Jordyn Brooks ACL injury increases chance Seahawks add starting LB in 2023
How this impacts Cody Barton, Brooks' fifth-year option, and Roquan Smith: Seaside Joe 1400
The Seattle Seahawks woke up on Monday preparing for a potentially “significant knee injury” with linebacker Jordyn Brooks and unfortunately it was revealed that Brooks has indeed torn his ACL.
There was always a chance that the Seahawks were going to make a major move at linebacker in the 2023 offseason anyway, but a serious knee injury for Brooks turns that theory into a near certainty.
This is the why (Cody Barton’s free agency, Brooks’ fifth-year option, Seattle’s run defense) and the how (Roquan Smith, Barton negotiations) for Seattle’s probable 2023 approach to one of Pete Carroll’s favorite positions in the upcoming offseason.
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Pete Carroll’s investment in linebackers
Jordyn Brooks, first round, 2020
Bobby Wagner, second round, 2012
Cody Barton, third round, 2019
K.J. Wright, fourth round, 2011
Kevin Pierre-Louis, fourth round, 2014
Ben Burr-Kirven, fifth round, 2019
Korey Toomer, fifth round, 2012
Malcolm Smith, seventh round, 2011
It’s worth noting that because Wagner and Wright were such phenomenal draft picks in Carroll’s second and third years that the Seahawks didn’t have to spend at the position with any significance until the 2019 and 2020 classes, which were meant to prepare for this current time we’re living in. Brooks and Barton were anywhere from okay-to-good, but the drop off has been real.
Wagner and Wright’s tenures also mean that Carroll was willing to pay them on second and third contracts, with Wagner being the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL at one point.
Seattle also swung a trade of Pierre-Louis for D.J. Alexander in 2017, but he was only a special teams asset. It is clear that not only does Pete Carroll value the linebacker position—keeping in mind that the team used a first rounder on Brooks when they were going to get at least a couple more years out of Wagner—but that the Seahawks were headed for another offseason with a significant acquisition even before Brooks’ knee injury.
The Seahawks 2023 offseason decisions
Cody Barton is a free agent
There has been much noise made about the real and perceived value of Barton during his first stint (but fourth year in the NFL) as a starting linebacker. Stacked behind Wagner and Wright in 2019, then Wagner, Wright, and Brooks in 2020, then Wagner and Brooks in 2021, Barton played in 14%, 10%, and 16% of the snaps during his first three seasons.
This year, Barton has seen 76% of the snaps and he’s made 129 tackles—and according to some outlets, he’s missed one tackle. One.
The only player who has more tackles and only one missed tackle? Bobby Wagner. Who has 133 and one. Brooks has 161 tackles, but is blamed for 11 missed tackles.
Another side of his coin (and one up for debate) is the coverage stats: Barton’s “area” has reportedly been targeted 46 times, allowing 40 receptions, 363 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Brooks’ stats in that category: 53 receptions on 74 targets, 677 yards, five touchdowns, no picks.
It is so difficult to perfectly attribute a linebacker’s stats to a linebacker’s actual value, so I want to stop short of saying that Cody Barton has been better than Jordyn Brooks. Especially because Seattle’s defense, and specifically their run defense, has been so atrocious that I don’t know that anyone in this area should be perceived as “valuable”.
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