The Seahawks have added a second former Minnesota Viking in two days to add depth to its defensive line.
Can two former Minnesota Vikings replace one former-Seahawk-turned-Viking?
It’s not quite that simple, of course, but in the wake of seeing Sheldon Richardson sign as a free agent with Minnesota last week Seattle has turned for the second time in two days to a former Viking to help replace Richardson on the defensive line.
Saturday, the Seahawks signed free agent tackle Shamar Stephen, to what was reported to be a one-year contract by Tom Pelissero of NFL Media, a day after signing Tom Johnson. While Richardson signed a one-year deal worth up to $8 million, Johnson signed a one-year deal worth up to $2.7 and Stephen’s deal — while not yet revealed — is for likely even less.
The 27-year-old Stephen started all 16 games for the Vikings in 2016 but just one last season when Johnson became the Vikings’ other starting tackle alongside Linval Joseph. Stephen was listed behind Joseph on the depth chart at nose tackle last season. Pelissero also reported that Stephen suffered an MCL injury during the playoffs and recently had surgery but that he should be healthy when Organized Team Activities begin in May.
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Stephen, listed at 6-5, 309, was originally a seventh-round pick out of UConn in 2014.
Seattle now has five defensive tackles on its roster — Jarran Reed, Nazair Jones, Malik McDowell, Johnson and Stephen. McDowell’s future, though, remains murky due to injuries received in an ATV accident last July that caused him to miss his rookie season.
That means that Seattle’s tackle depth at the moment likely reads Reed and Stephen at the one-technique spot and Jones and Johnson at three-technique, in one order or another.
Stephen was rated by Pro Football Focus 15th of the 28 top free agent defensive tackles available in run stop percentage and 18th of 20 that it rated in pass-rush productivity.
But Suh has reportedly narrowed his choices to the Jets, Raiders, Titans and Saints and with each singing made by Seattle the Seahawks would appear to have both less desire and cap room for making a run at Suh.
The Seahawks last week also re-signed end Marcus Smith as the team’s defensive line begins to take shape.
Smith’s signing gives the Seahawks six ends under contract in 2018, the others being Frank Clark, Dion Jordan, Quinton Jefferson, Branden Jackson and Noble Nwachukwu. Barkevious Mingo, listed as a linebacker, also figures to be used as an edge rusher. Cliff Avril also remains on Seattle’s roster as an end but will likely soon announce his retirement or be released as it is unlikely he can continue to play after suffering a neck/nerve injury in the fourth game last season.
The signing of Stephen will give Seattle 62 players under contract for 2018 — teams can have a max of 90 on their roster in the offseason. Seattle at the moment has eight draft picks meaning there remains room to sign a few more free agents before the draft, as well as a number of undrafted free agents.
The Seahawks last year entered training camp with seven ends and nine tackles on its roster.