Free agent centers
The biggest need for me is an upgrade at center, no disrespect to Ethan Pocic who has performed at or above the levels expected of him, but the Seahawks and particularly Russell Wilson would love to see an upgrade at center.
I have three possible candidates in mind.
Option 1 – Austin Reiter
Signing Reiter is not going to happen for $3.3 million, so before this option is viable the Seahawks would need to free up some salary cap space.
If they can do so, they can get a center with a Pro Football Focus rating of 70.9 compared to Pocic’s rating of 62.4. This translates as getting an above-average center as opposed to a below-average that Pocic is.
On top of that Reiter comes with a winners mentality having been with the Chiefs for the past three seasons and collected a Super Bowl ring during that time. At age 29, Reiter may be coming into his prime as a center. If the Seahawks can find a way to get this done, they should.
Option 2 – Ben Garland
Garland has spent the last two seasons as a 49er and has played guard and center during that time. At age 33 Garland would only be a bridge option but has a pff grade of 71.1 from last season and that would be the type of upgrade the Seahawks require.
The other plus point would be that Garland would likely cost around $1 million in salary, so falls within the budget available. Indeed, it would still leave room to possibly pick up another free agent
Option 3 – Brett Jones
Jones would be the most speculative of the three options, and also the cheapest. In his NFL career, Jones has played 1347 snaps and allowed 3 sacks. In his last three seasons, Ethan Pocic has played 1319 snaps and allowed 5 sacks.
On that simple comparison, Jones has a chance to take Pocic’s starting role and on top of that, pff grading him at 77.6 last season. Again Jones can play guard or center, so has added value in that regard too.
Options at defensive tackle for the Seahawks
Of the three options I have identified, two are well over budget and would require $10 million or more of additional cap space to be found.
Option 1 – Sheldon Richardson
Richardson was released by the Browns recently but is still a pretty good DT. The average PFF grade for a DT is 68.8, Richardson received a pff grade of 72.2 last season, this ranked him 27th of the 64 starting interior D linemen in 2021.
The question is, how much would you pay to have Richardson as an upgrade on Al Woods? For that reason alone I do not think Richardson is the best option.
Option 2 – Jurrell Casey
Casey was a five-time pro bowler whilst with the Titans, before spending last season in Denver. Casey is a year older than Richardson but posted a PFF grade of 74.4 last season. That ranked him 19th amongst interior D linemen.
Both Richardson and Casey got paid more than $10 million last season. If salary cap space was available to get Casey for $7-8 million I would consider this a really significant upgrade, Casey alongside Poona Ford would be a formidable pairing.
Option 3 – Beau Allen
Allen was a New England Patriot last season, but was out of action all season with an injury, before being released. In 2020 Allen had a PFF grade of 72.6 as a Tampa Bay but, so if he can be cleared medically would be a good option to consider.
Allen’s contract with New England was for $3.5 million but will come a lot cheaper due to the injury that led to his release by the Pats.
Option 4 – Austin Johnson
Johnson has a five-year NFL career behind him after being selected with the 43rd overall pick in the 2016 draft. Whilst he has never really delivered on that draft pick, he is still only 26 so has time to find improvement yet.
Johnson has been back up to Al Woods before whilst with the Titans, so competing with Woods will be nothing new and Johnson could be his replacement long term. He got $3 million for his year with the Giants, last season, so would probably almost certainly be available for less than that in this close season with a tight salary cap for all teams.