Shortly before the 2022 season, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll assessed his team’s tight ends in pretty glowing terms.
“The position is really strong,” Carroll said.
And while Carroll won’t ever deny he’s naturally given to optimism — and at times maybe hyperbole — the facts bore that out.
The Seahawks got 110 receptions for 1,157 yards and 10 touchdowns out of their tight ends in 2022, with their three main players at that position — Noah Fant, Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson — each ranked among the top 25 in receiving and top 29 overall at the end of the year in grades from Pro Football Focus.
Fant’s 50 receptions were the most in franchise history by any Seahawk tight end other than Jimmy Graham and John Carlson, and Seattle’s 10 touchdowns by tight ends were tied for the fourth-most of any team in the NFL (two ahead of them were Kansas City, where Travis Kelce had 12, and San Francisco, where George Kittle had 11).
And in good news for the Seahawks, all are under contract for 2023, making tight end maybe the most stable position on the team.
As we continue our Seahawks position overviews, let’s take a little closer look at the tight end spot:
Snaps played in regular season: 569
Contract situation: Dissly is entering the second season of a three-year deal that can pay up to $24 million overall.
Snaps played in regular season: 660
Contract situation: Fant is due to make $6.85 million in 2023 after the Seahawks picked up a fifth-year option on his rookie contract.
Snaps played in regular season: 443
Contract situation: Parkinson is entering the final season of his four-year rookie deal due to make $1.010 million in 2023.
Snaps played in regular season: 11
Contract situation: Mabry is under contract through 2023, according to OvertheCap.com, and due to make $870,000.
While the Seahawks could rightly point to tight end as a strength, Seattle had made some significant investments to make it so in the offseason, acquiring Fant in the Russell Wilson trade and picking up his option for 2023, and re-signing Dissly before the free agent signing period officially began.
The Seahawks also banked on getting a breakout year from Parkinson, a fourth-round pick out of Stanford in 2020, after his first two years were stunted due to injuries.
While teams and fans might always want more — and there were a few moments when the tight ends might not have seemed as involved as desired — in general, the numbers bear out the Seahawks mostly got what they were paying for.
As noted, Fant’s 50 catches, while below the career-high 68 he had in Denver in 2021, were the fifth-most by a tight end in team history behind two years from Graham and two years from Carlson. Graham holds the single-season record for a tight end with 65 in 2016.
Dissly set a career-high with 34 before missing the last two games with a knee injury while also turning in the 13th-best run blocking grade of any tight end in the NFL from Pro Football Focus.
And Parkinson indeed showed why the team drafted him in the first place with 25 catches for 322 yards — including 10 for 118 yards and a TD in the last three games, the final two after Dissly was hurt midway through the Kansas City game — while also turning in the eighth-highest running blocking grade of any tight end from PFF.
Mabry, mostly a practice squadder the past three years, had to play some late in the year, officially signed to the active roster before the final game, and had his first TD to help key the win over the Jets.
As noted, the Seahawks don’t have to do much of anything when it comes to their tight end spot, especially with the top three under contract.
But, that stability is coming with a somewhat hefty price tag — the Seahawks have $18.087 million committed to tight ends next year, the fifth-most at that position of any NFL team, according to OvertheCap.com. That includes Fant’s salary being fully guaranteed, with Dissly’s base salary of $5.6 million becoming fully guaranteed later this month.
The biggest question mark might be the health of Dissly, whose knee injury was left shrouded in some mystery during Carroll’s end-of-season news conference.
Said Carroll: “This is one that we don’t know. What they are doing right now is that they are waiting to see how he heals in regard to surgery. Does he need surgery or not? We don’t know that yet. I think they said that it was going to be a couple of months, two or three months of rehab to see if it just heals up so they don’t have to go in and do something. We never had the injury before. I can’t tell you what it is, but it’s in an unusual place and it’s an unusual return because we don’t have the background on it. We will just wait and see. He’s doing well, he’s making progress, and is feeling more comfortably. He’s not on crutches and stuff. He’s really returning, but we won’t know for a while.”
But with next season now roughly more than seven months away, the assumption is “a while” will be long enough for Dissly to make it back.
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