O’Neil: Seahawks’ success could pay dividends with free-agent Greg Olsen
Success comes at a cost in the NFL.
Winning teams get lower draft picks, they’re dealt tougher schedules and their rosters are targeted by other teams when free agency rolls around. Imitation isn’t the only form of flattery in professional football. Acquisition applies, too.
Success does provide its own rewards, though, and in this case it could be one of the most experienced and accomplished tight ends in the league: Greg Olsen, who is scheduled to visit the Seahawks, news first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.
You remember him, right? The guy who caught the game-winning touchdown back in 2015 when the Panthers came to Seattle and pulled off a heck of a comeback. That was the second of three consecutive seasons in which Olsen amassed more than 1,000 yards receiving.
He’s 34 now, and while he suffered significant injuries first in 2017 and then in 2018, he caught 52 passes in 14 games last season and showed he’s still got good football left in him. He’s available because the Panthers are in the midst of a transition, and they released Olsen with one year left on a deal scheduled to pay him $11.6 million in 2020.
Washington is interested in Olsen. So is Buffalo, and then there’s FOX Sports, where there’s a broadcasting gig waiting whenever Olsen decides he has done playing. Olsen drew great reviews for his work in 2018 as he worked a game while he was on injured reserve.
For most free agents, the bottom line is just that: the bottom line. But Olsen has been in the league for 12 seasons now, and part of the reason his departure from Carolina was characterized as a mutual parting of ways is that he wasn’t interested in playing if the team was taking a step back. That’s where Seattle’s success becomes an advantage. The Seahawks can offer him an opportunity to catch passes from a quarterback who loves throwing to his tight ends on a team that has steadily improved over the past three seasons.
Olsen would be a great addition to a team that will be getting Will Dissly back from a torn Achilles tendon. Jacob Hollister showed he’s a reliable target, too, but Olsen is a bigger man with more experience and would be a great component to an already good offense.
Now, Seattle has been in this situation before and watched as players have used a visit for leverage. Jared Allen did exactly that before signing with the Bears. I don’t expect that the Seahawks’ offer to Olsen will be the biggest the veteran tight end receives. That doesn’t mean he won’t decide it’s the best choice, though. Sometimes, success does pay dividends in the NFL.
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