Under the direction of general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks take pride in never leaving a stone unturned when it comes to seeking out ways to improve their roster.
There's a reason Seattle always seems to be in the mix when a star player becomes available for trade - Julio Jones and Stephon Gilmore, anyone? - or an established veteran hits the free agent market as a cap casualty. Schneider and Carroll explore everything, doing their due diligence to ensure they don't miss out on an opportunity to add talent.
Keeping that in mind, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Seahawk fans immediately began to speculate on whether or not the team would have interest in signing former Steelers guard David DeCastro, who was unexpectedly released on Thursday.
DeCastro, 31, has been one of the NFL's best guards since being drafted by Pittsburgh with the 24th overall section out of Stanford in 2012. After missing most of his rookie season with a dislocated knee cap, he has started at least 14 games in all but one of the past eight seasons, garnering First-Team All-Pro honors twice and making six consecutive Pro Bowl squads.
While a capable run blocker at 6-foot-5, 316 pounds, DeCastro has earned his reputation primarily for his prowess in pass protection. He has received at least an 80.0 grade from Pro Football Focus in that category each of the past seven seasons and has allowed a grand total of two sacks over the past four years combined, continuing to excel at keeping his quarterback upright.
Considering Russell Wilson's candid comments about "getting hit too much" back in February and the trade rumors that ensued over the next two months, one would think the Seahawks would at least investigate the possibility of signing a player with DeCastro's track record. The fact he starred at Bellevue High School and grew up idolizing Hall of Fame guard Steve Hutchinson as a fan of the team adds further intrigue.
But while a homecoming of sorts can't be completely ruled out, there are two significant reasons why DeCastro joining Seattle seems highly unlikely.
First, the Seahawks actually appear to be in great shape at the guard positions. After being named to the PFWA All-Rookie team, Damien Lewis will slide over to left guard aiming to play even better in his second season. The team also dealt a fifth-round pick to the Raiders in March for veteran Gabe Jackson, who wasn't charged with a single sack and gave up just two quarterback hits in 2020.
Behind Lewis and Jackson, Jordan Simmons started six games last season as a replacement for Mike Iupati and held up quite well. Jamarco Jones has also started a handful of games at both guard spots over the past two seasons, while Phil Haynes has plenty of talent if he can avoid the injuries that hindered him in his first two seasons. With those three players and a pair of intriguing undrafted rookies in Pier-Olivier Lestage and Jared Hocker set to compete in camp, Seattle has strong depth in the interior.
Second, Pittsburgh's decision to cut ties with DeCastro appears to be directly linked to concerns about a chronic ankle injury that continues to bother the player after undergoing surgery prior to the 2020 season. Though he was in attendance for the Steelers' mandatory minicamp earlier this month, he did not participate and per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, he's weighing his future and it's possible retirement could be in consideration.
If DeCastro receives positive evaluations on his ankle and decides he wants to continue his career, there should be plenty of interest on the market for a guard of his caliber. While he isn't the same player he was three or four years ago, his pass blocking numbers have remained elite and assuming he's healthy enough to play, he would be an upgrade for several teams.
But unless the Seahawks make the decision to slide Lewis inside to center or an injury occurs early in camp, there's simply not a spot for DeCastro in their starting lineup. As one of the most decorated guards in the league, it's hard to envision him signing with any team to serve a backup role next season either and that's all the organization would likely have to offer him at this point.