Seahawks 2021 Free Agent Primer: Jacob Hollister

After a breakout 2019 season where he emerged as one of Russell Wilson's most trusted targets, Hollister took a back seat to Greg Olsen and Will Dissly for much of the 2020 campaign. Following a strong finish, will he return as part of Shane Waldron's attack?
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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.

Up next in the series, Jacob Hollister came on strong in the second half of the 2020 season after a slow start. Following the retirement of Greg Olsen, will bringing him back be a priority for the Seahawks?

Season In Review

Despite finishing third on the Seahawks in receptions and receiving yardage in 2019, the arrival of Olsen and return of Will Dissly from injury cut down on Hollister's snaps significantly early in the 2020 campaign. He played 14 or less offensive snaps in Seattle's first five regular season games, catching just five passes for 32 yards and a touchdown. As the season progressed, however, he consistently logged more playing time and played at least 50 percent of the offensive snaps in each of the final seven games, including the postseason. In his final nine regular season games, he caught 19 passes for 171 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he didn't reel in any of his five targets in a wild card round loss to the Rams.

Why Seattle Should Re-Sign Him

Though he received nearly 20 less targets in 2020, Hollister remained a viable weapon as a move tight end for Russell Wilson, particularly in the second half. He caught 25 of his 40 targets for 209 yards, averaging 8.4 yards per reception and snagging a trio of touchdowns. Late in the season, Wilson missed him on a couple of easy touchdown throws to him as well, which significantly would have impacted his final numbers. Along with being a reliable receiver, the 248-pound Hollister has proven he can play a number of roles in Seattle's offense. In addition to seeing action as an inline tight end, the Seahawks motioned him into the backfield as a pseudo fullback for 29 snaps while working him from the slot for 144 of his 408 offensive snaps per Pro Football Focus. He also logged 283 snaps as a core special teams player.

Why Seattle Should Let Him Walk

If Brian Schottenheimer remained Seattle's offensive play caller, not many arguments would exist against re-signing Hollister. But the arrival of Shane Waldron and the probable changes coming to the Seahawks' offense may not match up well with his strengths. Assuming Waldron uses tight ends similar to his apprentice Sean McVay, he will be aiming to deploy players such as Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett who are more capable inline blockers and also have the ability to move around the formation. While Hollister checks off the second box with his savvy route running skills, blocking defensive ends off the edge has never been his strong suit and asking him to play extensive snaps in that capacity wouldn't be maximizing his skill set. The team may look to other alternatives that fit the scheme better.

Ideal Contract

1 year at $2.5 million

Prediction

At times during the 2020 season, Wilson and Hollister didn't seem to be quite on the same page, though some of that coincided with Seattle's overall offensive struggles in the final two months of the season. But when they did connect, he still proved himself capable of moving the chains and occasionally stretching the field with his athleticism as a receiver. The team currently has only three tight ends under contract - Dissly, Colby Parkinson, and Tyler Mabry - leaving the door open to bring him back at the right price. Ultimately, how Waldron intends to use his tight ends could be the biggest deciding factor on whether Hollister is re-signed or not. Assuming Waldron will prefer different style players at the position, expect Seattle to look at other options first and if an upgrade isn't found and Hollister remains available, the two sides could link back up in the second or third wave of free agency.

Previous Seahawks Free Agent Primers

Chris Carson

K.J. Wright

Shaquill Griffin

Mike Iupati

Benson Mayowa

Quinton Dunbar

Ethan Pocic