It’s official: The Seahawks have completed the deconstruction of the offensive line that tagged along for the Super Bowl XLVIII win and are in full rebuild mode.
With injured (again) Russell Okung headed to the new Super Bowl champs in Denver on a prove-it deal, the Seahawks have completely turned over their line since 2013.
While continuity is one of the hallmarks of any great line, the Seahawks have not had much of that due to injuries and inconsistent play, so they aren’t really missing anything by letting Okung and company go. None of them were worth keeping.
Breno Giacomini left after the 2013 season, getting $4.5 million a year from the Jets. After 2014, Max Unger — making $5.5 million — was traded to New Orleans and James Carpenter joined Giacomini on the Jets for almost $5 million a year. And now Okung and J.R. Sweezy are gone — Sweezy making $6.5 million a year and Okung looking at $12 million if he earns it with a good 2016.
Could the Hawks have done the Okung deal? Sure. But they didn’t want to pay $12 million a year to a player who has never played a full season. Denver reportedly will get Okung for as little as $5 million this year (and hope he is healthy enough to play), and then will have to decide whether to pick up that four-year, $48 million option.
Now the Seahawks are in full rebuild mode. After signing a couple of guys this week, they have the bodies for all five positions. But they need to do better than Garry Gilliam at left tackle, Patrick Lewis at center and Justin Britt and J’Marcus Webb at left guard and right tackle in some combo.
As it turns out, Okung going to Denver might end up helping Seattle. The Broncos are expected to release Ryan Clady, their former Pro Bowl left tackle who is coming off an ACL injury and is scheduled to make $9.5 million in 2016.
With most of the other free-agent tackles — Kelvin Beachum, Donald Penn, Jermon Bushrod — signed, the Seahawks don’t have many options for a veteran left tackle. Clady and Will Beatty are the top two free agents; but, like Okung, both have injury concerns.
Beatty is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle and rotator cuff that kept him out in 2015. He was cut by the Giants in February and is expected to be ready to work out for teams in April. Six teams reportedly asked about him at the Combine. No word on whether the Seahawks were one of those teams; but, if they weren’t interested then, they should be now.
With Okung now definitely gone, if Seattle had to play today, the line would look something like this: LT Gilliam, LG Britt, C Lewis, RG Mark Glowinski, RT Webb.
The Seahawks, who have $10 million to spend on free agents, are sure to add a couple more veteran linemen while also signing a linebacker and backup quarterback.
If the Seahawks are willing to gamble on Clady’s health, they could try to swing a trade — it probably wouldn’t take more than a sixth- or seventh-rounder because everyone knows Denver wants to move his big salary out. But the Hawks would have to get Clady to redo his contract, and the whole deal would hinge on the medical.
Seattle probably will just wait for him to be released. With the competition for tackles thinned out, the Seahawks probably would be bidding against some combination of Detroit, Baltimore, Houston and the New York teams. Unless one of them were willing to give Clady the same kind of option contract Okung and Beachum got, Seattle would stand a decent chance.
The Hawks reportedly offered Okung $9 million this year, but they then reportedly pulled the offer before he came to the agreement with Denver. For Clady, they probably wouldn’t pay more than $6 million on a one-year deal. Beatty probably would be even cheaper.
And a draft pick would be even cheaper yet. Okung started as a rookie in 2010, so Pete Carroll is not averse to the idea. The question is whether the Seahawks will be in position to add a left tackle who could step in and start for a Super Bowl contender. Most of the guys who are projected to be available at No. 26 appear to be more suited to right tackle (or left guard): Germain Ifedi and Tyler Decker. Or not ready for prime time: Jason Spriggs, Shon Coleman and Le’Raven Clark.
But this is considered a very good draft for offensive linemen, and the Seahawks should use three of their nine picks on the unit — including at least two of their four in the top 100.