A three-year starter with the Broncos, Alexander Johnson did not generate much free agency interest this offseason. Despite past production, the veteran defender lingered on the market for seven-plus months. The Seahawks will provide another opportunity.
Seattle is adding Johnson to its practice squad, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets. The team also activated L.J. Collier from injured reserve. Wednesday marked the final day Collier could hold an IR-return designation. The former first-rounder remaining on IR after today would have meant his season was over. The Seahawks also signed wide receiver Kevin Kassis to their P-squad.
Only a four-year veteran, Johnson is nearing his 31st birthday. An off-field issue delayed the off-ball linebacker’s NFL entrance, but he produced once bumped into Denver’s starting lineup early in Vic Fangio‘s tenure. Pro Football Focus consistently graded Johnson as one of the league’s top off-ball ‘backers. The Tennessee alum posted 124 tackles in his most recent full season (2020), helping Fangio’s defense particularly against the run. Johnson joined offseason Seahawk trade acquisition Shelby Harris as key Fangio-era starters in Denver.
An injury also affected Johnson’s market. After placing a second-round RFA tender on Johnson last year, the Broncos moved on following the linebacker’s torn pec. Denver lost both its primary off-ball starters last season, but its new regime re-signed Josey Jewell over Johnson. With Seattle DC Clint Hurtt being a Fangio disciple, Johnson could prove a fit.
The Seahawks moved on from Bobby Wagner this offseason, giving Cody Barton a starting job alongside Jordyn Brooks. While Brooks continues to work as an every-down player, Barton has seen his role diminish somewhat in recent weeks. Tanner Muse, Nick Bellore and Cullen Gillaspia reside as the backup linebackers on Seattle’s 53-man roster.
Brown has been out since November 2021 due to a knee injury. The 2021 fourth-round pick started three games as a rookie, but the Seahawks have made some changes at the position since Brown last played. They have used two 2022 draftees — Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant — as regulars. Homer, who has been with the Seahawks since 2019, suffered a rib injury against the Falcons in Week 3. Kenneth Walker has taken over as Seattle’s lead back, but Homer has been a backup presence and special teams regular since 2019.