Who are the best and worst Seahawks offseason additions since 2010?
Who will be the best addition of the Seahawks’ 2020 offseason? Will tight end Greg Olsen show he still has some left in the tank? Will cornerback Quinton Dunbar get his legal situation settled and star alongside Shaquill Griffin in the secondary? Or could Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa come in and help fix Seattle’s poor pass rush from a year ago?
While we won’t know the answer to any of those questions for quite some time, we do know who the best additions are from each of Seattle’s offseasons since head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider took over in 2010. And hey, we also know who the worst pickups were.
So let’s take a trip down memory lane to see who the best and worst offseason additions were over the last decade. And for this exercise, we’re only including free-agent acquisitions and players the Seahawks got through trade prior to Week 1 of the regular season that given year. In other words, no draft picks or mid-season adds.
Best: DE Chris Clemons
Marshawn Lynch would get the nod here, but he was acquired partway through 2010. The honor instead goes to edge rusher Chris Clemons, who was a key part of Seattle’s defense and won a Super Bowl ring in 2013.
After two lackluster seasons with the Eagles, Clemons came to Seattle for defensive lineman Darryl Tapp. Clemons would then rattle off three straight 11-plus sack seasons.
In 2012, Clemons tore his ACL in a playoff win over the Redskins. The next week against the Falcons, Seattle lost and failed to generate much pressure with Clemons sidelined, showing just how valuable he was to the team at that point.
In four seasons with the Seahawks, Clemons compiled 38 sacks, deflected 15 passes and forced 10 fumbles.
Worst: RB LenDale White
White starred for Carroll at USC and had 1,100 rushing yards with the Titans in 2007, so it wasn’t too shocking when the Seahawks picked up White in exchange for a late draft pick.
But later that offseason, word leaked that White failed a drug test and was going to be suspended for the first part of the year. The Seahawks released him, and shortly into the season, acquired Lynch from the Buffalo Bills.
White signed with the Broncos but injured his Achilles and never played an NFL down after the 2009 season.
Best: CB Brandon Browner
There were four choices to pick here in my opinion, but I’m going to give the nod to cornerback Brandon Browner over tight end Zach Miller, receiver Sidney Rice, and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
Browner was one of the original members of the “Legion of Boom” defense after starting his professional career in Canada. He started 16 games for the Seahawks in 2011 and recorded six interceptions while breaking up a league-high 23 passes. He made the Pro Bowl that year. He also started 20 games over the next two years and finished his Seahawks career with 10 picks.
Browner’s highs and Pro Bowl honor put him ahead of the other three guys, who all had good careers with the Seahawks.
Miller was a four-year starter and while his numbers aren’t too impressive, he was a remarkable blocker and was a safety blanket of sorts for a young Russell Wilson. He also led Seattle in receiving during their two 2012 playoff games. Overall, he 1,092 yards and eight touchdowns for the Seahawks.
Rice was only healthy for 2012, when he had over 700 yards and seven scores, but he played in 17 games combined in the 2011 and 2013 regular seasons.
Jackson was a solid starter in 2011, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 14 touchdowns in his lone season as a starter for Seattle, and he later returned and won a ring with the Seahawks as a backup in 2013 and also served as Wilson’s backup in 2014 and 2015.
Worst: G Robert Gallery
A former No. 2 pick, Gallery was drafted by the Raiders as a tackle, where he struggled, before switching to guard, where he fared much better.
The Seahawks liked what they saw, and Gallery had played for then-Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable in Oakland, and he got a three-year deal worth up to $15 million. Gallery would only make it through the first year of the deal.
Gallery started 12 games at left guard for the Seahawks in his lone season in Seattle and had eight penalties. Paul McQuistan, who was also signed in the 2011 offseason, was the team’s starting left guard after Gallery was cut.
Best: DL Jason Jones
This was a weak offseason as far as free agency goes for the Seahawks. They drafted strongly for the third year in a row, and the defense took a huge next step to become one of the best in the league while Seattle got its quarterback in Russell Wilson in the third round (more on him in a second).
But in terms of new additions outside of the draft, there wasn’t a whole lot, so we’ll go with defensive lineman Jason Jones, who played in 12 games and had 3 sacks before suffering a season-ending injury. 2012 was Jones’ lone season with the Seahawks.
Worst: QB Matt Flynn
Who knows how Matt Flynn would have been as Seattle’s starting quarterback?
After backing up Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for four years, Flynn signed a three-year deal worth up to $20.5 million to play for the Seahawks. The deal made some sense as Flynn was young (27), had shown flashes when playing, and Schneider was a member of Green Bay’s front office when they drafted Flynn out of LSU.
Flynn was expected to start, but he competed with both Jackson, the 2011 starter, and 2012 third-round pick Russell Wilson. Well, as we know, Wilson won the job and Flynn only was with the Seahawks for the 2012 season.
It worked out for Seattle, however, as Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, won a Super Bowl and is the best quarterback in the franchise’s history. Flynn, meanwhile, played for the Bills and Packers after he was released by Seattle after the 2012 season and has been out of the league since 2014.
Best: DEs Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett
You can’t talk about one without the other. Avril and Bennett signed with the Seahawks ahead of the 2013 season and continuously generated pressure on opposing quarterbacks en route to Seattle’s first Super Bowl title.
A year after failing to pressure Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in the playoffs, and with Clemons recovering from an ACL tear, Bennett and Avril filled a huge need and were instrumental to the team winning a Super Bowl and appearing in another. In that second Super Bowl, when Avril went down with a concussion, the Seahawks saw their lead slip away as the pass rush faltered.
In five seasons in Seattle, Avril had 34.5 sacks, deflected 16 passes and forced 14 fumbles coming off the edge for the Seahawks.
Bennett was a more interesting player, as he could play inside and out on the line and though not extremely fast or quick, he was great at reading players and getting through blocks, impacting the run and pass. In his five seasons in Seattle, Bennett had 39 sacks.
Worst: WR Percy Harvin
Yes, he was exceptional in the Super Bowl and in that one primetime game against the Redskins, but boy, Harvin’s Seahawks career was a massive disappointment basically from the start.
After acquiring him for three draft picks and signing him to a six-year, $67 million deal, Harvin got surprise hip surgery and missed basically all of the regular season. Injuries and the supposed punching of teammate Golden Tate were bad, and Harvin ended up playing in just six regular season games and in Super Bowl 48 before being shipped to the Jets for a conditional round pick.
Harvin’s salary also played a role in Tate’s departure in free agency, which was a big loss for the Seahawks.
Best: DT Kevin Williams
The Seahawks have had a lot of success signing big, veteran run-stuffing defensive tackles in free agency and Kevin Williams was definitely one of them.
In his lone season in Seattle, Williams played in all 16 regular season games, as well as three playoff games. He had 31 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 3 sacks.
After winning Super Bowl 48, the Seahawks didn’t add too many players in free agency, but Williams definitely stood out above the rest of the new players Seattle brought in.
Worst: QB Terrelle Pryor
Again, the Seahawks didn’t really add too many guys this offseason, instead re-signing players like Bennett, Jackson and Rice. But since the Seahawks used a draft pick – albeit a seventh-round pick – to get Pryor from the Raiders, I guess we’ll put him here.
Pryor was a star at Ohio State but was suspended because he sold memorabilia. He left college and entered the supplemental draft, where the Raiders took him. He started a few games for the Raiders and fought for a backup job in Seattle, which he lost to Jackson, who had been with the team for quite a while to that point.
Pryor then switched to receiver and actually had a 1,000-yard season with the Browns in 2016.
Best: DT Ahtyba Rubin
Hey, another run-stuffing veteran defensive tackle!
Rubin signed a one-year deal with Seattle after seven seasons with the Cleveland Browns and got a starting job after Tony McDaniel was released. Rubin proceeded to start all 32 of Seattle’s regular season games in his two years as a member of the Seahawks.
In 2015 and 2016, Rubin was very consistent for the interior of the Seahawks’ defensive line. In his two years in Seattle, Rubin had 75 tackles, 3 sacks and 8 tackles for loss.
He signed a three-year deal after 2015, but was released after the 2016 season and has been out of the league since 2017.
Worst: TE Jimmy Graham
The Seahawks wanted to get Russell Wilson a shiny new toy in tight end Jimmy Graham, who one of the best receiving football tight ends in the NFL. But in doing so, they shipped off center Max Unger, a two-time Pro Bowler at the time and one-time All Pro, and a first-round pick for a player that really didn’t fit the system.
I think Graham played better than people think, totaling 2,048 yards and 18 touchdowns in 43 games, but Seattle traditionally used tight ends as blockers and less as a key part of the passing attack. It seemed like the Seahawks tried to force Graham the ball at times, and his inability to block in the run game was a problem with Seattle being a run-first team. It wasn’t at all surprising when Seattle let Graham walk in free agency after 2017.
Honorable mention goes to cornerback Cary Williams, who the Seahawks gave a three-year, $18 million deal to be Seattle’s No. 2 corner opposite Richard Sherman. Williams struggled and was cut before the season ended.
Best: TE Brandon Williams
The Seahawks added a handful of players this offseason, but nobody really stuck with the team aside from Williams and two offensive linemen we’ll talk about in a moment.
If Williams doesn’t sound too familiar, it’s because he was the team’s third tight end and was a special teams player who didn’t play too much on offense. He caught just two passes for 36 yards in 2016.
A special shoutout goes to 710 host and former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps, who was signed in the offseason and ultimately spent some time on Seattle’s practice squad.
Worst: OTs Bradley Sowell and J’Marcus Webb
Like Avril and Bennett, these two are paired together. Unfortunately, it’s for bad reasons.
After Russell Okung’s deal expired, he left and signed with the Broncos. Sowell signed a cheap one-year deal and won the starting left tackle spot, but he struggled, got hurt, and was ultimately replaced by undrafted rookie George Fant, who didn’t play offensive line until he entered the NFL. Sowell then competed for the right tackle position, which had been Webb’s, but didn’t win that job.
Onto Webb, he signed a more lucrative two-year deal and was the starting right tackle for the first three weeks of the season. He got hurt and was replaced by 2014 undrafted free agent Garry Gilliam, a tight end for his first three years in college. Webb was released before the season ended.
Another poor move that offseason was in regards to guard Jahri Evans. A six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All Pro with the Saints, he joined Seattle on a one-year deal but was cut just before the regular season. He then re-joined the Saints and played well while Seattle’s offensive line had guys like Germain Ifedi, Rees Odhiambo and Mark Glowinski who all struggled at guard. Safe to say Seattle should have kept Evans.
Best: S Bradley McDougald
When McDougald signed on, he was a two-year starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and would now be backing up Seahawks legends Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor as the team’s third safety. But when Chancellor suffered a season-ending neck injury that ultimately ended his career, McDougald assumed the starter role and has been starting for the Seahawks ever since.
In three years as a Seahawk, McDougald has been reliable and durable, missing just one game, and has recorded five interceptions.
He has always been a consistent player for Seattle, but McDougald’s play rose last season with the emergence of fellow safety Quandre Diggs, and a full season with those two manning the back end of the secondary has to be exciting for the Seahawks and the team’s fans.
Worst: G Luke Joeckel
Oh man, there were three guys here who could all be labeled the worst addition of the 2017 offseason, but I think guard Luke Joeckel takes the cake. He signed a one-year deal worth up to $8 million, with nearly all of it guaranteed, and started 11 games. Those games didn’t go very well.
For years, the Seahawks’ offensive line struggled to protect Wilson and Joeckel, a former No. 2 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, was no exception. Thankfully, the Seahawks parted ways with him after just one season.
Also notable were running back Eddie Lacy and kicker Blair Walsh.
Lacy was supposed to be the top back after some impressive years with the Green Bay Packers, but he had just 179 yards and no touchdowns and struggled to both get on the field and make a difference.
Walsh made just 21 of 29 field goals and his longest was 49 yards. Seattle missed the postseason in 2017 for the first time since 2011, and Walsh missed three field goals alone in a 17-14 loss to Washington. He also missed a game-winner in Week 17 against the Cardinals. If he made two of those kicks against Washington and the missed kick against Arizona, Seattle would have made the playoffs at 11-5.
Best: RG D.J. Fluker
After signing Joeckel over Fluker the year before, the Seahawks were sure not to make the same mistake twice.
While Fluker wasn’t a world beater at guard by any means, he was a mauler in the run game and held his own in pass protection.
He did have some injury issues, missing six games in 2018 and two in 2019, but he was more than capable when he got on the field and he was also a high-energy guy who was a fan favorite and a favorite in the locker room.
Fluker was cut this offseason to clear up cap room, but he wasn’t unemployed for long, signing on with the Ravens, who should be a favorite to win the AFC and Super Bowl after a 14-2 season in 2019.
Worst: TE Ed Dickson
Both Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson departed Seattle in free agency after 2017, so Seattle responded by signing veteran tight end Ed Dickson and drafting UW’s Will Dissly.
Despite backing up three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen (now a Seahawk), Dickson put up decent numbers in his career and was a solid blocker. Unfortunately, his Seattle career was marked by injuries.
After signing a three-year deal, Dickson missed the first six games of 2018 with an injury. In 10 regular season games, Dickson caught 12 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
Then in 2019, he again was injured and ultimately didn’t play a single down. He was released earlier this offseason.
Best: TE Jacob Hollister
I am still a big fan of the Jadeveon Clowney trade, even though he may not re-sign with the Seahawks and had just 3 sacks in 2019, but based off the value of the trade, I feel like tight end Jacob Hollister should get the nod as he was acquired for just a seventh-round pick and went from a practice squad member to Wilson’s No. 3 target behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
Hollister surprised seemingly everyone last year and he ended 2019 with 41 catches, 341 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games. He had the game-winning score in overtime against Tampa Bay in Week 9 and had a great juggling catch in a Week 10 win over the 49ers.
Clowney flashed at times, especially in Week 10 when he was far and away the best player on the field, but he was inconsistent and missed time with his core injury. It also (obviously) took more to get him, and while Barkevious Mingo seems like just a veteran special teams player, Jacob Martin had 3.5 sacks last year in 14 games, half a sack more than Clowney. Plus, who knows what need the Seahawks could have addressed with the third-round pick they sent to Houston?
If Clowney re-signed with the Seahawks, even to just a one-year deal, I think he’d get the edge, but with it looking like his time in Seattle is done after one up and down, injury-filled year, I’ll put Hollister here.
Worst: DE Ziggy Ansah
Even before the Seahawks made a surprise trade for Clowney, Ansah was supposed to be a top pass rusher for a Seahawks team that traded away Frank Clark. Ansah signed a one-year deal worth up to $9 million. Seattle’s hope was that he would return to his 2017 or 2015 form, when he was healthy and had more than 12 sacks. Instead, he was injured and struggled.
Ansah battled a shoulder injury all year long and because of it, he couldn’t lift as much, so his weight was down. He appeared in 11 regular season games and had just 2.5 sacks, the second-lowest total of his career.
The Seahawks’ pass rush unit as a whole was bad in 2019, totaling just 28 sacks. Ansah played a large role in that.