Seahawks coach Pete Carroll pretty much just laid down the gauntlet at the team’s defensive front during his end-of-season news conference.

“We are going to have to become more dynamic up front,” Carroll said. “We have to. We’ve kind of been in the same mode. We have to get more production out of the guys. They have to be more of a factor. We need to make the position really competitive, if we can. We will see what we can do.”

That statement came two days after Seattle’s 41-23 wild-card loss to the 49ers, a game that was like too many for the Seahawks in 2022 in which they couldn’t stop the run, allowing 181 yards on 33 carries after finishing 30th in run defense during the season at 150.2 per game.

As Carroll made sure to point out, stopping the run isn’t solely about the defensive line.

But everything with the defense starts with the line, and for a team that continues to have surprising struggles on that side of the ball, any major personnel changes figure to begin with the front seven.


As we continue our Seahawks position overviews as the offseason begins, let’s look at the defensive line.

And to keep it clean, we’ll stick solely to Seattle’s definitions of defensive linemen on the team’s public depth chart, meaning the three down linemen positions in the 3-4 defense.

Defensive line 


Defensive end Shelby Harris 

Age: 31
Snaps played in regular season: 1,044
Contract situation: Harris is entering the final year of his contract with a non-guaranteed base salary of $6.5 million as well as a $2 million bonus for being on the roster on March 22, according to

Nose tackle Al Woods 

Age: 35
Snaps played in regular season: 375
Contract situation: Has one year remaining on his contract and is due to make a non-guaranteed $3.25 million.

Defensive tackle Poona Ford 

Age: 27
Snaps played in regular season: 642
Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent.


Defensive end Quinton Jefferson 

Age: 29
Snaps played in regular season: 565
Contract situation: Has one year left on his contract and is due to make a non-guaranteed $3.895 million.


Defensive end L.J. Collier 

Age: 27
Snaps played in regular season: 149
Contract situation: Unrestricted free agent.

Nose tackle Bryan Mone 

Age: 27
Snaps played in regular season: 270
Contract situation: Has two years remaining on his contract and is due to make $2.285 million in 2023.

Defensive end Myles Adams 

Age: 24
Snaps played in regular season: 190
Contract situation in 2023: Exclusive-rights free agent.

Others on roster: DT Jarrod Hewitt

2022 review

Seattle’s changes on defense and going with more 3-4 looks in 2022 under first-year coordinator Clint Hurtt impacted the players on the line as much as anybody, with several asked to change or alter their roles some, notably Ford, who had previously mostly played nose tackle.

But Seattle liked the idea of a “big” line with Ford and Woods teaming with Harris, who was the most notable offseason acquisition coming from Denver via the Russell Wilson trade, flanked by speedy outside linebackers. 

Seattle brought back Jefferson, a 2016 draftee of the team, to join with holdovers such as Mone (who got a two-year contract extension in the offseason) and Collier as rotational players/depth.


The new defense also called for more of a “read-and-react” scheme up front, meaning linemen reading the movements of the offense before making their move, rather than shooting gaps at the snap.

It looked good early, with the Seahawks holding Denver to 76 yards rushing in a 17-16 win in the opener, keeping in line with how Seattle played against the run in 2021, when the Seahawks allowed just 3.8 yards per carry for second in the league.

But a Week 2 loss on the road against the 49ers, who rushed for 189 yards, kicked off a string of disheartening performances against the run.

After four straight games in which Seattle allowed 145 or more rushing yards, the Seahawks changed things some to allow the linemen to play more aggressively. That worked for a while, keying a four-game winning streak and a 6-3 start. 

But beginning with a loss in Munich to Tampa Bay, Seattle allowed 161 yards or more rushing in five straight games — four of which were losses — and seemingly put the run defense back at square one. And when the season ended, Seattle had allowed more than a yard more per rush — 4.9 — than the year before.

2023 preview 

So what now? Carroll’s comments made it clear there could — and almost certainly will — be some significant change.


Seattle could consider releasing Harris and/or Jefferson, which would each bring substantial cap savings. As noted, Harris has a $2 million roster bonus due March 22 — a week after free agency begins — and if he is cut before then, Seattle could save $8.9 million against the cap. Releasing Jefferson could save $4.485 million.

Ford, meanwhile, is a free agent and could seek a fresh start after a year when he seemed to struggle not playing almost exclusively at nose tackle, as Carroll noted after the season, saying, “We probably overplayed him. We would have liked him to rotate more. I really like him playing over the center.”

If he does return, expect Seattle to try to play him more at the nose.

Collier is also a free agent and, after four years in which he never lived up to be drafted 29th overall, it seems unlikely he’ll be back.

Mone, meanwhile, is a question mark to be ready for the start of the 2023 season after suffering an ACL injury on Dec. 15. The Seahawks might have to plan their offseason assuming he may not be available for camp.

Seattle’s struggles up front have many anticipating the team using its first draft pick, No. 5 overall, on a defensive lineman or rush end, with Georgia tackle Jalen Carter possibly the preferred target if he isn’t selected in the top four.


But with 10 picks overall, using three or four of those on defensive linemen/rush ends wouldn’t seem out of order, especially with this considered a pretty solid draft class for interior defensive linemen.

Depending on what happens with Geno Smith’s contract and other moves, the Seahawks could have some decent money to spend in free agency.

The “shoot-for-the-moon” free agent to try to fix things up front is Washington defensive tackle Daron Payne. But he won’t come cheap. Pro Football Focus this week projected him to get a four-year, $80 million deal.

One who would likely come a bit more inexpensively is Minnesota’s Dalvin Tomlinson (PFF projected him at just over $11 million per year), who is regarded as one of the NFL’s better run-defending tackles.

Up next: Linebackers