NFL free agency is off and running, and we're keeping track of every major signing, trade and release of the 2020 offseason, with analysis from our NFL Nation reporters and grades from Bill Barnwell. The new league year begins March 18 at 4 p.m. ET, which means free-agent signings can be made official after that. The first round of the 2020 NFL draft begins April 23.
Greg Olsen, tight end
What it means: The Seahawks got a head start in free agency by signing Olsen in February, two weeks after his release from Carolina. It gives them some veteran reinforcement at a position of need with Will Dissly coming off his second major injury in as many NFL seasons. Olsen, Dissly and Jacob Hollister -- assuming he returns as a restricted free agent -- will give Russell Wilson a strong trio of tight ends to throw to if Olsen and Dissly can stay healthy. Adding Olsen suggests Ed Dickson is unlikely to be back for the final year of his contract. Cutting him would save $3.4 million in cap space.
What's the risk: The $5.5 million Seattle guaranteed Olsen on his one-year, $7 million deal is a significant investment for a 35-year-old who has missed a combined 18 games the past three seasons. The two games Olsen missed last year were because of a concussion, not the foot injury that bothered him in 2017 and '18. And while Olsen's age suggests his best years are well behind him, he still managed to catch 52 passes last year with most of them from backup Kyle Allen. Now he'll have Wilson throwing to him. This move seems like a worthwhile risk.
Cedric Ogbuehi, offensive tackle
What it means: The Seahawks might have found their replacement for George Fant, who served as a swing tackle and extra tight end in oft-used heavy packages the last two seasons. Per ESPN charting, Ogbuehi has played 869 career snaps at left tackle, 563 at right tackle and 113 at tight end, with 56 of those tight end snaps coming last season in Jacksonville. Ogbuehi's deal is for one year and up to $3.3 million, per ESPN's Jordan Schultz. Seattle's deal with Brandon Shell -- $11 million over two years, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter -- suggests he's the more likely replacement at right tackle for Germain Ifedi, as does the fact that Ogbuehi hasn't been a starter since 2017.
What's the risk: Ogbuehi hasn't lived up to expectations as the 21st overall pick in 2015 and he hasn't started a game in either of the past two seasons. But the Seahawks aren't paying him like a starter and they might not need him to be one if they have the Fant role in mind for him. The $3.3 million max value of his deal is a hair above the $3.095 million the Seahawks paid Fant last season.
Brandon Shell, offensive tackle
What it means: The chances of the Seahawks re-signing right tackle Germain Ifedi, which didn’t seem great in the first place, seem even slimmer now that they’re adding a potential replacement in Shell. The money they’re giving Shell -- $11 million over two years, per ESPN's Adam Schefter -- indicates that they view him as a starter. The Seahawks had the potential for significant turnover on their offensive line, with three unrestricted free agents plus uncertainty with Justin Britt. Their other free-agent addition, B.J. Finney, is a potential replacement for Britt at center or for UFA Mike Iupati at left guard.
What's the risk: According to ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini, Shell lost his starting job at right tackle last season to rookie Chuma Edoga, then reclaimed it when Edoga got hurt. So it's fair to question if he'll be an upgrade over Ifedi, a four-year starter for Seattle. The two have similar Pass Block Win Rates. Ifedi has been slightly better over the last three seasons -- 87.8% to 85.5% -- though Shell was just above him in 2019 (88% to 86.5%).
Bruce Irvin, defensive end
What it means: The Seahawks have taken care of part of their pass-rush equation. They were tied for the second-fewest sacks last season and weren’t going to solve their most pressing need solely by re-signing Jadeveon Clowney or landing one of the top available pass-rushers. They need another player or two to complement that premier pass-rusher and they have one of those complementary pieces in Irvin, who posted a career-best 8.5 sacks in 13 games last season. Irvin, a first-round pick by the Seahawks in 2012, is a nice fit because of their mutual familiarity. And his ability to play strongside linebacker on early downs could come in handy given the uncertainty with Mychal Kendricks, who started there last season. Irvin started at strongside linebacker and rushed on passing downs during his final three seasons in Seattle.
What's the risk: It's not clear in the absence of contract details, but it's a safe bet that the Seahawks aren't giving Irvin the type of money that would significantly hinder their ability to keep Clowney or add another pricey pass-rusher. The more apparent risk is that Irvin will turn 33 in November, so it's fair to wonder how much burst he might have lost. Irvin has been a durable player. He missed three games last season with a hamstring injury but only missed two other games over his first seven seasons because of injury.
B.J. Finney, guard
What it means: Finney was a key backup during his four seasons in Pittsburgh, but the money he's getting -- up to $9.5 million over two years with $4.5 million guaranteed, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler -- suggests there's a good chance he'll be a starter in Seattle. Per ESPN charting, Finney has played 427 career snaps at left guard, 381 at center and 139 at right guard. Seahawks left guard Mike Iupati is a free agent and center Justin Britt is coming off a torn ACL, so they have uncertainty at two positions where Finney has experience. Seahawks fans who are scarred for life from the Tom Cable era might wince at a jack-of-all-trades offensive linemen, fearing he'll be a master of none, but Finney's versatility could be an asset.
What's the risk: The Seahawks are paying low-end starter money to a player who hasn't been a full-time starter, but it's significantly less of a gamble than some other teams are taking on backup O-linemen, such as the Jets with ex-Seahawk George Fant and the Lions with Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Four of Finney's 13 career starts came last year and he played particularly well in his two starts at center, according to ESPN Steelers reporter Brooke Pryor. That's notable given Britt's situation. He was hurt early enough to potentially be ready by Week 1, but his $11.417 million cap charge and potential $8.5 million savings would have put him on shaky ground even if he were healthy. Between Finney, Joey Hunt and Ethan Pocic, the Seahawks have some alternatives at center.
Luke Willson, tight end
What it means: The Seahawks are pretty well set at tight end after bringing back Willson and tendering restricted free agent Jacob Hollister. Those two plus Greg Olsen, Will Dissly and Ed Dickson give the Seahawks five tight ends under contract for 2020, though it seems likely they’ll cut Dickson and clear $3.4 million in cap space. That has the potential to be a potent group, though there are unknowns with Olsen at 35 with Dissly as he comes off his second major injury in as many NFL seasons. Willson gives Seattle some veteran insurance. He'll likely be competing for a roster spot.
What's the risk: Nothing. Willson is a hedge against the risk the Seahawks are taking with Olsen, who has missed a combined 18 games over the past three seasons. With that history and Olsen’s age and with Dissly coming off a torn Achilles that likely will keep him sidelined for much of the offseason, the Seahawks needed another veteran to round out their depth at tight end. Willson was an obvious choice as someone who knows their offense and is respected in their locker room, where his fun-loving nature helps keep things loose. That’s why general manager John Schneider volunteered at the scouting combine that he wanted Willson back.
Jarran Reed, defensive tackle
What it means: The terms of Reed’s deal -- $23 million over two years, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler – means the Seahawks are making a sizable bet that he’ll return to his 2018 form. Reed exploded for 10.5 sacks that season – tied for fourth-most by a defensive tackle – but only had two last year after missing the first six games due to an NFL suspension. The 27-year-old Reed has always been known as a strong run defender. The short-term deal gives him a chance to show again that he’s also a strong pass-rusher then cash in accordingly before he turns 30. Seattle wasn’t good against the run or the pass last season, so getting Reed back is a significant move for a defense that needs all the young, talented players it can get.
What's the risk: Can Reed replicate his 10.5-sack season from 2018? It’s a legitimate question considering he combined for only two sacks in two seasons at Alabama and five sacks in his other three NFL seasons, meaning 2018 was the only evidence that he can be a difference-maker as a pass-rusher. If he does, his $11.5 million average could end up looking like a Tyler Lockett-esque bargain. It’s lower than either the franchise- or transition-tag tenders, meaning the Seahawks correctly projected that they could bring him back for less. As for Reed off the field, the Seahawks swear by the person and leader he’s become. “Great guy,” GM John Schneider called him at the combine. “Great locker room guy."
Chance Warmack, offensive guard
What it means: For all the focus on how much the Seahawks need to beef up their pass rush, most of their moves over the first week of free agency have been on their offensive line. Warmack is the fourth player they’ve added there and the second interior offensive lineman following B.J. Finney, who at first look seems to have the better chance of starting of the two. The Seahawks view Warmack as a right guard, where he’s played way more (2,909 career snaps) than left guard (256 snaps), per ESPN charting. The Seahawks have starting right guard D.J. Fluker under contract for one more season at a reasonable cap number ($4.1875 million), so Warmack looks like a depth signing and perhaps a hedge at a position Seattle hopes to add to in the draft.
What's the risk: Warmack was out of football all last season and spent the previous three as a backup, meaning he hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2015. He took last year off to get healthy and has been training for his comeback with noted O-line coach Duke Manyweather. This would be more of a risk if the Seahawks were giving him any sort of substantial guarantees. It’s a low-cost flyer on a first-round talent with 51 career starts. And it continues a trend of the Seahawks adding first-rounders from the 2013 draft. Warmack becomes the seventh player taken among the first 13 picks that year to join Seattle. The others are Luke Joeckel, Dion Jordan, Ezekiel Ansah, Barkevious Mingo, Fluker and Sheldon Richardson.
Phillip Dorsett, wide receiver
Receiver Phillip Dorsett is joining the Seahawks on a one-year deal.
What it means: The Seahawks have added more speed to their wide receiver corps and a veteran option to fill the No. 3 role behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Dorsett will compete with David Moore -- and potentially someone Seattle chooses in the draft -- for that spot. It didn't seem likely that the Seahawks would re-sign Jaron Brown and even less likely now that they've added Dorsett. Russell Wilson led the NFL last season with 22 completions that traveled at least 25 air yards, according to ESPN charting. Throwing the deep ball is one of his best strengths, and now he has another receiver with the speed to get open down the field. Dorsett ran a 4.33 40 at the 2015 scouting combine.
What's the risk: Dorsett hasn’t topped 600 yards in any of his five seasons since the Colts chose him 29th overall. But not living up to his first-round draft status doesn't mean he can't be a nice complementary piece to a wide receiver corps. Something similar to his 2019 production -- 29 catches, 397 yards, five touchdowns -- would be a nice return for a player added more than a week into free agency. This is considered an especially deep draft for receivers, so there's a school of thought that the Seahawks would be better off finding one there. The counterpoint is that the possibility of a truncated offseason program could leave teams with less time to develop rookie receivers, who tend to have one of the steeper learning curves of any position. In that case, a veteran would be in a better position to contribute right away.
Benson Mayowa, defensive end
Former Raiders defensive end Benson Mayowa agreed to a one-year deal with the Seahawks.
What it means: Adding Mayowa hardly means the Seahawks’ pass-rush is set – they still need a primary guy -- but it does give them another productive complementary piece to go along with Bruce Irvin. Mayowa recorded a career-high seven sacks on only 270 defensive snaps last season in Oakland. That total, plus Irvin’s 8.5 with Carolina -- also a career high -- equal more than half of the 28 the Seahawks managed as a team last season, which underscores how important it was to add pass-rushing depth even if Jadeveon Clowney is re-signed. They have a nice trio in Mayowa, Irvin and defensive tackle Jarran Reed, who has a 10.5-sack season on his resume. But the Seahawks are not done yet.
What's the risk: Mayowa’s deal is for one year and $3 million, a source told ESPN. That’s not enough money to preclude the Seahawks from adding another, pricier pass-rusher, though it’s unclear if they’ll be willing to meet Clowney at his recently-lowered asking price. Sources told ESPN’s Dianna Russini that it’s now closer to $17 million to $18 million per season. Either way, the Seahawks could only wait so long for Clowney while the lower end of the pass-rushing market started to dwindle with the likes of Adrian Clayborn and Kamalei Correa signing elsewhere this week. Standing pat and ending up with no more viable pass-rush options would have been the risk. At a reasonable price and with a good history of durability, only missing four games over the past three seasons, Mayowa isn’t much of one.
Mike Iupati, offensive guard
What it means: The Seahawks are well-stocked with offensive linemen. Re-signing Iupati gives them 17 either under contract or tendered. That includes all three of their preferred interior starters from last season -- for now, at least. That’s a necessary qualifier given the uncertainty with center Justin Britt, who’s coming off a torn ACL and is scheduled to count $11.42 million against the cap in 2020. Right guard D.J. Fluker ($4.2 million) no longer seems like a lock either now that Seattle has brought back Iupati -- who started 15 games at left guard last season -- after adding Chance Warmack (one year, minimum salary) and B.J. Finney (two years, $8 million) earlier in free agency. Finney can play center or either guard spot, and the money he got suggests he'll likely be starting at one of those three positions. The Seahawks also tendered center Joey Hunt and are high on Jamarco Jones, who's one of their young options at guard.
What's the risk: A soon-to-be-33-year-old guard signing a month into free agency is probably not getting a significant amount of guaranteed money, so it's safe to presume the Seahawks aren't taking on much financial risk by bringing back Iupati. For context, the one-year deal he signed early in free agency last year included $2.25 million guaranteed. The possibility of a shortened offseason could make it harder for draft picks and younger players to get up to speed in time to make an instant impact. That might have played into Seattle's thinking with Iupati, who's started 129 games over 10 seasons. He missed one start in last year's regular season (foot) and both of Seattle's playoff games (neck). He missed a combined 21 games over the previous two seasons.