Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks looks on during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

by Curtis Crabtree
KJR reporter
Twitter: @Curtis_Crabtree

RENTON - It should be no shocking revelation by now that the Seahawks offensive line was the lowest paid unit in the league this season.

The group was a collection of young and inexperienced players that struggled to mesh together as the season progressed. Injuries to Germain Ifedi and Bradley Sowell stunted progress and led to shuffling of pieces across the line as well.

No starter on the offensive line has more than Justin Britt's three years of NFL experience. George Fant, Joey Hunt, Rees Odhiambo and Ifedi all played as rookies on the line.

But despite the issues the unit experienced this season, head coach Pete Carroll believes continuity will be the most significant factor in putting together a more capable unit next season.

"I think we made a ton of progress, and knowing how much guys improve from one year to the next — and particularly the youngest guys improve the most — we have nothing but good things to think that will take place and the guys are going to get better," Carroll said on Monday.

Sowell will be an unrestricted free agent. Garry Gilliam will be a restricted free agent. Seattle could certainly look to add to the tackle spots via free agency and the draft.

"We’ll never turn away from any of those chances," Carroll said. "But if nothing happened these guys are coming back, and they’re going to get after it. They’re going to be farther along than they were. It couldn’t be more obvious. That’s just a natural thing that’s going to happen. We need that natural occurrence to take place and help us be better from the start."

Just don't expect Seattle to throw money at the problem in an attempt to put a band aid on the issue.

"I don’t think that way. That’s now how we — OK, let’s take money and put it here and all of sudden you’re going to be better. You’ve got to get guys that can play worthy of it, and when they demonstrate that then they get paid. We’ve shown that we understand that and are committed to that mentality.

"I don’t think you can just buy your way to it. We’re not going to do that. We’re not going to go out and spend a ton of money in free agency, on one guy to try to save the day. That’s not how we function at all."

Britt will absolutely be back as the team's center after finding a home after position changes each of the last two years. Ifedi will remain at right guard. Glowinski is likely to be the left guard again next year as well.

That leaves the two tackle spots as possible areas of change. Seattle elected to stick with Fant at left tackle after a knee injury to Sowell midseason sidelined him for four weeks.

In some ways, Fant is still an unknown. Seattle is really high on his potential for the long-term and believe he'll make a big step forward next season. However, they can't go into next season without another option either.

"If we have to make some moves we will, but we would like to see continuity be really important," Carroll said.

The Seahawks will have to add help to their offensive line. They need to add competition in their depth and for the tackle positions. But a major overhaul of the group isn't likely to happen.