Seahawks Position Breakdown 2021: Tight Ends

Let’s finish this week’s Seahawks coverage on an underwhelming note! We can’t very well shoot our wad all at once; let’s save receivers and the O-Line for next week.

I’m actually quietly stoked for the tight end room this year. I don’t know if that’s warranted or not, but I guess we’ll see.

Gerald Everett is the big “get” for us, having signed a 1-year $6 million deal (with a 2022 void year costing us $2 million in dead cap space next year). Everyone I’ve heard talks about what a fantastic move that was for the Seahawks. Obviously, he has familiarity with the Rams’ offense, being a regular contributor for them the last four years. There was obviously a need for the Seahawks to address this position, after the Greg Olsen debacle a year ago. Everett has largely been healthy and relatively productive in his career. And, by all accounts, he looks like he’s fitting in beautifully so far in training camp!

That leads to the question of: why is he only on a 1-year deal? He’s young enough, he’s competent enough; we couldn’t have locked him in for 3 years at this salary average?

But, you have to follow that up with: how much should we really expect out of a Gerald Everett? When you think of the vaunted Rams offense since Sean McVay took over, do you REALLY think about the tight end position? As any fantasy football player will tell you, it’s easy to get sucked into punting on the position in the draft, then settling for one of the Rams guys in free agency. Once in a while, they’re good for a TD, but more often than not, the Rams have prioritized the wide receiver almost exclusively in the passing game, with various running backs also seeing good value as pass catchers out of the backfield.

Tight ends are oft-overlooked in the Rams’ offense. What makes you think that’ll be any different with Shane Waldron here in Seattle?

The Seahawks are another team, by the by, that have some elite wide receivers in their arsenal! With D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett hogging the lion’s share of the targets, and with Russell Wilson being notorious for spreading the ball around every game, what is a Gerald Everett going to do for you that any other guy off the scrap heap couldn’t? Just because he’s a step up from Old Man Olsen doesn’t mean he’s necessarily worth $6 million per year.

We’ll see. Time will tell. I still like Everett, even though I don’t think we saw tremendous value in the signing. Either he blows up and commands more money next year, or he plays as expected and goes down as yet another overpaid tight end we’ve employed in the Pete Carroll era (or he under-performs and is REALLY a bust).

Behind him, we have Will Dissly back for his fourth season. After having his first two years cut short due to injury, he managed to play in every game in 2020. Granted, his production per-game has gone down every year, but I would argue he’s still a quality weapon for this offense, and a fantastic #2 tight end for this team. Particularly in his ability to help in pass protection. It’ll be exciting to see what he can do in a contract year, especially with what could be a very good crop of new tight ends coming out of the draft in 2022.

Colby Parkinson is an exciting prospect, who was drafted in the fourth round last year, and really only saw action in one game – a 40-3 blowout at home against the Jets – but he’s 6’7 and could be a tremendous weapon in the red zone given his frame. He doesn’t seem like much of a blocker, but Everett and Dissly already fill that role anyway; you bring Parkinson in for the mismatches he creates; either slower, shorter linebackers have to take him on, or teams have to spend secondary resources on him, that might still be too small to deal with his unique frame.

I am SO GLAD that the Seahawks didn’t invest any more heavily in the tight end position than they did with Everett, because why would you draft someone like Parkinson in the fourth round if you’re just going to bury him on your roster? He’s the #3 guy, it’s not like you’re asking him to assume a starting role in year two. This is exactly what the team should be doing with someone like him: bring him along slowly, hope his hands are as soft as advertised, and hope that he maybe develops into a starting-type tight end in year three.

That also leaves open the possibility for a fun prospect in Tyler Mabry to break onto the roster as the #4 guy. He was an undrafted player last year who spent most of the season on the practice squad. So, right there, he’s been in our system, and the team likes him enough to keep him around and try to develop him. He’s another offensive-minded tight end who – if he does that part of his job well – could earn more reps and more opportunities to round out into an all-around tight end.

Failing that, there are more rookies on the squad who could sneak through onto the practice squad. And, of course, there’s always Luke Willson out on the scrap heap, if injuries mount and we have a need to fill in the cracks.

My overall grade on the tight end room is a B. I don’t have to worry about these guys, unless literally EVERYONE gets injured at the same time. The top two guys will probably be in that B+ range, with the bottom two guys in the B- range. Regardless, there isn’t a ton of variance. Depth is a question mark – with the bottom two guys having less than 2 years’ experience – but I also don’t think we’re as tight end-heavy of an offense as many other teams in the league, so what does it matter? They chip in from time to time, otherwise they need to block well and be an occasional outlet for Wilson when he’s in trouble.

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