Now that the 2022 NFL season is over, it's time to look ahead to an offseason that will help shape the Seahawks' fortunes in 2023 and beyond. With free agency kicking off next month and the draft following in April, Seahawks.com is taking a position-by-position look at where the team stands prior to the start of the new league year. So far we've covered, quarterback, safety, running back, cornerback, receiver and linebacker, and today we focus on tight end. Check back Thursday when we turn our attention to the defensive line.
The Seahawks made a couple of big moves last offseason to set themselves up well at tight end, re-signing Will Dissly just before he became an unrestricted free agent, and adding former first-round pick Noah Fant as part of the trade that sent Russell Wilson to Denver.
The talent of Seattle's tight end group, which also included Colby Parkinson, meant no one player put up massive numbers—sorry, fantasy football players—but collectively that trio gave the Seahawks one of their most productive tight end groups in recent memory. Fant was the Seattle's third-leading receiver behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, catching 50 passes for 486 yards and four touchdowns, and Dissly wasn't far behind with 34 catches for 349 yards and three scores before missing the final two games of the year with a knee injury.
Together, Dissly, Fant and Parkinson combined for 109 catches, 1,157 yards and nine touchdowns. That group also played a big role in both pass-protection and run blocking, adding to the strong work done by the offensive line.
"I think the tight ends played better as the season went on up front, and there's a lot of promise for us," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Colby Parkinson had a really good season to add with the O-line, along with Diss (Will Dissly) and Noah (Fant). There are some real positives there connecting those elements."
Question to answer this offseason: Will there be any changes?
While general manager John Schneider and his personnel department never go into an offseason feeling like they can't improve in a particular area, they should feel pretty good about where things stand at tight end before they ever make a move.
Dissly, Fant and Parkinson are all under contract for next season, as is Tyler Mabry, who scored his first NFL touchdown on his first career catch late last season after being brought up from the practice squad. And sure, the Seahawks could still add to that group either with an eye to the future or just for the sake of adding more depth, but they should feel good about the talent at that spot prior to making any moves in free agency or the draft.
The other question this offseason will be that of Dissly's health after he finished the season on injured reserve with a knee injury. Carroll called it an unusual injury and, as of mid-January when the season ended, it was not yet known if Dissly will need surgery.
"What they are doing right now is that they are waiting to see how he heals in regard to surgery—does he need surgery or not?" Carroll said in his end-of-season press conference. "We don't know that yet. I think they said that it was going to be a couple of months, two or three months of rehab to see if it just heals up so they don't have to go in and do something. We never had the injury before. I can't tell you what it is, but it's in an unusual place and it's an unusual return because we don't have the background on it. We will just wait and see. He's doing well, he's making progress, and is feeling more comfortably. He's not on crutches and stuff. He's really returning, but we won't know for a while."
Biggest reason for optimism in 2023: A talented trio that should only get better.
As covered above, the Seahawks got solid play out of their tight ends all season long, and other than the uncertainty about Dissly's knee injury, there is no reason to believe that group won't only continue to improve.
As Carroll noted, the play from the tight ends got better as the season went along, particularly when it came to blocking, and for a young player like Parkinson, who saw by far his most significant playing time in 2022, there is nowhere to go but up. Fant, meanwhile, was an accomplished player before arriving in Seattle, but another year in Shane Waldron's offense—and hopefully with Geno Smith as his quarterback—should help him take another step forward in 2023. Dissly is as reliable as they come, and has also become a big voice from a leadership standpoint, so even if his offseason is affected by an injury, he too should once again be an important part of the offense.
Take a look back at some of the best photos of the Seahawks offense from the 2022 season.