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NFL Draft

3 Defensive Free Agents Seahawks Should Target

  • The Draft Network
  • February 12, 2021
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The Seattle Seahawks will have one of the most discussed offseasons after NFL media reported franchise quarterback Russell Wilson was highly sought-after by teams looking for a new quarterback. While it’s no surprise teams are interested, considering how productive and consistent Wilson has been over his nine-year career, this trade won’t happen.

While Seattle hopes to appease Wilson with its recent hire of offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, the Los Angeles Rams’ former passing game coordinator, it also needs to address its glaring problems on defense.

Once upon a time, the Seahawks had one of the most potent, aggressive, and unbeatable defenses in the league. Their defensive unit, along with Wilson, was one of the few reasons they appeared in back-to-back Super Bowls in 2013-14. Now—or at least for a majority of the 2020 season—the defense looked like a shell of itself. It had some of the worst marks in the head coach Pete Carroll-Wilson era and was rightfully criticized for much of the season. The worst performances came in from Seattle’s secondary; this is the same secondary that was referred to as the “Legion of Boom.”

When free agency begins on March 17, Seattle should focus heavily on defensive talent to bolster its formerly fearsome unit, especially the secondary. The Seahawks have just over $4.9 million in salary cap space, according to Over the Cap, and can creatively spend money in the next month to acquire potential game-changers. 

Richard Sherman, CB, San Francisco 49ers

Let me have a little bit of fun here. If we’re talking about proven defensive talent, look no further than one of the LOB founders and current 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman. If Wilson created ripples with trade talk, Sherman’s return to Seattle would be an unstoppable wave, crashing down on the shore with the most fascinating storylines to follow. The Seahawks defense will almost certainly face a changing of the guard; linebacker K.J. Wright and cornerback Quinton Dunbar are the team’s biggest free agents, and Seattle might have a difficult time matching their value. Sherman will be an unrestricted free agent and wants to play for “only two more seasons.” He could once again negotiate his own contract and return to the team that gave us some of Sherman’s best performances.

Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, San Francisco 49ers

While the aforementioned addition is possible, it’s also extremely unlikely. There’s another cornerback on the 49ers’ roster that’s set to become a free agent that could make for a more realistic scenario. Ahkello Witherspoon is coming off his rookie contract, and San Francisco has to already juggle bigger contributors also approaching free agency and a seemingly open quarterback position. Witherspoon embodies all of the qualities Seattle likes in its defensive backs, and his progress from the 2019 to 2020 season is also exemplary of the Seahawks’ diamond-in-the-rough philosophy. Seattle could land Witherspoon at a reasonable price and create some healthy cornerback competition as it looks to rebuild its pass defense.

Ndamukong Suh, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Wilson, like any good competitor, did not enjoy watching other teams compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. If the Seahawks want to continue to be in contention, why not, again, pursue a recent Super Bowl champion? Ndamukong Suh will become a free agent for the third consecutive season. While he’s expressed his desire to stay in Tampa Bay, Suh has been linked to Seattle in previous offseasons; his ties to the Northwest—Suh is from Portland, Oregon—certainly add to Seattle’s case to land the uber-talented defensive tackle. The Seahawks are facing their own decision with Jarran Reed, who essentially played on a one-year deal with the way general manager John Schneider strategically structured Reed’s extension. Reed is due no guaranteed money next season and Seattle could gain nearly $9 million in cap space ($5 million in dead cap) if it wants to move on from him and chase a tackle it’s been eyeing for years.

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