Guard J.R. Sweezy has signed a five-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team announced Thursday.
Sweezy, the Seahawks' first, and to this date most successful, defensive-line-to-offense conversion project, came to Seattle as a seventh-round pick out of NC State with no offensive line experience, but under the tutelage of offensive line coach Tom Cable, he became Seattle's starting right guard, and a player Cable often praised for his intensity and effort, saying Sweezy "epitomizes this whole thought process" of what the Seahawks look for in a lineman.
That growth from being a raw, developmental project to quality NFL starter benefited Seattle's offense, which consistently boasted one of the top rushing attacks in the NFL over the past four seasons, but it also made Sweezy popular on the open market.
One option to replace Sweezy could be second-year guard Mark Glowinski, a fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft. Glowinski started Seattle's Week 17 win at Arizona in place of an injured Sweezy and played well.
"He was physical, he pass protected very well, he did a really nice job of cutting off, making some blocks, going down inside, knocked some guys down," Carroll said a day after that game. "… He stood his ground really tough and showed how physical he was.
"It was just everything positive about it. We know he's a tough guy. We just wanted to see if he would be settled down to play, and he had no problem doing that."