Bumpus: Seahawks get a ‘true tight end’ in Olsen who can ‘do everything’
The Seahawks made their first move of the offseason in signing veteran tight end Greg Olsen, a three-time Pro Bowler who starred for the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panther during the first 13 years of his NFL career.
Olsen, who will be 35 when the season starts, had three-straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2014 to 2016, but has been slowed by injuries the last few seasons. He played in just 16 games combined in 2017 and 2018 due to foot injuries and he missed two games last season with a concussion.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the deal is a one-year contract worth up to $7 million with $5.5 million guaranteed. Schefter also reports that Olsen chose the Seahawks over the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins largely because he wanted to play with star quarterback Russell Wilson.
Greg Olsen really liked Buffalo and Washington, and strongly considered both. But the lure of playing with Russell Wilson in Seattle was just too strong. Olsen takes a 1-year, $7 million deal with the Seahawks.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 18, 2020
The signing, which has been confirmed by the Seahawks, has led to mixed reviews from Seahawks fans due to Olsen’s age, injury history and the amount he will be making.
Michael Bumpus, a former Seahawks receiver and regular contributor to 710 ESPN Seattle, joined Danny and Gallant and said while he’s heard the criticism of the move, he’s on board with the deal.
“This is why you bring him in,” Bumpus said. “Because this guy’s been consistent for the most part over 13 years (and) he brings leadership to this team – not saying this team needs leadership, they have great leadership already.”
In 2019, Olsen had respectable numbers, catching 52 passes for 597 yards and two touchdowns. While those numbers are a big drop from his 1,000-yard campaign of 2016, he was also playing essentially the entire season with backup quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Will Grier, who both struggled.
The Seahawks expect Will Dissly to return from an Achilles tear, and will likely have Jacob Hollister, the team’s third-best receiver who is a restricted free agent, back in the tight end room for 2020, but Olsen adds something that any team needs, Bumpus said.
“He does what Luke Willson does well and what Hollister does well all in one,” Bumpus said. “Luke is like your blocking guy, your tough guy who’s going to get (his) hands on (defenders) and get a push. Hollister is your receiver guy. He’s going to work the flats, work the seams. And in Greg Olsen, you get both of those.”
There were are other, younger tight ends available in free agency, such as Eric Ebron (26), Austin Hooper (25) and Hunter Henry (25), but Bumpus said Olsen is a great signing.
“I understand he’s coming off of injuries. I get that he’s an older guy. But you take a chance on a Greg Olsen,” Bumpus said. “You go with the older guy. You go with the guy with experience. You go with the guy with leadership. You go with a tight end who’s a true tight end who can do everything you want to do.”
Paul Gallant noted that when Dissly was healthy the first five weeks of the season, Wilson’s numbers were “insane” in that he was completing more than 73% of his passes. When Dissly went down, Wilson’s completion percentage went down 10% and his yards per attempt went down by a full yard. Bumpus said having a reliable tight end on the field is a “safety blanket” for any quarterback.
“They’re the guys who run what I call the ‘right now routes,'” Bumpus said. “Say there’s a blitz coming off the edge, the tight end can release and boom, you hit him right now. Sometimes you get a safety on a tight end, you get a mismatch there. So they’re the guys where if you have (receivers) on the outside who are stretching the field, (tight ends) can work underneath and then work in the seams.”
Olsen will now join an offense with Wilson, Dissly, receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny and the team will likely have Hollister back in the fray for 2020.
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