A former draft pick is about to return to the Seattle Seahawks for his fourth stint in the NFC West. Tight end Luke Willson took part in a visit with the team on Tuesday, Aug. 24, per NFL insider Ian Rapoport, and will now reportedly re-sign. He will head back to the Pacific Northwest as the Seahawks deal with injuries to tight ends Colby Parkinson, Gerald Everett, and Tyler Mabry.
The Seahawks did not initially address the move amid multiple reports, but ESPN’s Brady Henderson spoke to a team source that confirmed the signing. Head coach Pete Carroll later said in a press release that Willson has been “an instrumental part of the spirit” of the team.
Originally a fifth-round draft pick by the Seahawks in 2013, Willson spent the first five seasons with the Pacific Northwest team and appeared in 72 games. He never became the top target among the tight ends but served as a key depth option while accounting for 11 touchdowns.
Willson’s best season as a pro took place during his sophomore campaign. He suited up for 15 games in the 2014 season, starting 10, and caught 22 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns. 14 of his receptions also went for first downs. Willson’s only season with more touchdowns was in 2017 when he reached the end zone four times.
Willson Returned to the Seahawks Multiple Times
While he left the Seahawks after the 2017 season, Willson did not remain away for very long. He actually made his way back to the team two more times. Though he first headed to Motor City.
On March 21, 2018, Willson signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Detroit Lions. He spent the entire season in the NFC North, only catching 13 passes for 87 yards while the offense primarily ran through Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Golden Tate. Levine Toilolo accounted for another 263 yards and one touchdown during the season.
Willson left the Lions after one season and joined the Raiders for 2019’s training camp. However, the team parted ways with him during final roster cuts. This release prompted the Seahawks to bring Willson back for his second stint. He returned to the Seahawks for the first portion of the 2020 season and appeared in multiple games. The team cut ties with him in November, so he spent the remainder of the regular season with the Ravens. Though Willson returned to Seattle for the playoff game against the Rams.
Willson Will Not Become the Top TE in Seattle
While he has considerable experience working with quarterback Russell Wilson, the former fifth-round pick will not become the top target of the position group after signing with the team. Instead, he will likely suit up as a blocking tight end while also providing some veteran leadership.
The Seahawks will enter the season with two main options in Gerald Everett and Will Dissly. A former member of the Rams, Everett came to the Pacific Northwest with offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and has spent training camp lining up all over the field while building chemistry with Wilson.
Dissly, on the other hand, has spent his entire career with the Seahawks after becoming a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He has caught 55 passes for 669 yards and eight touchdowns in 26 total games while fighting through injuries. He ended his first two seasons on Injured Reserve but played all 16 games in 2020.