Jake Heaps’ free-agent offensive linemen ‘dream wish list’ for Seahawks
It’s no secret that one thing the Seahawks’ offense has struggled with in recent years is sacks.
Quarterback Russell Wilson entered the league in 2012, and other than his rookie season, he’s been sacked at least 41 times every season since. Over the last three seasons, he’s been sacked a total of 146 times. That number doesn’t include playoff games, either.
Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps said recently on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy that improving the offensive line is the No. 1 priority for the Seahawks this offseason. Two of Seattle’s five starters are hitting unrestricted free agency in center Ethan Pocic and left guard Mike Iupati, so we could see some major turnover with that unit ahead of next season. That’s nothing new for the Seahawks, who had just two returning starters in 2020 from 2019’s starting offensive line.
If the Seahawks decide to go all in with giving Wilson better protection up front, Heaps has three names he thinks could replace Pocic or Iupati for next season. The issue is the Seahawks may have trouble forking up enough money to bring any of these players to Seattle.
“This is like a dream wish list,” Heaps said.
So, let’s see who’s on that list.
Packers center Corey Linsley
“I think he would be a great fit,” Heaps said. “He’s a very, very good center in this league.”
Linsley, who turns 30 in July, entered the league in 2014 as the Packers’ fifth-round selection after playing in college at Ohio State. Despite being a fifth-round pick, he started as a rookie and has been Green Bay’s starting center ever since. He’s started all 16 games four times and played at least 13 games in six of his seven NFL seasons. In 2020, he was named a First-Team All-Pro.
New Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, who comes to Seattle from Sean McVay’s Los Angeles Rams coaching staff, worked there for a time under current Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, who was at one point the Rams’ offensive coordinator. If Seattle’s offense starts to operate like the Rams or Packers, which is something derived from the Mike Shanahan coaching tree, a player like Linsley could be a good fit schematically.
“Somebody like Corey Linsley who has played with Aaron Rodgers, who has been a part of that Shanahan (system) would be a great asset to this offense and for Shane Waldron,” Heaps said. “I believe that would be a great fit for them.”
Linsley just finished the last year of his three-year, $25.5 million contract and made $10.5 million in 2020, per Spotrac.
WFT RG Brandon Scherff and Patriots LG Joe Thuney
Heaps didn’t give a deep dive into Scherff or Thuney like he did with Linsley, but he did name drop these two as potential players the Seahawks should target in free agency.
Scherff, who turned 29 in December, was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft out of Iowa. He is a four-time Pro Bowler and, like Linsley, was a First-Team All-Pro in 2020. Scherff has played his entire career in Washington, and he made $15,030,000 last year on the franchise tag.
While we noted Linsley’s durability since entering the NFL, that’s been an area of concern for Scherff, who hasn’t played in 14 or more games since 2017 and has missed a total of 16 games the last three years.
Something else to note with Scherff is he’s been a right guard for his entire career. The Seahawks played rookie Damien Lewis at right guard in 2020, so if Scherff were to sign with Seattle, one of those two would have to slide over to the other side of the line.
Like Scherff, Thuney also played 2020 on the franchise tag, earning $14,780,000 from the New England Patriots. A left guard, Thuney was a third-round pick by New England in 2016 after playing at North Carolina State. He was a Second-Team All-Pro in 2019 and has started all 16 games every year since entering the NFL.
“If you’re asking me just my overall wish list of guys that if you could pick any three, those three … are the guys I would really love to see in a Seahawks uniform this season,” Heaps said.
Listen to the discussion at this link or in the player below.