Thursday, April 2, 2020
April 2, 2020

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Seahawks reach deal with tight end Olsen

Veteran to come to Seattle on one-year, $7 million contract


The Seahawks have made their first big addition of the offseason, reaching agreement with veteran free agent tight end Greg Olsen on a one-year deal. A source confirmed the agreement to the Seattle Times Tuesday.

The contract is worth up to $7 million with $5.5 million guaranteed at signing, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who was the first to report the news.

The 34-year-0ld Olsen was released by Carolina last month and visited the Seahawks, Washington and Buffalo as he searched for a new NFL home. Both the Bills and Washington have coaches who he worked with at Carolina, leading some to consider one of those two as the favorite as well as the fact that Olsen’s career has also been in Chicago or Carolina.

But the chance to play for a contending team apparently helped tip the scales.

Because Olsen was released, he can sign with teams immediately. Players whose 2019 contracts run out and become unrestricted free agents can sign with new teams beginning March 18.

Olsen, who turns 35 next month, spent the last nine years with the Panthers before being released in a cost-cutting move by a Carolina team starting over under new coach Matt Rhule. Olsen had one year remaining on a deal that would have paid him $11.6 million in 2020.

Olsen, 34, played 14 games last season but missed two late-season contests due to a concussion, including Seattle’s win over the Panthers in Charlotte on Dec. 15.

He also played just a combined 16 games in the 2017 and 2018 seasons due to a foot injury.

The signing of Olsen helps beef up a tight end position that is a big question heading into 2020.

Seattle had just two tight ends under contract for 2020, both of whom ended the 2019 season on injured reserve — Will Dissly and Ed Dickson. Dissly is recovering from an Achilles injury suffered in a game at Cleveland on Oct. 13 while Dickson did not play at all last year due to a knee injury and has been widely presumed likely to be a cap casualty himself (Seattle could save $3 million against the cap if he is released, money it could maybe just earmark for Olsen, instead).

Jacob Hollister ended last season as the team’s starter and is now a restricted free agent, meaning Seattle can retain him with a qualifying offer that would give the team the right to match any other offers, while Luke Willson is now an unrestricted free agent. Tyrone Swoopes, the other healthy tight end on the roster when the season ended, is an exclusive-rights free agent.

Olsen was still effective when healthy last season with 52 receptions for 597 yards and two touchdowns, including six for 110 yards against Tampa Bay and eight for 98 against Green Bay. Olsen made the Pro Bowl three years straight from 2014-16.

The signing also helps give quarterback Russell Wilson another playmaker after a season when the Seahawks often lacked for a third option other than Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, especially after the loss of Dissley in week six (Dissly had 23 receptions for 262 yards in the first five games before being injured).