First thing: This is nowhere close to comfortable.
There is a police report out that says Seahawks defensive tackle Jarran Reed allegedly grabbed a woman he was dating by the throat and later dragged her down the stairs after an argument escalated during a party in Bellevue. Also in the report, there is a photo of a door he allegedly broke down in anger.
All this took place in April 2017 during a gathering that, according to the police report, involved some of Reed’s teammates and at least one stripper. And on Monday, the NFL announced that Reed will serve a six-game suspension at the start of this season for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.
I want to avoid two things here. The first is minimizing allegations of domestic violence. Even though the City of Bellevue declined to file an assault charge, that charge is serious. And the police report paints a particularly unflattering image of Reed.
But the second is pretending I have any idea what actually happened. Speculation without all the necessary information is all too common of a practice in the media, and I’m not going to engage in it.
Instead, for now I’ll focus on the football aspect. Because regardless of what took place in Bellevue three Aprils ago — and as important as it is for justice to be done — this is really bad for the Seahawks.
Pass-rushing already was a concern for Seattle going into this season. In April, it traded away defensive end Frank Clark, who tallied a team-high 13 sacks last year. Reed pitched in 10.5 himself, meaning 23.5 of the Seahawks’ 43 sacks from last year have gone poof.
It wasn’t a coincidence that Seattle selected defensive end L.J. Collier with its first-round draft pick in April. These days, the only players more valued than the guys who chase the quarterbacks are the quarterbacks themselves.
And with Reed’s absence, that pass-rushing dearth will be amplified — especially given the QBs the Seahawks will face while he’s gone.
In Week 2, Seattle faces the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, who led the NFL in passing yards last season. In Week 3, it has the Saints’ Drew Brees, who led the NFL in passer rating last season.
No. 1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray of Arizona comes in Week 4, followed the Rams’ Jared Goff, who was in the MVP running until a late-season drop-off, and then the Browns’ Baker Mayfield, who was runner-up for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
There may not be an Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes in that gauntlet, but there’s enough talent to expose an already tenuous Seahawks defense.
Of course, Seattle has lost key pass rushers before and come out OK. A prime example was in 2013, when defensive end Bruce Irvin was hit with a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing-drug use at the start of the season.
But those Super Bowl-winning Seahawks also were one of the best defensive teams in NFL history. You can lose a stud when your sideline is flooded with them.
Reed, on the other hand, played 78% of the Seahawks’ snaps last year. Quite the workload for a non-Pro Bowler. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has proven himself as a defensive guru, but if the depth isn’t there, all the brainpower in the world isn’t going to help.
Some things, scratch that — almost everything — is more important than football. If Reed did something heinous, then bemoaning his absence misses the point.
At the very least, he put himself in a volatile situation that led to the police being called. That’s concerning regardless of anything else that took place.
It’s critical to know as much as possible before forming a concrete opinion, and it when it comes to that incident 27 months ago, we don’t know all the facts.
But we do know a valuable Seahawk is out six weeks after alarming allegations emerged. With training camp around the corner, that’s about as inauspicious as it gets.
Correction: This story was corrected at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 23. An earlier version incorrectly stated assault charges against Reed were dropped. Instead, the City of Bellevue declined to file charges.