Will the Seahawks consider another change at center?

August 23rd, 2015 | Written by Rob Staton

Brian’s Tweet above raises an interesting point. Yesterday we discussed Seattle’s biggest issue on the offensive line — which to me at least is protecting the right side. Garry Gilliam is an athletic yet thoroughly untested commodity, suddenly thrust into the starting role mid-way through the pre-season schedule. Justin Britt’s skill-set matches up nicely to left guard. If you sign Mathis you’re still relying on Gilliam or Britt to solve the problem at right tackle.

However, that kind of glosses over the situation at center. Lemuel Jeanpierre and Drew Nowak have been competing for the start. Jeanpierre is a solid, no-thrills center who performed reasonably well in Max Unger’s absence over the years. Whenever Unger was healthy, however, he was straight back into the line-up with no questions asked. Nowak has the greater athletic upside yet, like Gilliam, he’s a big unknown commodity.

I didn’t see a great deal wrong with Nowak’s tape against Kansas City after a closer viewing today — but tape-review is only part of the equation. Understanding line calls, being able to read a defense and help with adjustments is what makes the transition to center a little tougher than working to play guard. There’s no way for us to know how Nowak is handling these duties.

Mathis is listed at 6-5/301lbs and Max Unger at 6-5/305lbs. Mathis is a superior athlete (one of the best in the league all considered) and a SPARQ demon. He has the athletic profile Jeanpierre lacks and the experience and understanding that perhaps Nowak lacks.

In other words, it makes some sense to wonder whether the Seahawks are asking him to consider signing to play center.

Whoever gets the job now is going to have little time to strike up some chemistry with Russell Wilson. If this is going to happen presumably it would have to be pretty quickly to see how it works in the final two pre-season games. Even if the plan is use Mathis at guard and move Britt to center — he’s going to need to get working as soon as possible.

It’s something to contemplate with the situation becoming pretty quiet today after Mathis’ Saturday physical. Mike Garafolo says the visit was productive:

While Mathis has also been having some fun on social media

The worst case scenario is the five starters against Kansas City continue in their roles. It was a solid performance by the offensive line against a tough opponent. We should find out soon whether Evan Mathis will be added to the mix — either at guard or center. Even without him, Friday’s performance was a marked improvement on the previous outing against Denver.

44 Responses to “Will the Seahawks consider another change at center?”

  1. Colin says:

    Davis Hsu mentioned that in order to sign Mathis, Seattle would likely have to restructure Earl or Sherm.

    But… if they pull off signing Mathis, and Kam comes back in time for the season, the Seahawks are the consensus best team in the NFC… for a 3rd straight year 🙂

  2. FattyAcid says:

    I could see them trading Kearse to a team like the Panthers for a late round pick. That’ll save enough cap room for something….whatever that may be. Or just cutting him. I’d be ok with that. As far as the line is concerned, I would like to see the current lineup stay. Build something for the future.

    • bigDhawk says:

      I agree, mostly because for the first time in his career we have more talented pure receivers behind him on our depth chart. I don’t want to let a player like Norwood, Smith, or Matthews go AND lose out on Mathis just to keep Kearse.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I highly doubt they move Kearse. He’s made too many big plays over the years.

    • John_s says:

      Pete absolutely loves Kearse. No way he lets him go

      • redzone086 says:

        The problem is Kearse is a team guy that Carroll loves but he and Baldwin have trade value and I really like our WR depth so the question is can they tell the team a we just traded our most experienced WRers to keep salaries down without creating animosity? Again I love what those two bring to our team but Tyler Lockett is Baldwins replacement and Smith is Kearses replacement now or later.
        Bigger issue is how to move players and get Kam to camp without paying him more. They must hold there ground or all hell breaks lose. Great conversation peices though…

  3. CC says:

    This is one of the moves that doesn’t have to be done or if you were going to do it, maybe do this earlier. We don’t have the cap space, and if we do sign him, I fear it means Kam is going to have a long hold out.

    Can we just get to 9/13 already?

    • Michael M. says:

      Kam is going to have a long holdout either way. The ‘Hawks aren’t gonna give him a dime. It really sucks that he’s backed himself into this position, and it would really be a shame to see him miss any regular season games, both for the ‘Hawks and for Kam’s career.

      • redzone086 says:

        Bigger issue is does he come back and pull a groin then miss 4 weeks getting into playing shape?

        • arias says:

          That’s my concern as well. Those things tend to happen when a guy hasn’t had camp to get their bodies ready for the season.

  4. Trevor says:

    I was on the band wagon hard to move Gilliam to RT and pick up Mathis this off season after he got released but after signing Russ and Wagner I figured there was no shot. Have to think Schneider has something in mind where he could at least make him an offer. If not why bring him in? I know Mathis could be coming just to create leverage but what is the Hawks thinking?

    My hope is Bring in Mathis on say a 2 yr $8 mil deal, Cut Kearse to save 2.3 mil there and extend Mebane 2 more years to save a $2-3 mil in cap space there. If our SB window is the next 3 years it makes a ton of sense.

    Mebane anchor the middle of the D line and Mathis at center to anchor the OL. That way we only have to worry about signing Okung next year and let Glowinski replace Sweezy if he walks. In 2 years I think we could have a beast of replacement at Center in Sokoli.

    A line of Okung, Britt, Mathis, Sweezy, Gilliam looks like a big upgrade over last year to me.

    • bigDhawk says:

      Agree about everything except Sokoli. I was intrigued as anyone by his physical upside. While I didn’t expect to see any technical proficiency yet, I did expect to see some physical flash from him, and so far I have seen nothing. He seems to get pushed around on every play. You would figure his supposed physical talent would make up for lack of technique but it’s just not there to my eyes. Still it’s early and I’m willing to give him a year or more on the PS, but I at least want to see some of that 6-sigma SPARQ freakiness right now.

      • Jarhead says:

        See comments like these show me that people are not watching Sokoli. At least not closely. That pull he made to spring Rawls 8 yarder the other night was a thing of beauty. It was text book. And he has only been doing this a couple of months. He is powering guys down, learning how to win with his hands. He had maybe two ‘duh’ moments but my god how dare he not become an expert instantaneously at the highest level of competition. I see a lot of people post similar rhetoric to this and it just is poorly infomed. These same people that have given Michael three years to learn the most basic and simple position in football, and STILL claim he can be great, want to write off Sokoli after less than 2 halves of football. Jesus. Was anyone watching Milton get chucked around like a sack of laundry almost the whole middle of the game? Sokoli IS flashing elite tools. And even when he is just playing soid, he is stoning guys. I truly agree with the OP, regardless of where he finally gets plugged in, he is going to rock some guys.

        • WNE says:

          Jarhead:

          Right on. That is what I thought I saw. I want him on the 53 because if he is not, those damn Browns will keep picking up our throw-aways (ala Bowie) and run off into the distance with another real prospect.

          Sokoli can be a monster.

        • bigDhawk says:

          I was going to substantively respond to this, but I found it was mostly a reiteration of my OP, which tells my you didn’t really read it. So maybe go back and try again.

          • Jarhead says:

            This comment doesn’t make any sense. You made no other prior comments about Sokoli at all. Which is why I wrote what I wrote. I don’t think I have to reread anything. I think maybe you should rewatch the game perhaps and actually watch the fundamental base of Sokoli. You may find that he is much more promising than you, and many others, are giving him credit

            • Jarhead says:

              Also, his strength, burst, and quickness are all evident on the screen. You talked mostly about his SPARQ in your post, maybe that is to what you are inferring. I don’t know. But they are all clearly evident when I watch him. In fact sometimes I see him get off the ball so quickly that the opposing D Lineman uses that as an advantage get past him. It appears he should almost take it down a notch to be more clean. I am one of the folks who think SPARQ is highly overrated compared to actually being a good football player. Case in point: Christine Michael.

              • Volume12 says:

                I think SPARQ can be overrated for sure. But if you have the right coaching in place that are patient and willing to develop prospects, than not at all.

                I agree with you that Sokoli has some amazing potenial and that screen pass that Rawls droped was damn impressive. He was so quick off the line, out in front of every defender in the front 7 and had Rals caught that he probably would’ve taken it too the house, and Sokoli would have been the reason why IMO.

                He probably make the team in some way. PS, red-shirt, whatever. Not sure if he’ll ever be a starter, but he’d be a great swing lineman at the interior positions.

                • AlaskaHawk says:

                  I haven’t really noticed him yet. If he is able to hold his own against a bull rush then that is enough for now. Give him a season to mature and see what he is made of. We started Sweezy way to early in my opinion, but somehow he survived. So lets see what Sokoli is made of.

                  Regarding Christine Michaels long try out for #1 RB. He is explosive, I mostly enjoy watching Michaels chip blocks. Not sure that he will ever get it together. Running backs are so easy to replace. Would we really miss him or Turbin? I don’t think so. Smith and Rawls could step in right now and be serviceable backups to Marshawn Lynch.

  5. Trevor says:

    Rob I see Offensive Tackle and RB as the two areas of need for the Hawks in Rounds 1-2. Who are some guys you think look Seahawky that might be available the end of rounds 1-2? Just curious of some names to keep an eye on when CFB starts.

    I love Elliott but fear he is a pipe dream. As a freshman I thought he stole the show in the Bowl playoff last year and looked like a back Carrol would just love. To me he was a far superior prospect to Gurley whom most on this board love and he has no injury history.

    • Volume12 says:

      I don’t know if he is a pipe dream. Had a broken arm or wrist last year which is why he only carried the ball in his right arm. Love he violent intentions this kid runs with. Ain’t nothing soft about ‘Zeke.

    • Phil says:

      Trevor – a darkhorse RB who no one is talking about is Mikal Abdul-Saboor from William & Mary. He plays much larger than his size — 5’10” and 210 lbs.. He is a workhorse in a run-first offense. He is a one-cut and go guy who gets most of his yards between the tackles. He is at his best late in games after the D has been punished for awhile. Not flashy …. just a guy who always seems to get the most out of his carries. I’ll see if I can find some video.

    • icb says:

      2 Backs I’m watching this year:

      Devontae Booker-Utah. If he got faster in the offseason, this kid could be special in my opinion.

      Kareem Hunt-Toledo. I like this guy. Non stop drive, solid dude, hits holes like he’s pissed off. And to me still looks like he has a lot of room to improve.

      • icb says:

        I forgot one.

        Leonard Fournette-LSU. Enough said I think. Talented beyond measure. He’s a runaway semi truck. True sophomore this year though.

  6. Lewis says:

    I was thinking about Kearse as well. We don’t have that many people we could cut to make a bunch of cap space, but he has a moderate cap figure at a position where we have a bunch of options. I’m not convinced he is significantly better than those other options, though he is certainly more experienced.

    • Adog says:

      I don’t think that wr is a deep position on this team. Cutting Kearse to sign Mathis is not the mode of operation for PC/js. Perhaps they have something cap friendly to offer Mathis , but I don’t see it being cut your #2 wr to sign journeyman gaurd.

      • bigDhawk says:

        I think WR is one of the deepest squads on the team, actually. Deep enough, that keeping Kearse would mean releasing a more talented player. Kearse has made some of the most iconic, memorable catches in team history these past few years. But except for those handful of historic moments, he is mostly a waste of roster space the rest of the time. He is a solid special teamer and run blocker, but contributes very little to the passing game on a consistent basis. We didn’t have the talent behind him in previous seasons to justify replacing him, but this year I think we do, and if it means an upgrade to the OL like Mathis then I’m all in.

        • Trevor says:

          I agree 100%!

        • John_s says:

          IMO they have bodies at WR not necessarily depth.

          Matthews for what he did in the SB is still unproven and currently hurt, Lockette should only be playing special teams, Richardson is hurt, Norwood has failed to impress, Kevin Smith and Kasen are young and unproven.

          That leaves Doug and Kearse plus Lockett who looked good vs KC is just a rookie.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I suspect the team will see him worth keeping around. Big-play artist who has won games for Seattle.

      • bigDhawk says:

        I agree the team will probably see it that way, but this year I think it’s the wrong decision given the talent behind Kearse at WR and the chance to upgrade the OL with Mathis.

      • Michael M. says:

        I tend to agree with you Rob, but if the team saw it differently, do you think anyone would give anything up for Kearse, or would he simply be cut?

        • Rob Staton says:

          I’m not sure there’s much market value. He’d need a new deal. Can’t see a team offering the kind of compensation that would tempt Seattle.

  7. red says:

    We can do this to get Mathis. Extend Mebane through the next three season and see if you can get his cap hit down to 3mil or so this year. We are probably going to have to buy a Dline man next year anyway.

  8. Miles says:

    Davis Hsu tweeted that Seahawks could pro-rate Sherman’s signing bonus over the next three years, and it would save them $7.5m on the cap this year. Even though it would hurt us down the road potentially, it frees up more than enough cap room to get Mathis and then some. You get Mathis, and subtract exactly zero from the team.

  9. Cysco says:

    This tweet is interesting:

    Omar Kelly ✔@OmarKelly
    I was told today that Evan Mathis won’t leave his visit with Seattle without a deal.Good team for him. Don’t say I didn’t tell you he’s GOOD
    12:22 AM – 23 Aug 2015

    Not sure how much insider info Kelly has, but he’s got a pretty good rep.

    If the FO really believes that Britt or Mathis could play center, then let’s do this and get him in here before the next PS game.

  10. footballnerd says:

    Why not sign myers instead. He’s significantly worse than Mathis but he would come at nearly a quarter of the price

  11. Volume12 says:

    Rob, have you had the chance to check out any C prospects for 2016?

    If so, was curious as to your opinions of Mizzou’s Evan Boehm, Alabama’s Ryan Kelly, Arizona St.’s Christian Westerman, and ND ‘s Nick Martin.

  12. smitty1547 says:

    Apparently they do not seem to be as high on Myers even at a 1/4 of the price. I went to school in Houston so follow the Texan closely and he seemed to be good in my eyes as they always had a top notch run game with Myers, they must see something we are not. I agree with a lot of the other people time to cut kearse and keep one of the other Dawgs around or Daniels

  13. JeffC says:

    Anyone hear that Jordy Nelson is out for the season? I was just barely radio listening and heard it as a blurb. If so, man, that would be like losing Graham for us. Huge loss.