Seattle Seahawks’ NFL free-agent signings 2021: Chris Carson’s return stabilizes working sport

NFL free company is off and working, and we’re retaining observe of each main signing, commerce and launch of the 2021 offseason, with evaluation from our NFL Nation reporters and grades from our specialists. The brand new league 12 months started March 17, which suggests free-agent signings could possibly be made official after that. The primary spherical of the 2021 NFL draft begins April 29 on ESPN.

The Seahawks offseason was already eventful earlier than the calendar turned to March. They’ve a brand new offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron and an sad quarterback in Russell Wilson, who’s been the topic of commerce hypothesis.

The scenario with Wilson provides intrigue to how the Seahawks will strategy free company. They’re going to should stability Wilson’s wishes for offensive-line upgrades with their different roster wants — which embody cornerback, pass-rusher and working again — and should fill all of these holes with restricted assets. Seattle begins free company with round $20 million in cap house and solely owns 4 picks in April’s draft, with no first- or third-rounder.

Here is a breakdown of each 2021 NFL free-agent signing by the Seattle Seahawks, and the way every will affect the upcoming season:

The Seahawks have re-signed Ford with a two-year deal.

What it means: The Seahawks are retaining one in every of their younger, ascending playmakers within the fold for a minimum of the subsequent two seasons. That is one thing they have not performed sufficient of in recent times. Ford is barely the fourth homegrown participant acquired since 2013 to get a multi-year second contract from the workforce. One other is Jarran Reed, whom Ford has began alongside the previous two seasons. The Seahawks have a powerful defensive-tackle tandem in Ford and Reed, however they want a major pass-rushing menace off the sting after releasing Carlos Dunlap. Their present edge gamers include some good complementary items, however no one in every of Dunlap’s caliber.

What is the threat: Ford was going to be again with Seattle in 2021 a method or one other. It was only a matter of whether or not he’d be tendered as a restricted free agent or given a multi-year deal. The 2-year deal means the Seahawks are paying Ford sooner than they should, however a one-year tender would have put him on observe to hit free company subsequent March, when one other sturdy season and the anticipated enhance within the NFL’s wage cap may have made him rather more costly to re-sign. What’s not clear is what his cap quantity will probably be in 2021 in comparison with what it might have been with a first-round ($4.766 million) or second-round ($3.384 million) tender.

What it means: The Seahawks have a candidate to switch Shaquill Griffin, who’s off to Jacksonville. At 6-foot-3, Witherspoon has the size that Seattle prefers in its perimeter cornerbacks and comes from a 49ers protection that was coordinated by Pete Carroll disciple Robert Saleh, which ought to assist his transition to Seattle. The Seahawks like Witherspoon’s athleticism, consciousness, ball abilities and the sense of urgency he performs with. D.J. Reed Jr. confirmed sufficient final season to begin once more on one facet, however the Seahawks needed to a minimum of add competitors for Tre Flowers on the opposite facet given how up and down he is been. Quinton Dunbar is a free agent after his eventful offseason and injury-shortened season, another excuse why cornerback was a necessity.

What is the threat: Sturdiness has been a difficulty with Witherspoon, who has performed in 47 of a doable 64 regular-season video games and by no means greater than 14 in any of his 4 NFL seasons. Accidents and occasional protection errors had Witherspoon out and in of the 49ers’ lineup. Monetary particulars of his one-year deal weren’t obtainable, but it surely’s seemingly a cheap wager on a participant that Seattle believes is ascending at 26 years previous.

The Seahawks signed the previous Rams tight finish to a one-year deal.

What it means: Everett is not an offensive lineman, however his addition ought to make Russell Wilson completely happy because it offers Seattle’s passing sport one other weapon to go together with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Everett was a logical free-agent goal for the Seahawks given their want for one more tight finish and Everett’s connection to new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who coached him with the Rams. Everett’s information of Waldron’s system ought to assist ease Seattle’s offensive transition, particularly if on-field work is once more restricted through the offseason program. The Seahawks have the makings of a pleasant tight finish group offered that Everett continues his ascension, Will Dissly stays wholesome and final 12 months’s fourth-round choose, Colby Parkinson, makes a soar after a nondescript rookie season. The Seahawks are additionally excessive on 2020 UDFA Tyler Mabry.

What is the threat: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reviews that Everett’s deal is for as much as $7 million with $6 million totally assured. That is about what the Seahawks gave Olsen final 12 months on a deal that didn’t pan out. The massive distinction between the 2 is that Olsen was 35 on the time and had missed 18 video games over the earlier three seasons. Everett turns 27 in June and has solely missed three video games in his four-year profession. His reception and receiving yardage totals have elevated in every of the final three seasons, which is indicative of an ascending participant. And it by no means hurts to pluck from a division rival.

What it means: The Seahawks are bringing again one of many core members of one of many league’s greatest special-teams items final season. Bellore’s 11 tackles on particular groups final 12 months have been fourth-most within the NFL, in line with the league’s official stats (teammate Cody Barton was tied for second with 13). That earned Bellore a Professional Bowl nod. He additionally performs fullback however has solely performed a mixed 64 offensive snaps the previous two seasons, per Professional Soccer Reference. New offensive coordinator Shane Waldron comes from the Sean McVay system, which doesn’t use a fullback. Clearly, the Seahawks are bringing again Bellore extra for his or her particular groups — which completed third in Soccer Outsiders’ DVOA rankings in 2020 — than their backfield.

What is the threat: The Seahawks are seemingly not committing any vital sum of money to Bellore, whom they paid the league-minimum salaries of $930,000 in 2019 and $1.05 million in 2020. No matter they’re paying him 2021 is cash that is not going in direction of greater wants like an edge-rusher, tailback or middle. However the Seahawks can at all times make strikes to create extra cap room. At this charge — having signed Ahkello Witherspoon and Gerald Everett, re-signed Bellore and Poona Ford, and traded for Gabe Jackson after beginning free company with round $17 million — it seems to be like they will should.

The Seahawks are anticipated to re-sing their beginning middle to a one-year deal.

What it means: The Seahawks are bringing again final 12 months’s middle and somebody they view as a strong starter. Pocic was sixteenth in ESPN’s Move Block Win Price as a middle in 2020, discovering a house there after taking part in guard his first three seasons. Particulars of his contract will give a greater indication of how dedicated the Seahawks are to Pocic as their beginning middle in 2021. It is doable that he is a cheap fallback choice if they cannot discover a higher different through the draft (they’ve solely three picks as of now) or later in free company (which might seemingly require them to release cap room). However as of now, the Seahawks have stuffed the 2 instant openings on their offensive line by buying and selling for guard Gabe Jackson and bringing again Pocic.

What is the threat: Russell Wilson had guard and middle in thoughts as the 2 positions he wished the Seahawks to improve when he publicly urged the workforce to enhance his cross safety. So whereas he needed to be proud of Seattle’s commerce for Jackson, he won’t be as thrilled with the prospects of Pocic returning because the starter at middle. That stated, the Seahawks may do a lot worse than Pocic. He did not get a shot at middle till final season partly as a result of there was disagreement throughout the group about the place he was greatest suited to play. So it is affordable to suppose that at solely 25 years previous, he may nonetheless develop into that place.

The Seahawks signed Carson to a three-year contract that voids after two years.

What it means: Re-signing Carson takes care of one of many Seahawks’ largest remaining wants, and so they did so at an affordable worth that helps their tough cap scenario. And sure, working again was a necessity for the Seahawks even with 2018 first-round choose Rashaad Penny below contract for a minimum of another season. Carson has been the higher participant and can proceed to be the starter in 2021 so long as he stays wholesome, one thing each have had hassle doing. If each can keep on the sphere, Seattle has the makings of a wonderful one-two punch that was beginning to come to life in 2019 earlier than Penny tore his ACL. That the Seahawks used the voiding-year mechanism in Carson’s contract signifies a willingness to interrupt from organizational norms with a view to save cap room. They’re going to must release extra money with a view to fill their remaining wants. On the prime of that listing: an edge-rusher.

What is the threat: As is usually the case with working backs, the chance with Carson is his damage historical past. He is missed 19 of a doable 64 regular-season video games over 4 years, together with 4 in 2020 with a foot sprain. However it’s not as huge of a threat as it might have been had the Seahawks given Carson a franchise tag or signed him to an extended deal much like what Aaron Jones acquired from the Inexperienced Bay Packers. Carson will get a fully-guaranteed $5.5 million in 2021 with an opportunity to make as much as $6.9 million with incentives. That is higher than a whole lot of working backs are getting in a depressed marketplace for that place, however it will likely be good worth for Seattle if Carson can replicate his 2018-2019 type.

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