After their tight end corps became riddled with injuries this past season, the Seahawks went out and signed veteran tight end Greg Olsen and selected Stanford’s Colby Parkinson during the 2020 NFL Draft.
Along with re-signing tight ends Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson, the Seahawks will also have Will Dissly returning for his third season. Working back to full health, the 6-foot-4 tight end is expected to be ready for Week 1 and faces the most important season of his career that could ultimately determine his future in the Pacific Northwest.
With Dissly slated to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021 campaign, general manager John Schneider could begin contract negotiations with the soon-to-be 24-year old after next season concludes. However, the Washington standout still needs to prove he deserves to be rewarded with a new deal.
After a torn patellar tendon limited him to just four games during his rookie season, the former fourth-round pick followed that up by rupturing his Achilles tendon after six games in 2019. Despite his inability to stay on the field through two seasons, the former Husky was on the verge of a potential Pro Bowl season before suffering his second consecutive season-ending injury.
Through the first six games of the regular season, Dissly caught 23 of his 27 targets (85.2 percent catch rate) for 262 yards along with four touchdowns, leading all tight ends in scores at the time of his injury. In addition, the promising tight end also showcased his soft hands this past season, as he caught all 23 of his catchable targets, tied for the highest catch rate (100 percent) among all tight ends with at least 27 targets, according to Sports-Info-Solutions.com.
While the third-year pro couldn’t continue his average of 19.5 yards per reception from his rookie season, he was still able to average 11.4 yards per reception in 2019. Becoming a reliable weapon for quarterback Russell Wilson, Dissly also generated 14 first downs on his 23 receptions through six contests.
Despite the progress Dissly made in 2019, his health status still looms large over his future in Seattle. If he’s able to stay on the field, then his chances of remaining in a starting role long-term will increase significantly. With that said, another serious injury could move him to a reserve role and potentially impact his value on the free agent market in 2022.
Looking ahead to next spring, the tight end market could become extremely thin if Hunter Henry re-signs with the Chargers. Luckily, free agency could still potentially feature a handful of quality veterans like Rob Gronkowski, Jared Cook, Tyler Kroft, and Tyler Eifert.
If Dissly can’t stay healthy again in 2020, the Seahawks could sign one of the players above to fight for the starting role. As for internal options, the team could also decide to bring back either Hollister or Olsen for another season, depending on their performance this upcoming season.
Once Parkinson recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his foot, the rookie tight end could also compete for starting reps. Additionally, the Seahawks could spend one of their seven selections in the 2021 NFL Draft on a tight end.
With so many options available, the pressure will squarely be on Dissly to produce the best performance of his career next season. While he’s shown flashes of developing into a top tight end in this league, the Montana native will need to maintain those stellar results over 16 games to truly reach his potential and position himself for a second contract in Seattle.