The Seattle Seahawks have had a relatively quieter offseason than last year. Still, we think they’ve done pretty well for themselves. Yes, they managed to keep Geno Smith on a team-friendly contract. They also added Dre’Mont Jones to the richest free agency deal in Seahawks history under Pete Carroll and John Schneider. Apart from those, however, there is one move that we believe might be a game changer. Here we’ll look at the absolute sneakiest signing of the Seahawks during the first wave of 2023 NFL Free Agency.
One of the Seahawks’ best moves was re-signing Smith to a very team-friendly deal. This includes over $27 million in guarantees over three years. However, his cap hit in 2023 is only $10.1 million, which is lower than Mitchell Trubisky’s in Pittsburgh and barely higher than Zach Wilson’s with the Jets. Of course, Smith has the potential to earn more through performance-based incentives. However, the Seahawks can easily opt out of the deal in 2024 if he doesn’t perform well.
The Seahawks also invested in their interior defense by signing several key players. Dre’Mont Jones, a versatile lineman, received a three-year, $51.5 million contract with an average of $17.1 million. That’s the highest the Seahawks have ever paid for an outside free agent. They also brought back lineman Jarran Reed, added linebacker Devin Bush, and signed former Giants defensive back Julian Love. On the flip side, they released defensive tackle Al Woods, which was a bit surprising. However, they do have 10 draft picks to potentially replace him.
Sure, it’s too early to determine the success of the Seahawks’ offseason moves. Still, they have received praise for their sound offseason process for the second year in a row. Their moves last year felt quite sensible, and the results have been positive thus far. As we said earlier, though, the Seahawks’ 2023 free agency also included a sneaky signing that could really turn out to be a massive positive for the squad this coming season.
Before the retirement of Austin Blythe, the Seahawks already had concerns about their center position going into the offseason. Blythe, who had played for seven NFL seasons, retired in February. He was set to become a free agent after spending one year with the Seahawks. Furthermore, Kyle Fuller, who served as Blythe’s backup, had his contract expire. As of this writing, he has already agreed to terms with the Denver Broncos.
Fortunately, it seems that the Seahawks have taken steps to address the center position by prying Evan Brown from the Detroit Lions and signing him to a one-year contract.
QB – Geno Smith
RB – Ken Walker/DeeJay Dallas
WR – DK Metcalf
WR – Tyler Lockett/Dareke Young
TE – Noah Fant
TE – Will Dissly/Colby Parkinson
LT – Charles Cross
LG – Damien Lewis
C – Evan Brown
RG – Phil Haynes/Jake Curhan
RT – Abe Lucas/Stone Forsythe pic.twitter.com/RypkJB2AaV
— 𝗖𝗮𝗺 (@NwosuSzn) March 18, 2023
Brown, who is 26 years old, joined the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Since then, he has been mainly used as a backup player. However, he started 24 games over the past two seasons for the Lions. He started 12 games at center and 12 at guard. Although he has played at both positions, the Seahawks have stated that Brown is ideally suited to play as the team’s center.
It was interesting that the Seahawks acted quickly to sign the 320-pound Brown to strengthen their offensive line. Keep in mind that despite being undrafted, Brown has had a successful career in the NFL. Again, this guy started for the Lions in multiple positions. His competitiveness and toughness make him a desirable acquisition for the Seahawks. He can offer good pass protection and run-blocking.
Recall that during the 2021 season, Brown filled in for the injured Frank Ragnow at center. In that tenure, Brown allowed only one sack and eight quarterback pressures. He also became a quality run blocker with strong movement abilities and physicality. In fact, he helped the Lions finish 11th in rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns. Although his pass protection suffered when he played as a guard, his arrival will provide the Seahawks with greater flexibility to draft a center or guard in the first three rounds in April. In reality, Brown could potentially be a long-term starter at either position.
Brown’s signing is also advantageous for the Seahawks as it offers a team-friendly deal. There’s just no apparent downside here. With Geno Smith back as the team’s quarterback, Brown is expected to be a suitable addition for pass protection.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the Seahawks will shy away from drafting a rookie center this year. If they choose to do that, Brown can just as easily move to guard as well. We believe Brown will undoubtedly have a big part to play for Seattle in 2023. Consider also that he is still quite young at 26 years old. As the Seahawks signed him to a one-year contract, Brown can continue to grow and develop with this core. This is a one-year signing that can potentially become a multi-year contributor for the Seahawks.