And on the fourth day of the NFL’s free agent signing period, the Seahawks found a center, brought back a quarterback and made a late-night signing of a linebacker who was a former first-round pick.
Here’s a recap of the Seahawks’ day:
Seahawks lock up Lock for another year
The Seahawks insisted at every turn that re-signing Geno Smith didn’t mean they wouldn’t try to bring back Drew Lock.
The team proved worth its word as the Seahawks agreed to terms with Lock on Thursday on a one-year contract to again serve as the backup to Smith, who earlier this month signed a three-year deal. Seahawks general manager John Schneider confirmed the move during his radio show on Seattle Sports 710 Thursday afternoon.
According to the NFL Network, Lock has agreed to a one-year contract with a base value of $4 million with incentives that could take it to $7.5 million. The Seahawks signed Smith to a three-year contract worth up to $75 million in base value and $105 million if Smith hits all incentives.
“Really happy for him,” Schneider said.
The Seahawks acquired Lock as part of the Russell Wilson trade last March. But after losing a training-camp battle for the starting job with Geno Smith, Lock did not take a snap in the regular season as Smith was the only quarterback to take every snap.
In his only playing time last year in two preseason games, Lock was 24 of 39 for 273 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
“Drew was as positive as you could hope a guy would be that didn’t get a chance to play,” Carroll said. “He had a really good experience. He worked great with the coaches, we really appreciated his talent, his work ethic, and even more so, his mentality and support of Geno. He and Geno were buddies through the whole thing. They helped each other, and (practice squad QB) Sean Mannion was part of that as well. He doesn’t know what is coming up, so we have to wait and see, but we would love to have him back and keep growing with him.”
Despite re-signing each of its top two quarterbacks from a year ago, it’s thought the Seahawks could still consider taking a QB in the draft as its holds 10 picks, and picks five and 20 overall.
Seahawks also lock up a center
The Seahawks had one glaring need on their offensive line heading into free agency — center.
And they appear to have filled it, reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal with free agent Evan Brown, who started 24 games the past two seasons with Detroit.
While Brown has played guard and center the past two years, Schneider said during his weekly appearance on Seattle Sports 710 that the team envisions Brown playing center.
“Ideally, he’s a center,” Schneider said. “He can play both, but he’s really truly a center.”
According to ESPN Brown’s deal is worth $2.25 million, with $1 million guaranteed in the form of a signing bonus, and $1.25 million in salary. There is also $500,000 available in incentives.
Brown played almost solely right guard last season for the Lions but saw all of his 755 snaps at center in 2021, starting 12 games for Detroit.
Brown, listed at 6 feet 3, 320 pounds, started 27 games at center in college at SMU along with starting another full season at guard for the Mustangs.
Schneider said Brown was someone the team began specifically targeting when it held its meetings preparing for the free agent signing period.
Before the agreement with Brown, the Seahawks had just one center on its roster — Joey Hunt, who was signed late in the 2022 season to the practice squad and did not play in any games.
Brown, who turns 27 in September, entered the league in 2018 out of SMU as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants.
Brown saw time as a reserve with the Dolphins, Giants and Browns in 2019 and 2020 before becoming a starter with the Lions in 2021.
Brown had a solid 69.5 run blocking grade from Pro Football Focus in 2022 but just 45.5 as a pass blocker while playing mostly right guard — 700 of his snaps came at guard with 68 at center, according to PFF.
But those grades were far better in 2021 when he played exclusively at center — 72.4 pass blocking and 62.9 run blocking. He finished sixth in 2021 in PFF’s pressure rate for centers, meaning he was the sixth-best in allowing the least pressure from defensive linemen.
The Seahawks have apparent starters at their four other offensive line spots — Phil Haynes at right guard, Damien Lewis at left guard, Charles Cross at left tackle and Abraham Lucas at right tackle.
They re-signed Haynes last month to a one-year deal worth up to $4 million, and the assumption has been that he is the favorite for the right-guard spot heading into the 2023 season after splitting time there last year with Gabe Jackson, who was recently released.
Brown’s history playing right guard means the Seahawks could use him there, if needed. They are likely not done adding to the center spot, particularly via the draft, as there has been ample speculation they are enamored with Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz, regarded as maybe the top center prospect available.
That Brown is agreeing to a one-year contract that doesn’t represent a significant financial commitment wouldn’t seem to preclude Seattle from drafting a center.
The Seahawks’ top two centers in 2022 were Austin Blythe and Kyle Fuller. Both are free agents, and Blythe announced last month he is retiring.
Brown is the third external free agent they have agreed to terms with since the free agent signing period began Monday, the others being defensive linemen Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed.
Linebacker Devin Bush signed after visit
The Seahawks also got visits Thursday from three free agent defensive players, according to ESPN — inside linebacker Devin Bush, safety Julian Love and defensive back Lonnie Johnson.
By the end of the day, they had signed Bush to a one-year deal. Terms of the deal weren’t available.
Bush was the 10th overall pick by the Steelers in 2019 but suffered an ACL injury in 2020 and lost his starting job late last year with Pittsburgh deciding to move in another direction.
Bush could fill one of the Seahawks’ glaring needs with Jordyn Brooks still recovering from an ACL injury and his return date for next year uncertain and Cody Barton signing with Washington.
There also remains speculation they could bring back Bobby Wagner. It’s not thought signing Bush would rule out a signing of Wagner.
On his radio show, Schneider said linebacker “definitely is a need” but noted that in free agency and the draft “there’s just more numbers” at linebacker than other spots, intimating that’s allowed the Seahawks to take their time filling out that position.
Love started 16 games at free safety last season, a spot where the Seahawks have Quandre Diggs returning. Love has played other spots in the secondary. The Seahawks could view him as experienced depth and insurance with Jamal Adams still rehabbing from a knee injury and Ryan Neal having been tendered at the lowest-level as a restricted free agent.
Johnson, who was drafted by Houston in the second round in 2019 with a pick the Texans got from the Seahawks in the Duane Brown trade, has played cornerback and safety in his four-year career. He played in 12 games last season for Tennessee, primarily on special teams but also getting 165 snaps on defense.
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