Seahawks 2010 Roster Analysis: OL

Improving the offensive line should be a top priority for the Seattle Seahawks this off-season.

#60 – Max Unger
Age: 23
Signed through: 2012
2010 salary: $395,000
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $764,500

After trading their own second-round pick to the Denver Broncos for a 1st rounder in 2010, the Seahawks traded a pair of draft picks (picks 68 and 105) to the Chicago Bears to move back into the second round to draft Unger with the 48th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft. Unger started the first 13 games at right guard, before starting the final three games of the season at center, a position he's likely to continue to starting at for the remainder of his NFL career. (One statistical side note: The Bears selected defensive ends Jarron Gilbert and Henry Melton with the picks Seattle traded to draft Unger, who had more tackles (2) than Gilbert and Melton had combined (1) in 2009.)

#63 – Trevor Canfield
Age: 24
Signed through: 2011
2010 salary: $320,000
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $320,000

A seventh-round pick out of the University of Cincinnati by the Arizona Cardinals in 2009, the Seahawks signed Canfield off the Cardinals' practice squad in Week 17. The 6-4, 307-pounder primarily played right guard in college.

#64 – Mike Gibson
Age: 24
Signed through: 2010
2010 salary: $395,000
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $395,000

Signed off the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad midway through the 2009 season, the former sixth-round pick out of Cal split time at right guard with Chris Spencer in the final two weeks of the regular season.

#65 – Chris Spencer
Age: 27
Signed through: Restricted Free Agent

Will forever be mentioned as the first draft pick of the Tim Ruskell Era, Spencer started 11 games at center and three games at right guard during the 2009 campaign. If 2010 remains an uncapped season, Spencer will be a restricted free agent.

#66 – Mansfield Wrotto
Age: 25
Signed through: 2010
2010 salary: $550,000
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $654,250

Wrotto was active for the first seven games of the 2009 season, making one start (October 11 vs. Jacksonville). Wrotto was inactive for the remainder of the season.

#67 – Rob Sims
Age: 26
Signed through: Restricted Free Agent

After missing most of 2008 with a torn pectoral muscle, Sims started 14 games at left guard for the Seahawks in 2009 and was arguably the team's most consistent offensive lineman. He is currently scheduled to be a restricted free agent, and has expressed his desire to remain with the Seahawks.

#69 – Steve Vallos
Age: 26
Signed through: 2011
2010 salary: $475,000
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $486,563

With Spencer nursing a quadriceps injury at the start of the season, Vallos started at center for the first two games of the season, and at left guard in Week 6 against Arizona. Active for 16 games, Vallos' value is his versatility.

#71 – Walter Jones
Age: 36
Signed through: 2011
2010 salary: $7.3M
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $7.7M

Multiple knee surgeries landed Jones on injured reserve in Week 8. The future Hall of Famer, who was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000s, is rehabbing in Florida in an attempt to come back in 2010.

#72 – Brandon Frye
Age: 27
Signed through: Restricted Free Agent

Claimed off waivers from the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, injuries thrust Frye into the starting lineup at left tackle by Week 3. A stinger on the first quarter against Jacksonville ended his season.

#74 – Ray Willis
Age: 27
Signed through: 2010
2010 salary: $2M
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $3.5M

Signed to a two-year deal last off-season, Willis started all 16 games at right tackle, the only offensive lineman to play the same position for the entire season.

#75 – Sean Locklear
Age: 28
Signed through: 2012
2010 salary: $4.85M
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $7.3M

The heir apparent to Jones at left tackle suffered a high ankle sprain at San Francisco in Week 2, which kept him out of the lineup for six weeks. Locklear has struggled at left tackle, and appears better-suited to playing on the right side of the line.

#77 – Damion McIntosh
Age: 32
Signed through: Unrestricted Free Agent

Released by the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of training camp, McIntosh worked out for the Seahawks in September, and was signed off the street when Frye was placed on injured reserve. McIntosh was active for 10 of the 11 games he was on the roster, making two starts at left tackle.

#78 – Kyle Williams
Age: 25
Signed through: Unrestricted Free Agent

Williams was active for three games in 2009, starting at left tackle in the Seahawks' 27-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6. He was released and re-signed to the practice squad, and was placing on the practice squad injured reserve list. He was not signed to a futures contract, and right now is eligible to sign with any team. 

2010 Outlook

Max Unger figures to be the starting center, but Alex Gibbs, Art Valero and Jeremy Bates can go in any number of directions with the four starting spots around Unger.

As great as it would be for Walter Jones to return to health for another season, the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim. So the first order of business for John Schneider is to do what Tim Ruskell and Mike Holmgren refused to do, and draft a left tackle early in the 2010 NFL Draft. This doesn't have to be done with the 6th overall pick—a quality left tackle will surely be available at 14, which may be present "better value", perhaps the most annoying phrase in Kiperspeak—but the Seahawks can no longer afford to spackle the quarterback's blindside, they need to build a new wall, and the best ones are usually found in the first-half of the first-round.

Getting that left tackle would allow Locklear and Willis to play on the right-side of the offensive line. For as much as Locklear was a flop at left tackle, he's played fairly well at right tackle during his career, even if the ideal position for him is right guard. One of the knocks on Willis was his durability, but he didn't miss a snap in 2009, and was the only Seahawks offensive lineman to play the same position (RT) for all 16 games.

With 2010 likely being an uncapped year, 2009 starters Chris Spencer and Rob Sims are set to be restricted free agents. Depth is something no offensive line can have too much of, and given the relative inexperience of the alternatives, it wouldn't be surprising to see both Spencer and Sims receive restricted free agent tenders, if for no other reason than to ensure some form of compensation for them, should another team attempt to sign them to an offer sheet.

To get original round compensation, Sims' tender would be worth $1.176M, while Spencer's tender would be worth between $2.42M, 110% of his '09 salary on a "Right of First Refusal- Original Round Compensation" tender, or $2.621M at the "Right of First Refusal – First Round Compensation" level, depending on what they do with their other restricted free agents. .

Assuming that a left tackle will be found with one of the two first-rounders, Spencer, Sims, either Locklear or Willis, along with the gaggle of guards Tim Ruskell acquired over the years (Wrotto, Vallos, Gibson, Canfield), will compete for the two interior line spots flanking Unger. Even if Seattle chooses a left tackle early in the draft, depth at tackle would still be an issue, so the front office should remain vigilant and look to draft one in the later rounds of this and subsequent entry drafts.


In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you'd like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.

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