Breaking down the Seahawks' free-agency plan on offense

The Seattle Seahawks' offense exploded during the second half of the 2015 season, and the unit finished second overall in efficiency.

But with three of their starters set to test free agency and questions on the offensive line, the Seahawks will have decisions to make next week when players begin to test the market.

Below is a position-by-position breakdown of where things stand with the Seahawks' offense and where they might spend their money. The priority scale goes from one to five, with a five meaning the position must be addressed in the weeks ahead.


Priority: 1

With Russell Wilson signed through 2019, they're obviously in great shape here. Wilson has never missed a game or practice in four NFL seasons, but the Seahawks still need to find a backup.

Tarvaris Jackson is an unrestricted free agent. He was in the same position last offseason and ended up signing with the Seahawks in June. Jackson's best option could end up being a return to Seattle, but if he heads elsewhere, the Seahawks will be in the market for a backup.

Running back

Priority: 3

It's a period of change here as Marshawn Lynch says goodbye to football and enjoys the retirement life. Thomas Rawls is recovering from an ankle injury, but all expectations are that he'll be the primary ball-carrier in 2016.

Other than Rawls, the only running back currently under contract for 2016 is Cameron Marshall, who was signed out of the CFL. Christine Michael is a restricted free agent. Drafting a running back (or finding an undrafted free agent) will be an option, but the Seahawks could very well add a veteran, as they did last year with Fred Jackson. The ideal fit would be a third-down back who is dependable as a receiver and in pass protection.

Expect the Seahawks to let the running back market settle before making a move here. Someone such as Chris Polk -- formerly of the Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles -- could make sense.

The Seahawks also could look to bring Bryce Brown back and work with him for a full offseason.

Wide receiver

Priority: 2

Of the three receivers who were essentially starters in 2015, only one (Tyler Lockett) is signed beyond next season. Jermaine Kearse is an unrestricted free agent, and Doug Baldwin's contract is up after 2016.

As I wrote in Wednesday's prediction story, I think the Seahawks are interested in bringing Kearse back but only at the right price. If he finds a better offer elsewhere, don't expect them to be active at this position in free agency. Given how well Baldwin and Lockett played last year, two spots are accounted for. They can let Paul Richardson, Kevin Smith, Kasen Williams, draft picks and others battle it out for playing time.

Tight end

Priority: 2

The organization has said definitively that Jimmy Graham will be back, although when he'll be at full strength is a question mark. It's also unclear how he'll look coming off a ruptured patellar tendon injury.

It doesn't make sense for the Seahawks to spend more money at the tight end position. Luke Willson is a capable starter, and Cooper Helfet is a restricted free agent. Bringing Chase Coffman back could be an option too.

The Seahawks need bodies and an insurance plan in the event that Graham isn't at full strength at the start of next season. But this is not an area where they'll make any kind of splash.


Priority: 5

The No. 1 thing the Seahawks need to figure out next week is a plan at left tackle. Russell Okung is a free agent, and the guess here is that he will sign elsewhere. There are no viable internal candidates to replace him. Right tackle Garry Gilliam was a full-time starter on the offensive line for the first time in his life in 2015. Alvin Bailey is a restricted free agent and better suited for a backup role.

If Okung leaves, who's available? Kelechi Osemele of the Baltimore Ravens almost certainly will be too expensive. Kelvin Beachum of the Pittsburgh Steelers would be an option, but he's coming off a torn ACL and likely will have other suitors. Donald Penn could be a short-term play, but the Oakland Raiders are rumored to be making a push to sign him, and he turns 33 in April.

Beyond that, the options are limited. Veterans such as Will Beatty, Jermon Bushrod, Donald Stephenson and Ryan Harris will be available. But they would all be downgrades from Okung.

The Seahawks can try to address left tackle in the draft, but they don't want to be counting on a rookie to fill a need.


Priority: 4

J.R. Sweezy is a free agent, and the guess here is that he'll sign with another team. Center Patrick Lewis is a restricted free agent. Left guard Justin Britt likely will need to earn a starting job.

The good news for the Seahawks is that second-year player Mark Glowinski should be ready for a starting job. He is the favorite right now to replace Sweezy.

Don't expect the Seahawks to be aggressive at center and left guard. More likely, they'll let the big names go off the board and search for value plays who can compete for playing time. Alex Mack almost certainly will be too expensive, but someone such as Stefen Wisniewski, whom the team showed interest in last year, could be an option at center.

At guard, maybe the Seahawks try to sign a veteran such as Evan Mathis or Chris Chester to a one-year deal.

Overall, though, they're more likely to be aggressive at tackle than guard, given the current state of the roster.