So now what?
Now that T.J. Lang has chosen his hometown Detroit Lions instead for a reported three years, $28.5 million with $19.5 million guaranteed, now that the Seahawks have signed recently injured left tackle Luke Joeckel for one year and $7 million guaranteed to upgrade their iffy offensive line, what does Seattle do next?
In lieu of better offensive linemen, they host running backs.
Adrian Peterson, a four-time All-Pro and 2012 league most valuable player, arrived over the weekend to see what the Seahawks had to offer in free agency, and for the team to see what the about-to-be 32-year old has left. As of Monday morning, Peterson reportedly was still in town.
Latavis Murray, younger without the injury concerns after spending the last two seasons as the Oakland Raiders’ lead runner, is believed to be visiting with Seattle on Tuesday.
Then it’s supposed to be Jamaal Charles, Wednesday and Thursday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 30-year-old two-time All-Pro has played in just eight games the last two years because of injuries.
The Seahawks are waiting for C.J. Prosise, their tantalizing rookie from 2016, and Thomas Rawls to stay healthy long enough to have a full season as their young (combined NFL experience: three seasons) and inexpensive rushers.
"Guys have made statements about who they are and then they have to come back and reestablish that and take it as far as they can," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this month at the combine. "There is nothing in the way of C.J.
"Thomas Rawls is a terrific player on our team, too, who had a very difficult season. He was banged up all year. So those two guys come back to camp really raring to go, and we are looking forward to that.”
That doesn’t mean the Seahawks won’t seek insurance against more injuries from Prosise and Rawls. Rawls has yet to finish a full season as a starting back since high school in Flint, Michigan.
That does mean it’s unlikely the Seahawks (with $18.65 million in salary-cap space left to spend as of Monday, according to overthecap.com) will break their bank for it.
They also hosted former Green Bay Packers runner Eddie Lacy this past weekend.
As for who will be blocking for those runners, the Seahawks’ big swing and miss on Lang leaves them with their 2016 line, the one general manager John Schneider said was “too young” and left him thinking “holy cow,” plus Joeckel.
Joeckel, 25, is coming off season-ending surgery in October to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, a torn medial collateral ligament and a torn meniscus in his left knee. That was after Jacksonville’s No. 2-overall pick in the 2013 draft lost his left-tackle job with the Jaguars to Kelvin Beachum. Joeckel started the first four games at left guard last season before he injured his knee.
The Seahawks reportedly gave him $4.25 million in a signing bonus and $2.75 million more guaranteed in 2017 base salary. That is about $2.5 million more than the 2017 salaries of the five starting blockers from Seattle’s line last season, combined. With the Seahawks, $7 million guaranteed is starting-tackle, not guard, money. Expect Joeckel to take either George Fant’s starting job at left tackle or, if Joeckel plays on the right side for the first time in his five NFL seasons, Garry Gilliam’s job on the opposite side.
Carroll, Schneider and veteran line coach Tom Cable have stressed how important continuity is on their young line between the 2016 and ‘17 seasons. That continuity appears to be with the three interior blockers. Unless the coaches have been blowing smoke at us since October, they 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. Tackle was where Ifedi was at Texas A&M before Seattle drafted him in the first round last year -- and to where he could have gone back had the Seahawks signed Lang.
So what tackles are left following the first wave of free-agent signings since the market opened Thursday?
Ones with issues.
Ryan Clady, 30, lasted just 10 months with the New York Jets before they cut him last month. He’s a two-time All-Pro that’s been selected to four Pro Bowls. But he’s had foot injuries, knee surgery and most recently surgery to repair torn labrum in November. It was his second shoulder surgery in three years. He missed 30 of 32 games for Denver before the Broncos traded him to the Jets in 2016. He lasted eight starts before New York gave up on him.
Breno Giacomini is still available for a reunion with the Seahawks, for whom he played right tackle from 2011-13. After leaving Seattle he started two full seasons for the Jets, at right tackle. He missed the first seven games of last season with a back injury, came back to play in five games, then shut it down for the rest of 2016. He turns 31 in September and has back issues. That’s why he’s available.
The Los Angeles Chargers released veteran tackle King Dunlap after 46 starts for them the last four seasons. He injured his knee in December, though not as seriously as those injuries listed above. Dunlap turns 32 in September. He was arrested last month in Tennessee for suspicion of violating a restraining order. Dunlap’s lawyer told Nashville television station WKRN the case was dismissed. The Chargers signed former Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung last week, meaning they didn’t need Dunlap or the $500,000 roster bonus the Chargers would have had to pay him this week.
The good news for Seattle is the draft is next month, full of younger, cheaper, presumably healthier options.
Seattle’s bad news is this draft class is considered as weak in offensive tackles as this free-agent crop.
That is likely to drive the values of top college tackles Ryan Ramczyk from Wisconsin and Cam Robinson of Alabama up and away from the Seahawks’ first-round position drafting at No. 26 overall.
All this means the Seahawks are back to where they’ve been for years on their offensive line: making do with cheaper options, below the league’s top shelf.