I somehow missed Alvin Bailey signing with Cleveland. So, that’s for starters; our primary backup offensive lineman who could play four out of five positions along the line has opted for Browner pastures. He was a guy you didn’t mind giving a few starts to here and there, but ultimately not a guy you want as a full-time starter. He’s valuable, but he’s not someone to over-pay. He was never going to get a shot here – mostly because he already had multiple shots and didn’t succeed in grabbing the ol’ bull by the horns – so he might as well try elsewhere and see if that works.
In his place, the team signed Bradley Sowell, who by all accounts is just one of the worst offensive linemen in recent history. 1 year, $1.5 million, so it’s not like he’s breaking the bank or anything. But, his deal does effectively wipe out one of our compensatory picks for 2017 (until another Seahawk signs elsewhere, anyway), so that’s irritating.
Sowell is likely a guy whose best case scenario is as a backup tackle or a guard project. His worst case scenario is camp fodder who is released before the season even starts. In that sense, it sucks to see us lose a compensatory draft pick on this guy. But, maybe the team sees something in him that they can mold. He should fit right in as a guy who sucks in pass protection, anyway.
On top of Sowell, the Seahawks signed J’Marcus Webb, who was a starting guard for the Raiders last year, and also has experience at tackle. Webb’s best case scenario is as a replacement for J.R. Sweezy or Justin Britt. He’s pretty much guaranteed to make the final 53-man roster, most likely as a starter given his 2-year deal and all those guarantees. What we’ll likely end up seeing is Webb dialed into one of the guard spots, with Britt, Glowinski, a rookie draft pick, and whoever else is on the training camp roster fighting for the other guard spot (or, shit, one of the tackle spots I guess? Whatever). The more competition the better, so welcome aboard Webb!
Neither of these guys are ideal at tackle. Okung is still out there, waiting for a team to wow him, apparently. There are various other free agent tackles out there as well, and all of them appear to be waiting for the others to sign, so they can dictate terms a little better. But, depth is depth, and you know I won’t throw more depth out of bed.
The best signing of the week so far is that of defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, for 1 year, $1.4 million. You may remember him as the guy we got in trade for John Moffitt, who never actually played for us before being stolen from our practice squad by the New England Patriots in 2013. He’s a stout run defender who’s capable of playing the nose tackle position, meaning we very well may have found our Brandon Mebane replacement for pennies on the dollar, without losing a whole lot in the effectiveness department. This won’t keep the Seahawks from drafting a defensive tackle, but if Siliga proves to be a dominant presence this year, he could earn his way to a nice little payday going forward.
One of the things I like about these Seahawks teams under Pete Carroll – aside from the generic They Win Games & They Play Good Defense – is that they’re great at running the ball and stopping the run. Football just feels more like football when you’re dominant in the trenches. The moves they’ve made this week should keep their run defense intact, and should at the very least provide the competition necessary to push some of our O-linemen to the next level. You sign Siliga in the hopes that he’ll start right away and you won’t miss a beat, with the option to have a rookie learn behind him and replace him in the coming seasons. You hope Webb is a competent starter, while you bring in players like Sowell in the hopes that they WON’T start for you, but rather they push the younger guys to rise up and claim those spots.
Ideally, Mark Glowinski is a starting guard next year. You shouldn’t worry about Sowell coming in here and blocking his path to the Major Leagues; you should worry if Glowinski can’t prove he’s ready.