Taking advantage of the passing of the compensatory pick deadline, the Seahawks have been active throughout the week, signing pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah and three other veteran free agents.
And after the expected departures of former stars Kam Chancellor and Doug Baldwin, general manager John Schneider now has close to $25 million in estimated cap space at his disposal, suggesting the front office may not be done facilitating aggressive moves to further strengthen the roster.
With Will Dissly coming back from a severe knee injury and Seattle’s tight end situation facing some short and long-term question marks, could Schneider look to potentially swing a deal for Minnesota standout Kyle Rudolph?
According to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Vikings had held extensive talks with the 29-year old Rudolph on an extension. However, those negotiations hit an impasse and with the team dealing with major salary cap issues, a trade could be on the horizon.
While other teams will certainly be interested if Minnesota starts shopping Rudolph, including New England as a possible suitor, Seattle has the draft capital, financial flexibility, and positional need to emerge as an intriguing landing spot.
The Seahawks will head into the next phase of offseason workouts on May 20 with Will Dissly, Ed Dickson, Nick Vannett, and recently acquired Jacob Hollister as the most experienced tight ends on the roster. While far from a weak unit, Dissly may not be ready to return from a torn patellar tendon when training camp opens, Dickson will turn 32 in July, and Vannett will be a free agent after the 2019 season, creating plenty of uncertainty both short and long term.
By acquiring Rudolph, the Seahawks would be able to add a playoff-tested veteran who, unlike former starter Jimmy Graham, offers a well-rounded skill set that would translate well to the team’s run-heavy offensive scheme. At 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, he’s a quality in-line blocker in the run game and can be a weapon with the football in his hands, as illustrated by his career totals of 386 receptions, 3,787 yards, and 41 touchdowns.
Earlier in his career, Rudolph battled persistent injury problems, missing 15 combined games during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. But he hasn’t missed a single game over the past four seasons, hauling in 253 receptions for over 2,500 yards and 24 touchdowns during that span.
If there’s one factor that could deter Seattle from pulling the trigger on a deal for Rudolph, it’s the fact that the two-time Pro Bowler will become a free agent after the 2019 season without handing him a pricey extension.
The Seahawks already have linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive tackle Jarran Reed heading into the final year of their respective contracts, and after trading away Frank Clark due to his contract demands, giving a player from the outside an extension first may not sit well in the locker room.
Still, given the fact Dissly will likely need extended time before he returns to rookie form and Vannett may not be back next season, the Seahawks would be wise to give the Vikings a call and inquire about their asking price. If Schneider only had to part ways with a mid-round pick for 2020, he’d be a significant upgrade to round out Seattle’s offense.