All signs point to Chandler Jones being a Seahawks target

When the season ended, Pete Carroll made it clear what the priority was.

They had to improve their pass rush.

Clint Hurtt took it to another level, recently revealing in a radio interview that adding a game-wrecking edge rusher was necessary.

Then there was Jake Heaps, revealing on 710 ESPN that the Seahawks landed Sean Desai by reassuring him over personnel additions.

On top of this, there’s plenty of talk about a more aggressive defense next season. Not to mention increasing pressure to win now for various reasons, including Carroll’s age and a hotter than usual seat after a 7-10 season.

In the past the Seahawks have been able to trust in their process because they were making the playoffs. After all, it’s easy to have an ‘ah shucks’ attitude about the loss to the Rams a year ago that ended the 2021 season. It was the wrong thing to do, because clearly there were bigger issues building (as we came to find out). Yet the fact the Seahawks were 12-4 in the regular season was a useful counter.

There’s no such security blanket now. Another year like 2021 and Carroll probably won’t get another off-season.

It all points towards a different, less conservative approach to team building.

I suspect Chandler Jones will be the target when free agency begins.

He’s a good fit for the Vic Fangio scheme, which the Seahawks are leaning towards. He has a proven track record as a top-tier pass rusher. At his best he’s a game-wrecker. He’d be an excellent complement to Darrell Taylor and Carlos Dunlap.

This would be the big splash move to galvanise fans and — just as importantly — the franchise quarterback.

The key question is — are the Seahawks willing to do what it takes?

A year ago they dipped their toe in the water with the likes of Joe Thuney and Kevin Zeitler, before settling on Gabe Jackson (trading for him just as he was about to be cut by the Raiders).

In 2020 they talked about retaining Jadeveon Clowney as a ‘priority’ — only to fail to meet his demands and be left pivoting to Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin.

Can the Seahawks deliver a top free agent? Are they prepared to go out of their comfort zone and take a risk?

Or will they once again stick to their principles, miss out and be left searching in the bargain bin?

For me — this is the key question of the off-season. Not Russell Wilson’s future. Because if the Seahawks make a statement early in free agency, Wilson’s future will be a moot point.

Take a chance. Spend the money to land someone like Jones. Structure the deal with a low year-one cap hit — just as the Rams did with Leonard Floyd, the Bears did with Robert Quinn and the Cardinals did with J.J. Watt.

If it doesn’t work out for whatever reason — his play drops off, he gets injured — at least you’ve tried. The Seahawks are at a point now where trying and failing is much more attractive than doing the same thing every year and it never working.

Relying on the 2022 version of Kerry Hyder, Mayowa, Irvin or Aldon Smith deserves criticism. Rolling the dice on a proven stud, and it simply not working, does not. That will simply be misfortune.

Aside from unpredictable injuries, I wouldn’t be worried about production. Desai just coordinated a defense where Robert Quinn bounced back to record 18.5 sacks. Jones is only three months older than Quinn. I think this is an ideal match for the coaches, the scheme and it addresses Seattle’s biggest need.

Of course you can’t make a player sign for your team. It’s possible Jones ends up being too expensive or simply doesn’t want to cross the NFC West divide. That’s understandable. Yet the Seahawks need to be ready to pivot and go after a proper alternative if that happens. They need a great Plan B.

A year ago, Cincinnati’s priority was to retain Carl Lawson. When he chose to sign for the Jets instead, they quickly snapped up Trey Hendrickson for a similar price.

If Jones isn’t possible — they need to make sure they land a Von Miller or Harold Landry. They can’t come away empty handed, sifting through what’s left after a few days of the market opening.

There’s another reason for taking this approach.

Although the pass-rushing options in this draft are strong, there’s a chance none of the top names will last to #41. Certainly Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Jermaine Johnson and David Ojabo won’t be there. I am convinced Boye Mafe will go in the first round too.

After that, there’s nobody quite with the same exciting profile.

Likewise, I wouldn’t expect Jordan Davis or Devonte Wyatt to be there for Seattle.

Thus, if improving the pass rush is the priority, it’s probably best to make a big splash in free agency and address that need right off the bat. Then in the draft, you can keep your options open.

It might be that you still want to go for a defensive lineman. You can make a strong case for Travis Jones or Perrion Winfrey at #41. I think Josh Paschal would make sense as an inside/out rusher.

You don’t have to force things, though, if you land a top pass rusher in free agency. You have more options. There’s a reasonable collection of offensive tackles, for example. There are good cornerbacks and linebackers slated for day two. Dameon Pierce is a blog favourite who fits everything Seattle looks for in a running back. You might want to tap into a rich pool of tight ends.

Heck — with more and more people underestimating Abraham Lucas, I’m starting to think he might just last to Seattle.

Either way, you’ll have some great options at #41 and #72. If you can avoid having to address desperate needs with those two picks by having a much improved free agency period — all the better.

It all starts with that big move to begin a pivotal season.

I suspect Chandler Jones will be the prime target for the Seahawks.

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  1. V

    “@GoMocsFB OL Cole Strange stole the show at @SeniorBowl. He’s a legit Day 2 pick after failing to land on the #NFLDraft radar prior to 2021. An incredible ascension for Strange.

    Strange met w/ all 32 teams in Mobile. I’m told the #Ravens & #Seahawks spent a ton of time w/ him.”

    • Rob Staton

      I wouldn’t say Cole Strange ‘stole the show’. That’s going a bit too far.

      What he showed was a great ability to bounce back after ugly reps. He had a few reps where he got beat, badly. But nearly always won the next one. Teams generally like that, although we have to temper expectations slightly because he was still losing a fair few reps.

      What I really liked, more than anything, is he looked the part. When he won reps he showed a strong base, strong and straight back, could anchor and get his hands in the right area and when everything clicks he can stone interior rushers. To me he just looked like you want a center to look like on those reps. He might not be a year-one starter, or an immediate plug-and-play type, but there’s definitely something there.

      Day two for sure, especially with a dearth of center’s this year.

      • TomLPDX

        So he’s coachable. Fool me once, shame on you…I’ll get you the next time and remember what you did before.

  2. Peter

    With mention of 3-4 personnel does Haasan Reddick become an option during free agency?

    Love Mafe but I wonder if bigger ends should get more consideration?

    Kind of hate you’ve talked me into Chandler Jones because I’ll be a little bummed if it doesn’t happen though some of the other names mentioned look pretty enticing.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve always liked Haason Reddick.

      But for me he’s always been a linebacker in Seattle. He’s 235lbs with 32 3/4 inch arms.

      I know he’s played pass rush for the last two years but the Seahawks have a type at a lot of positions and Reddick doesn’t fit their profile of a pass rusher.

      I wouldn’t worry about Mafe being 255lbs. He’s as strong as an ox.

    • Cover2

      With the Seahawks switching to more of a 3-4 defense, Mafe would be an outside linebacker as would Chandler Jones. Darrell Taylor will probably be a stud starting as an outside LB in the 3-4 scheme. I could see Taylor as a double-digit sack player in our new defense.

      I think you are right, bigger defensive ends will be the profile in the earlier rounds that they draft towards. A player like Akim Hicks would be a DE for us, which was his role the Bears.

  3. cha

    Getting Chandler Jones would set up so much for this defense it’s hard to really conceptualize the impact he would have.

    -Jones had 6 forced fumbles last year. The ENTIRE Seahawk defense had 9. Talk about having a direct impact – the defense would both generate more turnovers and get off the field more.

    -It would reduce Benson Mayowa’s role to the 25-30 snaps per game he is best at. He’s not a run stopper. He’s not a drop and cover guy. He’s not even a full time pass rusher. Why they ever used him in any of those roles is insane. Let him pin his ears back and get his 5-7 sacks a year when Jones or Dunlap is taking a breather.

    -It would give Desai and Hurtt some great scheme options. They could stack Dunlap and Jones on a side and ensure single coverage for both. Desai did that with Mack and Quinn. What could they do with Jamal Adams? Desai had safeties coming in like heat-seeking missiles and picking off blockers to give rushers a free look at the QB. An occasional NASCAR package of Dunlap, Jones, Taylor and Robinson or Mayowa would be enticing.

    -The mentoring factor for Taylor and Robinson is enticing. These guys are third year players. It’s time to unleash them.

    -The reduction in pressure on the defensive backfield is obvious.

    • BobbyK

      Chandler Jones is older than Bobby Wagner. All players naturally decline in their 30s. I don’t at all agree with getting an old player to be your splash move. Seems like another band aid. Sexy for now, crappy for the future. Sounds like adding Jamal if it’s a huge money deal. Now, would I love Chandler Jones if he was reasonably priced – absolutely! But I fear he’s going to get big money. But I can see Pete doing this because he doesn’t care about the future.

      • cha

        Your points aren’t without merit. But this is just another area the Seahawks have backed themselves into a corner and cannot afford to count on the perfect intersection of age, talent, reliable production and price like they got with Avril and Bennett.

        They can sign Jones to a 3 year contract and consider that they’ll get 2 good years out of him, and if they’re clever, the third year has very little guaranteed money to absorb if they have to cut him loose. By then hopefully Taylor and Robinson have stepped forward and there is your 26 year old stud ready to dominate.

        It’s a big reason I’ve been stamping my feet all year about Alton’s snap count vs cheap veteran seat fillers. Seemingly every game in his pro career where he’s had an impact play, it’s been where he only played like 18-25 snaps. I’m not saying you double his snaps and can count on doubling his production, but the Hawks have got a nice lump of clay and they’re spending his cheap years having him sip gatorade and watch Mayowa and Hyder get ground into hamburger instead of molding that into a priceless vase.

  4. HawkFan907

    DJ mocked Tyler Smith (OT/OG out of Tulsa) in round 1 today. DJ does seem to throw a lot of darts to see what sticks, but have you had a chance to watch Smith yet? A lot of people like him. Good measurables and a nasty attitude.

    • Rob Staton

      Yes I’ve watched him. He is a reasonable prospect. I have him as an early third round pick pre-testing. People are going a bit OTT on this nasty attitude. He has some fun blocks, for sure. Not sure he’s as athletic as some of the others in this class but we’ll see.

  5. Lenny

    Hey Rob, with the possibility of moving on from Wagner and Brooks moving inside, what are your thoughts of CB Jo Jo Domann from Nebraska playing OLB. I see he is listed as a CB(not sure why). He could be a great coverage LB and I like his aggressive style. I

    • Rob Staton

      He’s definitely not a corner. For me he’s an ideal fit for the hybrid role NE uses.

      I’m not sure he’s a fit for Seattle’s scheme but I do like him, just for the Patriots

  6. Jordan

    Any interest in Frank if he were to be a cap casualty in KC?

    • Rob Staton

      Sure, for the right price

  7. Happy Hawk

    All in on the Chandler Jones signing. We have the cap space and it fixes the number one need. More than that it makes a statement that we are serious about improving the roster. The bonus is also that it weakens Arizona a division rival who was in the playoffs last year. I also think Jones is the perfect addition to free up some of our best defensive players. The question is whether Jones wants to stay out west and for how much.

  8. Happy Hawk

    All in on the Chandler Jones signing. We have the cap space and it fixes the number one need. More than that it makes a statement that we are serious about improving the roster. The bonus is also that it weakens Arizona a division rival who was in the playoffs last year. I also think Jones is the perfect addition to free up some of our best defensive players. The question is whether Jones wants to stay out west and for how much.

  9. Big Mike

    “The Seahawks are at a point now where trying and failing is much more attractive than doing the same thing every year and it never working.”

    Well said Rob, well said.

  10. Poli

    It’d be a shocker for sure if they spend serious money to bring in actual difference makers for the DL via free agency given the last time was 2013. But even then they got lucky with how cheap Bennett and Avril signed for.

    • Scot04

      They were still two of the premier defensive players in that year for Free-agency. The key is they got it done, doesn’t matter how.
      Yes it was 2013 & it feels like forever ago.
      Still this is slowly starting to feel a little different.
      Maybe it’s just Hurtt and the way he says what he feels.
      Regardless, we’ve had little reason for hopes of change.
      I’m going to cling onto this hope until it’s taken away with disappointment, or rewarded.
      I had 0 hope prior to the coaching changes & listening to Hurtt. The reports of autonomy for Hurtt & assurities to Desai; seemed to give me a little hope, which I most definitely didn’t have prior.

    • Seattle Person

      I’m not sure that will ever happen again. The market got really dry for players that year. They got Mike B and Avril for prove it deals.

      • Scot04

        Bennett was being projected by SBNation to get around a 4yr 12M contract.
        He got a 1yr 5M deal. Which turned into 4yrs 28.5M
        So not underpaid on the 1yr, but prove it deal yes.
        In a way still was paid more than it seemed he was expected for that year atleast. So a win/win.
        Avril turned down a 3yr 30M deal the previous yr. Because many were concerned about how he was against the run the projected he would likely get a contract slightly less than that in 2013. He received a 2yr 15M deal. So looks like again similar to the projections 8.5M per was slightly less than the 10M.
        It turned into 4yr 28.5M. For another win/win.
        Funny how both extensions were virtually the same.
        It’s not like they took below value prove it deals though, but that may just be me viewing it differently.

        • Rob Staton

          Avril was 7.5m a year. That was seen as a coup at the time. 25% less than expected.

          Bennett’s deal was equally seen as relatively cheap.

          • Scot

            Well I did say it might be me viewing prove it deals optimistically.
            Unfortunately if I look at it with a 100% realistic view; I’d be guessing it’s disappointing in Free-agency again & a trade for an Edge.
            So hoping to finally see a change in Free-agency.

  11. 805Hawk

    A little off topic, but I so wish we had a chance at Kayvon Thibodeaux. He did a zoom call with my son’s football team during their championship banquet tonight. Such a classy dude to take time out of his schedule to talk to the kids for a few minutes. Well spoken. If only…

  12. Scot04

    Couldn’t agree more on this Rob.
    One worry I have is if when Free-agency starts Landry & Miller aren’t there.
    I could easily see the Rams finding a way to keep Miller; I could also see Tennessee franchising Landry, if they don’t think they can get a deal done.
    We all know they are not quick to pull the trigger.
    Yet the Hawks in my opinion need to try to get this deal signed day 1 after the tampering period ends.
    Unfortunately. I’m thinking will see Edge addressed by trade & not in Free-agency.
    If they spend on other impact players & trade for an Edge I’m fine with that part.
    However, would be very concerned after what we did for Adams.
    My hope is we see a big change in Philosophy like it seems to be pointing towards.
    We did it in 2013 & we need to do it again.
    Grab 2-3 top Free-agents, but save the picks.
    So here’s hoping to be happily surprised with a Top Impact Edge signed to start off Free-agency.

  13. DougM

    Update on Lance Zierlein grades

  14. Rob Staton


    And people think he’s a late first

    • Mick

      Looks like a Top 10 to me. Too bad these players are out of our reach. I doubt Pete considered our first pick will be in first 10 when we traded for Adams.

    • swedenhawk

      Wyatt’s not looking too shabby either…

      • Rob Staton


  15. Ben

    Landry is not as interesting to me as I thought. PFF describes a Jack of all trades type LB/DE which has definite appeal, plus being a high draft pick, 10 sack season etc .

    PFF discussed how he fell into sacks or was free rusher on most his sacks and that was backed up reading Titans blogs. He had an emphasis on developing moves other than his speed rush last offseason, but doesn’t sound like that actually led to his bump up in sacks.

    My fear is we would be buying high on a career year in sacks, and just getting a rich version of Barkevious Mingo.

    Would way way rather have a proven pass rusher like Reddick that doesn’t look the part for less money than pay for a well rounded player who can’t make a difference on third down. Landry seems like a great complement, but seeing him be THE addition would feel like a failure to me.

    • Rob Staton

      In fairness, I seem to recall a similarly lukewarm review of Trey Hendrickson a year ago. People wondering how good he actually was.

      I would rather take a shot on Landry (who might still get those ‘clean up’ sacks in Seattle) than settle for mediocre journeymen again. The comp to Barkevious Mingo is way off. I mean, how many sacks did Mingo have compared to Landry? There’s no comparison there. Mingo has 12.5 sacks since 2013. That’s a season’s tally for Landry. So come on.

      And on Reddick. Firstly, you call him a proven pass rusher. Well, he has 31 career sacks. The exact same as Harold Landry. The difference is, Landry entered the league a year later. So let’s have some perspective here.

      Secondly, I’ve always liked him. We were talking about him on here long before he shot into early first round contention. But the idea of Seattle signing a 235lbs pass rusher with 32 inch arms just seems very unlikely to me. In Seattle, he’s more of a LB. And I don’t see that changing much. I like him but can’t see it. Would I take over another crap journeyman? Of course. But I want a gamewrecker, which is why I covet Chandler Jones and Von Miller more than a Reddick.

      • Ben

        You make some great points! The barkevious mingo mention is some slander upon comparing careers. Guilty as charged even with calling it rich.

        Did a little more digging into Titans write ups, and discuss Landry as a top priority and a key leader/do it all type player (as a complement as opposed to lacking specific strengths). Maybe he has unlocked something, 17m a year feels rich, you put it great: budget shopping hasn’t got the hawks anything, might as well take your best shot!

        In regards to Reddick, I’d agree if not for the shift to a new defense. I think he more likely to be a fit than we realize, and has been great in run defense despite his size. He didn’t play rush lineback his first three years, so it’s not surprising he has the same sacks. As soon as he switched to playing more rush, the sacks showed up.

        End result: Stand corrected on Landry, still think Reddick could be a budget fit. That said, not as the lead rusher for us. He’s always been a second fiddle (Burns, Jones), but think he could be an important part of the puzzle.

        Hmm. Perhaps actually what I’m feeling, if we don’t get a guy like Chandler Jones, I’d probably want two additions.

  16. Spencer

    Rob, just out of curiosity, why aren’t you as high on Von Miller as Chandler Jones?
    I think both would be awesome so I’d be good either way. I’d just like your thoughts comparing the two, if you have time.

    • Rob Staton

      I’d happily take either

      But I doubt the Rams paid a R2+3 to let him get away

      Chandler Jones, on the other hand, was flirting with a trade request a year ago

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