After concluding a disappointing season with a 38-30 win over the Cardinals on Sunday, the Seahawks will shift their focus towards offseason activities earlier than they are accustomed to without an upcoming playoff game on tap.
“This time of year, there’s a lot of stuff, a lot of tough decisions to make, always," coach Pete Carroll said after Sunday's win. "There’s huge decisions to make in all directions, and that’s what you do when you’re competing. You figure it out. We’re going to do what we’ll always do. This year is no different. We’re just at this topic sooner.”
With the new league year starting in mid-March, Seattle has 15 players slated to become unrestricted free agency. Headlining a group featuring multiple starters on both sides of the ball, safety Quandre Diggs and tackle Duane Brown may have a chance to test the market as the best players at their respective positions.
Here's a first glimpse at each Seahawk set to hit free agency later this spring:
Quandre Diggs, Free Safety
Earning his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection, Diggs may have been Seattle's most consistent player on either side of the football, tying a career-high with five interceptions and producing 94 tackles and seven pass breakups. Unfortunately, he suffered a fractured fibula and dislocated ankle in the Seahawks' 38-30 win over the Cardinals in the season finale and will undergo surgery. But he's expected to make a full recovery in time for the 2022 season and the Seahawks would love to have him back if he fits into their budget.
Rashaad Penny, Running Back
Finally healthy after battling injuries in his first three-plus seasons, Penny exploded onto the scene as one of the NFL's best running backs in the last quarter of the 2021 season. Starting each of Seattle's final five games, he rushed for 671 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 7.29 yards per carry. He earned NFC Player of the Week honors in Week 17 after rushing for 174 yards in a win over the Lions, bolstering his stock as he prepares to hit the market. He's expressed his love for Seattle and wants to stay with the only team he's ever known, but a potential return will boil down to price.
Duane Brown, Left Tackle
After executing a "hold in" during training camp seeking a new contract, Brown struggled during the first half of his 14th NFL season, allowing seven sacks in Seattle's first nine games. But the two-time All-Pro turned things around in a big way in the second half, yielding just one sack in the final eight games and rounding back into form down the stretch. Set to turn 37 years old in August, he's open to a one-year deal to return and has expressed interest in retiring as a Seahawk.
Gerald Everett, Tight End
Drops and fumbles plagued Everett at times during his first season in a Seahawks uniform, but he showed his potential as a playmaker at the tight end position in spurts. Despite inconsistent production and opportunities week to week, he set new career-highs in receptions (48), receiving yards (478), and touchdowns (4). With a full season playing alongside a healthy Russell Wilson in coordinator Shane Waldron's scheme, those numbers could go up substantially.
D.J. Reed, Cornerback
Overcoming a shaky start to the season, Reed transitioned back to the right cornerback spot in Week 4 and played at a borderline Pro Bowl level for the remainder of the season. Per Pro Football Focus, he allowed a 48.1 percent completion rate and no touchdowns while intercepting two passes and producing six pass breakups in his final 14 games. During that span, opposing passers posted a 48.7 passer rating against him, second-lowest among qualified corners. After playing well in two seasons with the team, he should be a top priority for Seattle to re-sign.
Brandon Shell, Right Tackle
Unable to replicate a strong first season with the Seahawks, Shell battled ankle and shoulder injuries throughout the year and wound up playing in only 10 games. Though he was a serviceable starter, his pass protection numbers weren't as good as 2020, as he allowed three sacks and 21 quarterback pressures on 354 pass blocking snaps. The play of undrafted rookie Jake Curhan late in the season could lead to the team moving on, though coach Pete Carroll indicated Seattle would have interest in re-signing him.
Ethan Pocic, Center
Like Shell, Pocic dealt with injuries early in the season while missing most of training camp and spending three weeks on injured reserve with a knee issue. But he eventually took the starting center role back from Kyle Fuller and played some of his best football in the second half of the season, allowing zero sacks in his final nine starts and improving as a run blocker to open up lanes for Penny. Assuming he isn't in high demand, bringing him back on another one-year deal seems likely.
Sidney Jones, Cornerback
While he struggled in his first two starts after entering the lineup in place of Tre Flowers, Jones eventually found his footing and thrived playing across from Reed. From Week 6 on, he allowed just 187 yards on 24 receptions in coverage for 7.8 yards per reception and produced seven pass breakups. He also made strides as a tackler, missing just two out of 42 tackle attempts against pass plays during that span per PFF. At the right price, he could be brought back with a chance to battle for a starting job in 2022.
Rasheem Green, Defensive End
After three seasons of inconsistent play, Green emerged as a rare bright spot for a defensive line that didn't meet expectations rushing the passer this season. Still just 24 years old, he finished tied with Darrell Taylor for second on the team with 6.5 sacks and added a career-high 48 tackles and a team-best 15 quarterback hits. Able to play across the line at 285 pounds, his versatility and youth could make him a coveted asset in free agency.
Will Dissly, Tight End
Staying healthy for the second straight year, Dissly wasn't much of a factor in the passing game, catching just 21 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown. However, he remained an integral part of Seattle's ground game as an inline run blocker, something the team values immensely. Beloved by teammates and coaches, it seems likely he could return on a short-term deal.
Al Woods, Defensive Tackle
After sitting out in 2020 due to a COVID-19 opt out, Woods didn't miss a beat in his return to the Pacific Northwest. While he put up quality numbers with 50 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and three pass deflections, his ability to draw double teams in the trenches helped keep linebackers Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks free to record over 170 tackles apiece. While he will turn 35 in March, he has plenty in the tank as a rotational nose tackle and has stated publicly he hopes to come back for another season.
Alex Collins, Running Back
When Chris Carson went down with a season-ending neck injury, Collins filled in admirably in his place rushing for 268 yards and a touchdown in five starts. Unfortunately, his own abdomen injury dogged him for the rest of the year and he only dressed for one of Seattle's final five games. From a depth perspective, though he doesn't offer special teams value, he could be retained on a one-year deal as an experienced insurance option next season.
Jamarco Jones, Tackle/Guard
Injuries have prevented Jones from carving out a starting role at tackle or guard for Seattle and that trend continued with him spending extended time on injured reserve this year with a back issue. But positional versatility and starting experience at multiple spots could make him a worthy candidate to re-sign on an affordable one-year deal to compete for a backup spot.
Robert Nkemdiche, Defensive Tackle
Resurrecting his career to an extent after not playing at all in 2020, Nkemdiche dressed in nine games for the Seahawks, producing 15 tackles, a quarterback hit, and a pass deflection. Since he's only 27 years old and can play defensive end and defensive tackle in a pinch, Seattle may have interest in bringing him back for another season to compete for a rotational role.
Geno Smith, Quarterback
Thrust into action when Russell Wilson suffered a torn tendon in his right middle finger, Smith played well in a trio of starts, throwing for 571 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Proving himself as a capable spot starter in limited action and comfortable in Shane Waldron's scheme, the Seahawks could do worse than running it back with the former West Virginia standout as Wilson's backup.