The Seahawks’ first strike to get older and better on their offensive line is apparently a low-risk one.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report Thursday as the NFL’s free-agent market opened that the Seahawks have agreed to a one-year contract with Jacksonville Jaguars left tackle and guard Luke Joeckel, a former No. 2-overall draft pick.
The deal is reportedly for $8 million. That’s more than the Seahawks paid the five players that finished last season starting on their O-line.
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It came about an hour before left tackle Russell Okung, to whom the Seahawks were going to talk as of Thursday morning, agreed to a free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Chargers. ESPN and USA Today reported Okung got $54 million for four years with $25 million guaranteed.
So much for an Okung Seattle reunion. No way the Seahawks were going to pay their first-round pick from 2010, who played for $8 million for Denver in 2016, anywhere near $25 million guaranteed.
One year for Joeckel means it is a lower-cost, stop-gap move to get more experienced on a unit that had undrafted rookie college basketball player George Fant as its starting left tackle in 2016.
Joeckel became a free agent this winter when Jacksonville declined his $11.9 million contract option for 2017. He started 35 games for the Jaguars at left tackle before moving to left guard last season. His season ended on injured reserve after five games. He had surgery in October to repair the anterior cruciate ligament, the medial collateral ligament and the meniscus in his left knee.
That explains why the 25-year old only a couple years removed from being considered a foundation left tackle commanded just one year. The $8 million shows how expensive the market got immediately on Thursday for offensive tackles in a needy league. Joeckel will have the 2017 season to prove his healthy and productive again at the line’s key position worthy of a multiyear deal.
Last week at the NFL combine Seahawks general manager John Schneider said he wanted the Seahawks to get older on its offensive line, which he felt got too inexperienced to be fully effective in 2016.