Analysis: Forecasting Future for Seahawks 10 Offensive Free Agents
Following a 28-23 road defeat to the Packers in the NFC Divisional Round, the Seahawks’ 2019 campaign has officially reached its conclusion.
General manager John Schneider, coach Pete Carroll, and the rest of Seattle’s front office will now turn the page to start preparations for the 2020 season. Though the Seahawks are projected to have close to $60 million in cap space to work with, they’ll face several difficult looming decisions in free agency, which opens on March 18.
Here’s a look at each of Seattle’s 10 offensive unrestricted free agents and an early prediction on where they’ll be playing in 2020. Defensive predictions can be found here.
Analysis: For all the vitriol fans spew towards Ifedi because of how poorly he played in his first two NFL seasons, he's continued to make strides under the coaching of Mike Solari and has proven to be Seattle's most durable lineman. Penalties remain a chronic issue for him, but he'll turn just 26 years old in June and with several teams starving for offensive line help, there will be a bigger market for him than Seattle will likely be willing to match. Ja'Wuan James signed a four-year, $52 million deal with Denver last March and while he's received better Pro Football Focus grades, that may be the baseline Ifedi's agent uses to negotiate for his client.
Chance of Returning: 25 percent
Prediction: Ifedi departs for four-year, $47.5 million deal.
Analysis: An invaluable reserve for Seattle's offensive line over the past two seasons, Fant understandably wants a chance to prove he can be a full-time starter in the NFL. And while he only has started 15 regular season games as a tackle in the past four years, his prior background as a college basketball player who offers rare athleticism at the position will add intrigue for line-needy teams. He won't command the same contract as Ifedi, who is a more proven commodity, but it wouldn't be surprising to see a few teams hand him starter-worthy money on a shorter deal. It remains to be seen if the Seahawks would be willing to match such offers.
Chance of Returning: 40 percent
Prediction: Fant departs for three-year, $28 million deal.
Analysis: When they were awarded Gordon off waivers in early November, the Seahawks hoped the talented, yet troubled receiver would finally find a landing spot and make things work. Things seemed to be trending in the right direction, as he caught seven passes for 139 yards in five games before being hit with his seventh NFL-mandated suspension. At some point, the league is going to stop giving the 28-year old receiver chances and it wouldn't be surprising if that's the case now. If he does get reinstated again, there's a slim chance Seattle would consider re-signing him due to his relationship with Russell Wilson, who expressed interest in bringing him back if possible.
Chance of Returning: <5 percent
Prediction: Gordon won't be reinstated for the start of the 2020 season.
Analysis: Seattle signed Iupati as a short-term replacement for J.R. Sweezy in what amounted to an unofficial trade with Arizona. For the most part, the move paid off, as the oft-injured veteran actually started 15 regular season games at left guard, the most he had played since 2016. Unfortunately, his durability concerns returned in the playoffs, as he missed both postseason games with a neck stinger. There's a decent chance he could return given his familiarity with Solari's system, but the Seahawks intend to give Phil Haynes a shot to win the left guard job and there's no guarantee the soon-to-be 33-year old can stay on the field.
Chance of Returning: 50 percent
Prediction: Seahawks re-sign Iupati to a one-year, $2.75 million deal.
Analysis: The return of the popular Willson early in the season provided a feel-good story for the Seahawks, but injuries prevented him from being very effective in his second stint with the team. He missed five out of 13 possible games after signing in late September, finishing with just eight receptions for 79 yards. Turning 30 years old on January 15, he's not an ancient player by any means and could still have value in a reserve role, especially with Will Dissly coming off a ruptured Achilles. But the organization may look to younger options instead.
Chance of Returning: 40 percent
Prediction: Willson departs for one-year, $1.25 million deal.
Analysis: The Seahawks have always held Brown in high regard and there’s a possibility he could be brought back on a one-year deal for veteran minimum. But after opening the 2019 season as Seattle’s third receiver and getting passed over by Malik Turner and David Moore, it seems probable the team will look elsewhere to bolster depth at the position moving forward.
Chance of Returning: 15 percent
Prediction: Brown departs for one-year, $1.5 million deal.
Analysis: Seattle kept Prosise for the entirety of his rookie contract because when he's been healthy, he's flashed potential. But injuries have wrecked his career, as he's finished every one of his four NFL seasons on injured reserve and played in just 25 out of 64 possible regular season games. Since he's got good size and athleticism, someone will give him another chance, but don't expect him to be back with the Seahawks.
Chance of Returning: <5 percent
Prediction: Prosise is in training camp for someone on a one-year deal.
Analysis: When asked by reporters after the divisional round loss in Green Bay whether he'd consider playing again in 2020, Lynch simply said "we'll see." Carroll didn't dismiss the possibility he could return in some capacity either, and given the general unpredictability of "Beast Mode," it'd be unwise to rule anything out. But he will turn 34 years old in April and despite scoring four rushing touchdowns in three games after returning from retirement last month, he was otherwise unproductive out of the backfield.
Chance of Returning: <2.5 percent
Prediction: Protecting his chickens and mentals, Lynch finally retires for good.
Analysis: Playing the typical role of a backup quarterback to Wilson, Smith didn't play a single regular season snap and held the clipboard with honor. Seattle has been playing musical chairs with backup signal callers in recent years and while competition should be expected, don't be surprised to see Smith resume the role in 2020.
Chance of Returning: 65 percent
Prediction: Seahawks re-sign Smith to one-year, $900K deal.
Analysis: With running backs dropping like flies, Seattle was relieved to have both Lynch and Turbin available as insurance options in the backfield. But unlike Lynch, "Turbo" rarely saw the field in three games back with the team and didn't log any carries or receptions. He will have to wait it out again this summer with hopes another team offers a chance to go to camp, but this could be the end of the line for the veteran back.
Chance of Returning: <1 percent
Prediction: Turbin isn't signed and unofficially retires prior to the 2020 season.