The Seattle Seahawks moved quickly Monday to prepare changes to its offensive line before they next take the field in two weeks. Last week Luke Joeckel reportedly decided to clear scar tissue from his knee during the bye week, which may take several more weeks to heal—in 2016 Michael Bennett missed five games after a similar surgery. Additionally, Rees Odhiambo continues to miss badly far too often in pass protection since taking the place of presumptive starter George Fant after the latter’s season-ending surgery in August.
Whatever shuffling goes on to fill the void on the left side, Seattle took a step toward finding outside help by hosting semi-retired semi-discontent Branden Albert for a workout on the team’s first off day during the break.
In his 10th-year, Albert was originally scheduled to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017 after six years with the Kansas City Chiefs and three years anchoring the left side for the Miami Dolphins. Apparently unhappy in Jacksonville Albert announced his retirement during the summer only to change his mind before eventually getting cut by the Jaguars. Albert was named to the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2015. He was originally due to earn $8.9 million from Jacksonville in 2017, and had not made less than eight million in either of the two seasons prior. The Seahawks have less than three million available in the cap space so Albert would need to take a considerable cut or Seattle reconfigure its roster to make room.
The Seahawks didn’t announce any roster moves following the visit, however, and CBS Radio NFL reporter Benjamin Allbright suggested on Twitter the real target may be disgruntled Houston Texans left tackle Duane Brown.
The #Seahawks plan to drive down #Texans asking price for Duane Brown by working out Brandon Albert is working as intended.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) October 9, 2017
Brown, another former Pro Bowler and an All-Pro tackle in 2012, also earns a lot more than Seattle has available, and was already holding out in Houston trying to get his 2018 salary guaranteed, so it’s not clear how palatable such a trade could be even if it doesn’t cost the Seahawks front office too much in exchange. Brown has been steady in his holdout, but there’s financial pressure on him to report to the Texans soon: If Brown doesn’t play before the eighth game of the season, his rights roll back to the next year and he doesn’t get credited with a season toward free agency. Davis Hsu says John Schneider has been interested in Brown for a long time, but given all the sides to the situation this rumor getting out seems awfully like bluster to create movement in a stalemate.
Either way, these are bigger splashes than Seattle has publicly entertained since it pursued T.J. Lang in March, and even if nothing happens soon the stirrings signal the Seahawks’ decision makers aren’t satisfied with the development or depth on the offensive line through five games.