A Seahawks’ day of backfilling resulted in more of what they love most.
Youth. Affordability. And more chip-on-the-shoulder drive to excel.
Speaking of love: Jon Ryan showed why all of the Pacific Northwest adores him. The Saskatchewan native posted on social media a photo of him signing his new four-year contract Monday inside Seahawks headquarters — while wearing a green, old-school SuperSonics jersey of Gary Payton.
“It's official. Pumped to be back. I'd only sign the contract wearing my @GaryPayton_20 throwback. #BringBackTheSonics,” Ryan tweeted over a picture of him penning his $10 million deal. He agreed to the deal this past Friday.
Five days after Seattle lost Brandon Mebane to San Diego in free agency, the team signed free agent Sealver Siliga to be a new nose tackle. Siliga’s one-year deal is reportedly worth $1.4 million.
The Seahawks also signed former Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Bradley Sowell to a one-year contract. It is reportedly worth $1.5 million to also fit within Seattle’s salary-cap limitations.
That’s two potential semi-to-major contributors in 2016 at a total cost of $2.9 million. Or well less than half annually of what Seahawks two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung is likely mulling over among the three free-agent offers he has from the Steelers, Giants and Lions. Okung visited those teams last weekend and is choosing between them or familiarity in Seattle.
The Seahawks began free agency last week in the bottom third of the NFL in available cap space, believed then to be about $15 million for 2016.
The 25-year-old Siliga is six years younger and $12.1 million cheaper than Mebane. The previously longest-tenured Seahawks player just signed a contract with the Chargers for three years and $13.5 million.
Siliga was with the Seahawks from late August to mid-September 2013, after Seattle traded offensive lineman John Moffitt to Denver to get him. In October of that year, Siliga signed with the New England Patriots, but missed half of the 2014 season due to injury. He then started for the Patriots against the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49.
New England did not tender him a contract offer as a restricted free agent last week. That made him a lower-level, unrestricted free agent. Siliga now gets the chance to replace Mebane as three-technique tackle Ahtyba Rubin’s partner on what was the NFL’s No. 1 run defense last season. Rubin re-signed early last week before league free agency began.
The 26-year-old Sowell, like Siliga, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of college. The reason his deal is also so short and relatively inexpensive: Sowell hasn’t started a game since Dec. 29, 2013. That was the end of 12 consecutive starts for him with the Cardinals at left tackle — the only 12 starts of his four-year career.
At that price and pedigree, the 6-foot-7, 316-pound Sowell could end up being more a replacement for Alvin Bailey. Bailey, a Seahawks backup the last couple seasons, signed last week with Cleveland.
Sowell’s eventual prominence with the Seahawks this upcoming season depends on whether Okung’s shopping himself around brings him back to Seattle or leads him to sign one of the offers he reportedly has from the New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers.
If Okung leaves the Seahawks, the team could move last season’s starting right tackle Garry Gilliam to left tackle. Sowell could then compete with Gilliam for time at left tackle, or potentially Justin Britt on the right side.
Britt started as a rookie in 2014 at right tackle then started at left guard in 2015. Seattle’s coaches have talked glowingly about 2015 rookie guard Mark Glowinski and by the end of last season seemed eager to give him an opportunity to start. Glowinski’s prospects brightened last week when Seattle’s starting right guard J.R. Sweezy signed a free-agent contract with Tampa Bay.
Oakland free agent J’Marcus Webb tweeted Saturday he was heading to Seattle to visit. Webb has played guard and tackle for the Raiders.
The Seahawks are likely to continue restocking their iffy offensive line through next month’s draft and into the summer. The regime of general manager John Schneider, coach Pete Carroll and line coach Tom Cable have selected 12 offensive linemen in the six drafts they’ve led in Seattle. The first was Okung, the league’s sixth-overall pick in 2010.
Whatever they end up deciding, the Seahawks are far from done adding and subtracting on their line — both on offense and defense.
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle