The Seahawks continued their foray into free agency last week with a definite focus on improving the pass rush. The Hawks re-signed Benson Mayowa, Carlos Dunlap, Al Woods picked up Kerry Hyder and parted ways with Jarran Reed. The Seahawks also added depth to the offensive line with the re-signing of guard Jordan Simmons and tackle Cedric Ogbuehi
Carlos Dunlap’s re-signing is a major win for the Seahawks who acquired the defensive end during the Cincinnati Bengals season and released him when the season ended. The Seahawks saved $14.1 million in salary-cap space by releasing Dunlap and took a gamble the former Bengal would return to the team after testing the free-agent market. Dunlap signed a two-year $16.6 million contract with $8.5 million guaranteed. In his eight games with the Seahawks Dunlap recorded five sacks, 14 tackles, and 14 quarterbacks hits and missed the Jets game.
WHY IT MAKES SENSE:
The Seahawks are lucky in that free agent market for defensive lineman dried up quickly and give credit to the Hawks for quickly convincing Dunlap to put pen to paper. Dunlap had a dramatic impact on the Seahawks late season transformation from the worst defense to top ten.
REWARDING CONSISTENT MAYOWA
Mayowa was the starter before the acquisition of Dunlap who stepped in as the starter. Mayowa had 6.0 sacks seven tackle for loss, nine quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery in 13 games last year. Nine of those games were starts and he missed three games due to injury. Four of his six sacks were in the final six games.
WHY IT MAKES SENSE
Mayowa’s versatility was a big reason the Seahawks brought him back. He can play on the inside and stuff the run and the outside at the LEO position and Alton Robinson and Darrell Taylor. Look for Mayoma to play a lot of situation third situations and the occasional start.
The Seahawks are looking for an immediate impact from Hyder after he set recorded a career-high 8.5 sacks while with the 49ers last year. Hyder was signed by the 49ers in 2019 and proved to be the team’s most productive D-lineman. The former Texas Tech entered the league in 2014 as an undrafted free with the New York Jets. A well-drafted journey Hyder spent three years with the Lions, one with the Cowboys and one with the 49ers.
WHY IT MAKES SENSE
Agent Erik Burkhardt told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Hyder’s deal is for three years and $16.5 million and could reach $17.5 million with incentives. This a good deal for both sides. Hyder gets paid and the Seahawks get a player who is familiar with their system and can play right away. Hyder played under former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh a Pete Carroll disciple who is now head coach of the New York Jets.
PARTING WAYS WITH JARRAN REED
The Seahawks attempted to restructure Reed’s contract after giving a two-year $23 million deal in 2019. Reed had a career year in 2018 after two mediocre seasons in 2017 and 2016. In 2019 Reed was hit with a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED Policy. Reed had a bounce-back season in 2020 with 6.5 sacks. The move to release Reed came down to money and the 2016 second-round draft picks unwillingness to renegotiate his contract. The Seahawks will clear nearly $9 million cap space by releasing Reed and taking a $5 million dead money hit.
The release of Reed opened the door for the third time go around for Al Woods. The 6-4 330 pound Woods played for the Seahawks in 2011 and 2019. Last year, Woods hit the free agency market and signed with Jacksonville then decided to opt-out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19 concerns. Woods started five games and appeared in 14 before a League-imposed PED policy suspension in December cut his 2019 season short.
WHY IT MAKES SENSE
Woods’s strength is run defense and will make a three-man rotation with Poona Ford and Bryan Mone. Head coach Pete Carroll believes in rotating the defensive lineman to keep them fresh for the end of the game.