With Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham having signed with the Green Bay Packers and Luke Willson meeting with the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars, it appears that Seattle is certainly in the market for a tight end. As Mookie wrote Thursday, Ed Dickson appears to be the primary target for the Seahawks so far.
That report appears to have legs, as Friday it was noted that Dickson spent Thursday night in the Seattle area and it appears very possible something could get done Friday.
Free agent TE Ed Dickson stayed the night in Seattle, as his agents and the #Seahawks made significant progress on a deal, source said. The hope is that it gets done.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2018
Many fans may not have heard of Dickson, but he was considered a great pass catching threat coming out of the University of Oregon in 2010, where he played in Chip Kelly’s blur offense and his draft profile reads very similarly to that of Luke Willson’s.
From NFL.com back in 2010:
Dickson is an excellent receiving tight end that will give effort as a blocker but lacks the top size and bulk to be a dominating blocker at this level. He is quick on his release and shows a burst coming out of his breaks to separate from defenders. He has the downfield speed to stretch the middle of the field when running seam routes. He can show a tendency to short-arm some passes when going over the middle and in traffic. He has the speed and open field running skills to get a lot of yards after the catch.
STRENGTHS: Athletic and quick with good hip fluidity. Makes impressive cuts and has very good body control. Uses long arms to catch the ball away from his body and shows the ability to make the difficult grab. Very competitive and runs well after the catch.
WEAKNESSES: Lacks necessary strength to be a factor in the running game at the next level. Loses concentration sometimes on balls in traffic. Raw and inconsistent as a route runner. Does not always demonstrate proper body position to get open in tight spaces.
Obviously a lot would have been expected to have changed in the eight years since that was written, and a big piece of the Hawks interest in Dickson may be that he has spent all eight of those years playing for coaches that strongly believe in healthy running game in John Harbaugh and Ron Rivera. In particular, both of those coaches have run offenses that feature extensive use of two tight ends, and Dickson has started 85 games in his career, as well as lining up in the backfield at fullback.
If the team does come an agreement with Dickson, it would seem to be that the probability of Willson returning to the Hawks in 2018 would be very low.
ps - I know I’m going to get the question in the comments, so I’ll answer it before it even gets asked - Dickson is an unrestricted free agent whose contract expired. That means his signing will count in comp pick calculations and would cancel out the comp pick for Graham under the net signings rule at this point in time.
That would not necessarily rule out other Seahawks free agents signing with other teams and putting the comp pick for Graham leaving back in place, but I know that question will be asked, so that’s the answer.