The first addition to the Seattle Seahawks' rapidly depleting offensive line came Monday, though it wasn't the splashy signing some fans had hoped.
While incumbent starting left tackle Russell Okung remains a free agent, the Seahawks instead shifted their attention to veteran Bradley Sowell, a four-year veteran who spent the past three seasons playing for the division rival Arizona Cardinals.
The 6-7, 315 pound Sowell started 12 games at left tackle for the Cardinals back in 2013 but has been relegated to backup duty the past two seasons after Arizona invested in Jared Veldheer, Bobby Massie and most recently D.J. Humphries. That pushed Sowell into a swing tackle role similar to what Alvin Bailey served for Seattle the past few seasons before inking a deal last week with the Cleveland Browns.
Sowell was viewed as a late round prospect when he left the Mississippi Rebels as a two-time All-SEC honoree in 2011. He has experience playing all four exterior positions and while lacking top quickness and balance for protecting against speed rushers, he's long, powerful and aggressive -- making him a solid fit in an offense built much more around running the football than the aerial attack he left in Arizona. Check out this game film, for example, of Sowell starting (and playing well) against a talented Alabama defense.
Sowell has no prior injuries to worry about and comes with a sterling record off the field, earning team captain honors while at Ole Miss and generating positive remarks from Arizona's coaches throughout his time with the Cardinals. Sowell was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was signed off of their practice squad by the Indianapolis Colts, for whom he played 10 games in 2011 before signing a three-year deal with the Cardinals.
While perhaps not a "sexy" signing, inking Sowell does reflect Seattle's efforts thus far this season to reload with younger, bigger bodies along the line of scrimmage. After allowing Bailey, Sweezy and popular defensive tackle Brandon Mebane to leave as free agents, the Seahawks have re-signed Ahtyba Rubin, visited with several bigger defensive tackles like Al Woods and Sammie Lee Hill and now added Sowell.
The addition of Sowell isn't likely to impact Seattle's plans with the No. 26 overall pick, which look increasingly likely to be spent on an offensive lineman with each day that Okung (or a more prominent free agent like him at that position) isn't added to the roster. Fortunately, as noted here, there are several worthwhile candidates to consider at this position early in the 2016 NFL Draft.