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Report: Seahawks will not pick up Germain Ifedi’s option

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN’s NFL Nation’s Brady Henderson, the Seattle Seahawks are not expected to pick up the fifth-year option on tackle Germain Ifedi. The option would have cost the Seahawks over $10 million in 2020, but now Ifedi will become an unrestricted free agent next year barring an extension or the contract tolling for some reason.

Ifedi was the last pick of the first round in 2016, going 31st overall because the New England Patriots were stripped of a first rounder. Seattle had traded down from 26 to 31 so that the Denver Broncos could draft Paxton Lynch, now Russell Wilson’s backup QB. The trade gave the Seahawks used on tight end Nick Vannett.

Ifedi has started 44 games at tackle and guard for Seattle, including two seasons under Tom Cable and one under Mike Solari. He’s been steady, unspectacular, and among the NFL leaders in penalties. It’s one issue that plagues most of the offensive line sans Duane Brown and could be something that Pete Carroll and Solari are looking to clean up as they build the offensive line of the future.

Which Ifedi could still be a part of despite them not picking up his option, assuming they won’t.

The Seahawks have 2018 fifth rounder Jamarco Jones and George Fant in line to compete for snaps on the offensive line next season, as well as Ethan Pocic, rookie Phil Haynes, and Jordan Simmons, among others. Only Brown, Justin Britt, and D.J. Fluker seem assured of spots for now, though Ifedi and Mike Iupati are early and considerable frontrunners for the other two spots. Though the fifth-year option has zero guarantees for non-injury, it would have become fully guaranteed if Ifedi did get hurt next season.

That was not a risk the organization was willing to take, it seems, though a rotating cascade of bodies at right tackle seems like it could be incoming once again. That being said, I wouldn’t go around calling Ifedi a “bust” or that this is unexpected. Few players in the bottom third of the first round ever have their fifth-year options picked up and we should know by now that the expectations for all first rounders are not equal. There are perhaps more differences between a top-5 pick and a pick in the 25-35 range than there are from the picks in the 25-35 range and picks in the 75-95 range.

Perhaps. I’m draftimating.

The real surprise would have been if Ifedi had played so well that his fifth-year option became a slam dunk. That was not the case. It was also not the case for Tennessee’s Jack Conklin, an All-Pro right tackle as a rookie who is not having his fifth-year option picked up by the Titans. It happens. If Ifedi has a good 2019 season, then the Seahawks might work to extend him, let him leave for a compensatory pick, or even franchise him.