Ray Roberts on whether Seahawks should re-sign their free-agent O-linemen

Jan 22, 2022, 4:06 PM
Seahawks Duane Brown...
Duane Brown of the Seattle Seahawks congratulates Russell Wilson on his touchdown. (Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
(Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

The Seahawks enter the 2022 offseason with plenty of questions, one of which is what’s going to happen with the offensive line?

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Of the five 2021 starters, Seattle has just two – guards Damien Lewis and Gabe Jackson – under contract next season. Left tackle Duane Brown, center Ethan Pocic and right tackle Brandon Shell are all pending free agents.

So should the Seahawks bring any of those three back? Here’s what longtime NFL offensive lineman Ray Roberts told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob.

Roberts started at left tackle with Brown, who’s 36 and has been with the Seahawks since 2017.

“There’s no one on the roster currently that’s kind of able to step in and replace Duane Brown,” he said. “So if you’re just thinking about having Duane Brown versus someone else on our roster, then yeah, the urgency is to bring Duane Brown back. If you’re looking out at the free agent world and there’s a veteran left tackle that can can bring this ability that Duane Brown brings, then maybe Duane Brown isn’t the guy to come back.”

Roberts said Brown doesn’t have the leverage he used to have with the Seahawks, so he may be open to a more team-friendly deal to return next season. That would allow the offensive line to have some more continuity for 2022.

“But they still need to come up with what is the what is the succession plan for when he leaves because that guy is still not on this roster,” Roberts said.

Next up, center and right tackle.

Shell has been Seattle’s starter at right tackle the last two years and has been solid, but he’s also missed time with injuries. Roberts thinks it may be time for a new starter at that spot for the Seahawks.

“I think Brandon Shell had an opportunity to kind of really establish himself as maybe not a Pro Bowl offensive lineman, but a really solid right tackle,” Roberts said. “But I think the injuries have taken that away. So I don’t know that he’s a dude now that you can really count on for 16 games that maybe you need to reinvest money in.”

As for Pocic, he’s been with the Seahawks since he was drafted in the second round in 2017. He was the Seahawks’ starting center in 2020, re-signed last offseason and started 2021 as the backup behind Kyle Fuller before taking over as the starter from Week 8 onward.

Roberts said he loves Pocic and he’s very smart, but he’s not sure if Pocic is the right fit for Seattle’s offense at that position.

“I just don’t know that with the way they want to play football here that he’s the guy that should be the starter here,” Roberts said.

Roberts thinks the Seahawks need to add “players of significance” at right tackle and center this offseason. But he did note that the Seahawks may have a future starting right tackle in Jake Curhan, an undrafted free agent who played a good deal in 2021 due to Shell’s injuries.

“I like Jake Curhan and what he did the last five games of the season, but he also has some limitations,” Roberts said. “So you’ve got to try to see where is his ceiling? Is this just the beginning of how good it can be, or is this the best he can be? He’s not the greatest athlete, he’s not the strongest dude in the world. But he is a dude that plays with a lot of grit, and just finish and he brings his lunch pail to every game, so it’s gonna be a long day playing against him.”

Listen to the full interview with Roberts at this link or in the player below.

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