Seahawks Free Agent Update: Pt. 2


The second wave of the NFL free agent experience has crashed into the VMAC, and before it pulled back into the dark recesses of owners’ pocketbooks, it took with it the Seahawks highest-profile UFA of 2016.

 Russell Okung, acting as his own agent, managed to deliver two different crushing blows to the Seahawks. One was by leaving as the team’s best offensive lineman, creating a gigantic hole on Russell Wilson’s blind side that currently would be filled by Garry Gilliam, which isn’t scaring people nearly as much as it should.

The second, most underrated result of his defection was the damage he did by signing a contract that as of now would only be eligible to net the Seahawks a 6th round compensation pick in the 2017 draft. While Okung thinks his deal is for 5 years and $50M+, the details of it reveal he is actually working on a 1-year agreement for modest money that has zero guaranteed dollars and allows the Broncos to decide in 11 months whether to pick up an option that would guarantee the next 4 years of the contract at over $10M per year to the player.

Psssst- hey Russell- spoiler alert: you’re getting cut next February.

I don’t wish anything but good things for Russell Okung. He’s a great human being and a good football player. I just wish the Seahawks would have been able to recoup a piece of compensation that befits the talent of the player that has left the organization. Instead, this ends up being bad both ways for Seattle because the player left and also decided not to pay an agent that would have gotten Okung a more stable deal with more guarantees and a higher 2017 comp pick for the Seahawks.

Unlike wave 1 of free agency, however, the Seahawks have dipped into the sea of outside candidates and reeled in a couple of bottom-feeder offensive linemen in Bradley Sowell– seen here getting steamrolled in training camp with the Cardinals- and J’Marcus Webb, featured here as a Chicago Bear getting tossed into the 5th row by Carolina’s Charles Johnson. These two will compete with the likes of Justin Britt and Terry Poole for not only roster spots, but possibly significant playing time (lord help us).

While the less-than-replacement level Sowell seems to have thankfully kept a low social media profile in regards to his signing, Webb can’t control himself, releasing a litany of tweets humblebragging about the lottery ticket John Schneider has inexplicably placed in front of him, which reads 2 years, $5.75M. This is despite being a complete turnstile of a tackle in 2014 with Minnesota and a well below average guard in Oakland last season. Say hello to this year’s Cary Williams, everybody. At least he wants to get to know us:

In addition to the offensive linemen above, Seattle signed DT Sealver Siliga to act as a lane clogger from the 1-Tech position- a role previously played by Brandon Mebane. It is a 1-year deal and may prove to be the most deft acquisition of the signing period, albeit an under-the-radar one. Siliga impressed in preseason 2013 action for Seattle before getting caught up in a numbers game that resulted in his release. He will play a key role in allowing the Seahawks to be strong versus the run again in 2016.

Following a similar pattern in wave 1 that saw the team re-sign its own players such as Ahtyba Rubin, Jeremy Lane, Jon Ryan and Jermaine Kearse, the Seahawks recently came to terms with a couple of familiar names in Mike Morgan and Christine Michael.

Morgan returns as the special teams stalwart and backup outside linebacker, while the enigmatic but possibly maturing Michael looks to build upon the strong finish to the 2015 season and fight for carries with Thomas Rawls and whatever rookie is brought in to compete at running back.

There are still some intriguing names in free agency available that could help the Seahawks, namely DT Nick Fairley and OG Amini Silatolu, but most if not all outside moves have been made until after the draft, where teams will once again reset and begin to call on a remaining free agent or two.

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A few internal free agent decisions still need to be made, including the backup quarterback, among others. Once again, Tarvaris Jackson has been met with a cool outside free agent market, meaning he is likely to be brought in later this summer to compete the right to hold a clipboard on the sideline. Other former Seahawks like Fred Jackson, Lem Jeanpierre have probably played their last downs for this organization.

With that, wave 2 of free agency is in the books. Despite the myopic views of many, I am very worried about the state of this offensive line and its ability to compete against divisional defensive fronts. You build a team to win division games and the current group of misfit toys has little chance holding up to LA’s and Arizona’s attacks. Losing those games last year at the line of scrimmage meant the team had to win playoff games on the road, which proved too difficult a task. These things are directly related.

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The current state of the Seahawks’ offensive line has NFC West defensive linemen like Robert Quinn licking their chops. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

As of this moment, the difference in talent between Seattle’s O-line and those teams’ D-lines has only gotten further apart- something I thought was impossible. While the rest of the Seattle roster is championship-worthy, the O-line continues to be the sole reason this team may not compete for a ring.

Understanding the 2016 draft will feature multiple selections meant to fortify this abysmal unit, it is unrealistic to assume the rookies will be able to handle the likes of Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, Calais Campbell, Chandler Jones and the laundry list of killers that want nothing more than to fold Russell Wilson up like a pretzel on Sundays this fall.

It would be nice to see wave 3 of free agency bring in a capable player to help solidify the unit and give it some positive momentum heading into the draft. If Amini Silatolu’s knee is progressing well from ACL surgery rehab, he could make a palpable difference as a free agent in performance with solid, aggressive, nasty play. Just like Sealver Siliga on the D-line, Silatolu could be a coup of a 1-yr signing that turns out to be a season-saver.

Stay tuned to ECS’ coverage of the Seahawks as they ramp up preparations for the NFL Draft and 2016 season!