Analysis: Grading Seahawks 2019 Free Agent Signings

As they've typically done under general manager John Schneider, the Seahawks went bargain hunting in free agency. One year later, how did the signings work out?
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Much to the chagrin of many fans, Seahawks general manager John Schneider has typically handled free agency like he's starring on the show "Extreme Cheapskates."

Rather than entertain the prospects of overpaying for a top-tier free agent amid a bidding war, Schneider patiently waits for the opportunity to go bargain shopping on short-term deals. He explores all avenues, but with the exception of signing tight end Zach Miller and receiver Sidney Rice before the 2011 season, he's rarely broken the bank in free agency.

2019 proved to be no different, as the Seahawks chose to sit pat while other teams threw exorbitant amounts of money at players such as safety Landon Collins and defensive end Trey Flowers. Aside from signing guard Mike Iupati and kicker Jason Myers, Seattle didn't sign another outside free agent until early May.

With Seattle losing several key free agents, including Earl Thomas and Justin Coleman, and only signing two players before the compensatory pick deadline, the team is expected to have three compensatory picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Following the 2019 season, how did Schneider's free agent moves last offseason pay off?

Jason Myers

Contract: Four years, $15.45 million

Grade: C

Analysis: When Seattle re-signed Myers, who lost a competition against Sebastian Janikowski in training camp before the 2018 season, the organization hoped to finally find a long-term kicking solution. But coming off a Pro Bowl season with the Jets, the 28-year old regressed substantially in his first season with the Seahawks, converting only 23 out of 28 field goal opportunities and missing four extra point tries. Specifically, Myers wasn't near as effective on longer kicks, connecting on six out of 11 field goals at 40-plus yards. If there's a silver lining, Myers responded well from a rough outing against Tampa Bay in Week 9 and didn't miss a field goal during Seattle's final seven regular season games.

Mike Iupati

Contract: One year, $2.75 million

Grade: B-

Analysis: Replacing J.R. Sweezy as Seattle's new starting left guard, Iupati managed to start 15 regular season games after battling injuries in recent seasons. He remained stout as a run blocker and when he went down with a neck injury in Week 17, the Seahawks missed his physical presence in the postseason. However, the aging Iupati remained a liability in pass protection, giving up five sacks per Pro Football Focus. He also battled penalty issues, drawing eight penalty flags over the course of the season. While the run game suffered to an extent with Jamarco Jones in the lineup as Iupati's replacement, he did a superior job of keeping pass rushers away from Russell Wilson.

Ezekiel Ansah

Contract: One year, $9 million

Grade: D-

Analysis: Hoping Ansah could rediscover his 2017 form coming back from shoulder surgery and help fill the void after trading away Frank Clark, the Seahawks signed the veteran pass rusher to an incentive-laden deal after the compensatory pick deadline passed. Unfortunately, with the exception of back-to-back stellar outings against the Eagles and Vikings, the former BYU standout failed to stay healthy and produce in what will likely be his lone season as a Seahawk. Dealing with ankle and neck injuries at various points throughout the year, he lacked the burst he displayed earlier in his career and played only 338 snaps in 11 games, registering 2.5 sacks, eight quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles.

Al Woods

Contract: One year, $2.25 million

Grade: B-

Analysis: Seattle has found great success signing veteran defensive tackles over the years and Woods may have been the best addition yet. Filling in admirably for a suspended Jarran Reed in the starting lineup, the 32-year old immediately helped the Seahawks interior run defense. After Reed returned, he continued to make a significant impact as a rotational nose tackle, even occasionally collapsing the pocket as a pass rusher. Before being suspended for violating the NFL's performance enhancing drugs policy in Week 16, Woods registered 32 tackles, two fumble recoveries, and a sack in 14 games. Not being available in the postseason hurts his grade, but in terms of value, he may have been Seattle's best free agent signing.

Nick Bellore

Contract: Two years, $2.23 million

Grade: C

Analysis: The Seahawks rarely use a fullback on offense anymore, as evidenced by Bellore's whopping 29 offensive snaps played in 2019. That's just three percent of Seattle's plays. But when he was on the field, he caught two passes for 23 yards and a touchdown. He also remained a reliable special teams player, playing 267 total snaps and recovering a fumble.

Jamar Taylor

Contract: One year, $895,000

Grade: D

Analysis: After signing on May 9, Taylor appeared to win a four-way competition for Seattle's starting nickel cornerback job. But then the Seahawks surprisingly released him during final roster cuts, rolling with rookie Ugo Amadi in the slot for the season opener. Taylor re-signed the next week and played 194 defensive snaps in nine games, recording 20 tackles and three pass deflections. After underwhelming showings from Week 8 to Week 10, including getting picked on incessantly by 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, he was released again and finished the season with Atlanta.