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D.J. Reed leaves Seahawks for Jets
The three-year, $33 million is more than what Seattle should be paying for him
In my Seahawks free agency plan early this week, I projected that Seattle should choose to sign Sidney Jones over D.J. Reed, expecting that Reed would be paid more on the open market than what Pete Carroll and John Schneider should be willing to pay him. That take was certified gold on Tuesday, as Reed has reportedly signed a three-year, $33 million contract with the New York Jets, reuniting him with former 49ers defensive coordinator (when he knew Reed) Robert Saleh.
Reed’s $11 million APY will put him just inside the top-20 for salary among all cornerbacks.
Reed’s age, 25, is certainly a plus for the Jets because it implies that there’s time left for him to become a better NFL cornerback. Reed was a bright spot for the Seahawks defense over the last two seasons, but an overreliance on PFF grades for people who don’t know how to evaluate what “good cornerback play” looks like and overrating Seattle’s 11th-ranked scoring defense may cause some to worry that this is a major blow to the team’s future.
I don’t see it that way.
Without ruling out that Reed could become a Pro Bowl player at the position one day, the former fifth round pick out of Kansas City has still only made 24 career starts and two teams—first the 49ers by waiving him in 2020 after two full seasons with the team, then the Seahawks by letting him walk over keeping Jones—have taken a long look at him and decided that life can go on without D.J. Reed.
Instead, Seattle is taking a low-risk, medium-reward option by re-signing Sidney Jones and they steered clear of the bidding war to sign one of the top cornerbacks on the free agent market. Keeping Reed at $33 million (I haven’t seen the final details yet, but I’m assuming he gets roughly $20 million guaranteed, enough to assure that the Jets can’t release him to save money in 2023 if he busts out) would have been affordable to the Seahawks, but potentially would have pushed someone else out the door while not necessarily being necessary to the long-term vision:
Perhaps the Seahawks have their eyes on a top-40 cornerback in the draft
Perhaps the Seahawks really love Tre Brown
Perhaps the Seahawks really love Sidney Jones
Perhaps the Seahawks will be acquiring a free agent/trade cornerback soon
As sad as it is to see Reed go somewhere else to either boom or bust on his payday, keep in mind that Shaquill Griffin is making $13.3 million with the Jacksonville Jaguars on the contract he signed to leave Seattle in 2021. Griffin’s first season of play with the Jaguars would be enough to get him released, if not for the fact that his entire $11.5 million salary is guaranteed.
The Seahawks parted with a starting cornerback on Tuesday. But the position could still be upgraded for 2022 and beyond.
What are your final words for D.J. Reed?