Seahawks tight end Will Dissly celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second half of a game against the Jets on Dec. 13, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Seahawks tight end Will Dissly celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second half of a game against the Jets on Dec. 13, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Seahawks position overview: Tight end

Seattle may look from within to bolster tight-end spot in 2021.

  • By Bob Condotta The Seattle Times
  • Monday, January 25, 2021 1:30am
  • SportsSeahawks

By Bob Condotta / The Seattle Times

A review of the Seattle Seahawks’ position groups continues with the tight ends, a spot that initially appeared to be a vastly improved and key part of the offense. Instead, it became a spot where things didn’t ever seem to go as planned.

Here’s a look:


Greg Olsen

Age: 35.

Snaps played in regular season: 429.

Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent/retired


Will Dissly

Age: 24

Snaps played: 557.

Contract situation: Entering final season of four-year rookie deal. Due to make $920,000 in 2021.

Jacob Hollister

Age: 27.

Snaps played: 374.

Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent.

Colby Parkinson

Age: 22.

Snaps played: 51.

Contract situation: Rookie contract lasts through 2023. Due to make $780,000 in 2021.

Luke Willson

Age: 31.

Snaps played: 10.

Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent.

2020 review

The Seahawks came out of the free-agency period last year with what appeared to be an improved tight-end corps, signing future Hall of Famer Olsen to a one-year, $6.9 million deal, and re-signing Hollister and Willson to join returnee Dissly.

They added two more in Parkinson and seventh-round pick Stephen Sullivan in the NFL draft, and some wondered why the Seahawks were adding to an already loaded group.

Pro Football Focus ranked the Seahawks with the 16th-best tight-end corps entering the season, writing: “There are plenty of solid options at tight end for the Seahawks, but their best-case scenario is a rejuvenated Olsen combined with Dissly proving that his big plays have not been a fluke.”

But that best-case scenario didn’t come to fruition.

Age and injuries seemed to catch up with Olsen. He scored his only touchdown in the season opener and finished with just 24 catches for 239 yards.

Dissly made an inspirational, if not remarkable, recovery from an Achilles injury in 2019 after a knee injury in 2018.

But he didn’t quite return to his 2018-19 form, maybe in part due to playing more in a blocking role after the loss of George Fant. Dissly’s stats for a full season in 2020 — 24 receptions for 251 yards and two touchdowns — barely matched what he had in six games in 2019 (23 catches, 262 yards, four TDs).

Hollister was retained with a $3.2 million restricted free-agent contract. But, oddly, he barely played the first five games — just 48 snaps. That could have been because the Seahawks were dangling him in trade talks.

He played 23 or more snaps in nine of the last 11 games but ended up with 40 fewer snaps than in 2019 and lower numbers all around — 25 receptions for 209 yards compared with 41 for 349 in 2019.

Willson surprisingly was kept as a fourth tight end but played just 10 snaps before being waived when Parkinson recovered from a broken foot (Willson later returned but didn’t see action.)

Parkinson played in six games with two receptions for 16 yards, both in the blowout of the Jets.

The upshot was Seattle’s tight ends in 2020 basically produced the same as they’d done the year before despite the greater investment — Seattle spent just more than $12 million on the tight-end spot in 2020, 11th-most in the NFL.

Seattle’s tight ends combined for 4.7 receptions and 44.7 yards per game in 2020 compared with 4.8 and 45.8 in 2019 when it combined to make $6.7 million.

The lack of production from the tight ends came to a head in the playoff defeat against the Rams, when Russell Wilson was 1 for 7 for 1 yard when targeting tight ends.

2021 preview

Olsen announced his retirement on Sunday to take an analyst job with FOX. Hollister and Willson are free agents, and Willson would seem unlikely to return.

Head coach Pete Carroll acknowledged after the season that the injuries and long rehabs the past two years might have caught up to Dissly.

“Diss will be better than he was,” Carroll said last week. “Two straight years of major surgery to overcome. He’ll be better.”

Carroll said he also was “really excited” about Parkinson.

Seattle has high hopes for Sullivan, who was moved to defensive end at midseason and played in one game against the 49ers. He is expected to return to tight end.

Undrafted rookie free agent Tyler Mabry spent the season on the practice squad after impressing in camp.

Will the Seahawks bring back Hollister? If so, it would probably be for less than what he made this season. But if so, they might not have to do much at this position other than hope for improvement, and that a new offensive coordinator will find ways to get them the ball.

“That’s a good spot,” Carroll said of the tight ends after the season.

Having used two draft choices on tight ends last year and with just five overall picks this year, Seattle would seem more likely to fill out the position through veteran or undrafted rookie free agency.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Seahawks offensive and defensive linemen jog up the field before the team's mock NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, in Seattle. (Jennifer Buchanan/The Seattle Times via AP)
Lock wins first big test in Seahawks’ QB competition

The 4th-year quarterback outplays veteran Geno Smith in Seattle’s mock game at Lumen Field.

Cory McKenna (top) tries to submit Miranda Granger during a UFC mixed martial arts match on Aug. 6, 2022, in Las Vegas. (Photo via ESPN MMA)
Glacier Peak grad Granger defeated in return to action

The Snohomish native loses by second-round submission to Cory McKenna in her first fight in nearly two years.

Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird sits on the bench during a WNBA basketball game against the Minnesota Lynx, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in Seattle. Bird is retiring at the end of the 2022 season. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Bird at peace for what could be final game in Seattle

The basketball icon, who is retiring at the end of the season, will be celebrated in front of a record crowd on Sunday.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox battered, drop 4th straight game to Hops

Everett pitchers allow 18 hits in a 13-2 loss to Hillsboro.

Los Angeles Angels' David Fletcher, right, is congratulated by Jared Walsh after hitting a two-run home run off Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Chris Flexen during the sixth inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, in Seattle. Walsh scored on the homer. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Mariners fall to Angels in Game 2, split doubleheader

Seattle welcomes Mitch Haniger back to the lineup, but can’t solve Angels starter Reid Detmers in a 7-1 loss.

Seattle Mariners' Ty France (23) celebrates at the plate with Jarred Kelenic after hitting a two-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Caean Couto)
Mariners edge Angels in Game 1 of doubleheader

Ty France homers to back a quality start from George Kirby in Seattle’s 2-1 win.

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly stretches during NFL football practice Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
How Dissly, Seahawks agreed to most ‘shocking’ offseason deal

An inside look at the frantic hours that kept the young tight end away from his old QB, Russell Wilson, in Denver.

Washington ege Zion Tupuola-Fetui (58) and teammates take part in the NCAA college football team's practice in Seattle on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times via AP)
Fall returns to Husky Stadium as UW opens preseason camp

Under a slight mist, the Washington football team holds its first preseason practice under new head coach Kalen DeBoer.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox drop 3rd consecutive game to Hops

Everett allows six runs in the first inning and never recovers in a 9-4 defeat.

Most Read