The Seahawks have made offseason defensive line changeovers a regular occurrence during the 2020s, but they went through their best effort this year. Up front in Seattle’s 3-4 defense, three free agents may well be called upon to start — on a defense that features 2022 signee (and 2023 extension recipient) Uchenna Nwosu as its edge-rushing anchor.
Seattle made Dre’Mont Jones the centerpiece of its free agency plan, giving the ex-Denver starter a three-year, $51MM deal. Jones is naturally taking up residence with the first-stringers. Two lower-cost additions join him tup front at this point in camp. The returning Jarran Reed and Mario Edwards are in place as Seattle’s other starters during camp work, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes.
Despite Reed and the Seahawks completing an unexpected divorce in 2021, the sides remained on relatively good terms. After seasons with the Chiefs and Packers, Reed agreed to return on a two-year, $9MM deal. Edwards, who spent last season with the Titans, signed for just above the veteran minimum (one year, $1.32MM) shortly after the draft. Nevertheless, the former Raiders second-rounder has opened as a defensive end opposite Jones in DC Clint Hurtt‘s 3-4 scheme.
The Seahawks sought Edwards for his run defense, and Condotta adds the team has been intrigued by the ninth-year vet’s ability against ground attacks. The Seahawks ranked 30th against the run last season. Pro Football Focus has not viewed Edwards, 29, as the steadiest run defender in recent years. But the advanced metrics site placed him among the top 25 edge players against the run in 2022. Edwards has seen extensive time on the interior as well over the course of his career.
Reed, 30, operated more as inside pass rusher during his first go-round with the Seahawks, a period that saw the former second-round pick parlay a 10.5-sack 2018 season — in the team’s 4-3 alignment of the era — into a two-year, $23MM deal. The Seahawks, however, are stationing Reed at nose tackle, per Condotta. This would mark a considerable shift from the imposing Al Woods manning the post. But Reed and Jones are in line to be the team’s two D-tackles when the Seahawks shift into sub-packages. As the sub-base ratios keep skewing toward the former, Reed may not end up spending too much time as a true nose tackle.
The Seahawks do not have much experience behind their top three, however, with Bryan Mone on the team’s active/PUP list. Mone suffered an ACL tear in December and is a candidate to start the season on the reserve/PUP list, which requires at least a four-game absence. The Seahawks should be expected to look for more veteran help on their D-line before the season starts, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com adds. Condotta views a search for outside help as likely as well.
Notable D-linemen on the market include Ndamukong Suh, Akiem Hicks, Michael Brockers and Matt Ioannidis. The Seahawks did use fourth- and fifth-round picks on D-linemen (Cameron Young and Mike Morris), but after a surprising playoff berth last season, the team can further fortify its front with one of these vets or via a younger, lower-profile addition.