BY Art Thiel 05:44PM 03/12/2019

O-line blow: Seahawks lose Sweezy to Arizona

The Seahawks’ hope to return the offensive line intact was dashed Tuesday when LG J.R. Sweezy took a two-year offer from Arizona.

J.R. Sweezy is taking a two-year deal to join the Arizona Cardinals. / Seahawks.com

The Seahawks’ personnel plan for 2019 took an early hit Tuesday with word from NFL.com that LG J.R. Sweezy has agreed to a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, making him the second starter lost before NFL free agency begins officially at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Over the weekend, nickel CB Justin Coleman was reported to have agreed to sign a four-year deal worth up to $36 million with the Detroit Lions.

A big part of the Seahawks’ return to the playoffs in 2018 was improvement along the offensive line, which helped produce 2,560 yards rushing that led the NFL.

Sweezy, who returned in free agency to the Seahawks the past summer after two seasons in Tampa, started 13 games. He was credited, along with newcomer RG D.J. Fluker and position coach Mike Solari, with helping revive a failing run game that had always been a hallmark of Pete Carroll’s teams.

Fluker is also a free agent, and Carroll said multiple times during and after the season that his hope was to have Fluker and Sweezy, 30 next month, return to keep intact a unit that includes returnees LT Duane Brown, C Justin Britt and RT Germain Ifedi.

In a tweet Tuesday, Fluker sounded as if interest has yet to come his way.


Sweezy was Seattle’s seventh-round draft pick in 2012. He became a starter for the 2013 team that won the Super Bowl. After the 2015 season, he scored with a five-year deal worth up to $32.5 million from Tampa. But he missed 2016 with a back injury, then played 14 games in 2017 before breaking a leg.

He was cut in 2018, when the Seahawks picked him up for $1.5 million. He was asked to early in the season to switch from right guard to left guard, where he had never played. But his smooth transition was cited as part of why the ground game had such a strong reversal from 2017.

Four-year veteran Ethan Pocic would seem the numerical replacement, but when Sweezy missed time this season, third-year Jordan Simmons stepped in and impressed. He went down for the season in December with a knee injury.

If Pocic or Simmons aren’t ready to step up, the Seahawks have to figure out whether to pursue a veteran in free agency or take a rookie in the draft, where at the moment they have only four picks.

Coleman’s deal with Detroit made him the NFL’s highest-paid slot cornerback. The Seahawks knew it was likely they couldn’t afford him after two solid seasons in Seattle, following two with New England.

That may have been why the Seahawks made the move last week to re-up restricted free agent CB Akeem King to a one-year, $1.4 million deal. King, 26, joined the Seahawks’ practice squad in September 2017. He was promoted to Seattle’s active roster for the first time in September 2018 and appeared in all 16 games, finishing with 21 tackles and one quarterback hit.

Besides re-signing King and offering a non-exclusive franchise tag to DE Frank Clark, who reportedly won’t sign the offer until he gets a long-term deal and may hold out of training camp, the Seahawks have been quiet in the marketplace, not yet engaging in tentative deals with free agents.

Given their history of passing on the big-ticket hires at the outset of free agency, the quiet isn’t surprising. But filling in for the unexpected loss of Sweezy adds to the to-do list.


YourThoughts

  • wabubba67

    The ghost of Tom Cable lives…. it’s Mike, not Tom Solari.

    It would seem that the Seahawks have four reasonable options for their offensive line at the moment:

    1.) Simmons to LG.
    2.) Fant to RT, Ifedi to LG.
    3.) Pocic to LG. (Ugghh.)
    4.) Sign a veteran LG on the cheap like they did last year with Sweezy (paging James Carpenter).

    #1 is preferable for me, #2 is acceptable, #4 would be fine, while #3 makes me wretch (only Russell Wilson’s future orthopedic surgeon is in favor of #3).

    • art thiel

      Thanks for the correction, and summary. Agreed on Simmons. Coaches really like Fant as TE in jumbo because he moves so well.

  • tor5

    I agree that Simmons appears capable. But it’s almost certain that someone on the OL gets hurt at some point, so let’s hope there’s a plan for that. I wonder if this factors into Wilson’s contract thoughts. You’d think, in his 30s, he’d want to do more than hike–run for your life.

  • Paul Sherman

    There’s gotta be some good replacements out there. Shame to lose him, though.

  • Alan Harrison

    I don’t know what Sweezy’s deal with the Cardinals ended up being, but you can be sure that Fluker deserves more (regardless of injury history). I wonder if the Hawks are interested in Daryl WIlliams from Carolina (who had surgery in September, but should be fine by now), plug him in at RT and move Ifedi to LG. He’s never played on that side of the line but should be positively influenced by Mr. Brown, whose wife, I am told, has a lovely daughter.

  • jafabian

    Disappointing in seeing Sweezy leave if only because the team seems to be turning the corner in becoming something special again. At least the Hawks will get a compensatory pick. Hopefully someone will be able to step into Sweezy’s shoes but the man played in the playoffs with a broken foot. Hard to top that.

    Signing the Warrior is now a priority. Even if he doesn’t play the entire season his presence alone will earn him his salary.