The Seahawks have made four additions to their offensive line through free agency this offseason and find themselves with 18 total offensive linemen under contract ahead of this week’s NFL Draft.
The team signed center/guard B.J. Finney from Pittsburgh, tackle Brandon Shell from the New York Jets and tackle Cedric Ogbuehi from Jacksonville. Former first-round guard Chance Warmack also signed with Seattle after not playing in the league last year. Additionally, Mike Iupati re-signed with the team on a one-year deal this week as well.
Despite losing Germain Ifedi to the Chicago Bears and George Fant to the Jets themselves in free agency, the Seahawks have tried to bolster the group this offseason in an effort to better assist quarterback Russell Wilson.
“We love our quarterback we want to keep him (upright). We want to have as many grown men in front of him as we possibly can,” General Manager John Schneider said on Tuesday.
While Seattle was never going to spend big money in free agency up front, Schneider said that Finney, Shell and Ogbuehi were at the top of their list of options to fit into the mix this offseason.
“It was important for us to be able to identify some people early on, and quite honestly, we hit, in our mind, what was (options) one, two, and three,” Schneider said.
“This is an area where we felt like we can make a difference in free agency, playing by our rules in a way, what our philosophy is and trying to protect our quarterback in the best fashion that we possibly could.”
Head coach Pete Carroll said at the end of the season that he had hoped to build upon the continuity on the offensive line moving forward. With Iupati’s re-signing, the team is returning four of five starters on the line with Duane Brown, Justin Britt and D.J. Fluker also under contract for next season. However, Carroll made it clear there will be significant competition for the spots as well.
“We have some young guys coming up that we’re really excited about feel like we’re gonna have maybe the best depth we’ve had, particularly the most competition we’ve had,” Carroll said. And so with that thought the ability to add some guys with experience that have been there to make sure that we shore up and we can come right back and play really good football. … So I think we did a nice job here, so it’s going to be a very cool camp. It’s not going to be just about the guys coming in, it’ll be about the opportunities that are there for the younger guys to battle you know. Phil Haynes is really important to us to see how he can come along and do a nice job. Ethan Pocic and guys are still looking for the best opportunities and (Jordan) Simmons and it’s an exciting group of guys so they’ll be battling. Everybody’s gonna be wide open, you know, so just looking forward to the time when we can get back on the field.”