Now that the 2019 season is behind us the Seahawks have a lot to do for 2020. Adding a veteran tight end for Russell Wilson might help quite a bit.
During the run-up to the Super Bowl, the Carolina Panthers announced that they would be releasing veteran tight end Greg Olsen, making him an unrestricted free agent. Naturally, Seahawks fans everywhere had the same thought; “maybe”?
On the surface, Olsen to the Seahawks checks a lot of boxes. Olsen has made it clear he has no interest in playing for a rebuilding team. The soon-to-be 35-year-old may not have more than a year or two left, and he is looking to chase a Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks check this box and then some.
Olsen would also like to play for a quality QB who can get him the football enough to put up numbers. I mean, yeah another checkmark. Olsen is going to want to play, so any team that wants him would have to have playing time to give.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, he Seahawks also have a need at tight end. With Will Dissly returning from his second brutal injury in as many seasons, Jacob Hollister a restricted free agent, Ed Dickson a probable cap casualty, and Luke Willson a free agent, tight end is perhaps the biggest need nobody is talking about. Check.
Of course, none of this matters if Olsen can’t produce. And after missing 16 games combined over the past 2 seasons entering 2019, those were legitimate concerns. But Olsen bounced back nicely in 2019, playing in 14 games and catching 52 balls for 597 yards and 2 TDs. Considering his age and the play of Kyle Allen and Will Grier (who threw him most of his balls in 2019), this is a rock-solid season.
Russell Wilson also loves to throw to his tight ends. From Zach Miller, Jimmy Graham, Dissly, and even turning Hollister into a weapon, Wilson likes the security blanket and red zone potential of that position.
However, Olsen has never graded out well as a run blocker, a must for Seahawks’ tight ends. While publications like Pro Football Focus grades aren’t the end-all, there isn’t much doubt that Olsen, while still being willing to stick his nose into the run game, just isn’t built to have run blocking as a strength.
But that appears to be the only box Olsen doesn’t check. As a bonus, Olsen is likely looking at a 1-year contract worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $3-$5 million guaranteed. As an added bonus, because he is getting cut, he doesn’t factor into the compensatory pick equation, making him a true unrestricted free agent.
Olsen is also a positive force in the locker room and was a team captain for the Panthers during his stay with Carolina. A motivated Olsen on a short-term deal, with the amazing locker room chemistry established, could be an opportunity too good to pass up for Pete Carroll and John Schneider.
While no NFL free agent deal is ever likely, it is hard to look at the natural fit between these two sides and not see the obvious parallels. Olsen to Seattle makes a lot of sense and could be extremely beneficial to both sides.