The signing of Evans doesn't necessarily mean that the Seahawks were disappointed with the performance of the line so far in camp, as they had been talking to the veteran guard since the NFL Draft back in April.
The quote from Jahri Evans’ meeting with the media following Sunday’s mock game that understandably figures to garner the most attention was his statement that he still thinks he can be the best guard in the NFL.
The Seahawks will be ecstatic if that turns out to be true, and obviously are banking at least something on the idea that Evans has more left in the tank than the New Orleans Saints apparently figured when they released the soon-to-be-33-year-old last February.
But what also struck me as interesting was the timeline laid out by Evans, and confirmed by Seattle coach Pete Carroll, of Seattle’s interest in him.
Evans said that Seattle first contacted him prior to the NFL Draft.
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“My agent was talking to those guys around draft time and they wanted to see what they could get in the draft and bring along their young guys,” he said. “They revisited around this time, I came up here and made it happen.”
Carroll, asked why the Seahawks signed Evans now, said: “Just as we progress through camp, the sense of urgency changes for the players, too. He wants to get into camp and he wants to get working. He really liked our team and he likes our players and the makeup, and because of that he made it possible so we could get him.”
In other words, the two sides had been talking for a while, with Evans probably waiting to see if he could get something better than the one-year deal that is apparently for just a little over the veteran minimum that he received from the Seahawks (full details have yet to be revealed) before deciding to sign on with Seattle.
And what that means is that Seattle’s signing of Evans isn’t necessarily due to any sudden change in thoughts about its offensive line — good or bad — but something it had been working on for a while that finally came to fruition.
When news of Evans’ visits first leaked late last week, the immediate thoughts were either that the Seahawks were suddenly worried enough about their line to want to bring Evans in to save things, or that they were so impressed with some of their younger players (such as Germain Ifedi) while down on some of their others (such as J’Marcus Webb) that they were bringing in Evans as part of a potential wholescale skakeup of the line (Ifedi to RT, Webb out, etc.).
Any of that could still happen.
Carroll said Sunday that the team will indeed Ifedi at right tackle at some point in training camp if not quite yet.
“That may come up here down the road a little bit, but not right now,” he said. “We want to really dig in on right guard. We certainly know that he can do that, we just don’t want to confuse the issue right now. We want to get him to focus. But before camp is over he’ll play some right tackle for us so we will check him out.”
But if you take Evans and Carroll at their respective words, then the Seahawks always hoped to bring in Evans before they had gotten any real look at Webb or Ifedi and the signing of Evans is more in keeping with Seattle’s stated desire to be in on every free agent, all the time, rather than any sudden change in thoughts about where things stand with its offensive line.
Carroll said the Seahawks have to get a good look at Evans before knowing where he will fit in.
“I really like the experience that he brings to us and the leadership that he has had in the past may be a factor for us,” Carroll said. “We don’t know. Right now he’s competing for playing time. To have a guy like that, with that kind of experience to mix with our group, I think we’re very fortunate. This is a guy that has done everything you can do in a game (six Pro Bowls, four times named to the All-NFL team, a Super Bowl title) and we’re thrilled he wants to come play with us.”
Interestingly, Evans worked at left guard Sunday during individual drills (he didn’t take part in the scrimmage) a position he hasn’t played since college — he was a right guard with the Saints. Carroll said the team already knows he can play right guard and simply wants to see for now how he looks at left guard.
“We’ll look at him at both,” Carroll said. “We’re going to start him on the left side just so we can get that going and see what that looks like.”
Also intriguingly, Carroll said he could hardly be more pleased by the play so far of Seattle’s two guards — Ifedi on the right side and Glowinski on the left.
“I really like what they’ve done,” he said. “I think with the combination with [Justin] Britt, it’s been an impressive camp so far. I’m surprised that they’re together and they’re communicating really well. Justin did a great job in the off-season, he and Glow worked out the whole time so they really seem like they’re on the same page. Germain, we’ve done everything we can with him. He’s a fantastic prospect and so we have high hopes. We have really high hopes that it’s going to come along. We need it to come along quickly, that’s what we would like to get done and I really think it’s going to happen.”
The addition of Webb could also make it easier to move rookie Rees Odhiambo around some — Carroll also confirmed Sunday that the Boise State grad will be used at tackle as well as guard as training camp progresses (he got a couple of snaps at left tackle in Sunday’s scrimmage).
“Now that we are kind of settling in there will be some work done just to make sure we know what our flexibility is,” Carroll said.
Evans adds to that, and if he can play at the form he displayed for much of his career, could add a lot more.
But in either case, it’s an addition the Seahawks appear to have been eying for quite a while.