Seahawks Overview and Outlook: Duane Brown

Duane Brown is entering the final year of his contract, in which he'll play at the age of 36. Could 2021 be his last hurrah with the Seahawks or the NFL as a whole? Nick Lee reflects back on his 2020 season and looks ahead to the future.
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Over the course of the offseason, we will explore different players from the 2020 Seahawks roster and evaluate them. We will review their performance from the previous season, analyzing what worked, what did not, and then glance at what their future may hold with the Seahawks or perhaps elsewhere.

This week's focus player is left tackle Duane Brown, who's coming off his fourth season blocking Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's blind side.

2020 Overview

Brown battled injuries for parts of the 2019 season, causing him to miss four games. He came back stronger and healthier in 2020 and it showed. Once again, he established himself as one of the most steady and consistent tackles in the NFL. 

Since trading for Brown's services back in 2017, he has been exactly what the Seahawks envisioned: An alpha dog, a leader, and a fierce protector of Wilson on the field. His 2020 campaign proved no different. 

He never missed a game last season and still played at a high level. In Week 2 against the Patriots, he turned in one of his best games in a Seahawks uniform. He earned a solid 77.9 pass protection grade via Pro Football Focus while garnering a stellar 88.7 mark in the run game. Thus, the Seahawks averaged 5.1 yards per carry and 154 total yards on the ground on their way to a dramatic 35-30 victory.

Brown would go on to earn two more 80-plus grades in the run game and finished the year with an 81.4 mark. In pass protection, he earned at least an 80 grade in eight of Seattle's 17 games, including the playoff loss to the Rams. He finished the year with a rock-solid 84.9 mark in the pass game, allowing just two sacks all season. 

Brown was tagged with an 87.3 overall grade for the entire 2020 season, making him one of the best left tackles in football once again. And he did all of this at 35 years old. 

He did not earn an All-Pro or Pro Bowl nod in 2020, but there is a solid argument that he got snubbed of those honors. 

Future Outlook

The Virginia Tech product will be 36 years of age before Week 1 and will have a cap hit of $13.35 million in 2021. Following next season, he is set to become an unrestricted free agent. This leaves Seattle in a precarious situation at the tackle spots as right tackle Brandon Shell is also set to become an unrestricted free agent this time next year.

Certainly, age does not matter as much to offensive linemen as it does for running backs or cornerbacks. Brown can still play at a high level and Seattle should explore an extension with the former All-Pro. 

The best case scenario is the two sides agree on a short-term deal, for one year and perhaps a voidable second season. It would benefit the Seahawks to take it year by year with Brown moving forward, given he is closer to 40 than 30 at this point. 

Seattle needs to start thinking about the tackle position beyond 2021 and whether that involves Brown. With recent events suggesting Russell Wilson is serious about being protected by quality linemen, Brown fits the bill despite his age.