Seahawks Projected to Acquire ‘Underrated’ Defensive Talent

Pete Carroll

Getty Head coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks have been projected to target an "underrated" defensive talent this offseason.

The Seattle Seahawks should have money to spend in free agency this offseason. But CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin predicted the Seahawks to forego pursuing the really big-named free agents, instead projecting Seattle to sign Denver Broncos defensive end Dre’Mont Jones.

Benjamin called Jones “an underrated staple of Denver’s front.”

“Jones has been a steady presence in opposing pockets despite only emerging as a full-time starter in 2022, when he logged 6.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss and 10 QB hits,” Benjamin wrote. “The Seahawks, meanwhile, badly need any kind of DL presence they can get, and Jones’ flexibility as a 3-4 end or 4-3 tackle would likely be tantalizing to Pete Carroll.”

Although he just became a full-time starter in 2022, Jones has posted at least 5.5 sacks in each of the last three seasons.

How Jones Potentially Fits With the Seahawks

If adding a pass rusher is Seattle’s main concern in free agency, Jones would be an excellent addition.

He is entering free agency at a crucial time in his career, as he just became a starter. But he’s been proving himself for much longer than just one season.

“Since he entered the league in 2019, Jones’ 138 quarterback pressures are tied for the 19th most among interior defenders, with his 14.5% pass-rush win rate ranking 11th best over the span,” wrote the PFF staff. “Jones set career highs in snaps played, quarterback pressures and stops this season.

“Players with his skill set don’t hit free agency too often, and teams looking for a 3-4 defensive end will be very interested in bringing him aboard this March.”

PFF has Jones ranked the fourth-best available interior defender and the 22nd overall free agent for this offseason. And having just turned 26 years old, PFF only has six free agents ranked higher than him who are younger.

Jones has 22.0 sacks, 28 tackles for loss and 38 quarterback hits in his career. In addition to at least 5.5 sacks, he’s posted 7 tackles for loss and 10 quarterback hits or more in each of the last three seasons.

The Seahawks finished tied for seventh with 45 sacks last season. But only one Seattle defensive end, Quinton Jefferson, had more than 2.0 sacks.

Defensive ends Poona Ford and L.J. Collier are also set to become free agents in March. Jones would go a long way toward replacing them and adding a new pass rushing presence at defensive end.

Why Jones Might Not Be the Best Fit for the Seahawks

While Jones would help the Seattle pass rush, he wouldn’t address Seattle’s biggest need — run defense.

Among the 57 defensive linemen who played at least 50% of their team’s defensive snaps in 2022, Jones finished 54th in run defense according to the PFF player grades. He’s been a subpar tackler for most of his career, and his run defense has steadily gotten worse based on the PFF grades.

The Seahawks ended the 2022 season 27th in yards allowed per carry and 30th in run defense. As attractive as Jones is as a pass rusher, his ineffectiveness against the run may cause Seattle to consider other free agent options at defensive end.

Especially when considering Jones won’t be cheap. Spotrac projected Jones’ market value to be about $68.5 million on a four-year contract, giving him an average annual salary of around $17.1 million.

That’s a lot for Jones if he doesn’t progress as a run stopper.

The good news, though, is Seattle’s salary cap situation could give them options. The team could also always sign Jones and then add more run stopping defenders through the draft.

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