The Seattle Seahawks are a potential landing spot for one of the NFL’s top proven pass rushers.
As suggested by CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan, the Seahawks could be a potential landing spot for four-time Pro Bowler Justin Houston. The 34-year-old edge rusher remains a free agent after spending the past two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. Despite his advanced age, Houston remains a potent pass rusher, recording 9.5 sacks last season, a team-high total for the Ravens.
Sullivan argues that Seattle’s hesitation at blitzing can be cured by adding one of the most accomplished sack artists over the past decade.
“This just feels like a Seahawks type of move, right? Houston would be a nice veteran addition to a Seattle team that is looking to make a legit run in the NFC West in 2023,” writes Sullivan. “He’d join a defense that registered 45 sacks but blitzed at the second-lowest rate in the NFL last year. He’d instantly help apply more pressure under defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt.”
Justin Houston Drawing Interest in Free Agency
As Matt Lombardo of Heavy Sports reports, Houston is generating interest on the market, but is in no rush to make a decision.
“Multiple sources tell Heavy that Houston is garnering ‘significant interest,’ from multiple teams, but that the 34-year-old is in no rush to make a decision, and is currently weighing his options,” says Lombardo.
Although Houston was used in a pass-rushing role last season — he started just one of his 14 appearances — he recorded his highest sack total since the 2019 season. Houston played just 397 snaps last season, 44% of the Ravens’ defensive snaps. That means Houston recorded a sack every 41.8 snaps, the highest of his career. That sack rate is even higher than Houston’s record-breaking 2014 season in which he recorded 22 sacks in 1033 snaps. During the 2014 season, Houston posted a sack every 47 snaps.
Seahawks Are Lacking Dominant Pass-Rushing Threat
According to Pro Football Focus, Houston posted a 71.7 pass-rushing grade last season. That grade is similar to the pass-rushing grades that Seattle’s top edge rushers, Uchenna Nwosu (73.7 defensive grade) and Darrell Taylor (74.0 grade), posted last season.
While the Seahawks posted respectable sack totals last season — they ranked seventh in the league with 45 sacks — the defensive unit is lacking a dominant pass-rushing threat. Nwosu tied for the team lead with 9.5 sacks last season, but it was the first year he eclipsed five sacks. Taylor also posted a team-leading 9.5 sacks, but it remains to be seen if he can mirror that performance for a second consecutive season.
When it pertains to Houston, there is no question about consistency — he’s one of the most accomplished pass-rushing threats in NFL history. Houston has the fifth-most sacks in the NFL since 2011 and he’s clearly not slowing down based upon his performance last season.
Head coach Pete Carroll stressed during his end-of-season press conference that the Seahawks need to become more dynamic up front.
“It’s killing me, yeah, it’s killing me,” Carroll told reporters back in January. “We are going to have to become more dynamic up front, we have to. We’ve kind of been in the same mode, we have to get more production out of the guys, they have to be more of a factor. We need to make the position really competitive, if we can. We will see what we can do.”
Seattle has lived up to its motto, replacing key players along the defensive line from last season in Poona Ford, Al Woods and Shelby Harris. If the Seahawks want to evolve from a playoff team into a potential Super Bowl contender, Houston could be the piece that lifts them to the next level.