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Prudence warranted as Seahawks look to extend Duane Brown

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Washington Redskins vÊSeattle Seahawks Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The offensive line of the Seattle Seahawks improved greatly following the trade deadline acquisition of Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown, who stepped in and provided an immediate upgrade for the team over first year starter Rees Odhiambo. Fans had watched Odhiambo get overmatched through most of the first seven games of the season, as he not only struggled in his first extended playing time, but battled dislocated fingers on both hands that required surgery to repair.

Following Brown joining the line and upgrading the position over the second half of the season, many fans have clamored for the team to sign an extension that would keep him with the team into the future and lock down the position. Many observers have pointed out that Andrew Whitworth has continued to play at a high level, and Whitworth is several years older than Brown.

However, Whitworth is the exception to the rule when it comes to longevity for tackles. According to the Pro Football Reference, using the Player Season Finder, Whitworth is just one of eight tackles to have started twelve or more games in the NFL over the last four decades. If he repeats the feat again in 2018 he will become just one of five tackles over the last 40 years to have started 12 or more games in their age 37 season.

In short, Brown is at the point in his career where tackles typically stop playing. Here’s a table of the number of tackles who have started 12 or more games by age since the NFL adopted a 16 game schedule in 1978.

Tackles with 12 or more games started by age since 1978

Age Number of Tackles that Started 12+ games
Age Number of Tackles that Started 12+ games
22 55
23 139
24 226
25 256
26 242
27 212
28 211
29 189
30 158
31 128
32 111
33 73
34 48
35 29
36 8
37 4

For those who prefer a more graphic representation, here that is in a chart.

In short, there are more tackles that start a dozen or more games at 23 than 33, and Brown is already with the team with his age 33 season upcoming. Even just a two year extension would put Brown under contract through his age 35 season, an age at which only 29 tackles have started 12 or more games since 1978.

Thus, it’s not just a matter of extending Brown, being less risky because offensive linemen age well. Brown is obviously an extremely important piece of the team, and if they do extend his contract, it needs to be done in a manner which does not put the team in a bad spot financially going forward.

In short, the Seahawks need to extend Brown, but in doing so they need to ensure they don’t overextend themselves.