The Seahawks have 24 players who can be unrestricted free agents. Officially, they don’t become so-called UFAs until March 17 when the NFL’s new league year begins. Until that time they can re-sign with the Seahawks. If they don’t re-sign by that date, then they are free to sign with any team.
Here’s an early assessment of each free agent, ranked in order of importance for the Seahawks:
Linebacker K.J. Wright: Wright had one of the best years of his career, which might mean he’ll have a competitive market in free agency. But the way Seattle’s defense played down the stretch once he moved for good to strongside linebacker in the base defense would seem to make him a priority to keep.
Running back Chris Carson: Backup Carlos Hyde also is a free agent, and it’s hard to know how much confidence the Seahawks can have in the durability of Rashaad Penny. Running-back markets are hard to predict. But if Carson has a reasonable salary number in mind, Seattle should assure he stays.
Defensive end Benson Mayowa: Mayowa thrived down the stretch when he was in more of a complementary role, finishing third on the team with six sacks. Another affordable, one-year deal seems a good match for both sides.
Cornerback Shaquill Griffin: Griffin’s market and asking price may be one of the hardest to predict. The guess here is he hits the market, at which point anything can happen. Seattle may go alternate ways to fill its cornerback spot, maybe re-signing Quinton Dunbar to a cheaper deal.
Center Ethan Pocic: Pocic’s four-year rookie deal is done after he finally found a home at center. Backup center Kyle Fuller is an exclusive-rights free agent, meaning he’ll stay with the Seahawks if they want him, and you’d assume they will. But if they let Pocic go they’d have to find another center.
Cornerback Quinton Dunbar: If healthy, Dunbar might be a less-expensive alternative to Griffin, which the Seahawks might consider with D.J. Reed and Tre Flowers remaining under contract.
Receiver Phillip Dorsett: Coach Pete Carroll has already said the Seahawks want him back. Assuming he would agree to another one-year, veteran-minimum (or close) deal, there’s no harm in trying again.
Running back Carlos Hyde: Carroll this week mentioned wanting Hyde back, and he could be more of a priority depending on how things develop with Carson.
Tight end Jacob Hollister: Hollister’s numbers were down from 2019, due in part to him mysteriously not playing much the first half of the season. Seattle likely won’t want to pay him the $3.2 million it had to this season on a restricted-free-agent tender. But if there’s a middle ground, he seems like a player they’d want back.
Receiver David Moore: The Seahawks kept Moore by redoing his deal before the season. Moore had a career-high 35 receptions, but his yards per catch were down markedly, to 11.9 from 17.7, and the Seahawks may want to look to other options to compete at the third receiver spot.
Linebacker Bruce Irvin: Irvin’s future is tough to read after Carroll said Irvin had recently undergone another surgery on his knee. If healthy you’d assume both sides would be amenable to a return. But if not, Irvin could be one who has to wait a while to sign.
Fullback Nick Bellore: Bellore was a Pro Bowler as a special-teamer this season. But he will be 32 in May, and the Seahawks could decide they want more of an offensive presence. Bellore played just 35 offensive snaps.
Offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi: Ogbuehi did well enough in four injury fill-in starts and is only 28, so another one-year, low-risk deal would make sense.
Defensive end Damontre Moore: Moore seems something of a personal favorite of Carroll, for how hard he plays and special-teams versatility.
Safety Damarious Randall: The Seahawks like Randall’s versatility. He can help on special teams and wouldn’t cost much.
Safety Lano Hill: The Seahawks have always seemed higher on Hill than fans, and he helped make the game-saving play against the Patriots. But a back injury then sidelined him for the season, the second time in three years he has suffered a significant injury.
Quarterback Geno Smith: Smith hasn’t had to take a meaningful snap in his two years with Seattle. Cap reasons mean Seattle is always likely to go as inexpensive as possible at backup QB. But maybe this is a year the Seahawks look around some.
Defensive end Jonathan Bullard: Bullard played in only one of the last seven games but might be worth bringing back as depth/competition.
Guard Mike Iupati: Injuries and age may be catching up to Iupati, who turns 34 in May. Backup Jordan Simmons is a restricted free agent and could return. Carroll, though, said they must improve at left guard, so the Seahawks could look elsewhere.
Cornerback Neiko Thorpe: Thorpe, a popular player and special-teams captain the past two seasons, has played just 10 games the past two years due to injury, and Seattle may have to move on.
Tight end Luke Willson: He’s a team and fan favorite. But he’s 31, and Seattle figures to add competition at tight end. Still, the Seahawks might want to bring him back to camp and see what happens.
Tight end Greg Olsen: Olsen will be 36 in March and may head to retirement and a TV job. Seattle, though, seems ready to turn the job over to younger players.
Defensive end Branden Jackson: Jackson suffered a spinal injury in August that left it unclear if he can play again.
Receiver Josh Gordon: Sadly, Gordon had his conditional reinstatement rescinded recently by the NFL and is back on indefinite suspension. There may not be many chances left.