In professional sports, things are always evolving. A tight used to function as a glorified lineman, adding extra muscle to the offensive line; now, guys like Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski play more like wide receivers than anything else. The Seattle Seahawks are conscious of that reality, as they went out and signed Greg Olsen in free agency.
While Greg Olsen might be on the back nine of his career, the veteran still had his choice of teams. There was one specific factor, however, that convinced him to sign on the dotted line and join the Seattle Seahawks.
Greg Olsen’s football career
During high school, Greg Olsen shone his school’s football and track and field teams. When it came time to take things to the next level, though, he decided to stay on the gridiron.
Despite his talent, Olsen didn’t immediately hit his stride at the college level. He enrolled at Notre Dame, but promptly transferred to the University of Miami. After missing a season with shoulder problems, the tight end played three seasons with the Hurricanes; he caught a total of 87 passes for 1,215 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
The Chicago Bears snagged Olsen with the 31st overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft. While he developed into a solid tight end, his time in the Midwest wouldn’t last; the club traded Olsen to Carolina during the summer of 2011.
Olsen wasn’t the only arrival that summer, though, as the Panthers drafted Cam Newton. The two quickly struck up a strong relationship; since moving to Carolina, the tight end piled up 6,463 receiving yards, 39 touchdowns, and 340 receiving first downs. Like Newton, his problem as never talent, it was staying healthy.
Leaving the Carolina Panthers and heading to Seattle
In April 2018, the Carolina Panthers inked Greg Olsen to a two-year contract extension. While the tight end missed half of the previous season with a foot injury, the team apparently felt comfortable rolling the dice. That would prove to be a mistake.
During the 2018 campaign, Olsen continued to have foot problems, only appearing in nine games. While the tight end managed to appear in 14 games in 2019, his production wasn’t worth the money; the Panthers cut him in February, rather than paying the $11.6 million he was owed.
While the move was billed as a mutual agreement, Olsen later stated that those reports were “a little overblown.” While the veteran tight end would have loved to stay in Carolina, he saw the writing on the wall and accepted his fate; that didn’t mean he was ready to call it a career, though.
On Tuesday night, he apparently found his destination. While the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins were apparently interested in his services, Olsen signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks.
What made Greg Olsen choose the Seahawks?
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Greg Olsen “really liked” what he heard during his meetings with the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills. At the end of the day, however, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play with Russell Wilson.
When you look at both Olsen’s current situation and the Seahawks’ offense, the deal makes sense for both parties. One of the tight end’s big regrets during his time in Carolina was failing to lift the Lombardi Trophy; while anything can happen on any given Sunday, he should have a shot at the title in the Pacific Northwest. Olsen will also give Seattle, who has struggled to find a consistent tight end, a big, experienced target for Russell Wilson.
Greg Olsen’s future might be in the NFL broadcast booth, but joining the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson was too good of an opportunity to pass up. A chance to win a Super Bowl title won’t hurt, either.