Tyler Lockett still wants to handle returns though Seahawks exploring options

Curtis Crabtree
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

With Doug Baldwin’s release/probable retirement, Tyler Lockett has become the top option at wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks.

Lockett is coming off the best season of his career for Seattle. With Baldwin hampered with numerous injuries, Lockett caught 57 passes for 965 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead the team last season. Russell Wilson had a perfect 158.3 passer rating when targeting Lockett in 2018.

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Lockett also combined for 44 kickoff and punt returns for 636 yards. Lockett has returned kicks for Seattle in each of his four seasons with the team, but he’s never been the team’s No. 1 receiving option until this upcoming season. With that in mind the Seahawks would like to lighten his load if they can. However, they may struggle to find an option as capable as Lockett.

“We’re always thinking that way,” head coach Pete Carroll said in May. “We’ve been thinking that way for a few years. We look for opportunities and stuff like that and see if we can maximize his play however we do that. He’s such a great catcher and a great return guy it’s hard to put somebody else in his spot. But, we continue to always lean that way. We’d rather have him pick and choose when we do it, particularly on the kickoffs. He’s just such a great punt returner, it’s hard to take him out of there.”

Lockett said he still wants to handle return duty for Seattle even with his spot at the top of the team’s receiver depth chart.

“Yeah, I want to do everything, everything that I could possibly do, whatever that is,” Lockett said.

Lockett handled all of Seattle’s punt return chances in 2018, but did defer to Rashaad Penny, J.D. McKissic and David Moore occasionally for kickoffs.

“Well, we’ve got some guys,” Carroll said. “J.D. McKissic has always been one of the guys we like putting back there. He can catch punts and kickoffs. That’s the first guy that we think of so that would be the guy that we’d go to (instead of Lockett). Some of the young guys look good too.”

The Seahawks will continue to try out additional options as a returner so they can have the option of spelling Lockett from time to time. However, it would seem as though Lockett will continue to get the nod when the team needs a big return.

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