The Seattle Seahawks need more of a pass rush. That much is known after safety Jamal Adams led the team in sacks a season ago. Seattle also seemed to have a decent option on the interior of the defensive line in Jarran Reed, who was second on the team with 6.5 sacks in 2020.
Until now. Reed took to social media on Thursday to pretty much announce that the Seattle Seahawks have opted to move off him. ESPN’s Adam Schefter followed up by indicating that Seattle will look to trade or release the star defensive tackle.
It’s pretty much a financially-motivated move for Seattle. Reed, 28, was set to count $13.5 million against the 2021 NFL salary cap. By releasing him, the Seahawks save $8.5 million against said cap.
Even then, there’s no rhyme or reason for this decision from a pure football standpoint. Seattle needs pass rushers. Reed has been one of their better guys in that role since the team selected him in the second-round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Alabama. He recorded 24 quarterback hits and 10.5 sacks back in 2018 before suffering through an injury-plagued 2019 campaign.
What do the Seattle Seahawks have after Jarran Reed move?
Prior to this move, Seattle found itself $285,000 under the cap. Again, that was the primary motivation after the organization and Reed failed to come to terms on a long-term contract. Even then, it creates a major pass-rush need.
General manager John Schneider and Co. added an underrated edge pass rusher in Kerry Hyder from the division rival 49ers in free agency. He put up a career-best 8.5 sacks last season. Meanwhile, the Seahawks re-signed Benson Mayowa after he recorded six sacks last year.
That won’t be enough to put pressure on elite-level signal callers in the NFC West in Kyler Murray and Matthew Stafford. Add in Alton Robinson’s so-so performance and former first-round bust L.J. Collier doing absolutely nothing of substance in his first two NFL season (three sacks), and that’s magnified further.
Who might the Seattle Seahawks target now?
Without much room under the cap and facing an increasingly weakened free-agent class at the edge rush position, Seattle likely turns its attention to the 2021 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, the team has a league-low three selections next month. It also has obvious needs along the offensive line (more on that below).
Not picking until the end of the second round, the likes of Jordan Smith (Alabama-Birmingham) and Pittsburgh teammates Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones could be options. Perhaps, local boy Joe Tryon from Washington could be an option.
In terms of potential free agents, former Pro Bowlers Justin Houston and Ryan Kerrigan join the likes of Everson Griffen and Trent Murphy as the top remaining players at this position on the market.
In reality, things have not gone swimmingly for the Seahawks since their loss to the division rival Los Angeles Rams in the NFL Playoffs this past January.
We already know Russell Wilson is not happy about the direction of the team and pass protection in front of him. While the NFL is seemingly all about the quarterback position right now, games are won in January in the trenches. The Seattle Seahawks have obvious issues when it comes to both the offensive and defensive line. This surprising decision on Jarran Reed adds to that.