After a methodical approach to defensive line upgrades this offseason, the Seahawks moved quickly this week. Jarran Reed‘s suspension prompted the team to revisit Earl Mitchell, who agreed to terms Wednesday, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.
Mitchell was one of a few defensive tackles to visit Seattle this offseason, making his trip in March. The team passed at that point and did the same after Corey Liuget paid a visit in April. The Seahawks opted for Al Woods, who joined Liuget on that visit. Now, the team — the only one connected to Mitchell this offseason — will employ both Woods and Mitchell.
News of Reed’s six-game ban led the Seahawks to pursue outside help, and Mitchell will join Woods, Poona Ford, Quinton JeffersonandJamie Meder as key Seattle interior linemen. Mitchell, 31, has started for three teams in a nine-year career. Most recently, he worked as a first-stringer for the 49ers, joining their crew of first-round defensive line investments. Mitchell has started 66 games for the Texans, Dolphins and 49ers.
After failing to find a trade partner, the 49ers released Mitchell just before free agency. He spent four seasons in Houston, three in Miami and will likely serve as a lower-cost option for a Seahawks team that will be without Reed (10.5 sacks in 2018) for six games.
In addition to the Mitchell signing, Seattle also signed WR Daniel Williams. To make room, the club waived RB Marcelias Suttonand CB Derrek Thomas.
Jason Verrett signed a one-year, $3MM deal with the 49ers this offseason, but the ex-Chargers cornerback says he actually contemplated retirement before landing in San Francisco, per SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Verrett, who was in a “dark place” while deciding on his NFL future, has only played in five total games over the past three seasons, with various injuries — including a torn ACL and a ruptured Achilles — ending his campaigns. The 49ers ranked 26th in defensive DVOA against No. 2 wideouts in 2018, so they can use all they help they can get opposite Richard Sherman. Verrett, an excellent corner when healthy, is expected to compete with Ahkello Witherspoon and Tarvarius Moore for the job.
Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:
Fullback Nick Bellore‘s contract with the Seahawks is worth $2.23MM over two years, tweets Brady Henderson of ESPN.com. Bellore will receive $600K guaranteed, including a $300K signing bonus and a $300K 2019 base salary guarantee. A linebacker who played primarily on special teams for the first seven years of his NFL career, Bellore converted to the offensive side of the ball last summer. The 30-year-old appeared in 14 games for the Lions in 2018, playing 118 snaps on offense and 238 on special teams. Seattle used a fullback on only 8% of its plays last season.
New Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco will take all the first-team reps at organized team activities, head coach Vic Fangio told reporters, including Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). That’s perhaps unsurprising, as Flacco is fully expected to be Denver’s starter despite the club selecting Missouri’s Drew Lock in the second round. Indeed, Flacco’s performance in early Broncos practices dissuaded general managerJohn Elway from drafting a signal-caller on Day 1 of the draft. Lock, veteran Kevin Hogan, and undrafted free agent Brett Rypien will compete to become Denver’s second and third quarterback.
The Seahawks gave significant signing bonuses to several of their undrafted collegiate free agents, as Henderson tweets. Quarterback Taryn Christion, receiver Terry Wright, and cornerbacks Derrek Thomas and Davante Davis each received a $10K bonus. As Henderson notes, though, that level of guarantee doesn’t necessarily ensure a roster spot. In 2018, Seattle gave receiver Ka’Raun White a $14K bonus but cut him after rookie minicamp. Click on Henderson’s tweet to see the full list of the Seahawks’ UDFA signing bonuses.
Free agent offensive tackle Dieugot Joseph is meeting with the Chiefs today, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). An undrafted free agent out of Florida International University in 2017, Joseph has spent time with the Bears, Ravens, Vikings, and Jets but has yet to appear in an NFL game.
When combined with the Seahawks’ draft class, Ferguson and Wright represent the fourth and fifth rookie wideouts added to the roster. D.K. Metcalf obviously arrives as the highest-profile target, but Seattle also used a fourth-round pick on Wake Forest’s Gary Jennings. Wright averaged 16.7 yards per catch last season, hauling in five touchdowns with the 2018 Boilermakers. Ferguson put up better stats at the Division I-FCS level, becoming the Southland Conferece’s offensive player of the year after a 1,117-yard, 13-touchdown season.
The Seahawks did not use any of their 11 draft choices on cornerbacks, nor did they sign any this offseason. That may increase the Big 12-produced corners’ chances of making the team. However, seven corners already reside on Seattle’s roster.
While Choice was not Clemson’s lead back last season, he was the national champions’ second-leading rusher with 548 yards. En route to seven rushing touchdowns, Choice averaged 7.1 yards per carry. Christion finished as the Jackrabbits’ all-time leader in all notable passing categories. He ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at South Dakota State’s pro day and may have a decent chance to make the Seahawks’ roster. Paxton Lynch represents Seattle’s only backup quarterback option, and Chad Kelly quickly beat him out for the Broncos’ QB2 job last year.