At least the sun finally came out for T.J. Lang’s free-agent visit to Seattle.
But it’s going to take a ton more than that for the Seahawks to land the Pro Bowl guard from the Green Bay Packers.
The team in search of experience and quality on its iffy offensive line was believed to be hosting the 29-year-old Lang on Friday afternoon, the second day of the NFL free-agency period.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider has brought Lang to an NFL team before: the 2009 Packers. Schneider was Green Bay’s director of football operations that year when it drafted Lang in the fourth round.
Schneider was part of the decision-making process that settled on Lang being a tackle for his rookie season, and again in parts of 2010, ’11 and ’12 for the Packers. Schneider left in 2010 to become Seattle’s first-time GM.
Lang has been Green Bay’s starting right guard for 60 of a possible 64 regular-season games since 2013, plus all eight of the Packers’ playoff games in that span.
Schneider could be going through that same position-determining process for Lang eight years later. This free-agent class is weak — and expensive — at tackle. The class for next month’s draft is similarly inflated. So the Seahawks have the chance to get creative with Schneider’s background with Lang, to come up with a homemade solution to what Schneider last week called “a dearth at the position.”
Coach Pete Carroll, veteran line coach Tom Cable and Schneider last week at the NFL combine stressed how important continuity is on their young line between 2016 and ’17. But Carroll and Schneider also made it a goal to get more experienced up front than Seattle was last season.
The continuity appears to be with the three interior blockers. The coaches like Mark Glowinski starting at left guard, love Justin Britt’s emergence at center and won’t move Germain Ifedi from starting at right guard, where he was in 2016, to right tackle.
Thursday’s agreement with Jacksonville free agent Luke Joeckel for a one-year deal believed to be worth up to $8 million hints the Seahawks view him as a potential replacement for either 2016 undrafted free agent George Fant at left tackle or three-year veteran Garry Gilliam at right tackle. These Seahawks don’t spend $8 million per year on guards — or least haven’t yet.
The Seahawks tender Thursday to Gilliam of an original-round, lowest-level offer of $1,797,000 for 2017 as a restricted free agent doesn’t necessarily mean he’s locked to Seattle for this year. That tender offer is not guaranteed. Seattle tendered Patrick Lewis, its starter at center over the final half of the 2015 season, for $1,671,000 to play in 2016. Then the Seahawks waived Lewis before the regular season began.
The more-accomplished Lang — 16 postseason games, including a Super Bowl, since 2009 for Green Bay — may command per year at least what the OL-needy Minnesota Vikings reportedly agreed to pay Carolina free-agent tackle Mike Remmers on Friday (NFL Network reported five years, $30 million.) Former Seahawk Russell Okung reportedly got four years and $53 million (an annual average of $13.25 million) from the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday. So if the Seahawks view Lang as a potential answer at tackle, they will have to make an offer in line with the current market.
Lang’s leverage is a reported visit he took Thursday with the Detroit Lions plus interest in possibly returning to Green Bay.
Denver canceled a scheduled visit with Lang for Saturday after the Broncos signed guard Ronald Leary, according to Mike Klis of Denver’s NBC 9News.
The Seahawks had $25.4 million of salary-cap space as of Friday, 18th-most in the league, according to overthecap.com.
Besides the always paramount issue of money, Seattle other big consideration with Lang is more black and white: Is he or is he not healthy enough to sign?
The Seahawks were almost assuredly asking Lang to undergo a medical evaluation with team doctors during his visit. He had arthroscopic surgery on his hip soon after Green Bay lost to Atlanta in January’s NFC title game. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said at the time he didn’t expect Lang to be on the field until training camp in late July. Lang also broke his foot in a game last season at Tennessee. Those injuries are why Lang did not play in the most recent Pro Bowl, for which he got selected for his first time.
If Lang convinces the Seahawks’ doctors his hip and foot are healing as planned, and if the recuperation drops his price into a range the team can embrace, we might be finding out how serious Seattle is about upgrading its offensive line with more experience.
RB LACY VISITS
Friday was Packers free-agent day at Seahawks headquarters. Running back Eddie Lacy was also reported by ESPN to be visiting.
He was probably with Seahawks doctors, as well.
The 26-year-old Lacy was a Pro Bowl back with 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie in 2013. He followed that with 1,139 yards rushing with nine scores and another Pro Bowl selection in 2014. After Lacy dipped to 758 yards and three TDs on the ground in 2015, Packers coach Mike McCarthy told Lacy he needed to lose weight. He’s listed at 234 pounds, but was thought to have gotten above 260 last season. The Packers put him on injured reserve in October with an ankle injury that needed surgery.
His representatives, Sports Trust Advisors, posted on Twitter that he will be visiting Seattle, Minnesota and Green Bay through this weekend.
Brock Coyle, a backup linebacker who made the team out of Montana as an undrafted rookie in 2014, signed with San Francisco. Coyle became an unrestricted free agent Thursday when Seattle did not tender the restricted free agent an offer. … Backup defensive lineman Damontre Moore signed with Dallas. His short Seahawks stint in 2016 ended in December when he was arrested for driving while intoxicated and booked into King County Jail. The team then put him on injured reserve.
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle