Seahawks Ed Dickson is more than just a blocking tight end

There’s been a lot of talk whether the Seahawks should keep tight end Ed Dickson or save cash by letting him go. I’ll say this, he’s not just a blocker.

Like every team, the Seahawks face a lot of decisions in the offseason. Compared to the decision whether they should use the franchise tag on Frank Clark or sign him long-term, the choices facing the Seattle braintrust at tight end is minor. But it still matters. Ed Dickson is never going to be a Pro Bowl candidate like Clark, but he made his own impact on Seattle’s season in 2018. He’s more than just a blocking tight end, and it would be a mistake to view him as one.

Now, is he Jimmy Graham? No, of course not. He was far better last year. For one thing, Dickson caught 92 percent of his targets last year; Graham managed just under 62 percent. More telling is touchdown percentage. Again, Dickson wins the comparison as three of his 12 catches were scores, a whopping 25 percent touchdown rate. Graham disappointed in Green Bay with just two scoring catches out of 55 receptions. Sounds familiar, right, 12s?

No, I’m not seriously suggesting that Dickson is a better receiver than Graham. His career catch rate is just 61 percent,  while Graham’s is 64 percent. Graham has 421 more career receptions; that’s more than a few. Still, Dickson’s touchdown percentage was far better last year. That doesn’t hold up over their careers, but let’s not forget that Graham played with Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers as bookends for Russell Wilson.

Dickson finally had a great quarterback with the Seahawks

Dickson played with Joe Flacco and Cam Newton before coming to the Seahawks. Not bad quarterbacks, but hardly aerial masters. Only Newton managed to throw for more than 30 touchdowns, and he did it just once. In two other seasons, Dickson’s quarterbacks threw for fewer than 20 scores. It’s hard to connect in the end zone when the quarterback doesn’t throw it there.

Is Dickson primarily a blocking tight end? Sure. But he was also a very effective red zone target for the Seahawks last year. Don’t forget he missed the first six games of the season, too. Three scores in ten games aren’t too shabby. The real question is whether he’d be likely to start for the Hawks in 2019.

I don’t see how that would be the case. Will Dissly is the defacto starter, assuming he recovers from that nasty patellar injury. Once Dickson made it onto the field, Nick Vannett still held onto the starting gig for all but one game. There’s no reason to think Dickson would earn the nod at tight end this year.

Should a backup be your highest-paid player at the position? The real question is how much it would cost to replace Dickson. If the Seahawks cut him before June 1st, they’ll save $2.6 million. If they wait until after that date, the savings go up to an appealing $3.5 million. If they believe they can find a comparable player for less, then he’s likely out the door. Of course, signing a free agent would impact their comp picks for 2020, and simply keeping Dickson would be safer in that regard.

I hope they can keep him. I’m may be in the minority in that opinion – make that definitely in the minority –  but I like what he’s done for the Hawks. As always in the NFL, it will all come down to money. That, and if Will Dissly looks 100 percent healthy. If that’s the case, I can see Seattle bidding Ed Dickson a fond farewell.