The Seattle Seahawks have major work to do in 2017 NFL free agency and these cheap targets could address significant needs.
To say that the Seattle Seahawks were a confusing team in the 2016 season might be understating how baffling they were. They could come out one week and look like Super Bowl contenders and then flat-out lay an egg in their next outing. Ultimately Seattle made the postseason and were then bounced in the Divisional Round.
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Following that, it’s clear that the Seahawks have needs that must be addressed this offseason. For the first time in quite a while, they have a bit of capital to work with in 2017 NFL free agency. Per Over the Cap, Seattle has just shy of $26 million in cap space, and that’s assuming there aren’t any cap casualties or restructured deals set to come down the pipeline.
With gaping holes on the offensive line and needs for depth elsewhere on the roster, they have to be cost-effective when approaching the free agent market, even with the room that they have to work with. Who then could they sign? These are five underrated and cheaper targets for the Seattle Seahawks in 2017 NFL free agency.
Sep 25, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars offensive guard Luke Joeckel (76) blocks Baltimore Ravens linebacker Za’Darius Smith (90) during the second half of a football game at EverBank FieldThe Baltimore Ravens won 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
5. Luke Joeckel, OT/OG – Jacksonville Jaguars
As stated, the top thing that the Seahawks have to focus on this offseason is their offensive line. It was an issue that doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better. Even if their young players develop, going from absolutely atrocious to slightly below average is still technically an improvement that ultimately doesn’t do the team any good. Subsequently, targeting a former first-round pick that flamed out elsewhere could be a nice addition.
Luke Jockel was taken with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M and never lived up to the billing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Though he admittedly didn’t have much help around him, he also never developed as they hoped. The low point came in what was likely his last season with the Jags last year as he was beat out by Kelvin Beachum for the left tackle spot in the preseason and then had his season end prematurely due to a knee injury after shifting over to guard.
That injury and his fall from grace will make him quite cheap on the open market and the Seahawks should jump at that chance. When he was healthy, Joeckel was actually passable at guard for the Jaguars and showed more promise there than he ever did at tackle. The size and physical prowess that made him the second pick are still there and the Seahawks should try to mine for them as they hope to improve their line.
Sep 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Packers 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
4. Eddie Lacy, RB – Green Bay Packers
When healthy, Thomas Rawls has proven that he can be a quality No. 1 running back for the Seahawks. Even with the rampant offensive line woes for Seattle this past season, Rawls was still able to run effectively at times. What’s more, C.J. Prosise flashed moments of brilliance in his brief time when healthy in the 2016 season.
The problem, however, is that you can’t fully trust the health of either player moving forward as a No. 1. Thus, they should be in the market for another running back to help shoulder the load either as the true top back or as part of a committee. That’s where Eddie Lacy could come into play.
Without question, Lacy has to be labeled as a disappointment for what he ultimately produced throughout his time with the Green Bay Packers. The Alabama product was great when he was healthy and in shape. Of course, he spent far too much time in the land of the Cheeseheads where he was neither of those things.
All of this actually leads to good news for the Seahawks, though, as his price tag will be substantially lower than it otherwise could have been. If Pete Carroll and his staff can get Lacy motivated to stay healthy and keep the weight off, then he could be a huge addition to their offensive attack. Along with addressing the offensive line, Lacy could take Seattle’s offense to another dimension.
It stands to reason that there would be limited snaps for a young player on a loaded defense with proven veterans. That’s the situation that presented itself for Kayvon Webster as a member of the secondary for the Denver Broncos. Playing behind the trio of Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby, Webster only saw limited snaps while playing for the Broncos. While he wasn’t overly impressive when he did get on the field, there’s reason to believe he’s a player with untapped potential.
After being selected in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of South Florida, Webster was primarily on the Broncos as insurance and depth for their vaunted defense. That’s exactly what the Seahawks need entering this offseason, but with the potential for a heavy increase in playing time if he were to come to Seattle.
Obviously we know that Richard Sherman is the stalwart of the group of cornerbacks for the Seahawks. Meanwhile, the likes of Jeremy Lane and DeShawn Shead will be on the roster for the 2017 season as well. However, Seattle has very little depth that you would call reliable outside of those three players. While Webster isn’t the typical big-bodied corner that the Seahawks normally covet, he’s shown flashes of being a potential impact player in the secondary. Adding him and giving him more opportunities to shine could be of great benefit to Seattle.
Nov 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) and tackle Mike Remmers (74) react against the Oakland Raiders during the second half at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
2. Mike Remmers, OT – Carolina Panthers
There were numerous factors as to why the Carolina Panthers dropped off as massively as they did from playing in Super Bowl 50 to the 2016 season. One of the primary issues they faced, though, was that their offensive line couldn’t stay healthy in key positions. The most costly of the bunch was a lingering issue with concussions for Michael Oher, which forced Mike Remmers to move from right tackle to left.
Remmers might be best known for getting eaten alive by Von Miller in the Panthers’ Super Bowl loss. In fairness, though, that’s the story for the majority of right tackles in this league. Putting that aside, though, the veteran has proven to be a solid player on the edge that’s capable of opening up holes in the running game and holding his own against most pass rushers in the league.
Frankly, even just that mediocre level of play would be huge for the Seahawks to add up front. Again, their offensive line was their greatest problem last season and the No. 1 thing that they have to address in the offseason. If not, there’s a reasonable chance that they won’t even be in the running for the playoffs next season—that’s how tight of a rope they were walking in 2016. Remmers would help remedy that issue and at least give them some sense of stability on the edge of the O-line.
Nov 1, 2015; London, United Kingdom; Detroit Lions tackle Riley Reiff (71) defends against Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tambi Hali (91) during game 14 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1. Riley Reiff, OT – Detroit Lions
Riley Reiff is by far the most expensive free agent to appear on this list of possible targets, but he’s also the one that could have the greatest impact. The 28-year-old left tackle held down the edge of the Detroit Lions offensive line this past season and was inconsistent, but far from terrible. While his play over the season may have been up and down, though, that’s not the course that his career has taken.
Though never spectacular, Reiff has been a consistent presence at tackle for the Lions since entering the league as the No. 23 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. He’s always been a guy who will allow pressure occasionally, but effectively does his job more often than not.
Obviously that’s not a ringing endorsement of a potential free agent signing, but it’s important considering what the Seahawks looked like on the offensive line last season. They can swear all of they want that they have hope in the youth of the unit, but they were routinely making Russell Wilson run for his life or just get lit up. That’s not ideal.
If I’m the Seahawks, I’m addressing the offensive line in every way possible this offseason. However, Reiff might be the most sure-fire player that they could sign without breaking the bank. That’s important given the limited amount of money that they have to work with and the former Lions tackle could be an answer to prayers from the Pacific Northwest.