Heaps: Seahawks should ‘keep an eye on’ TE Kyle Rudolph in free agency
The Seahawks have already been linked to one Pro Bowl tight end this offseason through trade, but what about getting a Pro Bowl tight end in free agency?
Seattle reportedly reached out to the Philadelphia Eagles about three-time Pro Bowler Zach Ertz, who has one year left on his contract. It’s unclear how much those talks progressed, as well as whether the Eagles will wind up releasing Ertz ahead of free agency. But Ertz isn’t the only big-name tight end who will likely wind up on a new team for the first time in their career, as the Vikings released Kyle Rudolph earlier this week.
Rudolph, 31, has been with Minnesota since entering the league in 2011 and has been among the NFL’s best tight ends since then. He’s a two-time Pro Bowler with 48 career touchdowns in 140 games. After three injury-plagued seasons in his first four years as a pro, Rudolph played in all 16 games each season from 2015 to 2019, but was back down to 12 games this past season.
Tight end is a position the Seahawks will almost certainly address as just Will Dissly, 2020 fourth-round pick Colby Parkinson and 2020 undrafted rookie Tyler Mabry are signed for 2021. Greg Olsen retired while Jacob Hollister and Luke Willson are both free agents.
“Kyle Rudolph to me is a player the Seahawks should definitely keep an eye on, but it has to be at the right price point,” Heaps said. “You cannot give a player like Kyle Rudolph $7 million or $8 million when you’re in a situation (salary) cap-wise where every penny matters.”
The Seahawks don’t have much available salary cap space with just a few weeks to go until free agency, and according to Heaps, the team has a lot of work to do before it goes out and makes moves such as signing a player like Rudolph for a decent chunk of change.
“You’re going to have to do some dramatic things in my opinion, through restructures or extensions or the trade of players or cutting of players to open up additional cap space,” he said. “So (the Seahawks are not) going to be throwing around their money just nonchalantly at a tight end this season in my opinion – at least I hope they don’t.”
But at the right price, Heaps thinks Rudolph should be worthy of a look as he is someone who could come in and help the Seahawks’ offense in a number of ways in 2021, though he’s skeptical the two sides will unite this offseason.
“If Kyle Rudolph’s price is down to $4 million or maybe $5 million, maybe he’s somebody that you consider because I do believe he’s got reliable hands, he’s a big target, he’s a guy that can get it done in the run game (as a blocker), as well,” Heaps said. “So he’s somebody they should keep an eye on, but ultimately, I have a hard time believing Kyle Rudolph will end up being a Seahawk in 2021.”
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Jake & Stacy