“Yo @gregolsen88 welcome to the PNW!! TE room is going to be dangerous this year!!” — Will Dissly, welcoming Greg Olsen to the Seahawks
If Will Dissly and Greg Olsen are both healthy, the Seahawks will indeed be dangerous at tight end in 2020.
Imagine the matchup nightmares Dissly, Greg Olsen and Jacob Hollister could create for Russell Wilson. Forget a third receiver — these guys could help Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf take the top off defenses even more easily.
Of course, that is the best-case scenario.
At worst, Pete Carroll and John Schneider are expecting Olsen to be insurance against Dissly missing time as he comes back from a torn Achilles — or getting hurt yet again.
Dissly has played just 10 games in his first two seasons, having both ended by significant leg injuries. Olsen played in just 16 games in 2017-18, due to foot injuries. But he rebounded to play in 14 games in 2019, catching 52 passes for a Carolina team that did not have Cam Newton most of the way. He will be 35 next season, so the Hawks surely are not expecting him to play full-time. They probably would be happy if Dissly and Olsen combined to give them one great season, to go with another solid effort by Hollister.
For those who think $7 million is too much for a 35-year-old part-time player, consider this: (1) The deal guarantees just $5.5 million, so the remaining amount is likely in the kind of game bonuses Seattle favors for veterans; (2) Olsen will cost a net of just $4 million against the cap, once Ed Dickson is let go.
The Hawks still have at least $40 million for veterans. Tendering Hollister would cost about $3.3 million, and they should budget as much as $32 million for pass rushers.
Word is Jadeveon Clowney wants to set the market for defensive players, which would mean around $24 million a year (Khalil Mack averages $23.5 million). Schneider almost certainly would balk at that, considering he has never paid even $10 million to a defensive lineman. In that case, Schneider might focus on adding a couple of mid-teens rushers such as Everson Griffen, Robert Quinn and Calais Campbell — if any of those guys were available.
Olsen is a comp-free signing, but you have to hope Schneider is not married to playing that game this offseason. He probably cannot upgrade the defense properly without adding unrestricted free agents — unless he somehow finagles trades for Griffen, Campbell or another rusher.
With Detroit dangling Darius Slay, there are a lot of fanciful calls for Schneider to work a deal to add the cornerback to his former teammate Quandre Diggs. But, even if Detroit would take a Day 2 pick for Slay, the Hawks would have to pay him big bucks. For one, they don’t do big-money free-agent corners; Carroll trains them himself. Plus, they need to use that kind of money on pass rushers first, so they will look for cheaper competition for Tre Flowers, possibly from the draft, and/or hope Flowers takes the same third-year jump that Shaquill Griffin did.
Media have been speculating that the Hawks could/should cut Bradley McDougald to save around $4 million, but why? With Diggs on the other side, McDougald played very well in 2019. They are a solid tandem. Let McDougald, 29, play out his final year and see whether second-year safety Marquise Blair takes the next step to replace him in 2021. Even if Blair beats out McDougald, the veteran could always return to the two-way reserve role he filled behind Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas in 2017.
Plenty of fans have called for the team to cut Justin Britt, who is recovering from an ACL injury, especially since such a move would add $8.5 million in cap space. But the club would need to find a replacement, which might not be that easy. Detroit’s Graham Glasgow could get as much as $14 million a year on the market — much more than the $10 million the Hawks might be willing to pay a new center. And we saw that Joey Hunt is not a long-term answer.
Ray Roberts, who coincidentally played tackle for both Seattle and Detroit, thinks the Hawks should keep Britt: “Justin Britt was putting together a couple of really good football seasons. … I think Justin Britt is a really solid center in our league, so that would be a guy I’d like to see them keep.”