BY SPNW Staff 09:14AM 03/21/2018

Seahawks lose free agent TE Willson to Lions

TE Luke Willson, who played five years with the Seahawks, Wednesday signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions worth $2.5 million.

TE Luke Willson tallied 11 touchdowns in his five years with Seattle. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

The Seahawks bid adieu to another long-time veteran Wednesday when free agent TE Luke Willson signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions worth $2.5 million. Willson, who hails from nearby Windsor, Ontario, also visited with the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars before agreeing with the Lions.

Willson is the sixth unrestricted free agent to depart Seattle since the new league year began March 14. That list includes starting TE Jimmy Graham, who signed with the Green Bay Packers. Seattle now has two tight ends on its roster, holdover Nick Vannett and eight-year veteran Ed Dickson, a free agent from Carolina who signed with the Seahawks March 16.

The Seahawks selected Willson in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He played in 72 games, making 37 starts. He had 89 receptions for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns in five seasons. He had his best game statistically Dec. 21, 2014 with three catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-6 win at Arizona. His big play that day was an 80-yard touchdown catch from Russell Wilson.

Willson failed to top 200 yards receiving in either of the past two seasons, but he graded out last year as the league’s No. 26 run-blocking tight end among 69 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus.


Free agents signed

Date Player Pos. ’17 AAV New Deal
Mar 14 Barkevious Mingo DE $3.4M 2 years, $6.8M
Mar 16 Ed Dickson TE $1.95M 3 years, $14M
Mar 16 Jaron Brown WR $1.3M 2 years, $5.5M
Mar 16 Maurice Alexander S $528K N/A
Mar 20 D.J. Fluker OL $3M N/A

Free agents retained

Date Player Pos. ’17 AAV New Deal
Mar 14 B. McDougald S $1.8M 3 years, $13.95M
Mar 14 Dion Jordan DE $366K 1 year, $1.9M
Mar 14 Justin Coleman CB $615K 1 year, $2.9M

Free agents lost

Date Player Team ’17 AAV New Deal
Mar 14 Jimmy Graham GB $10M 3 years, $30M
Mar 14 Paul Richardson WA $1.4M 5 years, $40M
Mar 14 DeShawn Shead Det $1.2M 1 year, $3.5M
Mar 14 Thomas Rawls —- $615K Non-tendered
Mar 16 Sheldon Richardson Min $3.6M 1 year, $8M
Mar 21 Luke Willson Det $1.8M 1 year, $2.5M

Remaining free agents

Date Player Pos. AAV 2017 Season/Skinny
—– Luke Joeckel LG 8M Missed 5 games with injuries
—– Eddie Lacy RB 4.25M Bust: 179 yards, 0 TDs
—– Michael Wilhoite LB 1.55M Best beard on team
—– Blair Walsh K 1.1M Eight FG misses
—– Marcus Smith DE 990K A serviceable backup
—– Oday Aboushi RG 975K Played 8 games before injury
—– Matt Tobin LT 862K Played sparingly
—– Terence Garvin LB 855K Solid special teamer
—– Austin Davis QB 855K Played two snaps, but a veteran
—– Byron Maxwell CB 755K Played well in spurts

*=Includes incentives


  • DJ

    Boooo! Luke was so dependable and a family favorite. Roster churn really sucks this year! Almost want to fast forward to the season, to see what all of these changes have netted rather than just speculating. Well, good luck to Luke, and Best to Pete and John on implementing their new plan

  • Joe_Fan

    Luke seemed like a great guy in an interview but I was never a huge fan of his abilities on the field. Too many dropped passes and inconsistent play for my liking. As far as I’m concerned, he was making a lot of coin for someone who was so inconsistent.

  • jafabian

    This one surprised me. I agree to a point on Richard Sherman’s comments that there was some curiosity on the Seahawks part to see what the younger players can do and I counted Luke among them. Considering he was playing behind Jimmy Graham his production isn’t that bad. The Hawks 2013 draft class is now completely off the team.

  • Tman

    looks like the mariners after the 116 win season. 25 years to the next ticker tape and skittle filled parade.