JAKE AND STACY
What will the Seahawks’ 2020 offensive line look like?
Mar 28, 2020, 10:33 AM | Updated: 2:53 pm
The Seahawks have been busy revamping their line during free agency, though it isn’t the line that people would have thought they’d be focusing on going into the offseason.
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While some expected Seattle to be aggressive on the defensive line to improve a poor pass rush and run defense, the Seahawks have instead put a lot of their resources into the offensive line. The Seahawks have added eight players through free agency and trade so far and four of those players are offensive linemen.
It makes sense that the line would be one of the team’s top priorities as starting right tackle Germain Ifedi was a free agent and will sign with the Chicago Bears, starting left guard Mike Iupati is a free agent and his injury history and age will likely keep the Seahawks from re-signing him and capable backup tackle George Fant signed a three-year deal to be the starting left tackle for the New York Jets.
To counter those losses and then some, Seattle signed tackles Brandon Shell and Cedric Ogbuehi, guard/center B.J. Finney and guard Chance Warmack.
Shell was the Jets’ starting right tackle the last three years, Ogbuehi is a former first-round pick that hasn’t panned out in Cincinnati or Jacksonville, Finney was a top backup for the Steelers’ offensive line and has started 13 games in four years and Warmack is a former first-round pick who hasn’t played since 2018 and hasn’t started a game since 2017.
After the flurry of moves on the offensive line, what could that starting unit look like next season come Week 1? Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy dove into the line on Friday, and his projected starting lineup may surprise you.
“When you look at what these moves mean for the roster, I think there are two names that are interesting to keep an eye on and that’s Justin Britt and D.J. Fluker,” Heaps said. “Now, you cut both of those players and that saves you close to $11 million in cap savings.”
The Seahawks selected Britt in the second round of the 2014 draft and he’s been a starter ever since. He started as a right tackle, moved to guard and then found his place at center, which earned him a wealthy contract extension. He is coming off a torn ACL he suffered midway through last season.
Fluker is a former first-round pick of the Chargers who also spent time with the New York Giants. He has started at right guard for the Seahawks since 2018.
Although the savings from cutting both Britt and Fluker would be great, it’s hard to replace them, Heaps said.
“Justin Britt being a leader of this team, still being young from an age standpoint and (he is) also a guy who is a solid starter for you, to walk away from him would definitely put you in a spot where you’d be having to rely on (Seahawks 2017 second-round pick) Ethan Pocic to take over that role (and he has) never been a center starting a full game for you at that position,” Heaps said. “And D.J. Fluker, obviously he’s a fan favorite, he’s a guy who has meant a lot to his team, brings a ton of great energy, but the reality is he has not been healthy enough to really get to the second level in which he needs to in the run game and he’s always been a bit suspect in pass protection.”
So if those two are out, what does the line actually look like?
“You look at it across the board, Duane Brown (is) your left tackle and B.J. Finney (is) hopefully your left guard, then possibly promoting Ethan Pocic to your starting center with Joey Hunt being a reliable backup,” Heaps said. “Then your right guard position really comes down to two young guys that you’re really thinking of trying to push for that starting job, Phil Haynes, Jamarco Jones, and then Chance Warmack, who you signed on a deal that is very favorable to the team. And your right tackle position (would go to) Brandon Shell.”
Listen to the full discussion and more at this link or in the player below.
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• Wyman: Seahawks’ best move so far is bringing Bruce Irvin back
• 2020 Seahawks offseason tracker: Additions, departures and more