The Seattle Seahawks continue to focus on the offensive line and are expected to bring back starting center Ethan Pocic on a one-year deal, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on the condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the agreement. Pocic became a free agent when the new league year started on Wednesday.
In a separate move, the Seahawks announced they re-signed fullback and special teams standout Nick Bellore for a third season with the team. Bellore was a Pro Bowl selection as a special teams player this past season.
The move with Pocic could be protection as much as solidifying the offensive line. Pocic started 14 games at center last season, his first full season playing the position in the NFL. Pocic was solid for most of the season, but at times struggled against some of the more stout defensive tackles Seattle faced.
While he proved himself a viable starter, bringing back Pocic isn’t exactly the upgrade of the offensive line that quarterback Russell Wilson has asked for during the offseason. Seattle acquired veteran guard Gabe Jackson from Las Vegas on Wednesday, but the Seahawks had been linked with most of the top free agent centers on the market and landed none of them.
Pocic was a second-round pick by the Seahawks in the 2017 draft. He started 11 games as a rookie at left guard, was mostly a reserve during the 2018-19 seasons, and won the starting center job during training camp before the 2020 season.
Bellore was a first-time Pro Bowl selection in 2020 after finishing tied for third in the NFL with 14 special-teams tackles. The 10-year veteran previously played for San Francisco, Detroit and the New York Jets.
“Because he’s such a smart football player and such a savvy guy and a tough dude and all of that, he has been a leader in that in the group of our special team stuff since the day he walked in here,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Bellore after his Pro Bowl selection in December. “We really wanted him to come for those reasons, and he’s just blossomed as a great factor for us. And he’s playing the best he’s played.”