Seahawks Lose Second Key Defensive Lineman in Free Agency

Seahawks News

Getty Former Seahawks defensive tackle Al Woods has signed with the Jaguars.

The Seahawks have been busy making moves in free agency, but it comes at a price. Defensive tackle Al Woods signed with Jaguars after being a big part of the Seahawks’ success towards their stretch run in 2019. Woods’ season ended abruptly on a four-game suspension, and the team felt his absence in the postseason.

Woods is not the only Seahawks’ casualty as Quinton Jefferson signed a two-year deal with the Bills. Jefferson started 12 games for the Seahawks at defensive end notching 3.5 sacks and 26 tackles. Woods started five games and had 32 tackles along with a sack prior to his suspension.

Both players had bright spots last season, but overall the unit struggled to get to the quarterback. Here is the challenge, the Seahawks have made just one signing (Bruce Irvin) to improve their defensive line. The Seahawks made it clear early in the offseason that improving the pass rush was their top priority.

Yet, the Seahawks are in a holding pattern as Jadeveon Clowney weighs his options. Clowney is waiting to see if a better offer will emerge, but so far the Seahawks’ $18.5 million annual salary (per Sports Illustrated’s Corbin Smith) on a multi-year deal has been the most lucrative contract by most accounts. The Seahawks are betting that Clowney will eventually cave but are also in danger of losing the pass rusher to another team on a short-term deal.

The Seahawks Re-Signed Defensive Tackle Jarran Reed

The first move the Seahawks made in free agency was re-signing one of their own, defensive tackle Jarran Reed. The Seahawks are betting that Reed can have a much better season than 2019 when he failed to find a rhythm after returning from a lengthy suspension. So far, Reed and Irvin are the only moves the Seahawks made to improve the pass rush.

An argument can be made that the Seahawks trading for cornerback Quinton Dunbar should help the defensive line just by having better coverage in the secondary. That said, the clearest way for the Seahawks to improve the defensive line is by adding more pass rushers. Even if the Seahawks re-sign Clowney, they still have more work to do heading into the 2020 season.

The Seahawks Need to Know Clowney’s Next Move

If Clowney opts to leave, it puts the Seahawks in a bind as the majority of top pass rushers are already signed elsewhere. The Seahawks can turn to the next tier of players like Everson Griffen on a short-term contract. This is assuming Griffen remains content to wait out Clowney’s decision. The longer this plays out, the likelihood increases that the Seahawks will be left holding an empty bag if Clowney departs.

The same could be said for Clowney as more and more teams spend their cap money. As each day passes, Clowney’s chances of landing a magical godfather offer becomes more like a pipe dream. If Clowney indeed wants to re-sign with the Seahawks, the sooner the deal is completed increases the chances that the Seahawks can surround him with more talent on the line. The longer Clowney waits, the chances increase that he is the only pass rusher remaining to turn the light off when free agency ends.