on special teams, with 188 and 97 snaps the last two seasons, respectively.
The Patriots have since added a few tight ends, including free agent Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a former UW star, to help make up for Gronkowski’s retirement, making Hollister expendable.
The Seahawks appear to have two seventh-round picks for next season — their own and one expected to come as compensation for losses in free agency — so they had some future draft capital to give.
Seattle also traded a sixth-round 2020 pick during the draft to add a seventh-rounder and take receiver John Ursua of Hawaii.
But despite the two deals Seattle still has 10 draft picks expected to come in 2020 either via trades, their own picks and comp picks — one first, two in the second, two in the third, two in the fourth, a fifth, a sixth and a seventh.
Hollister is listed at 6-4, 245 and played at Wyoming.
He joins a tight end corps that also includes holdovers Will Dissly, Ed Dickson, Nick Vannett and Tyrone Swoopes, with the team also reported as having signed Justin Johnson as an undrafted free agent.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said on Saturday that “the tight end position is pretty solid” and said Dissly is “making great progress. Really everybody is excited that he’s going to be OK by the time we open up.”
Dissly’s injury and that Vannett is entering the final year of his contract and Dickson’s deal puts him in some danger of being a cap casualty had led some to think the Seahawks might take a tight end in the 2019 draft. They didn’t then, but now add a player who is just 25 and who they likely will consider as a de facto member of this draft class.
A Pro Football Focus scouting report of Hollister, who is a native of Bend, Ore., prior to the 2017 draft concluded: “Hollister could prove to be one of this years steals of the draft. While he does have a number of concerns regarding his ability as a run-blocker, he’s got legitimate skills as a receiving option capable of hurting a defense at all three levels of the field regularly. He’s a fluid route-runner who is capable of creating late separation and is strong at the catch point. If Hollister is able to add some strength while maintaining his athleticism we could be looking at future star.”
According to ESPN, Patriots coach Bill Bilichick said of Hollister last season: “He has a lot of football in front of him. He didn’t have a lot of experience — had some — but has gained a lot and will gain a lot more. I think he’s got a great future. He works hard, he’s a tough kid, he plays hard, practices hard and has become much better at his fundamentals and techniques at his position.”
According to PFF, of the 153 offensive snaps they charted Hollister as playing with the Patriots, 74 were as a run blocker.