Assessing Seattle Seahawks Biggest Roster Concerns Heading Into OTAs

With the majority of their roster now set in stone, which positions still stand out as potential issues for the Seahawks entering the 2024 season?
Oct 22, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) during the
Oct 22, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) during the / Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

With free agency and the NFL draft now in the rearview mirror and the 2024 regular season schedule set to be revealed on Wednesday, the Seattle Seahawks will kick off the final stage of their offseason program with OTAs beginning on May 20.

While all 32 teams will continue to scour the free agent scrap heap looking for talent and play musical chairs with the bottom of their 90-man rosters in coming weeks, most of the hay is in the barn for general manager John Schneider and the Seahawks. The players who take the field next week and during mandatory minicamp in June will be the ones who suit up in Week 1 come September, making it a prime opportunity to evaluate the state of their roster heading into the new season.

As Seattle prepares for the start of a new era under coach Mike Macdonald, which position groups stand out as the biggest concerns following free agency and the draft?

1. Center

Nov 12, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks center Olu Oluwatimi (51) sits on the
Nov 12, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks center Olu Oluwatimi (51) sits on the / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

No matter who winds up starting for the Seahawks in Week 1, the franchise will be breaking in a new center for the fourth time in five seasons, continuing a disappointing trend with no continuity at a critical position along the offensive line and casting significant questions with a lack of certainty. Going into the final stage of the offseason program, second-year pivot man Olu Oluwatimi should be the favorite to win the job after starting one game behind Evan Brown last season and suiting up for every game as a rookie. In his lone start against the Cardinals, he performed well, including allowing no pressures in pass protection.

But given Oluwatimi's lack of NFL experience, he won't be handed the starting job either, and that's where veteran free agent signing Nick Harris enters the discussion. The former Washington standout previously starred for new line coach Scott Huff, earning All-Pac 12 honors twice under his tutelage in Montlake. He only has started a handful of games in four prior NFL seasons with the Browns, but his past ties to Huff could position him to give Oluwatimi a run for his money in a head-to-head competition this summer. Regardless of who wins the battle, Seattle will have an untested starter snapping to Geno Smith, which leaves this position as a substantial question mark.

2. Guard

Prior to the NFL draft, guard stood out as Seattle's most pressing need both from an experience and depth standpoint after losing starters Damien Lewis and Phil Haynes as well as the versatile Brown in free agency. However, right before the draft, the team inked proven veteran Laken Tomlinson on a one-year deal as a stop-gap option and then invested heavily in the interior offensive line on the last two days of the draft, including snagging a two-time All-American selection in UConn guard Christian Haynes in the third round. In addition, four-year Utah starter Sataoa Laumea was selected in the sixth round, giving the team another young guard to groom as a potential starter down the line.

Since Haynes and Laumea haven't played an NFL snap yet and Tomlinson will be trying to bounce back from a rough 2023 season with the Jets, there's still plenty of questions at both guard spots and in the short term, it still could be a weakness on offense. But at least now, the Seahawks should have quality competitions on the left and right side with incumbent Anthony Bradford battling against Haynes at right guard and Tomlinson aiming to fend off Laumea and Tremayne Anchrum at left guard. That's a heck of a lot better situation than a month ago and if they hit on at least one of their new draftees, the future will look much brighter in the trenches.

3. Linebacker

No position underwent more upheaval this offseason for the Seahawks than linebacker, as legendary future Hall of Famer Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks, and Devin Bush all exited stage left to sign with other teams in free agency. After releasing Nick Bellore as a cap casualty, the team was left without any NFL starts at off ball linebacker, but Schneider addressed the issue in the present by signing Jerome Baker and Tyrel Dodson, formerly of the Dolphins and Bills respectively, to one-year contracts as replacements.

Seattle continued to overhaul the linebacker spot in the draft, investing a fourth-round pick in UTEP's Tyrice Knight, who tallied 140 tackles last season and participated in the Senior Bowl. Knight may be the future for the Macdonald's linebacker corps, but it remains to be seen how early he will be able to play defensively on Sundays. For now, Baker and Dodson will be slotted in as the starters at the weakside and middle linebacker spots, aiming to earn themselves long-term deals with the Seahawks or elsewhere next spring. The team could be in decent shape in 2024 with those vets plugging holes, but beyond that point, this position remains a concern.

4. Safety

In the aftermath of releasing high-priced veterans Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams as cap casualties, the Seahawks wasted little time finding suitable veteran successors at a fraction of the cost, signing former Jaguars starter Rayshawn Jenkins and ex-Titans defensive back K'Von Wallace to two and one-year deals respectively. Those two acquisitions will team up with Julian Love, who enters the final year of his contract coming off a strong finish to the 2023 season that resulted in his first career Pro Bowl selection. While it's not a star-studded group by any means, at minimum, Jenkins and Wallace should be good short-term band aids for a secondary with plenty of talent.

Like linebacker, however, Seattle appears to be playing the short-term game at safety. Jenkins' deal ultimately is a one-year contract with a wait-and-see on picking up his second season, while Love and Wallace will both be unrestricted free agents next March. Meanwhile, second-year defender Jerrick Reed II may or may not be ready for the start of the season as he recovers from a torn ACL. While Reed may be part of future plans and Coby Bryant may be in consideration for safety as well, it's possible Macdonald and Schneider could hit the full reset button again next year looking for long-term solutions at safety and it's worth debating whether this year's cast of characters will be able to match what Diggs and Adams did when healthy.

5. Tight End

In the grand scheme of things, tight end may not be quite as important of a position in new coordinator Ryan Grubb's system as it was for previous play caller Shane Waldron, who used a lot of two and three-tight end sets. However, the Seahawks lost two quality players in Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson in free agency and while they did sign veteran Pharaoh Brown as a stop-gap inline blocking replacement, only Noah Fant returns from last year's three-headed monster, leaving some doubt about the current state of the position group both short and long-term.

If there's a silver lining, Seattle did invest a fourth-round draft choice on MIchigan standout AJ Barner, who brings a nasty edge as a blocker and may have untapped upside as a chain-moving receiving option after only being used sparingly in that aspect by the Wolverines last year. The team also has an intriguing undrafted free agent set to compete for a roster spot in Jack Westover, who caught four touchdowns in Grubb's offense last year at Washington. If one or both of those players ends up contributing as a rookie, then the outlook at tight end will be less murky, especially if Fant emerges as a more prominent weapon in the passing game.

Corbin K. Smith


Graduating from Manchester College in 2012, Smith began his professional career as a high school Economics teacher in Indianapolis and launched his own NFL website covering the Seahawks as a hobby. After teaching and coaching high school football for five years, he transitioned to a full-time sports reporter in 2017, writing for USA Today's Seahawks Wire while continuing to produce the Legion of 12 podcast. He joined the Arena Group in August 2018 and also currently hosts the daily Locked On Seahawks podcast with Rob Rang and Nick Lee. Away from his coverage of the Seahawks and the NFL, Smith dabbles in standup comedy, is a heavy metal enthusiast and previously performed as lead vocalist for a metal band, and enjoys distance running and weight lifting. A habitual commuter, he resides with his wife Natalia in Colorado and spends extensive time reporting from his second residence in the Pacific Northwest.