Defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson experienced a career year for the Seattle Seahawks during 2022. But even that didn’t save Jefferson from being a cap casualty.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on March 14 that the Seahawks are releasing Jefferson. Cutting Jefferson saves the Seahawks $4.5 million in cap space.
The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta deemed the release of Jefferson “needed” after the Seahawks signed defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones to a record-setting deal on the first day of NFL free agency.
Seahawks Cut Jefferson After Releasing Shelby Harris
The release of Jefferson marked the second defensive lineman the Seahawks departed with to create more room with the salary cap this offseason. On March 13, the Seahawks cut fellow veteran Shelby Harris, which gave the team an additional $9 million in cap space.
In 2022, Jefferson posted 5.5 sacks, which set a new career high. During his first stint with the Seahawks, it took Jefferson until his fourth season to reach 5.5 sacks.
Jefferson also had 29 combined tackles, including 6 tackles for loss and 2 pass defenses in 17 games during 2017. He started three of those contests.
The Seahawks drafted Jefferson in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL draft. He played his first four years in the league with the Seahawks before joining the Buffalo Bills in 2020. Jefferson then played the 2021 season with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Jefferson returned to Seattle on a two-year, $9.5 million deal last offseason.
Technically, this was actually Jefferson’s third stint with the Seahawks. Seattle placed him on waivers during his second season. The Los Angeles Rams claimed him and placed Jefferson on their practice squad.
Jefferson never dressed for a game in Los Angeles and returned to the Seahawks a month later.
Harris arrived in Seattle as part of the Russell Wilson trade last year. He posted 2 sacks with 44 combined tackles, including 5 for loss in 2022.
Seahawks Upgrade Defensive Line with Dre’Mont Jones
Before cutting Jefferson, the Seahawks upgraded their defensive line with the addition of one of the top free agents at the position this offseason.
The Score’s Jordan Schultz reported on March 13 that the Seahawks signed Dre’Mont Jones.
“Breaking: FA DT Dre’Mont Jones plans to sign with #Seahawks,” Schultz wrote on Twitter. “Game-wrecking player who had 47 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 9 TFLs and 10 QB hits in 13 games for the #Broncos last season.”
The Seahawks struggled in run defense, finishing 30th in rushing yards allowed and 27th in yards allowed per carry in 2022. On nine occasions, the Seahawks yielded more than 150 rushing yards.
Jones should help that run defense while supplying more of a pass rush. He had 6.5 sacks in 2022, which was his first season starting every game in which he played. Jones has recorded at least 5.5 sacks in each of the past three years.
The Seahawks have reportedly signed Jones to a three-year, $51 million deal. According to ESPN’s Brady Henderson, it’s the largest contract ever awarded to a free agent in the Pete Carroll-John Schneider era.
With the arrival of Jones, it appears unlikely that defensive tackle Poona Ford will re-sign with the Seahawks. Ford is also a free agent.
Seattle may feature a lot of new faces along the defensive line next season with Jones as the focal point.