BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Pete Carroll is used to answering questions about the state of the Seattle Seahawks' offensive line.
Last season, when the team started out 2-4, protection issues were a constant topic of conversation. And going into the 2016 campaign, it continues to be relevant.
The Seahawks lost left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy in free agency. They signed J'Marcus Webb, a player who is now on his fourth team in seven NFL seasons. And they also added Bradley Sowell, who has not made a start since 2013.
So what's the plan?
There's still plenty of time between now and the start of next season, but Carroll indicated the Seahawks are going to move Garry Gilliam to left tackle. Webb will replace him at right tackle, and Mark Glowinski has the inside track at right guard.
"I think we’re in good shape," Carroll said Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. "It’s very fortunate that we have Garry Gilliam. Garry Gilliam was a guy that when we first found him, we thought he was an athlete that could play left tackle. Remember, he was a tight end, and he’s got really good movement. He’s really quick on his feet. So the fact that he played this year and did a very nice job ... he gained the starter’s mentality and all that. We think that we have an athlete that’s really equipped to play that spot.
"But we’re going to have to go to camp and see how it all works out. We have the flexibility to see how Brad looks there. We can also do J’Marcus there if we have to, and Garry can stay on the right side. So we’ll figure that out when we get to camp and get our hands on the guys. But Garry Gilliam, he’s a tremendous prospect to be a left tackle also. So whereas I think you guys are concerned about the spot, we’re really not. We’re excited to see how it turns out. We have good, viable guys to take a shot. And we’ll see what Terry Poole can do, too, at the right tackle spot to give us four guys that really can mix it."
Webb played 13 games at right guard last season but finished the year with three starts at right tackle. Although he signed a two-year deal with the Seahawks, it's essentially a one-year tryout that gives the team flexibility to move on if things don't work out in 2016.
"We really went with that same philosophy in free agency, not to the same level, but same philosophy as we did with Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said. "Shorter-term deals, coming in and bust your butt, and hopefully we’ll be able to re-sign you. If not, you’ll be able to make it to free agency quicker."
Asked specifically about Webb, Carroll added, "In his career, he’s been knocked around quite a bit, but we think that he’s really made a big turn. He’s made a big turn as a young man in his last couple years. We really think that we may be catching him at a really good time. So we’re excited about him."
There are still possible moves to be made. Players could get released or traded. And the Seahawks can look for upgrades in the draft. But as it currently stands, from left to right, the line would be: Gilliam, Justin Britt, Patrick Lewis, Glowinski and Webb.
Carroll and his staff have made a habit of trying to figure things out up front. While the group struggled in this past season's divisional-round loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Seahawks still boasted the second-most efficient offense in the NFL in 2015.
Legitimate concerns exist, but the Seahawks have made decisions on how to build their team, and investing significant resources into the offensive line has not been a priority in recent years. Barring a major move in the coming weeks, they'll look to once again piece things together this summer.
"We have to figure it out as we go, but I’ve never been worried about that," Carroll said. "We just want it to happen quickly and get the thing situated as soon as we can. No timeline on that, but that’ll be one of our concerns as we go through it."