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Seahawks Position Battles: Phil Haynes making push for starting job at guard

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

It’s looked pretty clear-cut that the Seattle Seahawks offensive line would consist of rookie Charles Cross at left tackle, Damien Lewis at left guard, center Austin Blythe, right guard Gabe Jackson, and one of Jake Curhan or rookie Abe Lucas at right tackle. However, there’s one man who’s looking to bust the projections and finally break through as a full-time starter.

Pete Carroll made some interesting comments at Tuesday’s training camp press conference, singing the praises of Phil Haynes and touting how he’s looked throughout camp. Based on Carroll’s remarks, there’s a non-zero chance we see Haynes usurp Gabe Jackson at right guard.

Now we do have to make clear that Jackson is coming off knee surgery and he’s had more than a few days where he hasn’t even practiced between minicamp and training camp. But in the long-term, Jackson is 31 years old and as Field Gulls’ own John Gilbert notes, players of his athletic profile tend not to hold up well into their 30s. Haynes is on a one-year prove-it deal and has battled injuries himself, but he got the opportunity to start a couple of games last season in Damien Lewis’ COVID-related absence, and he impressed. If you like PFF’s grading system, you’ll probably like his 2021 grade.

Jackson did receive a three-year contract extension upon arriving in Seattle via trade with the Las Vegas Raiders. Based on OverTheCap’s details anything short of a restructure would make him an unlikely cut candidate because they’d be saving no money and incurring $9 million in dead cap. A trade would save $6 million and a $3 million dead cap hit, so that’s the more likely option if Jackson does not keep his starting job.

For now, it’s still Jackson’s job until further notice. But there’s extra reason now to pay attention to the performances of Haynes and Jackson in preseason, as well as anything that develops in camp. We’ve got competitions exclusively on the entire right side of the line right now.