Seahawks 2021 Free Agent Primer: Nick Bellore

While Bellore once again played minimal snaps on offense, he earned his first Pro Bowl as one of the best special teams players in the NFL in 2020. Given his importance to Seattle's special teams resurgence, will he return for a third season?
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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.

Continuing our series, Nick Bellore shined as one of the NFL's best special teams players in 2020. But with a new offensive coordinator in town who may use a fullback even less than his predecessor, will Seattle opt to go a different direction?

Season In Review

For a second straight season, Bellore was waived by the Seahawks coming out of training camp, but the team again re-signed him in a matter of days. He played only 35 total offense snaps for Seattle during the regular season, once again being used sparingly as a fullback in less than five percent of the team's offensive plays. However, the former linebacker thrived on kick and punt coverage, racking up nine tackles and recovering a fumble on special teams. As a result of this production, he earned his first Pro Bowl nod in his 10th NFL season.

Why Seattle Should Re-Sign Him

During his two seasons in Seattle, Bellore has been one of the premier special teams players in the league. He consistently finds the football on kick and punt coverage and has racked up 15 tackles in that capacity since the start of the 2019 season, ranking among league leaders. He also serves as a valuable blocker on kick and punt returns, two areas where the Seahawks made steady improvements last season with David Moore and D.J. Reed splitting duties as returners. Having played substantial NFL snaps as a linebacker, he remains an insurance option at the position if injuries strike and he's a beloved character in the locker room.

Why Seattle Should Let Him Walk

While Bellore is serviceable as a fullback at 250 pounds, the Seahawks have only used him for 64 combined plays on offense the past two years for a reason. He's not a great run blocker, he's not threat to run the football in short yardage, and though he's caught all nine of his targets as a receiver in his career, he's not much of threat in that regard. With Shane Waldron taking over as the new offensive coordinator and likely sticking with one-back personnel the vast majority of the time, his usage on offense could drop even more. He's also going to be 32 years old in May and has had a couple of soft tissue injuries each of the past two seasons.

Ideal Contract

1 year at $1.2 million

Prediction

Special teams understandably remain a big deal in Seattle and for that reason, re-signing Bellore could be a priority. In terms of consistency, he seemed to make a big play on kick and punt coverage every game in 2020, which played a role in him earning his first Pro Bowl selection. With that said, the fact he may play even less on offense and is on the wrong side of the age spectrum suggests the team could find a replacement who offers similar contributions on special teams while also being a bigger factor on offense or defense. Up against the salary cap, the organization will have to be cautious with inexpensive one-year veteran deals. Expect the team to look at other options and if Bellore remains available late in free agency, the two sides could reunite for a third season.

Previous Seahawks Free Agent Primers

Chris Carson

K.J. Wright

Shaquill Griffin

Mike Iupati

Benson Mayowa

Quinton Dunbar

Ethan Pocic

Jacob Hollister

Bruce Irvin

Carlos Hyde

Cedric Ogbuehi

David Moore

Lano Hill