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Seahawks Mailbag: Free Agency, The Plan For The Interior OL & More

You had Seahawks questions; we have answers.


A week after free agency began, the Seahawks have made several changes both in terms of additions and losses in free agency, and they also found a new backup quarterback, trading for former Washington Commanders starter Sam Howell. There is still plenty of work to be done when it comes to building the roster for 2024, but a week into the new league year, it's a great time to open up the mailbag and answer some questions from you, the fans, about the Seahawks' moves so far.

As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I wasn't able to get to yours this time around. And remember the mailbag is always open for submissions at, or just hit me up on Twitter/X (@johnpboyle)

Joseph Guerrero from Surprise, Arizona, asks, "As a lifelong Seahawks fan, my question is this: it always seems like every year the team doesn't do anything the first two days of free agency. Why?"

A: Joseph, you speak for plenty of Seahawks fans, so I'm going to lead off with this one.

With a few exceptions, the Seahawks have just never been a team, at least not since John Schneider and Pete Carroll took over in 2010, that was super aggressive in the first days of free agency. And history has shown that, for the most part, that's the better approach. You can find plenty of examples of players who got big deals in the past two or three years who were released or had their contracts restructured well before seeing the end of the big contracts they signed, and the reason for that is that the first days of free agency are when bidding wars take place, which is great for the players but not so good for teams looking for value in their signings.

In an approach he learned in Green Bay, Seahawks general manager/president of football operations John Schneider would much prefer to let other teams spend that money early on, then look for good value in the days and weeks that followed. The most famous example of that was in 2013 when, for a variety of reasons, the market for edge rushers wasn't great, and Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett were both available a week into free agency and signed for deals that were relative bargains. Not every signing late in free agency will turn into Bennett or Avril, but the Seahawks, like most of the other top franchises in the league over the past couple of decades, would rather build the bulk of their roster through the draft, then supplement as necessary with reasonable contracts in free agency.

@AgustingCastrop asks, "I know most NFL teams want their coaches giving advice to their scouts on what they're looking for in rookies, who fit their scheme, etc. What do you know about the communication that has happened between the recent coaching hires and the scouting team?"  And Patrick Valdez from Pasco also asks about the process of a new coaching staff and existing personnel department getting on the same page.

A: You are correct that coaches and player personnel staff work together, in varying degrees, within every NFL franchise, and the Seahawks have long taken pride in the relationship between those two groups, something I wouldn't expect to change with a new coaching staff coming in this year. For the Seahawks, it has been the norm throughout Schneider's time here for the coaches and player personnel folks to get together after the season to talk about the draft—scouts have been working on the upcoming draft for nearly a year, but coaches are playing catchup in the offseason.

So having those meetings was nothing unusual, but they were different this year in that, after more than a decade of having a pretty good idea of what Pete Carroll and his staff were looking for, the personnel department is now drafting for a new coaching staff that will bring a new scheme to the team. 

As senior director of player personnel Matt Berry explained it prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, the Seahawks are still looking for a lot of the same traits in draft prospects—as Schneider frequently says, they want smart, tough and reliable players—but there is a difference when it comes to finding players to fit a new scheme.

"The difference is, for 14 years, we had a pretty good feel for the scheme, what they like in the scheme, so we're learning that with Mike and his staff," Berry said. "There's some difference that we'll have to iron out post-combine all the way through April as we talk through players.

"It's a really interesting discussion, because the bottom line is it's our job to get the players that fit his scheme and what he's looking for, that's how it works best, and in alignment with our culture. And culturally, we're in pretty good alignment from where we've been. We're still looking for highly competitive guys that are about football, about the process, smart, tough and reliable, none of that changes."

@PXCC29 asks, "What's the plan for interior offensive line? We have zero of three starters?"

A: I would disagree with the notion that the Seahawks don't have any of their starting interior linemen on the roster right now. With Evan Brown leaving, Olu Oluwatimi has a great shot at winning the starting job, and could also face competition for that spot from free-agent addition Nick Harris. Anthony Bradford started 10 games at guard as a rookie, and while it wasn't always perfect, he showed plenty of potential to get a real shot at earning a starting job heading into 2024. Oluwatimi saw limited playing time last year and Bradford showed both promise and some things that still need to improve, but it's way, way too early to make a judgement on either 2023 draft pick.

The Seahawks also signed Tremayne Anchrum Jr., who has limited NFL experience but will get a shot to compete, and second-year lineman McClendon Curtis can play guard and tackle. Now, do the Seahawks still need to add to the interior line? Of course, and they'll almost certainly do so in the draft and/or free agency going forward. With Damien Lewis leaving, the Seahawks need to find a new starting left guard, and it's entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that that player isn't currently on the team, but they do have some young options for interior line spots who they like a lot and who could very well get their shot this year.

"We feel good about them," Schneider said of Oluwatimi and Bradford at the combine. ".. From a personnel standpoint we feel good about those guys. (Bradford) finishing, the way Bradford finishes. Olu's intelligence. I mean, awesome to work with."

Nick Kerr from Carlisle, Iowa asks, "Who will be the starting QB next year?"

A: Barring something very unexpected, Geno Smith. John Schneider said as much on the radio last week, and Smith, despite a few bumps in the road, has been very good the past two seasons, earning Pro Bowl honors two straight years. The Seahawks like the upside of the recently acquired Sam Howell, who started all 17 games last year and is still only 23 years old, and Howell may very well have a bright future in Seattle, but in the present, Smith gives the Seahawks the best chance at success.

@MrEd315 asks, "In your estimation, what roster holes still need to be addressed with the draft and free agency?"

A: As we discussed earlier, the Seahawks could still use some help at guard, including a player or two capable of competing for a starting job. The Seahawks did well to address two of their biggest needs heading into free agency by signing safeties Rayshawn Jenkins and K'Von Wallace and linebackers Tyrel Dodson and Jerome Baker, but there is still an opportunity to add more depth and competition at both of those spots. In re-signing Leonard Williams and adding Johnathan Hankins, the Seahawks are pretty solid up front but could always stand to use more depth in that rotation, and while edge rusher isn't a huge need either, you can never have enough pass-rushers if the right player is available. Even after re-signing Noah Fant and adding Pharaoh Brown, the Seahawks likely would like to add a tight end or two, and more running back depth behind Kenneth Walker III, Zach Charbonnet and Kenny McIntosh wouldn't hurt given the physical toll that position takes on players. A third, or even fourth, quarterback will be needed for camp as well, but with Smith and Howell in place that position isn't a big need, though if the right player is available in the draft that ought to be consideration for the future. About the only positions I didn't just mention there are cornerback and receiver, but while the Seahawks look to be in pretty darn good shape at both of those spots, you can never have too much depth if there's good value to be had in a player in free agency or the draft.

@firestickthat asks, "Why does John Schneider think the offensive line doesn't matter?"

A: Well, for starters, I absolutely don't agree with the premise of this question.

Have the Seahawks been perfect when it comes to building a line? Hardly, but ask fans around the league and you'll find a whole lot of fanbases unhappy about the offensive line, because other than quarterback, it might be one of the toughest positions to get right. But despite some narratives out there, the Seahawks have not neglected the line under Schneider's watch.

In 14 drafts going back to 2010, the Seahawks have drafted 22 offensive linemen, including at least one in every draft. Two of the three highest selections the Seahawks have made under Schneider have been offensive linemen—Russell Okung and Charles Cross—and six have been first or second-round picks: Okung, James Carpenter, Justin Britt, Germain Ifedi, Ethan Pocic and Cross, with four more being selected in the third round, John Moffitt, Rees Odhiambo, Damien Lewis and Abraham Lucas. The Seahawks also traded future second and third-round picks for Pro-Bowl tackle Duane Brown.

Obviously some of those additions worked out better than others, but to say the Seahawks are operating as if the line doesn't matter just isn't true.

And no, the Seahawks haven't tended to be big spenders in free agency on offensive linemen, but for the same reasons that it's hard to build a good line through the draft—there just aren't as many great offensive linemen as there are starting jobs in the NFL—they tend to also cost a lot of money in free agency, so in general the Seahawks have tried to draft and develop linemen rather that get in a bidding war for a veteran and ending up regretting that contract later.

Of the 10 linemen to make first or second-team All-Pro last season, only one, Chiefs guard Joe Thuney, was acquired by his team as a free agent. One other, 49ers tackle Trent Williams, was a trade acquisition, while the other eight were playing for the team that drafted them. The same was true in 2022, when Williams and Thuney were the only All-Pro selections not playing for the team that drafted them. So if you want to say the Seahawks need to draft better when it comes to offensive line, or stand on the table and shout for an O-lineman in the first round, that's a fair opinion to have, but again, it's just not accurate to say they have been ignoring that position group.

Seahawks agreed to terms with offensive lineman Nick Harris on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 to a one year contract. Harris was drafted in 5th round (160th overall) by the Cleveland Browns in the 2020 NFL Draft out of the University of Washington. Check out some of the best photos of Nick Harris through the years.

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