Following an early Wild Card round exit, the Seahawks have officially transitioned into an offseason that could be one of the most significant of the Pete Carroll and John Schneider era.
When the new 2021 league year kicks off in March, Seattle will have a whopping 24 players set to become unrestricted free agents. Four players will be restricted free agents, while six will be exclusive rights free agents and several others will be entering the final year of their current contracts ready to negotiate extensions, including safety Jamal Adams.
Over the next several weeks, I will break down each and every one of the Seahawks' unrestricted free agents by revisiting their 2020 seasons, assessing why they should or should not be re-signed, breaking down an ideal contract, and making an early prediction on whether or not the player will return in 2021.
Continuing the series, Cedric Ogbuehi stepped up when called upon in four starts during the 2020 season. With depth behind Duane Brown and Brandon Shell still an issue, will his stellar performance lead to a return in 2021?
Season In Review
Saddled by a pectoral injury in training camp after signing a one-year deal back in March, Ogbuehi missed Seattle's first three regular season games before making his debut in a reserve role against Miami in Week 4. He played a grand total of 14 offensive snaps through the first nine games before replacing an injured Shell against the Cardinals in Week 11. As Shell continued to nurse a high ankle sprain, the former first-round pick out of Texas A&M started four of Seattle's final seven regular season games at right tackle and the team went 4-0 in those contests, including winning an NFC West title over the Rams in Week 16.
Why Seattle Should Re-Sign Him
Though Ogbuehi struggled mightily in his first start against the Eagles in Week 12, he filled in admirably for Shell down the stretch. Despite facing a "murderers row" of opponents with vicious defensive lines, he posted three straight games with at least a 66.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus to close out the regular season, allowing no sacks, one quarterback hit, and six combined pressures against the Washington Football Team, Rams, and 49ers. He drew only one penalty in those games while facing the likes of Chase Young, Leonard Floyd, and Arik Armstead. He also excelled as a run blocker with at least a 73.1 grade from PFF in all three contests, using his plus-athleticism to block linebackers and safeties at the second level.
Why Seattle Should Let Him Walk
In a small sample size, Ogbuehi exceeded expectations for Seattle last season. But his career track record suggests he's little more than a serviceable reserve. In his previous two seasons with 200 or more offensive snaps while in Cincinnati, he allowed 17.0 sacks and 78 quarterback pressures while receiving dismal pass blocking scores from Pro Football Focus. Considering he will turn 29 years old in April, his chances of emerging as a full-time starter at this stage seem slim and the team may be better off investing a draft pick in an heir apparent for Duane Brown who may ultimately be cheaper and under club control for four years.
1 year at $2 million
With Brown and Shell entering the final year of their respective contracts, the Seahawks have both short and long-term concerns to address at the tackle positions. Currently, the only other tackles under contract are Jamarco Jones and Tommy Champion. Keeping that in mind, if Ogbuehi can be retained for a similar deal to the one he signed last season, it would make sense to keep him around for another year due to his ability to play on both sides. But with other needs and limited cap space to work with, expect the team to be aggressive seeking tackles in April's draft and allocate financial resources elsewhere in free agency. If he's still available later in free agency, then a reunion could happen at a more affordable rate.
Previous Seahawks Free Agent Primers