John Clayton: Seahawks suddenly have several LT options to consider
In a 24-hour period, three intriguing left tackle options popped up for the Seahawks.
The New York Jets didn’t pick up an option on Ryan Clady. The Jacksonville Jaguars did the same with Kelvin Beachum. Then on Thursday morning, it was reported that the Miami Dolphins plan to release Brandon Albert.
And there could me more.
By March 8, the Denver Broncos have to decide whether to pick up a four-year, $48 million option on former Seahawks mainstay Russell Okung. They’re not expected to, which would make him a free agent.
Four left tackles could be four viable options for Seattle’s offensive line.
Pete Carroll and Tom Cable went young with their offensive line last year. Third-year starter (but first-year center) Justin Britt emerged as the elder statesmen and leader of the line, though it was a line that struggled and probably needed more veteran leadership.
Fans and critics have been calling for the Seahawks to hit free agency and come up with offensive line solutions. One of these four players might be a viable candidate.
Albert is the first option to explore, so don’t be surprised if he makes a visit to Seattle early next week. He’s 32, started 12 games last year, and while some believe he’s lost some of his skills, he could be interesting fit.
First, he offers leadership. While some of his pass-blocking skills may be questionable, he did a decent job of run blocking. The Dolphins averaged 4.84 yards per carry directed at Albert at left tackle, which ranked 14th in the league. But the Dolphins were third in the league in runs directed at left end with 7.31 yards per carry.
Clearly he could help a team that wants to be more physical running the ball.
The same can be said for Okung and Clady. Okung was a Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle for the Seahawks before his six-year rookie contract expired and he left for Denver last offseason. As for Clady, he had an injury-plagued season for the Jets and is 31.
Beachum, 27, signed for slightly under $5 million on a one-year deal, hoping that the Jaguars would pick up his option and make him a $9 million left tackle. But they elected to let him go.
Here’s what helps the Seahawks. Unless there is some good bidding, all or some of this quartet might be available to sign for between $4 million and $6 million for the first year of some contract. Salary cap-wise, the Seahawks can make that work.
It would be tough for the Seahawks to pay $8-$10 million a year for an offensive lineman. Fitting in a veteran with starting experience on a short-term deal for less could help both the growth of the line and the depth.
As of Tuesday, those options weren’t available. Then all of a sudden, help on the blind side became workable.