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SEATTLE – The Seattle Seahawks should be ready to cut a big check for a pass-rushing outside linebacker like Von Miller or Chandler Jones when the NFL’s negotiating window begins next Monday.
You read that right.
Usually, splash signatures are something to dream about for Seattle fans, who wait restlessly March after March while their team sits out at the start of free agency. The Seahawks typically let other teams spend big money early, instead of opting for second-wave value purchases. Most of their marking additions have come via trades much later in the offseason.
But the dynamics look a little different this year.
The Seahawks are in good enough form cap-wise to be players in free agency, especially with about a third of the NFL currently in the red or just below the 2022 spending limit. Seattle has about $ 38 million in vacancies, according to Roster Management, and would release more either by moving on from veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner (which would create another loophole in their defense) or restructuring his contract to lower his $ 20.35 million cap. speak up.
They have made no secret of the fact that they want to increase their pass-rush after being placed in a 29th place last season in sacks per. dropback; they also finished in the bottom half of the NFL in presrate and pass rush victory rate. They want external linebackers – as opposed to bigger 4-3 defensive ends – to play on the edge when they move on to more of a 3-4 structure. And first-year coordinator Clint Hurtt could have given a hint as to how far they will go to add that type of player when asked last month on Sports Radio 950 KJR-AM what their defense needs.
Hurtt complimented the pieces they already have in front, a group with the main name of veteran Carlos Dunlap II and third-year edge rusher Darrell Taylor, who came together for 15 sacks last year. Based on the sound of it, they plan to use the security Jamal Adams more, as they did in 2020, when he lightning fast way to a DB record of 9.5 sacks.
But Hurtt mentioned the need for someone else who can make a “devastating” impact.
“An edge rusher that can be a game-changer,” Hurtt said. “A game shredder is what we need.”
These are hard enough to find outside the top 15 in the draft, let alone outside the first round altogether. The Seahawks are not scheduled to make their first pick before No. 41 overall; they are again without a first-rounder because of Adam’s trade.
Which means their best chance of adding an impact edge rusher may be to sign one next week, even if it means a departure from their MO. Consider that the $ 9 million base value of Ziggy Ansah’s one-year deal in 2019 is still the largest deal in the form of APY they have given to an external free agent for at least seven years.
But game wreckers are not cheap. So again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes.
ESPN asked an NFL agent and another NFL contract analyst for projections of what some of the best free-agent edge rushers will cost. They had Miller in the $ 10-to-12 million a year range, both citing his age – he turns 33 at the end of March – as a factor that could keep his price down.
The agent and contract analyst disagreed on Jones, who turned 32 last month. It was speculated that his market value would peak at $ 15 million annually due to his age. The other guessed he was still productive enough to command as much as $ 17-18 million, which would almost certainly cost him out of Seattle.
Projections from Spotrac.com have Miller at $ 10.6 million and Jones at $ 14.6 million.
Jones had 10.5 sacks in 15 games last year and 107.5 over 139 career games. It is the second most active player behind Miller’s 115.5 in 150 games.
Jones has been a Seahawks nemesis since joining the Arizona Cardinals in 2016. His 16.5 sacks in 11 games against Seattle is by far his most vs. any team. The last one was a strip-sack by Russell Wilson, which Arizona returned to a touchdown in Week 18. Miller has five sacks in three games vs.. Seattle, including one in the Los Angeles Rams’ victory over the Seahawks in December.
What better way to make up for it in NFC West than to pick up a batsman away from another team in the division?
Miller was an important part of the Rams’ championship run after being acquired in a mid-season trade from the Denver Broncos. Initially slowed by an ankle injury he sustained while in Denver, he recorded five sacks in eight games in the regular season with the Rams and four more in the playoffs, including two by Joe Burrow in the Super Bowl LVI.
Miller finished the playoffs in 2021 with a win rate of 41.5%. According to ESPN Stats & Information surveys, it was by far the highest of a player in a single postseason (with a minimum of 30 pass-rush games of win or loss) since ESPN began tracking these statistics in 2017. He and teammate Aaron Donald had both 18 pressure in the Rams’ four playoff games.
What’s it like for a game breaker?
Considering that the Seahawks paid Ansah $ 9 million when he was due for major shoulder surgery and a downturn, $ 10 million or $ 11 million for Miller hardly seems like a stretch.
Miller still has a permanent home in Denver as well as a young son there, which he mentioned as one of the reasons it was hard to leave when he was traded to Los Angeles. So staying on the west coast may be his preference, along with joining a challenger.
The Seahawks could credibly sell to Miller, Jones and other free agents that their 7-10 season was a one-year irregularity caused by Wilson’s finger injury, that radical changes made by Pete Carroll in his coaching staff could position them to a worst-case. first rebound that the Cincinnati Bengals got in 2021.
They can also sell their plan for a more attacking defense that, according to Hurtt, will ask its wingers to hurry up and not fall into cover.
“Everything we do is designed to hurry the passerby because it all happens there,” Carroll said. “So all we can do to make progress is what is at hand.”