Most of the top NFL free agents went off the board in the first few days of the new league year, but a few less heralded players are still waiting to be signed.
The Seattle Seahawks made an offseason splash with a blockbuster trade rather than a free agent addition. Adding Jimmy Graham at the cost of Max Unger and a first round pick lessens the need for Seattle to ad a wide receiver while making the offensive line more of a priority.
Seattle usually doesn’t dip too heavily into free agency and the team’s current cap situation indicates it will need to build mostly through the draft. Still, without that first round pick, the Seahawks may need to make some acquisitions to add depth, particularly on the interior offensive line and defensive tackle.
Stefen Wisniewski, G/C
The Seahawks are one of several players with reported interest in former Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski. Adding Wisniewski would makes plenty of sense for Seattle and he should be considered its top target moving forward.
Wisniewski has the versatility to play both center and guard, something the Seahawks value highly. With the situation at both left guard and center unsettled, Wisniewski could be a very important addition.
If the Seahawks signed Wisniewski, he would likely start at center, meaning guard would be addressed early in the draft. However, the Seahawks would have the flexibility to select a center if they saw one they really liked with the knowledge that Wisniewski could start at guard.
Wisniewski is talented enough to replace Unger at center and has the advantage of being younger and less injury prone. The situation at offensive line looks grim for now, but adding Graham and Wisniewski at the cost of Unger, the No. 31 pick and salary undoubtedly makes Seattle a better team.
Dan Connolly, G/C
Like Wisniewski, Connolly is versatile and could fill either need on the offensive line. Connolly isn’t quite as good as Wisniewski and is 32 years old, but that could allow the Seahawks to add him on a cheaper and shorter deal while they turn to the draft for longer-term options.
While Connolly had a bit of a rough 2014 season, his flexibility allowed the New England Patriots to experiment with different offensive line lineups and eventually find the right combination. That means a few teams will covet his services and it may be difficult to pry him away from the Patriots themselves.
At the very least, Connolly could be a inexpensive veteran backup so the Seahawks don’t have to completely rely on a rookie.
B.J. Raji, DT
While not a glaring weakness like offensive line, the Seahawks have some work to do on the defensive line this offseason. It seems likely that they’ll try to add youth on the edge through the draft, meaning defensive tackle will again be addressed through free agency.
The Seahawks have had a few players cycle through the position over the past three years, including veterans like Red Bryant, Tony McDaniel and Kevin Williams. With one of McDaniel or Brandon Mebane likely to get cut, another veteran could be brought in to keep the big rotation intact.
If Williams isn’t brought back, Raji at least deserves some consideration for the position. Raji has been very successful in the past, but his value is down after missing the entire 2014 season with a biceps injury.
A one-year prove it deal would be ideal and could make a huge difference for the Seahawks. Raji could complement Mebane and the pass rushing skills of Jordan Hill very well in a deep rotation.
Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez / Associated Press
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