Jahri Evans gives Seahawks experience, competition at guard
Aug 8, 2016, 12:01 AM | Updated: 8:59 am
RENTON – The addition of veteran guard Jahri Evans isn’t an indication that the Seahawks are unsatisfied with that they’ve seen so far from projected starters Mark Glowinski and Germain Ifedi.
But in Evans – a 10-year veteran with a resume that includes six Pro Bowls and four first-team All-Pro selections – the Seahawks now have a viable alternative in the event that they deem either of their young guards unready to start.
“I really like the experience that he brings to us and the leadership that he has had in the past may be a factor for us; we don’t know,” coach Pete Carroll said Sunday. “Right now he’s competing for playing time. To have a guy like that, with that kind of experience to mix with our group, I think we’re very fortunate. This is a guy that has done everything you can do in a game and we’re thrilled he wants to come play with us. We’re happy to have him.”
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Evans visited the Seahawks on Friday. The team announced his signing on Saturday, reportedly to a one-year deal. He was on the field and in uniform Sunday – wearing No. 62 and working at left guard – but he only took part in warmups and positional drills then watched as the team held a scrimmage.
Evans said it felt “a little weird” playing left guard having spent his entire NFL career on the right side. The Seahawks will eventually give him a look at his more familiar spot, Carroll said, but for now they want to see how he fares on the left side.
Evans said the Seahawks had been in contact with his agent since around the draft in April. He was released in February by New Orleans, where he spent his first 10 seasons after being drafted in the fourth round out of Division-II Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. The seven-year, $56.7 million contract he signed in 2010 was at the time the largest ever for a guard. Evans was one year into a restructured three-year, $18 million deal when the Saints released him.
The details of his one-year deal with the Seahawks have not been revealed, but it likely amounts to a steep pay-cut from what he was making on his most recent contract with New Orleans. Evans’ age – he turns 33 later this month – and the fact that he was unsigned through the start of training camp suggest as much.
Asked if he had any other offers, Evans said he had taken a few visits but that the interested teams went in different directions. He said he was “a little” surprised that he didn’t have more suitors.
“But it’s a business side to this thing,” he added. “I really wasn’t worried. It was basically trying to get somewhere with a good fit. I’m glad to be here, really.”
Evans adds experience to a young offensive line that is particularly green at guard. Glowinski has one career start, that coming as a rookie last season at right guard. He’s been working at left guard all offseason with Seattle’s No. 1 offensive line while Ifedi, Seattle’s first-round pick, has been on the left side. Evans, meanwhile, has started 153 games over his 10 seasons, which is 42 more than the five projected starters along Seattle’s offensive line combined.
Evans was a model of availability over his first nine seasons, missing only two starts in that time before missing five last year. Asked to assess his 2015 season, Evans said he played well despite getting “dinged up a few times,” noting a hit he took in the second game that “altered my season a little bit.”
“I feel great,” he said. “I still feel like I’m a top guard in this league if not the best. I’m just going out there to work hard and just show it on the field, really.”
Evans’ signing feels familiar to some of the veteran insurance policies the Seahawks have added in recent seasons to positions at which less experienced players were in line for prominent roles. Middle linebacker Barrett Rudd was one example, signed in 2012 when Bobby Wagner was a rookie. Seattle signed cornerback Antoine Winfield the next season, when neither Walter Thurmond nor Jeremy Lane had proven themselves in the slot. Right tackle Eric Winston and defensive tackle Kevin Williams were those veterans in 2014, when Justin Britt was a rookie and Jordan Hill was coming off a lost rookie season. Of those four, only Williams made the team.
When news broke last week of Seattle’s scheduled visit with Evans, there was some thought that if the Seahawks were to sign him, they could in theory move Ifedi to right tackle. That notion was fueled by some perceived trepidation with free-agent addition J’Marcus Webb at right tackle and the fact that Ifedi played that position during his final two seasons in college. Carroll said the Seahawks will give Ifedi time at right tackle at some point in training camp, but that for now he’ll stay put.
Which means the Seahawks will have one incredibly accomplished veteran vying with a pair of youngsters for one of the starting spots at guard.
“I think it’s a really interesting opportunity for us to bring him in,” Carroll said of Evans. “He’s not been told he’s the starter or anything like that. He’s been brought in to compete, hoping he’ll add to the level of our play.”