The Seahawks let offensive tackle Garry Gilliam sign with the San Francisco 49ers rather than pick up his contract for $400,000 more.
The Seahawks let offensive tackle Garry Gilliam walk by declining to match the San Francisco 49ers’ one-year, $2.2 million contract yesterday. John Schneider offered Gilliam the minimum, a one-year, $1.8 million contract. Because Gilliam was a restricted free agent, the Seahawks had a chance to match San Francisco’s offer (for $400,000 more), but they declined.
The writing was on the wall for Gilliam’s ouster. With Germain Ifedi appearing to be the next starting right tackle and with Gilliam’s benching last season, it appeared he was on his way out of Seattle. It’s a little surprising that Schneider let him go, considering he only needed to pony up an additional $400,000 on top of the $1.8 million contract they offered him.
Gilliam was, like most of the Seahawks offensive line last season, inconsistent. And since he was an undrafted free agent, his signing with the 49ers doesn’t gain them a compensatory draft pick. Even though they signed Jacksonville washout Luke Joeckel to bolster the line, letting Gilliam leave seems irresponsible, unless offensive linemen are definitely in Schneider’s plan for the NFL Draft next week.
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The move (or non-move) by the Seahawks appears to point to new blood being added to the line through the draft. Offensive line coach Tom Cable must have seen something he didn’t like in Gilliam, which led to him getting benched midway through last year, and only re-inserted into the lineup when all other options failed at right tackle.
I would think the more options Seattle has on the line, the better, but leadership was not excited to bring Gilliam back. They either have plans to draft offensive linemen next week, or they have faith in Ifedi (God help us) or another player on the roster to take over the right side of the line.