The NFL marketplace has worked in the Seahawks’ favor to retain DE Carlos Dunlap. But there’s always a personnel cost.
Dunlap, 32, confirmed on Twitter Thursday evening that he has been hired back by Seattle, apparently after finding the free agent market was cool to him. But the Seahawks were forced to go cold on five-year vet DT Jarran Reed, an able run-stuffer who also had 6.5 sacks last season.
Reed, 28 and a second-round pick in the 2016 draft, was cut Friday to help make room for Dunlap’s reported two-year deal worth up to $16.6 million, with $8.5 million guaranteed.
Dunlap was thrilled to be back.
Year 12 with the 12’s! -Damn Dunlap the Passion Continues… 😏
— Carlos Dunlap (@Carlos_Dunlap) March 26, 2021
Reed, naturally, was not too excited after seeing his salary in jeopardy and perhaps entering a market where cash becomes tighter daily.
It’s been real 12s💙✌🏿 tomorrow at 1 it’s official … on to the next chapter
— jarran reed (@jarranreed) March 25, 2021
The Seahawks had hoped to land a draft pick for Reed, but nothing transpired. Reed’s tweet couldn’t have helped.
Reed, who signed a two-year, $23 million extension last year, had a whopping cap number for 2021 of nearly $14 million, currently the team’s fourth highest, according to OverTheCap.com. He apparently was trying to negotiate a long-term extension to lower that number, but it didn’t work out.
Friday update: To replace Reed, the Seahawks went back down memory lane to re-sign DT Al Woods, 34, who sat out the 2020 season to avoid COVID-19. It’s his third go-round with Seattle, after two games in 2011 and 14 in 2019, including five starts. He missed the final two games after being suspended by the NFL for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Seattle is Woods’ sixth team after being taken in the fourth round of the 2010 draft out of LSU by the New Orleans Saints. In 2019, he was part of 32 tackles, had a sack and recovered two fumbles.
Woods was reported to have signed a one-year deal for up to $3 million with $750,000 guaranteed. That created some room under the cap, because Reed’s salary was going to be $8.9 million, plus a $5 million signing bonus that remains on Seattle’s books as dead money. So cutting Reed and adding Woods is a savings of $5.9 million.
If the Reed situation didn’t work out well, at least the Seahawks’ strategy to get Dunlap back for less than the $14.1 million cap number has paid off. Presumably the club figured guys who can do what he did off the edge — five sacks in eight games and making offenses account for him — is a commodity harder to come by than Reed’s skillset.
Dunlap’s return was sufficient to draw out from Russell Wilson a supportive tweet during a time when his allegiance has come under question.
LETS GOOO!!! @Carlos_Dunlap Back!
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) March 26, 2021
Dunlap came cheap to Seattle, acquired in October from Cincinnati for a seventh-round pick and O-line stiff B.J. Finney. A defense that was woeful early became more than respectable, with 46 sacks, seventh-most in the NFL.
His return follows the one Monday by free agent DE Benson Mayowa, who when healthy shared the rush end spot that became so productive. The Seahawks bolstered the other D-end spot with the signing of free agent Kerry Hyder, who last season with the 49ers provided a career-high 8.5 sacks after star DE Nick Bosa was lost for the season to injury.
If Hyder can bring similar production to win the starting job over incumbents L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green, the edges would seem to be in good shape, more so than a year ago when the Seahawks engaged in magnum dither with free agent DE Jadeveon Clowney. They resisted his high ask for a one-year deal. He moved on and played only eight sackless games for Tennessee before being lost for the season to injury.
Besides bringing back Woods, the Seahawks also re-signed DT Bryan Mone, and gave a pay boost to underrated starter DT Poona Ford.
The cost savings with Woods became important because of the flurry of pending free agent signings put the Seahawks beyond the cap. OverTheCap reported that the Seahawks have yet to make official the contracts of Mayowa, RB Chris Carson, DE OT Cedric Ogbuehi, OG Jordan Simmons and RB Alex Collins.
They remain temporarily off the books while the Seahawks apparently attempt to restructure the contracts with the biggest cap hits (Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Tyler Lockett) to fit in all the new hires.
If that doesn’t work, another veteran contributor may get the Reed treatment.