RENTON, Wash. (AP) — It shouldn’t be a surprise at this point to see the Seattle Seahawks having a pedestrian start to the beginning of NFL free agency. With John Schneider and Pete Carroll at the helm, they’ve never been ones to aggressively charge into the start of free agency.
Ultimately, the slow entry to the new league year won’t matter if the Seahawks are able to retain the services of Jadeveon Clowney and start the process of solidifying their biggest offseason need.
With a glut of top pass rushers off the market, retaining Clowney seems the top priority for the Seahawks. While there could be trade options — Jacksonville’s Yannick Ngakoue is a popular rumor — Clowney is now at the head of a free agent class of pass rushers that has been gutted in the opening days of the negotiating period.
Now it’s a waiting game to see if Seattle’s offer is good enough for Clowney, or if there’s another suitor willing to go beyond.
Seattle certainly wants Clowney back. Even though he finished with just three sacks, he played half the season with a painful core muscle injury and had an influence that went beyond his statistics.
While still waiting on Clowney, the Seahawks brought back former first-round pick Bruce Irvin on Wednesday as another pass rush option, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the agreement.
Irvin had a career-high 8½ sacks in just 13 games in his one year with Carolina, but expressed his excitement about returning to Seattle on social media. The 8 ½ sacks and 16 quarterback hits both would have led the Seahawks. Irvin also made stops with Oakland and Atlanta after leaving Seattle following the 2015 season.
Irvin, 32, was a first-round pick of the Seahawks in 2012.
The deal with Irvin is the second move Seattle’s made on its defensive line after bringing back defensive tackle Jarran Reed on a $23 million, two-year contract earlier in the week. Retaining Reed will provide continuity on the defensive line. Seattle is hoping Reed can rediscover his performance from two seasons ago when he was one of the top interior pass rushers in the league with 10½ sacks. Reed was suspended for the first six games last season and never matched his disruption from the previous year.
Seattle addressed some of its depth issues on the offensive line with a pair of deals. They may have found a new right tackle with an $11 million, two-year agreement with Brandon Shell. The former Jets lineman played almost exclusively at right tackle while starting 25 games over the past two seasons for New York. Shell could end up being the replacement for Germain Ifedi, who has started the past four seasons at right tackle for Seattle with mixed results and is a free agent.
Seattle also reached a two-year deal with B.J. Finney that can be worth up to $9.5 million. Finney provides the versatility to play guard or center, areas where the Seahawks have questions with guard Mike Iupati unlikely to return and center Justin Britt coming off a torn ACL. Finney played well filling in for Maurkice Pouncey last season with the Steelers.
The Seahawks are also set at tight end bringing back Luke Willson, and gave Jacob Hollister a second-round tender as a restricted free agent to go along with Greg Olson and Will Dissly.
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