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Seahawks now have way too many tight ends, and none of them can stay healthy

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks made one of the first significant moves of the offseason on Tuesday, signing Greg Olsen to a one-year contract.

What comes next?

Yes, the tight end room does have an increased potential to be very dangerous this year. Greg Olsen has been one of the best to do it for the bulk of his career:

Those little asterisks have nothing to do with trash cans or improperly-gained victories, those are three Pro Bowl seasons in a row. Three 1000-yard seasons in a row, with two 800-yard seasons preceding them.

Also, Olsen’s been playing so long I legitimately forgot he was ever in Chicago.

But that’s part of the issue, isn’t it?

Will Dissly, at his best, is the obvious number one here. His pace in the first quarter of both seasons was roughly at the pace of prime Greg Olsen. But Dissly has been brutally ejected from each of his first two seasons with early injuries.

The hero of last season was Jacob Hollister. Seattle was effectively down to only him, as that one time Luke Willson made a catch was cool and all, but it didn’t really feel like a position of confidence by season’s end. Technically there were two tight ends plus George Fant, but it was essentially just Hollister, and 41 receptions on 59 targets is far superior to any reasonable expectations for a practice squad tight end brought up part way through the season. Additionally, some of his catches were monumentally clutch.

However, he’s not the guy you want as a primary tight end, if for no other reason than he’s a less good version of Jimmy Graham, and he wasn’t really the guy we wanted (in this philosophy) at primary tight end either.

Well then, Mr. Roman, you didn’t watch much of Graham, but your point is heard.

Hollister turned into the de facto third option in the Seahawks’ offense by season’s end, but that may be in part why they couldn’t take down Green Bay. In coming to Seattle from New England, the reports agreed that Hollister has above-average TE speed and is a good route runner. He showed both of those things, and hopefully will remain an integral part of the offense moving forward.

Just not, perhaps, as integral.

As needed as Hollister was, both Dissly and Olsen have significantly better yards per attempt and reception. If healthy, the Seahawks would have - for the first time since Russell Wilson was drafted - something resembling two very good tight ends.

Oh yeah. Ed Dickson is still on the roster. He’s basically $3 million waiting to be told his services are no longer required at this point.

There’s no possible way in any universe that Seattle keeps five tight ends. It doesn’t really make any sense to keep four, either. The problem comes by way of potential for recency bias. The Seahawks were seemingly giving offensive players away last year. Their top two TE options are candidates to be repeat offenders. Is Seattle then, wary of their tight end sturdiness, going to be convinced to keep either Luke Willson, Ed Dickson, or draft a tight end to protect the position? Or will they run with the expected three front-runners and hope for the best?

It’s one of the most dangerous four names that the Seahawks have had as pass-catchers in who knows how long.

However, over the last two seasons, the guy on that list with the least amount of health issues is almost D.K. Metcalf, which is a terrifying sentence to type. It’s Tyler Lockett, but only because he was a little less hurt in 2018. Metcalf is the only one coming off a truly healthy full season.

It’s a splashy first move, and tight end has easily become one of the biggest boom-or-bust position groups on Seattle’s roster heading into 2020.