Why did the Seahawks let Garry Gilliam go to the 49ers?
It’s a question some fans are asking, but the answer is simple: They didn’t want to guarantee $1.4 million to a guy they probably were going to ask to take a pay cut this summer anyway.
It was a 50-50 proposition that the Seahawks were even going to tender Gilliam back in March, but they gave him the low tender, $1.8 million, because they were short on bodies.
When they were able to add Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi in free agency, it gave them the flexibility to bump Germain Ifedi to right tackle. With the 2016 first-round pick expected to win that job, Gilliam, the former undrafted player who struggled in 2016, looked destined for a backup role.
As they have done with many previous restricted free agents, the Hawks then would have asked Gilliam to take a pay reduction from the $1.8 million tender. So, when the 49ers came over the top with a $2.2 million deal that guaranteed almost the entire amount of the RFA tender, it was a pretty simple decision for the Hawks.
With Gilliam gone, Ifedi is definitely the favorite to start at right tackle (see some video of him at guard last year). Robert Myers is behind him for now, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Hawks added a veteran in the next week or after the draft. Ryan Clady has visited and remains unsigned. Also on the street are Austin Pasztor, Will Beatty and former Seahawks Bradley Sowell and Breno Giacomini.
The Seahawks recouped $1.8 million against their cap when Gilliam departed, so they now have around $11 million in space — plenty to add a low-priced veteran if they desire.
No matter who else they add, though, the Seahawks are definitely counting on Ifedi to step up at right tackle — which appears to be his better calling than right guard.
At the owners meetings, Pete Carroll said: “We drafted (Ifedi) as a right tackle that could play right guard. We’ve used that flexibility already. He’s excited about the chance to play outside if that’s what we want him to do.’’
With Gilliam gone, there is no question that’s what they want him to do now.
As for the rest of the line, Justin Britt is an obvious lock at center and Joeckel is the favorite at left tackle. That leaves the guard spots — with Rees Odhiambo, Mark Glowinski and Aboushi competing.
Carroll said of Odhiambo: “We drafted him to be a starting player. … It was just a matter of time. When he comes to camp, he should be as pumped as ever, because he’s going to get a great chance to star. … We’re going to try to keep him on the left side as best we can and see what happens there.”
If Odhiambo looks good, Glowinski likely would move to right guard, where he started one game in 2015, to compete against Aboushi.
Carroll said of Aboushi: “We’re gonna put him over on the right side, see how he does at right guard, knowing he can move around. … He’s really well-equipped, smart, fits the style. He’s been in the same zone running style. But particularly we rated him very highly in his pass protection and we’re really excited about that.”
The Seahawks could add to the mix via the draft next week, but it’s tough to see a rookie coming in to start unless perhaps it is Forrest Lamp (who probably would win a starting guard spot immediately).
At this point, we’re projecting the line to look like this (L-R): Joeckel, Odhiambo, Britt, Glowinski/Aboushi, Ifedi.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and September.