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Did Gerald Everett Play Well Enough to Justify Second Contract With Seahawks?

Despite turning in a handful of sensational plays along the way, Everett continued to battle consistency-related issues in his first season in Seattle. After a stellar second half, will the organization prioritize bringing him back?

Bolting from one NFC West rival to another during free agency to sign with the Seahawks, Gerald Everett entered the 2021 season with high expectations joining one of the NFL's most prolific offenses in the Pacific Northwest.

Finding himself in the ideal situation on all fronts, Everett would reunite with Shane Waldron, his former tight end coach and passing game coordinator in Los Angeles who had been tabbed by Pete Carroll to replace Brian Schottenheimer as Seattle's new offensive coordinator. Playing in a familiar offense, he also would benefit from an upgrade at quarterback catching passes from Russell Wilson, who had thrown a career-best 40 touchdown passes in 2020.

Unfortunately, Everett's first season with the organization didn't unfold quite as planned. Though he did record career-highs with 48 receptions, 478 receiving yards, and four touchdowns, due to factors both in and out of his control, the former South Alabama standout didn't emerge as the complementary weapon alongside Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf that the Seahawks envisioned he would be when they signed him to a one-year deal in March.

In some regards, the Seahawks did get what they paid for. After several seasons finishing in the bottom half of the league in yards after the catch, per Per Pro Football Focus, Everett finished a respectable ninth among tight ends with 50 or more targets averaging 5.2 yards after the catch per reception. He was credited with 11 missed tackles forced, tied for sixth-most among players at his respective position, bringing toughness and physicality their passing game lacked in the past.

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Gerald Everett
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On one hand, set to turn 28 years old in June, Everett remains a young player with untapped upside. As the year progressed, Seattle found ways to get him more involved in the aerial attack with him snagging 34 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns in the final nine games. He finished third on the team in yards after the catch, led the team in missed tackles forced by a receiver or tight end, and finally became a reliable safety blanket for Wilson with 19 first down receptions in the second half.

One would assume after a strong finish that a second season paired with Wilson in Waldron's familiar offense would yield better results and maybe this time, he could fulfill on his promise with the breakout year everyone has been waiting anxiously for.

To the contrary, however, Everett's array of physical gifts and glimpses of star potential have never produced more than 500 receiving yards or five touchdowns in a season, which partially explains why the Rams were willing to let the former second-round pick walk a year ago. Now five years into his career, it's worth wondering if he will ever develop into a consistent playmaking threat in the passing game and his propensity for drops, fumbles, and untimely mental miscues are alarming.

Ultimately, how the tight end market unfolds could determine whether or not Everett returns to Seattle for another season. A number of other talented players at the position, including Mike Gesicki of the Dolphins, O.J. Howard of the Buccaneers, David Njoku of the Browns, and Mo Alie-Cox of the Colts, are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.

If the majority of those players don't receive extensions from their respective teams and hit the market, the Seahawks could pursue one of them instead or use them as leverage to bring back Everett at a cheaper price. If most of them remain with their current teams, however, other teams may be willing to pay a bit more for his services considering his athletic tools and flashes of brilliance, leaving his future as uncertain as any of their pending free agents.