We have many hopes for whoever comes in to replace Pete Carroll as the next Seattle Seahawks head coach. At the top of our list is a desire that he places a far greater priority on offensive line play than his predecessor ever did. Carroll has an unmatched eye for defensive back talent and a rare gift more motivating his players, but he always seemed to have a blind spot for the offensive line. The truth is this unit underperformed in practically every season during Carroll’s run as head coach – and it’s something that needs to change.
This offseason above all else we hope to see a genuine investment in this unit at a level that we never saw under Carroll. To begin the overhaul, they’ll have to start by shedding some serious dead weight in the trenches. Here are 10 pending free agents we believe Seattle should allow to walk.
RG Phil Haynes
The overhaul should begin inside, which wasn’t much better than the dumpster fires we routinely witnessed at both left tackle and right tackle. Like most of Seattle’s linemen this year, Haynes earned mediocre grades across the board. At 28 years old, it just doesn’t mkae sense to re-sign him. Moving forward, either Anthony Bradford or a rookie should be slotted at this spot.
C Evan Brown
Evan Brown also earned nothing-special grades this year in pass protection (59.1) as well as run blocking (57.2). Signing him was always a bit of a head-scratcher, especially after Seattle drafted Olu Oluwatimi – who was college football’s top center the prior season. In any case, Oluwatimi should be taking over now at center this year and much will depend on his development.
LG Damien Lewis
Like Brown and Haynes, Damien Lewis is graded decent-enough as a run blocker and pass protector, but the Seahawks have settled for average to mediocre with this group for far too long. Re-signing Lewis should be very low on this team’s list of priorities. They don’t need to draft a new projected starter at left guard in Round 1 – even Round 3 – but they do need to reload that interior rotation entirely.
OL Jake Curhan
The Seahawks’ pass protection has been atrocious for large portions of the last two seasons and you can make a strong case that Jake Curhan has been the worst pass blocker in the group during that time. The new-look front office should be looking for a younger, cheaper and better backup tackle heading into the offseason.
OT Jason Peters
Jason Peters has some value just purely on his experience alone. However, he is well past his prime on the field and was unable to perform at a starter level during most of his run spelling Abe Lucas at right tackle. He’s about to turn 42 years old, which makes it nonsensical to bring him back to a roster that should embracing a youth movement.
TE Noah Fant
Noah Fant flashed a bit here and there during the season, notably against the Giants and the Steelers. However, Fant was too often lost in the shuffle in a loaded offense to justify another contract. Six times this season he was targeted only once or not at all. Given how Seattle uses tight ends it shouldn’t be too difficult to draft a younger replacement for Fant.
QB Drew Lock
Drew Lock is a perfectly good backup quaterback with a great arm and go-for-broke instincts. He just has the misfortune of catching the Seahawks in a transitional phase, here. John Schneider and the new head coach would be wise to dip into the QB talent pool in the 2024 NFL draft regardless of how they feel about Lock or Geno Smith and there’s only so many spots to go around.
OLB Darrell Taylor
The Seahawks defense will need to get an upgrade to the edge rush if this team is ever going to catch up with the 49ers. Uchenna Nwosu and Boye Mafe are solid starters, but the Seahawks need more depth behind them – beginning with an edge rusher who can produce more consistently than Taylor and won’t be such a liability setting the edge.
RB/KR DeeJay Dallas
DeeJay Dallas may be a great example of Pete Carroll favoring his people over common sense. Dallas is a poor running back and perfectly-average kick returner with bad hands and questionable instincts. They had a far better returner in Godwin Igwebuike last year and should have never let him leave. In any case, it’s not hard to replace what Dallas brings to the table with a rookie contract.
DE Mario Edwards Jr.
The Seahawks need all the interior help they can get, but they just didn’t get enough from Edwards this year to justify bringing him back. For the season Edwards managed two sacks and four pressures. Edwards will also be turning 30 years old next week, another strike against his returning. This team needs to be getting younger at the most-critical positions, not older.