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Finding Free Agents: Jason Spriggs would be a pre-draft hedge at right tackle

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In our 2020 iteration of Finding Free Agents, we’ll attempt to answer three questions for each player: Why would the Seahawks be interested? What would their contract look like? What is the likelihood they reach free agency? Throughout the series, we’ll be focused on specific positions of need in Seattle: Wide receiver, offensive line, defensive tackle and EDGE.

After being selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Jason Spriggs was presumed to be the long-term successor at right tackle, as Bryan Bulaga struggled to stay healthy. Spriggs was used as a spot-starter over the next three years, first at right guard and then at his natural tackle spot. Bulaga mostly stayed healthy, however, as Spriggs’ Packers career never took off. It came to an end in the 2019 preseason, as the soon-to-be 26-year-old dislocated his kneecap, was released and then reverted to Green Bay’s injured reserve. All three of the Packers’ right tackles—Bulaga, Jared Veldheer and Spriggs—are headed towards free agency, but of the trio, Spriggs seems most likely headed for the exit.

Why would the Seahawks be interested?

Spriggs was one of the many offensive linemen connected to Seattle prior to the 2016 draft, when they ended up selecting Germain Ifedi in the first round. He was an obvious fit as a Tom Cable tackle, clearing the stated thresholds in the vertical and broad jumps, as well as on the bench. The Seahawks, now with Mike Solari overseeing the offensive line, should remain interested. Spriggs has the length they like at tackle and his movement skills translate well to Seattle’s running game. One of Ifedi’s best traits was his ability to seal out the backside, enabling Chris Carson to cut back across the field and hit a hole. Spriggs has the length and functional strength to replicate that.

While Spriggs makes sense from an on-field perspective, he makes even more from a team building perspective. There are absolutely options available to the Seahawks, should they decide to spend big at right tackle in free agency. If they opt to look to the top of the draft to fill Ifedi’s soon-to-be vacated spot, however, a player like Spriggs would offer a positive hedge. Largely, because of the contract he would garner.

What would Spriggs’ contract look like?

Spriggs will enter free agency coming off a serious, lower-body injury and with just nine starts to his name. Any deal for Spriggs will almost certainly be for one year, with no guarantees at signing. A solid comparison for him is Jaguars tackle Cedric Ogbuehi. The former Aggie reached free agency after four lackluster and injury-riddled years with the Bengals (though he started 25 games not nine), who selected him in the first round.

Ogbhuehi signed a one-year deal with Jacksonville last spring worth $805,000. A similar deal would be fair for both Seattle and Spriggs. It would give Spriggs an opportunity to compete to start and prove he can be a capable tackle in the NFL, and it would give the Seahawks a solid hedge should the draft come and go without the team landing an NFL-ready tackle.

Will Spriggs reach free agency?

There’s a possibility Green Bay runs it back with a Bulaga-Spriggs right tackle position, but not before Spriggs reaches unrestricted free agency. If Seattle chooses to pursue a low-cost draft hedge at right tackle in free agency, Spriggs will surely be out there as an option for the team to explore.