The Seahawks recently declined the fifth-year option on linebacker Jordyn Brooks, which would have locked in a fully-guaranteed salary of $12.7MM for 2024. Brooks will therefore be eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of the upcoming season.
Seattle’s decision was not a surprising one, as Brooks suffered an ACL tear in January and is therefore a candidate to begin the 2023 campaign on the PUP list. And even if he did not sustain that injury, it’s difficult to know whether the ‘Hawks would have exercised his fifth-year option. After all, $12.7MM is a steep price to pay for an inside linebacker who, despite gaudy tackle numbers, generally struggles in coverage and does not offer much by way of pass rush production.
Head coach Pete Carroll, though, still sees Brooks as a core piece of the club’s defense for the foreseeable future.
“He’s got a long, long future for us,” Carroll said during a recent appearance on 93.3 KJR (via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com). “We love the way he plays and what he brings and all of that. We’ve got to orchestrate the way we move forward. The decision we made now (with respect to the fifth-year option), this is not an indication of our future. We expect Jordyn to be with us for a long time.”
In 2021, his first year as a full-time starter, Brooks set the Seahawks’ single-season tackle record with 181, and he became the team’s defensive signal-caller in 2022 after the departure of franchise icon Bobby Wagner. In the wake of Brooks’ injury and Cody Barton‘s decision to join the Commanders in free agency, Seattle reunited with Wagner and signed former Steelers first-rounder Devin Bush. Both of those contracts, however, are for one-year terms, and the ‘Hawks did not select any inside linebackers in the draft.
So, despite the ACL tear and Brooks’ shortcomings, it is very possible that Carroll’s remarks were more than lip service, and that he truly does envision a new contract for Brooks at some point. If nothing else, the Texas Tech product offers high-end tackling ability and familiarity with the club’s defensive scheme, and there is value in that.
In addition to Brooks, Carroll also spoke about the Seahawks’ selection of cornerback Devon Witherspoon with their first pick (No. 5 overall) in last month’s draft. That choice registered as something of a surprise, as Witherspoon does not have the length that Seattle typically looks for in its CBs, and the team had a more pressing need for a front-seven defender.
One of this year’s top non-QB prospects was Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter, who would have seemingly represented a good marriage of need and value for the Seahawks. The club’s decision to bypass Carter in favor of Witherspoon suggested to many that Seattle was scared off by Carter’s character concerns and/or his underwhelming Pro Day performance, but Carroll said that was not the case.
“We spent a lot of time (with Carter) and felt comfortable that we knew what we were dealing with,” Carroll said (Twitter link via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). “There was just a special aspect of Devon and the way that he fit in. Was going to be a rare opportunity, so we jumped at it.”
Predraft reports indicated that Carroll was more inclined to select Carter than other members of the team’s power structure, but even if Carter was the head coach’s preference, it’s difficult to argue with the Witherspoon selection. Witherspoon was widely-regarded as the best corner in the draft, he plays a premium position, and he and second-year pro Tariq Woolen should form a young, dynamic starting tandem on the boundaries of the Seattle defense.
2 comments on “Seahawks HC Pete Carroll On LB Jordyn Brooks, CB Devon Witherspoon”
Biggest issue is that he’s really a two down run stopper and that’s not worth $12M+ a year. In comparison they have all three of BWagz, Bush, and Brooks this year for the same number. Brooks is worth like $12M/3yrs total in the market
I think that is why teams don’t draft an ILB in the first round. Their fifth year option will always be more expensive than the market value of an ILB. The same can be said about a running back. It’s preferable to get a player at a premium position in round 1 because the fifth year option can actually be exercised. Drafting at the end of the round doesn’t always make that possible, and you just take the best player available and worry about an extension later.