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Commentary: How the Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett has evolved on and off the field

Tyler Lockett looks back to see the call from the official on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, against the New York Giants at Lumen Field in Seattle.  (Tribune News Service)
Matt Calkins Seattle Times

RENTON, Wash. — Tyler Lockett: Seahawks record-holding receiver, former Pro Bowler/first-team All-Pro, real estate agent, and …

Old man?

That was the label he (sort of) gave himself on a couple of occasions when meeting with the media during minicamp this week. The first reference came when Seattle Times Seahawks writer Bob Condotta brought up the fact that Lockett was approaching his ninth NFL season.

“Make me feel old,” Tyler said.

The second came on a follow-up, when Lockett was asked if he is working on anything specifically this time of year.

“Yes, I think the biggest thing is even though you’ve been here a while and you’re a vet, you’re also fighting old age,” he said. “You’re fighting things that your body used to do normally, and now you’ve got to kind of get going. You’ve got to stretch more. You’ve got to kind of do a pre-workout before the real workout.”

Words such as these don’t seem suited for the baby-faced Kansas State product, whose 100 receptions in 2020 is a Seahawks single-season record. But Lockett will be 31 years old a couple weeks into next season and plays a position reliant on speed (especially when the receiver is 5 foot 10 and 182 pounds).

There is little reason to expect much of a slide from Lockett, whose 1,033 receiving yards last season marked the fourth consecutive year he’s posted at least 1,000. He has also been one of the healthier receivers since coming to the league in 2015, playing 16 games in seven seasons and 15 in the other.

Still, he has likely logged more NFL games than he will log in the future. So how has he evolved?

Well, for one, he’s a licensed real estate agent. This may be Year 9 for his pro football career, but it’s Year 2 for him in the housing-market game. His page has four listings, with homes ranging from $2.75 million to $3.475 million. Those are hefty prices. The process requires a lot of negotiation — not unlike a player’s agent trying to procure a lucrative deal. One difference, Lockett says.

“I like it more than negotiating players’ deals, because houses don’t speak,” Lockett said. “You know what I mean? A house isn’t going to get upset (about) what it goes for, but you have to learn how to work with people.”

For those wondering how Lockett balances his football career with his real estate work, he pointed out that he was a student-athlete for four years at Kansas State. Other pursuits — whether educational or vocational — are possible with responsible time management.

But football is the first priority. And there are areas — particularly one area — in which his position group needs to improve.

“I think the biggest thing that we could be way better at that will help us out is just the screen game. I think we were last in the screen game,” said Lockett, whose team did, in fact, rank 32nd last season in screen-pass efficiency. “So I think if we can be able to get that down to at least 20, it does wonders.”

Part of the reason Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith’s completion percentage was so high (first in the NFL at 69.8%) but yards per throw so low (ninth at 7.5) left something to be desired was the ineffectiveness of the screen pass.

This may not be of major interest to the average face-painted tailgater, but to the Seahawks stat-geek community, it’s significant. Moving the ball in low-risk situations is a staple of the Pete Carroll philosophy … which is perhaps why Seattle drafted receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round, potentially creating a true pass-catching triple threat with Lockett and DK Metcalf already in the mix.

Lockett had some thoughts on his new teammate.

“I think he’s going to be phenomenal, man,” he said. “It’s always hard just being able to get adjusted when you first come in. But the way he runs routes, the way he’s understanding the way that (receivers coach) Sanjay (Lal) coaches, the sky’s going to be the limit.”

It’s true that “the sky’s the limit” is the standard ceiling ascribed to any high-profile rookie a few weeks removed from the draft. We’ll all have to wait and see on Smith-Njigba.

We won’t have to wait on Lockett, though. The only surprise would be a drop-off. Four consecutive seasons of at least 1,000 yards, plus a surrounding offense that has proved it can put up wins.

Whether you’re a rookie or a ninth-year vet, that’s one thing that never gets old.