The Seahawks didn’t stop adding to their roster when the 2021 NFL draft ended Saturday.
Instead, once it did, the Seahawks — and every other NFL team — began signing players who went undrafted. Such players are known as undrafted free agents and all sign standard three-year contracts that can come with bonuses — each team has a pool of $160,000 it can give to players as bonuses — and some portion of a salary guaranteed. The teams use the bonus money and guaranteed salaries as inducements to get the players to sign with them.
After making just three picks in the draft, Seattle appeared to have room for up to 20 UDFAs to get to the usual NFL offseason maximum of 90. Last year, teams were limited to 80 once camps began as one of the league’s COVID-19 protocols, and it remains unclear exactly what the training camp roster size will be this season.
The Seahawks have had ample success with undrafted free agents before, with players such as Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Poona Ford, George Fant, Thomas Rawls and Bryan Mone, among others, arriving as UDFAs.
Here’s a running tally of the players known to have signed, most of which were reported by members of the NFL Network (most by reporter Tom Pelissero), the league’s official media arm:
WR Connor Wedington: Wedington tweeted that he has signed with Seattle, which marks a homecoming for the former Sumner High star who played at Stanford. He had 101 receptions for 976 yards and one TD for the Cardinal and also returned 25 kickoffs for 685 yards. According to ESPN, Wedington got a bonus of $20,000, a pretty significant amount.
OL Greg Eiland, Mississippi State: Eiland, listed at 6-8, 329, was reported to have signed with the Seahawks. He started at left guard in 2020 but started at right tackle in 2019 and left tackle in 2018.
RB B.J. Emmons, Florida Atlantic: Emmons began his career at Alabama and was regarded by many as the top high school running back recruit in the country in 2016 by Rivals.com and ESPN.com. He’s listed at 6-foot, 220.
WR Cade Johnson, South Dakota State: Johnson is listed at 5-10, 180, and also handled kickoff returns and got his share of carries for the Jackrabbits. Johnson was rated the number three available UDFA by NFL.com.
OL Pier-Olivier Lestage, University of Montreal: Lestage’s signing was reported by 3downnation.com which listed him at 6-3, 305, and wrote “Lestage was named an All-Canadian following the 2019 U Sports season. He was an aggressive leader of the University of Montreal offensive line, which helped the Carabins win the Dunsmore Cup, the Quebec Conference title, and earn a spot in the Vanier Cup. Montreal used a physical ground game to pave the way to the Canadian university national championship.” According to this story, Lestage signed with Seattle after a phone call from coach Pete Carroll.
CB Bryan Mills, North Carolina Central: Mills, listed at 6-1, 174, is from Palmdale, California, also the hometown of former Seahawk DeShawn Shead, who is now defensive assistant/defensive backs with the Seahawks. NFL.com projected him as a fourth- or fifth-round pick, stating: “Mills’ size, length and toughness make him an intriguing draft prospect but he’s much more of a ‘potential’ prospect than a projectable one.” According to independent football reporter Aaron Wilson, Mills also got a $20,000 bonus which indicates he was a priority signing for Seattle. Mills was ranked as the number one cornerback who went undrafted by NFL.com.
LB Jon Rhattigan, Army: Rhattigan is listed at 6-1, 245, and made 78 tackles last season. Wrote the DraftNetwork: “Coming on late for Army, Rhattigan spent his first two seasons as a backup. Eventually getting his chance to start during his third year with the team, he went on to have a breakout season. A key piece of one of the best statistical defenses in the country, he’s an active second-level defender that can satisfy many roles. Like the earlier parts of his career, he projects to be a core special teams player with the potential down the line to possibly add depth at SAM linebacker.”
OL Jake Curhan, Cal: Curhan’s signing was reported by his agency (and confirmed by Curhan). It was reported Saturday that Curhan went undrafted due to a heart issue. He is listed at 6-6, 330, and started 40 games at right tackle for Cal. Curhan was the top-rated tackle still available following the draft according to NFL.com.
OL Jared Hocker, Texas A&M: A&M reported Hocker’s signing. He is listed at 6-6, 327, and was a regular stater at both guard spots in his college career. Wrote NFL.com: “… He could start off as a backup but has the size and power to make it as a starting guard in time.”
WR Tamorrion Terry, Florida State: Terry tweeted his signing. He is listed at 6-3, 203, and had 118 catches for 2,224 yards and 18 touchdowns in his FSU career. He is reported to have had surgery on both knees, which might be why he went undrafted despite generally being expected to. According to Wilson, Terry got a bonus of $5,000. Terry was rated the number 10 UDFA available by NFL.com.
DT Jarrod Hewitt, Virginia Tech: Hewitt’s signing was reported by The Draft Network. A 6-1, 280-pounder, Hewitt started 33 games the last three seasons and had 5.5 sacks in 2020. Wrote The Draft Network of Hewitt: “When watching his tape, the effort he plays with on every snap immediately stands out. Everything he does on the field is done with urgency and at full speed. He attacks the neutral zone with aggression and is relentless in pursuit. This leads to some exciting reps where he chases plays down from distance or finds success shooting gaps and making plays behind the line of scrimmage. With that said, Hewitt is a limited player. He lacks mass, length, power, quickness, and the body type preferred for an NFL defensive tackle. He struggles to get off blocks and doesn’t have a powerful enough anchor to be consistent. Hewitt faces an uphill climb at the next level, where he doesn’t have a desirable skill set for a role on the interior or at defensive end. His best chance will come as a one-gap penetrator, but he has to get stronger and perfect his technique to survive in the trenches in the NFL.”
This post will be updated.