It’s not like the Seattle Seahawks brought back Walter Jones or even Russell Okung, but after years of asking offensive line coach Tom Cable to put together an offensive line with the paper-clip and bubble gum MacGyver left behind, general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll are finally showing an interest in what has been the team’s Achilles’ heel during their current run as a Super Bowl contender.
Already, Luke Joeckel, the former No. 2 overall pick who never lived up to his pedigree in Jacksonville, was signed in the hopes of tapping into to the potential he once showed as an All-American at Texas A&M. Joining Joeckel in the Pacific Northwest is veteran Oday Aboushi, a former fifth-round pick of the New York Jets who spent the past two seasons in Houston.
The next move might be the biggest, however, as the Seahawks kicked the tires on former All-Pro Ryan Clady on Friday.
Clady, 30, was one of three linemen visiting the Pacific Northwest, along with Aboushi and Matt McCants, and remains on the market after starting eight games for the New York Jets last season before a torn rotator cuff ended his season. Injuries have been a problem for the veteran in recent seasons, as he’s played an average of less than seven games over his past four campaigns (27) while missing 37 due to various bumps and bruises.
Clady is obviously on the downside of his career but, if deemed healthy, he would immediately settle down the line’s most important position and make it a little easier for Russell Wilson to sleep at night. A former star at Boise State, Clady was drafted by Denver with the 12th overall pick in 2008 and panned out with 4 Pro Bowl selections and 2 All-Pro honors.
Last season, the Seahawks tackles were former college basketball player George Fant and Garry Gilliam, who played tight end at Penn State. Fant held down the fort on Wilson’s blind side, while Gilliam manned the right tackle spot.
If Seattle pulls the trigger on Clady, he’s going to be the left tackle, with Joeckel likely settling in on the right side as Fant and Gilliam battle to be the gameday swing tackle. Absent Clady, Joeckel will likely get the first shot at left tackle with Fant settling in as the backup or flipping sides to push Gilliam.
That leaves the interior.
Perhaps the only given there as Cable attempts to figure out the best five he could put in front of Wilson is center Justin Britt, who was serviceable at the pivot last season after earlier stints at tackle and guard were unsuccessful.
Aboushi is no world-beater but has at least started 18 NFL games and will bring competition to a unit that needs to improve dramatically if Seattle intends on cashing in again during its current championship window. He essentially split time with starting left guard Xavier Su’a-Filo in Houston last season, getting eight starts inside for what was a playoff team.
Mark Glowinski started at left guard for the Seahawks in 2016 on an abysmal offensive line. No one has been promised anything here, although penciling in Aboushi at left guard and moving Glowinski over to the right side seems like the logical progression. In that case, German Ifedi, last year’s right guard, will push for playing time on the right side at either guard or tackle.
It’s still not exactly the Dallas Cowboys or the Oakland Raiders up front but just as importantly, it’s not the 2016 Seahawks either.
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRag Sports.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season on ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, CBS Baltimore, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SB Nation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America.