We have only seen Will Dissly play eight full games with the Seattle Seahawks over two years. Unfortunately, his 2018 ended in game four after a patella tendon tear, while his extremely promising 2019 was cut short due to a ruptured Achilles.
The magic that Dissly and Russell Wilson created this season was shaping up to be something special. He caught 23 passes on 27 targets for 262 yards and four touchdowns. For perspective, Dissly’s season ended on October 13th and he still finished fifth in team receptions and third in receiving touchdowns.
Not bad for someone who was known almost exclusively for his blocking at the University of Washington.
But those injuries he’s suffered in each of his first two seasons are absolutely devastating. He valiantly came back from the patella tendon injury, but it’s asking a lot for him to do the same thing after blowing out his Achilles.
With all due respect to Jacob Hollister, who swooped in from the practice squad to catch 41 passes (albeit for only 349 yards) and three touchdowns, Dissly’s injury has really forced the Seahawks to explore their options at TE this offseason.
Luke Willson is a free agent and while it was cool to see him again, I doubt he’s back on the team next year. Ed Dickson’s time in Seattle has mostly been spent on injured reserve, and there’s no good reason to keep him around. The aforementioned Hollister is a restricted free agent.
The mere thought of George Fant at TE1 is so exciting, but I suppose the Seahawks have other much less fun plans for him (assuming he re-signs as an unrestricted free agent).
Looking at the free agent market, there are some notable names on here to look out for.
Ebron had a great 2018 with the Indianapolis Colts after seemingly being a bust with the Detroit Lions. The 27-year-old had 66 catches for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2018. He had a big dropoff in 2019, missing half the season due to injury and was marked for five drops. His Colts contract was for two years and $13 million, and I doubt he’ll garner that much more given he’s coming off a shortened and not particularly productive season. I don’t recall him having any quality blocking skills, so he might not be on the Seahawks’ radar.
Hooper has spent his entire career with the Atlanta Falcons and there were some rumblings recently about Seattle being interested in signing him.
Tony says the talk in Mobile is the #Seahawks are a team interested in Atlanta's Austin Hooper. Won't be a surprise. They spent big on Zach Miller/Jimmy Graham, Hooper is reliable and ran well in agility tests at the combine (important for the TE position). https://t.co/H3gr0pjwWo— Rob Staton (@robstaton) January 23, 2020
The 25-year-old has played in 59 out of a possible 64 games and scored a touchdown in Super Bowl LI. He’s coming off a career-high 75 catches for 787 yards and six TDs, plus he apparently is a solid blocker. I expect him to be one considering he’s a Stanford product, where they love them some run blocking. Hooper figures to be more costly than Ebron but also someone who may fit Seattle’s system nicely.
The heir apparent to Antonio Gates is productive when healthy; operative words “when healthy.”
The difference between Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper's 2019 tape is pretty striking. Henry just flat out moves better. He eats up man coverage and there's a certain vertical element to his game that Hooper lacks. Hooper wins more by sitting down in coverage. pic.twitter.com/eN4CTSnfzU— Parker Lewis (@ParkerLewisJR) January 24, 2020
He finished 2019 with 55 catches for 652 yards and a pair of touchdowns, all career-best numbers. The problem for Hunter is that he’s been injured quite often. A lacerated kidney ended his 2017, a torn ACL during OTAs caused him to miss all of 2018, and he had a tibia plateau fracture in 2019 that ruled him out for several weeks. Much like Hooper, Henry was on a rookie contract with the Chargers, but his durability is a legitimate concern more than the other two I’ve mentioned.
Of course I’ve just listed a few of the bigger names on here, and you can explore more on your own in this link. Ultimately I suspect the Seahawks will grade blocking very heavily, so while I’ve listed all of the receiving stats, if they can’t block, they aren’t gonna be in Seattle’s sights any longer.
Don’t be surprised if the Seahawks also look at TEs in the draft, although I must admit I’m largely ignorant as to which are the best TEs coming out of college at the moment. I do know that I selfishly want Thaddeus Moss because the mere thought of a Seahawks team with the opportunity to tell defenses “You got Mossed!” is so tantalizing. Why not carry on the tradition that his father started?
Whether it’s free agency or the draft, tight end is one of the glaring needs of this Seahawks offense moving forward, and we only wish that wasn’t because of the injuries to Uncle Will.