Seahawks can expect a great season from Greg Olsen

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 29: Greg Olsen. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 29: Greg Olsen. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

The Seahawks made a bit of a splash by signing tight end Greg Olson yesterday. There are several reasons to expect he’ll have an excellent year in Seattle.

I think it’s fair to say the Seahawks made only a bit of a splash when they signed Greg Olsen. Now, if they had signed him five years ago, it would have been huge news.  In 2015 the former Chicago Bears first-round pick was coming off his first Pro Bowl season. He’d pulled down 84 passes for just over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. He didn’t have those stats last season, but he’s got a lot more left in the tank than many people might think.

Sure, if the Seahawks had nabbed him several years ago, it would be major news. Olsen followed up his big 2014 season by making the Pro Bowl in 2015 and 2016 as well. He totaled 157 receptions, 2,177 yards, and ten touchdowns in those two seasons. Injuries took their toll over the next two seasons. Olsen only played in 16 games, catching 44 passes for five touchdowns. Remember those numbers, 12s.

Last season was a nice return to form for the former Miami Hurricane. He played in 14 games, caught 52 balls for just under 600 yards, and picked up a couple of scores. Not spectacular by any means, but let’s consider his quarterback. I’m not knocking the guy, but he wasn’t Russell Wilson. In fact, Kyle Allen took the majority of snaps for the Panthers at QB last year. He threw almost as many picks (16) as touchdowns (17). Cam Newton only played two games before an injury ended his season, and he was actually worse. Allen’s passer rating was 80.0, Newton’s was 71.0. Will Grier started two games and posted a sparkling rating of 33.2. So just how was Olsen supposed to have a great year?

In 2018, when Newton had a decent season (94.3 passer rating, 24 TD, 13 INT), Olsen scored four times on 27 receptions. The team had 28 touchdown passes in all on 378 completions. Olsen had 14 percent of all touchdown passes on just 7 percent of the catches. Remember, he was working with the 30th-rated quarterback in the league last year and still moved the chains 34 times on 52 catches. That’s a bit over 65 percent, which is better than George Kittle, Zach Ertz, or Austin Hooper, and just barely behind Travis Kelce (67 percent). The man can still play.

If he can do that with Kyle Allen, imagine what he’ll do with DangeRuss pulling the trigger? Remember Olsen’s stats over 2017-2018? 44 passes and five touchdowns? He had a tough year in 2017, catching less than 45 percent of his targets. Cam Newton had a bad 2017 as well. Olsen bounced back with a solid 2018 and 2019. He doesn’t have to be the star for the Seahawks. As Lee Vowell wrote earlier, he’ll likely be used in tandem with Will Dissly quite a bit.

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Seattle tight ends combined for 101 targets last year. Dissly was on pace for about 80 targets himself before his injury. Another solid receiving tight end who can also block is a pretty nice present for the Seahawks offense. The addition of Olsen can alleviate the drastic need for a consistent third wide receiver, and improve the line’s blocking as well. If he gets 60 targets, he’s well worth every one of those 700 million pennies. Olsen will block, he’ll move the chains, and he’ll score. He may not have made as big a splash as he would have five years ago, but he’s still going to nail a cannonball for the Hawks.