Which Seahawks defensive players are guaranteed to be back in 2024?
Jamal Adams, Devon Witherspoon, Jarran Reed have transformed the Seahawks defense: Seaside Joe 1690
The Seattle Seahawks defense has gotten a little bit better week-to-week and it wasn’t hard to see against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday that the additions of Devon Witherspoon, Dre’Mont Jones, Jarran Reed, and Bobby Wagner, plus getting back Jamal Adams and Tre Brown, are significant reasons why fans can be optimistic that the improvements will continue.
It has me asking already, “Which of these players will still be on the Seahawks in 2024?” That’s what I’ll break down in today’s Seaside Joe, the 1,690th day in a row of this Seahawks newsletter being sent out to fans.
Note: I am not including practice squad players on this list, but that doesn’t mean I think they don’t exist as human beings. And being listed as “Others” doesn’t mean I hate the player! It probably just means that the rest of the season needs to play out for the answer to be more clear to me. It may already be clear to you, which is why we have a comments section and I can’t wait to read what you have to say!
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
All But Guaranteed: DE Dre’Mont Jones, DT Cameron Young, DT Jarran Reed
Must Re-Sign: DT Jarran Reed
Others: DE Mario Edwards, DL Myles Adams, DT Bryan Mone, DE Mike Morris
Edit: I mistakenly had Reed on a one-year contract, but he is signed through 2024.
Jones is the only guy who seems almost 100% guaranteed to return, but it would be surprising if the Seahawks parted ways with a fourth round pick that soon, especially one at position of dearth who has flashed signs of being a good selection. So I think those two are coming back.
The guy who has played like a defensive MVP is Jarran Reed and
he was only signed to a one-year contract, so it’s a matter of how much Seattle is willing to spend to keep him from leaving for a second time. Pete Carroll has said that Reed is playing the best football of his career so if he seems on track to be re-signed even though he will be 32 next season.
I’m trying to be as conservative as possible with these projections so we’ll have to wait and see some more from Edwards as the only thing consistent in his career is that he bounces from team to team; Edwards has played for six different teams in the last seven years. He had a strip sack against the Giants but hasn’t had his name called much more than that.
Adams is a free agent. Mone is under contract but hasn’t played this season and the Seahawks would save over $5 million by releasing him, money that they probably need.
All But Guaranteed: Boye Mafe, Uchenna Nwosu, Derick Hall
Others: Darrell Taylor
Boye Mafe shows up as Seattle’s best edge rusher in terms of pass rush wins and his pass rush win rate should be slightly better since Mafe hasn’t played as many games as most of his counterparts. Pete Carroll called Mafe “the most improved” on the whole roster, so these numbers are an encouraging sign of that being true.
And good, because I’m not sold on Uchenna Nwosu being any team’s number one outside linebacker.
Nwosu is a very “okay” pass rusher and he’s been in the NFL long enough to not expect more than that. A great pass rusher would consistently get to the quarterback, especially in the biggest moments, but Nwosu has finished 12 of the last 14 games without a sack. The team just extended him though—a move I agree with—so he’s not going anywhere. Nwosu’s actually a good bargain in 2024 ($8.1 million) but a bad deal in 2025 ($21.5 million).
Hall’s just a fawn out there getting his footing, but he actually has four QB hits in only limited playing time. That’s as many Mafe and only one fewer than Nwosu. The pecking order could be Mafe-Hall-Nwosu by next season.
This is still a position of need and I do not expect the Seahawks to bring back Taylor. I get some heat for calling players “awful” sometimes, but I think Taylor has been…that…this season.
All But Guaranteed: None
Must Re-Sign: TBD
Others: Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks, Devin Bush, Drake Thomas, Jon Rhattigan
Don’t think anyone can say that they know what’s going to happen at linebacker but the only player who would actually be under contract is Drake Thomas, while Jon Rhattigan is a restricted free agent.
I know there are Jordyn Brooks fans throughout Seattle and on this very newsletter mailing list, and that’s fine! I am not sold on Brooks as being more than a replaceable middle linebacker and it’s a little late in his career to not be sold on that for a first round pick. Brooks doubled his career sack total against the Giants (from 2 to 4) and if you read the All-22 report, you would know that I don’t think he did anything more than clean up two plays created by his teammates.
Brooks does not “create” any important plays. Through 3.3 seasons, he has ZERO interceptions, four sacks (but he’s not a pass rusher), ONE forced fumble, and 18 tackles for a loss. He’s not good in pass coverage, he’s not a pass rusher, he’s missing a career-high rate of 9.4% of tackle opportunities. I applaud and respect him for coming back from an ACL tear in nine months—that’s amazing—but I don’t think that the Seahawks should be in a hurry to re-sign him.
I would want to hear from you, what’s the football reasons that make Jordyn Brooks a top-10 or even top-15 linebacker?
Working in his favor is merely the fact that Seattle couldn’t possibly know right now who their starting linebackers will be next season. Could Thomas possibly emerge as an option between now and next year? Will Wagner come back for his 13th season and how worrisome is his age? Linebacker is one of the clear needs on this team, although I do think that in spite of what I say about Brooks, the Seahawks could choose to go back to him anyway.
All But Guaranteed: Riq Woolen, Devon Witherspoon, Tre Brown
Must Re-Sign: None
Others: Artie Burns, Mike Jackson, Kyu Blu Kelly
A healthy Tre Brown could give Seattle the best cornerbacks room in the NFL. I’m not sure which cornerbacks will be the depth next season, but I’m confident those are the ideal players to be the top-3.
Decisions To Be Made: Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Julian Love
Others: Jerrick Reed II, Coby Bryant
I couldn’t do the same “all but guaranteed” at safety because the considerations here are completely different than the ones at every other position. Unlike the rest of the positions, Pete and John’s decisions at safety are over which players they can keep on their current contract and which one(s) they release or trade for cap purposes.
Releasing Jamal Adams saves the team $6 million with $20.8 million in dead money remaining. I don’t think the team can trade Adams because he has a $16.5 million base salary, which another team isn’t going to pay.
Releasing Quandre Diggs saves $11 million with $10.2 million in dead money remaining.
Releasing Julian Love saves $5.6 million with $2.4 million in dead money remaining.
All three safeties will be in the final year of their contract and the Seahawks can do one of a few decisions:
-Keep all three and pay over $56 million to the safety position alone
-Release one of the starters (for $6-$11 million in savings, which is a significant amount) and hope that Reed or Bryant are ready for more work
-Extend Diggs and/or Adams to bring down their 2024 cap hits as the highest-paid safeties in the NFL ($21.2m and $26.9m, respectively)
These are just some options, not suggestions. Few people, not including me, expected Jamal Adams to appear this important to Seattle’s defense in his first couple of games back. I didn’t think that keeping, and especially not extending Adams was a realistic possibility. Now it does seem to be that way and Adams is two years younger than Diggs.
We haven’t seen much from Reed II and what we have seen from Bryant as a safety hasn’t been encouraging. He missed too many tackles and we’ll see how much that improves when he finally returns from an injury that cost him the last three games.
Ideally, I think the Seahawks would like to keep all three safeties. Is that realistic given their contracts and the money that Seattle will need to open up on the books in order to keep some of their outgoing 2024 free agents?
It’s an interesting unit to follow and I’m sure how the next three months goes will be what determines the answers at safety.
The defensive players all but guaranteed to be in Seattle next season: Dre’Mont Jones, Boye Mafe, Derick Hall, Uchenna Nwosu, Riq Woolen, Devon Witherspoon, Tre Brown, Cameron Young
The defensive players we should expect to be back: Coby Bryant, Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams (?), Julian Love, Jerrick Reed, Bryan Mone (?)
The linebackers: I have no idea