This week's focus player is right tackle Brandon Shell, who performed admirably in his first season in Seattle.
The Seahawks needed to replace four-year starter Germain Ifedi at right tackle following the 2019 season. In March of last year, Seattle plucked Brandon Shell in free agency, signing him to a two-year, $9 million contract to compete for the right tackle spot.
He had missed just three games in his previous three seasons as the Jets' right tackle after being selected in the fifth round by New York in 2016. He became the immediate starter on the right side.
Per Pro Football Focus, Ifedi earned a less-than-stellar 56.2 grade and a whopping 13 penalties in his final year with the Seahawks in 2019. Many fans clamored for better play from the right tackle spot once Ifedi left town.
Shell stepped right into the role and was an upgrade. Though he played in 11 games - missing five due to injury - his grades were very favorable.
He earned a 73.1 pass blocking grade in his Seahawks debut against the Falcons in Week 1. That boosted up to 75.9 the next week against the Patriots. Where Shell struggled at times was run blocking, earning a grade in the 50s each of the first four weeks.
Overall, Shell earned a solid 70.9 grade throughout the entire season, which includes a stellar 78.0 mark in pass blocking with a middling grade of 63.4 in the run game.
Even better, the South Carolina product was not nearly as heavily penalized as Ifedi, garnering just five flags all year. Needless to say, Shell was a clear upgrade over Ifedi, making general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll look good with this signing.
Shell will play the final year of his current contract in 2021 with a cap hit of $5.35 million. For now, he is a solid solution at right tackle to protect quarterback Russell Wilson.
After this season, the situation at the right tackle position is murky. Seattle does not have a clear option behind Shell to groom for the future at the moment. After the 2021 season, both Duane Brown and Shell are set to leave Seattle and they have no tackles under contract past 2021.
Be it via the draft, trade, extensions, or free agency, something big will need to happen at both tackle spots in the near future. For now, they have a decent amount of depth in case one of Brown or Shell goes down with Jamarco Jones and the recently re-signed Cedric Ogbuehi.
Shell is just 29 years old. If he stays healthy and maintains the level of play he displayed for the majority of 2020, he merits an extension. After this season, Seattle will need some stability along the offensive line and Shell can provide that, assuming he is still garnering solid grades, especially with his pass blocking.