The Athletic Identifies Seahawks’ Biggest Offseason Need

Pete Carroll Seahawks

Getty The Athletic identified the offensive line as the Seattle Seahawks biggest offseason need.

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he Seattle Seahawks have holes to fill at several position groups. That’s typical for NFL teams that finish below .500 and in last place of their division.

But the NFL staff at The Athletic identified the offensive line as Seattle’s biggest position group of need in an article on Feb. 17.

“This is Seattle’s position of greatest need every offseason, honestly,” wrote Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic. “Seattle has never had an elite pass-blocking unit in the 10 years Russell Wilson has been the quarterback, which is crazy to think about considering how dynamic he’s been in that stretch.

“Three of Seattle’s five starting offensive linemen will be free agents, including both tackles. Doesn’t matter if reinforcements come via the draft, free agency, trade or the cast of All American. Seattle just needs help up front.”

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Seahawks Struggled Most in Pass Blocking

The run blocking from the Seahawks offensive line in 2021 wasn’t great, but it was at least competent. Pro Football Focus ranked the Seahawks run blocking 17th-best in the NFL based on the PFF premium stats.

Seattle’s offensive line in passing blocking, though, was well below average. PFF ranked the unit 25th out of 32 NFL teams in pass blocking last season.

Not a single Seahawks offensive lineman scored a pass blocking grade above 70 (out of 100) in 2021.

Seattle’s best pass blocker was left tackle Duane Brown, and according to the PFF player grades, he was the 65th-best (out of 163) offensive linemen in pass blocking (must have 550 snaps to qualify).

The more traditional statistics support the claim that the Seahawks offensive line struggled most in pass blocking. While Seattle finished third in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt (5.0 yards per carry), the Seahawks also allowed the eighth-most sacks (46) in the league.


Seahawks Can Revamp Offensive Line During 2022 Offseason

As Dugar noted, three of Seattle’s starting five offensive linemen are free agents this offseason. Whether the team wants it or not, change is likely coming to the offensive front in Seattle.

Change might not be such a bad thing. Free agent right tackle Brandon Shell finished the 2021 season with the 42nd-ranked PFF overall player grade among 66 eligible offensive tackles with at least 550 snaps. Free agent center Ethan Pocic was a little better, coming in as the No. 13 center among 30 eligible at the position (with 550 snaps) on PFF’s overall player grades list.

But, Pocic also received the second-lowest pass blocking grade among those 30 centers.

The biggest question for the Seahawks along the offensive line this offseason is whether or not to re-sign Brown. He was the most steady offensive lineman for Seattle last season, and he’s a five-time Pro Bowler, but Brown turns 37 in August.

If the Seahawks retain two or all three of their free agent offensive linemen, the team’s attention will have to turn to upgrading both guards. Starters Gabe Jackson and Damien Lewis were both in the bottom third of PFF’s player grades among guards with at least 600 snaps last season.

Lewis received the worst PFF player grade along the Seattle offensive line, ranking 48 out of 64 eligible guards (minimum 600 snaps).

The legal tampering period for NFL free agency begins on Monday, March 14 at noon pm ET. Players can begin signing with new teams two days later at 4 pm ET.

Spotrac reports the Seahawks have more than $35 million in cap space, which ranks as eighth-most in the NFL.

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