MIAMI – The Seahawks have several free agents that fans are hoping return to Seattle this offseason, Jadeveon Clowney and Jarran Reed chief among them. The sentiment surrounding Germain Ifedi is far more mixed.
Ifedi has long been a polarizing player among the Seahawks fan base. Seattle’s 2016 first-round pick has made 60 starts over his first four seasons, but he’s yet to make a jump into the upper echelon of NFL right tackles.
Pro Football Focus ranked Ifedi 53rd out of 60 tackles who played at least 50% of their team’s snaps in 2019. PFF gave Ifedi an overall grade of 56.2, a pass blocking grade of 60.3 and a run blocking grade of 55.6. He was also penalized 13 times, tied for fifth-most among tackles.
Now Ifedi is set to hit the open market when the new league year begins in March. Former NFL offensive lineman and current NFL analyst for Sirius XM Geoff Schwartz doesn’t expect Ifedi to be back in Seattle in 2020.
That’s not because of a lack of interest from the Seahawks standpoint. Schwartz thinks signing Ifedi to a deal worth $6-7 million annually would be reasonable. But Schwartz is expecting Ifedi to cash in with a tackle-needy team who gets desperate and pays him top dollar.
“We’re going to see a deal he’s going to do where he gets $12 million a year, and people are going to be shocked,” Schwartz told NBC Sports Northwest. “It’s the way free agency works.”
That would indeed be surprising, which is why Schwartz anticipates this hypothetical highest bidder regretting this hypothetical lucrative deal.
“If you pay him top dollar it’s just not going to work out,” he said. “I think he’s too inconsistent,” Schwartz said. “I would not imagine he’ll be back. He’s back only if he can’t find what he wants in free agency.”
Should things play out this way, the Seahawks would need to fill the void at right tackle. That opening could be the avenue for Seattle to keep George Fant. Although Fant said he’s looking for an opportunity to start at left tackle, the Seahawks could be able to convince him to re-sign and compete to start at right tackle.
Pete Carroll indicated that he’s wary about overhauling the offensive line, but with Ifedi and Mike Iupati set to be free agents, Seattle has a prime opportunity to revamp an offensive line that ranked 28th in pass block win rate and allowed 48 sacks in 2019.
“Continuity is good, but you can build that through the offseason,” Schwartz said. “You don’t need to keep bad players for the sake of communication. If you have good players, they figure out a way to make it work.”