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Clayton: Seahawks showing that 2020 season is the year of the veteran

Bruce Irvin is one of many veterans joining the Seahawks for 2020. (Getty)

Houston Texas coach Bill O’Brien may not be the best at being a general manager, but he is smart at the game of football, and the Seahawks seem to be implementing one of his concepts.

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O’Brien has taken plenty of criticism for his trades as the acting coach-general manager. But on Thursday, he raised an interesting point. In some ways, he may have summed up what teams should be thinking this year because of the problems creates by the corona-virus.

He called 2020 season a “veteran-type” year.

“I think that this year with the unique position that we are in, I truly believe this is a veteran-type of year,’’ O’Brien said. “I think it’s going to be really difficult for rookies without offseason programs, practicing of the field and being able to do all the things that you do during the five-week stretch after the draft.’’

Even though this is one of the best receiver drafts in year, O’Brien used his veteran draft concept to trade for Brandin Cooks instead of using a draft choice to get a receiver. Of course, he’s probably overdone it. Cooks becomes the fourth receiver on the team to be making more than $8 million a year. Cooks, Kenny Stills, Will Fuller and Randall Cobb total $43 million a year in receivers.

The Seahawks apparently have picked up on this trend. After signing guard-center B.J. Finney and bringing back guard Jordan Simmons, it seemed a little bit of a surprise that the Seahawks brought back Mike Iupati the other day. Listening to O’Brien, the Iupati re-signing makes total sense.

He’s a veteran who started last year and this year is more of a veteran year. By bringing back Iupati, the Seahawks have the luxury of only making two changes on the starting offensive line. Iupati and D.J. Fluker can be the guards. Finney would be new if he wins the job at center if Justin Britt is cut. Brandon Shell would be new if he wins the job at right tackle.

With Iupati being with offensive line coach Mike Solari in Seattle and in San Francisco, there is no learning curve. Sure, there can be competition. The Seahawks have 17 offensive linemen on the roster, but Iupati can now be penciled in as the starter at left guard.

What even makes further sense is signing Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa back as free agents. They’ve been in Seattle. They know the Pete Carroll system. You don’t have to worry about a learning curve.

Talking to Mayowa the other day, he raised an interesting point. Both players will be part of the defensive end Leo position and important parts of the pass rush. Mayowa said he thinks Irvin will work as a strong side linebacker on run downs and then put his hand on the ground on passing downs to rush the quarterback.

Around the league, more veteran free agents are re-signing with their teams. Of the 394 unrestricted free agents, the number of re-signings is approaching the 100 mark. Free agents looking to move onto other teams have the concerns about not being able to get physicals for a new team.

Given the choice of signing with another team and having the contract eventually voided by a bad physical, it makes sense for players to re-sign even if it’s for the minimum salary. The team knows those physicals.

So far, the Seahawks have re-signed Iupati, Luke Willson and Neiko Thorpe. Under the circumstances, it would make sense to consider bringing back C.J. Prosise and Geno Smith. Bring back Prosise? Why not. This late in free agency he’s only going to get minimum salary on other team and he won’t be able to get the physical.

It’s the year of the veteran.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton on Twitter.

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