Analysis: Reviewing Seahawks’ eventful first week of free agency
March 18, 2023 Updated Sat., March 18, 2023 at 4:42 p.m.
SEATTLE – It was a first week of free agency unlike most in recent Seahawks history.
Varying from their usual modus operandi of mostly sitting out the first wave and signing veterans to short contracts, the Seahawks struck early and big with a first-day signing of Dre’Mont Jones to a three-year deal worth an average of $17.1 million per year.
In addressing their biggest need – beefing up the defensive line – Seattle handed out the second-biggest contract given so far in free agency to an interior defensive lineman and to date the 13th largest to any player this offseason, according to OvertheCap.com.
The Seahawks then signed four other new players, all of whom could be starters or have key roles in 2023.
As the first week wraps up, let’s review what Seattle has done, what still needs to be done and take a shot at answering a few questions.
Free agents gained
DL Dre’Mont Jones, DL Jarran Reed, LB Devin Bush, S/CB Julian Love, C Evan Brown
Comment: Seattle landed a starting end in Jones, a starting tackle/end in Reed, a probable starting linebacker in Bush (either middle or weakside, depending on how things evolve), a starting center in Brown and a player in Love who could emerge as a starting safety or nickel corner, or a valued player in subpackages.
Free agents lost
LB Cody Barton, RB Rashaad Penny, RB Travis Homer
Comment: Word is Seattle wanted and hoped to re-sign Penny, but after five injury-filled years with the Seahawks, he preferred to head elsewhere and get a fresh start, landing a one-year deal with the Eagles. Barton’s loss created a hole the team hopes Bush can fill. Homer was a valued special teams player as well as a backup running back. Expect Seattle to land an RB in the draft, if not free agency.
Free agents re-signed
QB Drew Lock: Seattle also placed a right-of-first-refusal tender on safety Ryan Neal and gave qualifying offers to exclusive rights free agents DT Myles Adams, CB Michael Jackson and LB Jon Rhattigan.
Comment: Seattle gave Lock as big of a contract as it has to a backup QB with a base value of $4 million in 2023, almost triple the $1.4 million he made in 2022, and basically the same contract Tampa Bay just gave Baker Mayfield. But the going rate for backup QBs has been increasing, and it also shows how much Seattle values Lock and wants to keep him around.
Another mild surprise was Seattle not giving a second-round tender to Neal, which would have meant $4.3 million in 2023 instead of $2.6, but also meant Seattle would get compensation if he signs elsewhere. But maybe the Seahawks also knew at the time they might have a shot at someone like Love, with the safety market turning out to be a bit milder than anticipated. Seattle also didn’t tender ERFA RB Godwin Igwebuike. But he may still figure in the team’s plans.
Defensive linemen Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson
Comment: Seattle cut Harris and Jefferson to create more than $13 million in cap space and essentially used that money to replace them on the defensive line with Jones and Reed. It’s considered still possible the Seahawks could bring back Harris, whose release saved $8.9 million.
Free agents unsigned
The Seahawks still have 17 of their players who became unrestricted free agents on Wednesday who remain unsigned.
Comment: But if you don’t consider center Austin Blythe, who announced his retirement, only four who remain unsigned could be considered starters or had key regular rotational roles last year – defensive tackle Poona Ford, edge/OLB Bruce Irvin, WR Marquise Goodwin and long snapper Carson Tinker. Tyler Ott, who was the snapper before suffering a shoulder injury and going on IR and was replaced by Tinker, also is a UFA. Seattle obviously needs a snapper, so something has to give there at some point. Seattle, though, could be moving on from Ford, though there has been little reported about interest in him from anyone.
Linebacker Tanner Muse and WR Penny Hart, each not tendered as restricted free agents, could also be back at cheaper salaries.
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