There was a lot of change to the roster of the Seattle Seahawks this offseason, with the defense losing names like Justin Coleman, Earl Thomas and Frank Clark, and the long-awaited official release of Kam Chancellor. Things have been more stable on the offensive side of the ball, where the only starters projected to not return are left guard J.R. Sweezy and wide receiver Doug Baldwin.
The Hawks addressed the left guard competition both in free agency and through the draft, first signing Mike Iupati away from the division rival Arizona Cardinals and then choosing Phil Haynes out of Wake Forest. To fill the void at wide receiver left by Baldwin’s release, the team drafted three wide receivers, DK Metcalf, Gary Jennings and John Ursua, as well as signing undrafted free agents Terrry Wright and Jazz Ferguson. Thus, the expectations for the rookie receiver class are sky high among many fans.
However, through the first two days of training camp veteran receiver Jaron Brown is reportedly doing everything he can to keep the youngsters on the bench.
Russell Wilson was cooking on Friday. Jaron Brown and Tedric Thompson were also standouts from the second practice of #Seahawks camp.— Joe Fann (@Joe_Fann) July 26, 2019
Brian Schottenheimer had more rave reviews of Jaron Brown. Called him a starting receiver in the NFL and said there’s no one he trusts more. Another strong indication that Brown will factor more into the offense than last season when he was their fourth receiver.— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) July 26, 2019
Jaron Brown was something of a forgotten man in the Seahawks' offense last year, when he finished fourth among their receivers in catches, yards and snaps. Seahawks coaches have given the impression that Brown will factor more into their plans in 2019.... https://t.co/1OucVljpyt— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) July 26, 2019
Good days for Jaron Brown, David Moore and Rashaad Penny. Schottenheimer said it was the best day of practice he’s seen from Penny.— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) July 26, 2019
Obviously, anything that coaches say at this point must be taken with a grain of salt, and the Seahawks have not been shy about releasing wide receivers who shined during camp (looking at Kasen Williams). In addition, it’s only been two days and camp is five weeks long, so there’s plenty of time for impressions to change.
That said, Brown carries the second highest cap hit of all Seahawks receivers, so the team likely wants to see as much of what he can do as possible. The $3.725M he is slated to cost against the cap is the second largest cap hit of a receiver on the roster, and is more than the combined cap hits of those receivers with cap hits three through seven.
Cap hits for 2019 Seahawks wide receivers with third through seventh largest cap hits
|Player||2019 Cap Hit|
|Player||2019 Cap Hit|
So, while Brown’s cap hit of $3.725M this season is far from prohibitive for a team that had in excess of $20M in cap space available per the NFLPA public salary cap report prior to Bobby Wagner’s Friday extension, the potential $2.75M in cap savings can’t be ignored. Thus, while Brown has been a standout and grabbed the attention of both observers and the coaching staff through the first two days of camp, he’ll need to continue to show his worth through the coming weeks.
That said, because of the decision the team will need to make on Brown sometime between now and August 31 at 4 pm, don’t be surprised if he is given an extensive opportunity to show what he can do. With just twelve days until the Hawks take on the Denver Broncos to open the preseason, Brown will likely be a featured target as the team looks to gather as much information about his potential contributions this season.
What the team does know about Brown is that he performed when asked to during 2018, and that his 123 special teams snaps were the third most of any offensive player. With Tre Madden and his 254 special teams snaps no longer on the roster, and Tyler Lockett likely to see his special teams snaps reduced as he takes on the role of the number one wide receiver, Brown could potentially see his snaps pick up.
It’s still early, though, and with dozens of practices and four more somethings that look like football games left between now and roster cuts, this is a story that is most certainly worth watching.