Speaking to reporters at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis Thursday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the team will be “very aggressive” in its pursuit of offensive linemen when annual free-agent signing period gets underway March 9. He also said he will take a “long look” at O-linemen in the draft, especially those that come from colleges that utilize the three-point stance.
“We have a chance to do some things in free agency and we have a chance to do some things in the draft,” he said. The Seahawks are about $25 million under the new per-team cap of $167 million, but at least 19 other teams have more room, according to overthecap.com.
Carroll added that George Fant, a rookie last year, is “our left tackle,” and that the club would make a qualifying offer to RT Garry Gilliam, a restricted free agent.
“We know our young guys are going to get better and hopefully make a big leap forward,” said Carroll. “That’s what usually happens from the first year to the second year.”
Carroll provided updates on several players.
FS Earl Thomas and WR Tyler Lockett, both of whom had season-ending injuries, are on track to return for the start of the regular season.
“I don’t think there’s any reason not to say that for those two guys,’’ he said. “Both have a really good chance to be there as we kick off the season.’’
After he broke his tibia Dec. 4 against Carolina, Thomas tweeted that he was considering retirement. A few weeks later, he said he would return.
“It was a big shock to him,’’ Carroll said. “He had never been injured like that before. He is feeling very competitive about it. His mentality is strong and he’s looking forward to getting right.”
Carroll wouldn’t rule out CB DeShawn Shead returning for the start of the season, either. Shead tore his ACL in the playoff loss to Atlanta.
“I’m optimistic,’’ he said. “DeShawn is such an extraordinary healer and competitor, I wouldn’t put any limits on him right now. But it wouldn’t be unlikely that he might go into the season before he’s ready to go.’’
The Seahawks will try to re-sign TE Luke Willson, who will become an unrestricted free agent.
“We love Luke Willson,” said Carroll.
Regarding coaching staff changes, Lofa Tatupu, who was an assistant coaching linebackers for two years, left the team to pursue opportunities outside of coaching. He will be replaced by John Glenn, defensive quality control coach for the past three years. Also, Clint Hurtt was added as a defensive line coach and Chad Morton will become running backs coach, taking over for Sherman Smith.
Fant, and the Seahawks, would be better served by him playing RT and signing a veteran free agent (Okung) for a few years. Okung will be relatively cheap and already knows the system. We desperately need a vet on the OL…a role that Evans could have filled at the league minimum. Can never have too much depth on the OL… especially cheap veterans that are still effective.
I’d be surprised if the team went back to Okung as well as him wanting to return. I’m predicting they sign OT Matt Kalil who’s a free agent from the Vikings. He played for Pete Carroll in college and has underachieved as the #4 pick of the draft. He could come cheap but blossom under Tom Cable. The LOB s running on fumes and there’s a lot of solid DB’s in this draft. If Kam and Earl stayed healthy last season they could have won 14 games.
Kalil is intriguing. I like Okung because he knows Cable’s/Bevell’s system, is a known quantity, left on fairly good terms (Seahawks made an offer, I think?), has a legacy in Seattle to enhance, and would come fairly cheaply on a two year deal. Denver’s contract screwed him…but that’s what happens when you don’t hire an agent.
My guess is that Carroll/Schneider trade up to get Peppers from Michigan to be the next Kam, or get a CB with the first pick. After that, it’s OK and DL emphasis…unless a big RB remains on the board. (With Rawls and Prosise having questionable durability, I wouldn’t be surprised if Seahawks sign a veteran FA RB if the price gets lower… Peterson, Charles, McFadden, Morris. It’s a buyer’s market at that position. Lots of depth in the draft too.)
They will go defense first, and Peppers is my choice if they move up. But today at the combine, he measured at 5-11 and 213. Definitely not an NFL LB, and quite a bit smaller than Chancellor at SS.
Schneider/Carroll might be inclined to rub the Budda’s belly as a SS, too. Maybe just sit at #26 and desperately hope that Peppers, Baker, or a CB they have targeted fall to them?
John Clayton is high on UW’s Sidney Jones but thinks he’ll be gone when the Seahawks pick. If he’s still there when their turn comes around and he’s that good can they afford to pass on him? When Maxwell left is when Sherman started playing both sides of the field and offenses started picking on the side he wasn’t playing.
Jones is likely to be a top 10 pick. We do need another top CB to pair with Sherman (who is regressing a bit)…Shead is hurt and Lane was horrible last year. Revis interests me for one year if scouts think there is anything left in the tank. I also like Kevin King (played opposite Jones at UW) quite a bit in the later rounds.
Art, do you think that there is any interest in bringing in Revis after a down year on a one year deal to play opposite Sherman?
Health is always a big if for any successful team that is already pay stars a disproportionate share under the cap. Such teams can’t afford injuries to top players because of the huge drop to a minimum-wage backup.
The Seahawks may agree, because Fant will still be a liability until he’s had another year.
It is very arguable the poor O-line has kept the Hawks from the Super Bowl the past 2 years: I am glad that realization has finally sunk in with Pete and John. It’s been like having a Ferrari sitting on rims – it won’t go very far.
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They’ve been well aware of the shortcomings of the line. They just made choices to re-sign Wilson, Sherman, Wagner, etc. Guys like Giacomini, Carpenter, Okung, McQuistan and Sweezy in their eyes were not worth that kind of money.
Seahawks under Carroll will always be defense-heavy in their investment of resources. It worked well in 2013 when an average O-line was plenty good enough to win a Super Bowl, given the defense.
They know. They also know that O-line positions are where coaching has the most impact. You can’t coach speed or size, but you can coach technique and scheme. But the bosses flopped in their personnel choices for ’16, as Schneider and events disclosed.
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