SEATTLE – We’re two full weeks into the NFL free-agent signing period.
While the Seahawks may not been the most active team – the Patriots took that mantle and ran away with it on Day One – they’ve done their share, especially in the last week as they reloaded their defensive line after making big moves to solidify their corps at running back and offensive line.
To quickly recap what the Seahawks have done:
Signed four outside free agents – defensive end Kerry Hyder, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, defensive tackle Al Woods and tight end Gerald Everett.
Made one trade, acquiring guard Gabe Jackson from the Raiders for a 2021 fifth-round pick.
Re-signed eight of their free agents – defensive ends Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa, running back Chris Carson, fullback Nick Bellore, defensive tackle Poona Ford and offensive linemen Ethan Pocic, Jordan Simmons and Cedric Ogbuehi.
With free agency entering the second and third phases – when signings slow as teams turn their attention to the draft – it’s a good time to assess what the Seahawks have done and still need to get done.
So, let’s rank the Seahawks’ position groups in terms of need.
Cornerback: Are Witherspoon and the returning D.J. Reed and Tre Flowers enough to make a winning cornerback duo? Maybe. The Seahawks seem likely to add another veteran, be it re-signing Quinton Dunbar – which seems the highest percentage move – or Richard Sherman.
Linebacker: So what’s going to happen with K.J. Wright? Things have been quiet on that front as the Seahawks have attacked other, seemingly more pressing, needs and there hasn’t been much linking Wright to other teams other than an SI.com report Friday that said the Cowboys were always one of his “dream teams.’’ The Seahawks are surely hoping to get a bargain on Wright, as they ended up doing with Dunlap, Carson and a few others whose markets didn’t develop the way they might have thought.
Receiver: Do the Seahawks need to add someone to compete for the third receiver spot? They obviously didn’t consider it a priority, watching David Moore and Phillip Dorsett sign elsewhere and not bringing in any replacements. Maybe the Seahawks are happy with the idea of Freddie Swain/Penny Hart/John Ursua competing for that spot. But the guess here is they will add a cut-rate veteran or two at some point.
Offensive line: The Seahawks have 12 offensive linemen under contract, including six of its top seven from last year along with prized trade acquisition Jackson. His $9.6 million salary-cap hit is the largest of any newcomer to the team, indicative of the expectations that greet his arrival. The guess here is that they are done making significant veteran free-agent additions to the line, but using their second-round pick on a lineman makes all the sense in the world.
Defensive tackle: The surprising release last week of Jarran Reed shook things up at this spot. Quickly adding the veteran Woods – who in 2019 arguably played the run as well as Reed, which will be his primary duty now – and re-signing Ford to buy out his restricted free-agent year was rated by Pro Football Focus as one of the best moves of any team in free agency. Adding one more low-cost vet to this group at some point might not be a surprise.
Quarterback: Yes, the view here is Russell Wilson will still be a Seahawk in the fall. But he needs a backup. All they have behind Wilson are Danny Etling and Alex McGough, neither of whom has taken a snap in an NFL game. Geno Smith, the backup the last two years, is a free agent and could be a candidate to return.
Defensive end: The rapid-fire signings last week of Hyder, Mayowa and Dunlap took care of things at this position, as the Seahawks added that trio to L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson. Re-signing Damontre Moore to add depth might be in order.
Tight end: Signing Everett to add to the duo of Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson gives the Seahawks a pretty good trio. But adding one more low-cost vet before camp might not be a surprise.
Safety: With Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs under contract for 2021, the Seahawks are set for this year. (Ryan Neal is also under contract and Marquise Blair could always be used at safety, as well.) But you’d think getting a long-term extension done with Adams will be a focus following the 2021 draft.
Running back/fullback: The re-signing Carson gives the Seahawks five tailbacks with experience – in fact, five who were all drafted by the team in the last five years – setting up what will be a good competition for spots on the 53-player roster. The re-signing of Bellore to a two-year deal also sews up the fullback spot.
Special teams: The Seahawks are set with their kicking battery of kicker Jason Myers, punter Michael Dickson and snapper Tyler Ott, who have all made a Pro Bowl at some point in the last three years.
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