The Seahawks have tendered restricted free agent defensive end Dion Jordan, who may well replace Michael Bennett as a starter in 2018.
The Seahawks kept a few more players in the fold on Wednesday, notably defensive end Dion Jordan, a restricted free agent who was officially given an original round tender.
That means Jordan will receive a salary of $1.907 for the 2018 season and if any team were to sign Jordan to an offer sheet, Seattle can match or get a first-round pick — the round in which Jordan was selected in 2013 — as compensation.
However, the Seahawks did not tender running backs Mike Davis and Thomas Rawls or linebacker Dewey McDonald, and all are now unrestricted free agents.
Any or all could return and Davis in particular seems likely to be back. But allowing them to go to free agency means the Seahawks can save significant money in the process. Tendering any of them would have meant a salary of at least $1.907 for 2018.
Seattle also gave qualifying offers to five Exclusive Rights Free Agents — center Joey Hunt, running back J.D. McKissic, snapper Tyler Ott and defensive ends Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson.
ERFAs who were not tendered are linebackers Paul Dawson, Christian French and Josh Forrest, defensive tackle Garrison Smith, defensive back Jordan Simone and offensive lineman Tyrus Thompson. Each now becomes unrestricted free agents.
The NFL also released an official list of players whose contracts lapsed and are now unrestricted free agents. Notably, that list includes defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, the one UFA it was thought the Seahawks might try to re-sign ahead of time.
Richardson now hits the open market.
Jordan, who was the third overall pick in the draft by Miami in 2013, missed all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to an NFL drug suspension and a knee injury, signing with Seattle as a free agent last spring.
He returned to play in five games for the Seahawks last season, making four sacks, third on the team behind Frank Clark’s nine and the 8.5 of Michael Bennett.
With Bennett gone (his trade to the Eagles was officially announced by both teams on Wednesday with the beginning of the new league year) Jordan is slated to step into a starting role at left defensive end with Clark on the opposite side.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had made it clear following the season that Jordan would be a big part of the team’s plans in 2018.
“Dion Jordan had a marvelous turnaround and showed an impact that could be really instrumental,” Carroll said. “…I think he could be a legitimate factor. How good? I don’t know. I don’t know that, but I do know, he could be, should be a legitimate factor in the rush and in the run game. He’s a good pursuit guy too. He’s strong and big and all that. He just is really unproven background and there’s not much to go on and so we’re having to piece it together with a few plays that we got, but he made some real positive overtures and he’s an exciting prospect of us. Really exciting prospect. Where we lost a guy from the draft, you know, maybe we can, it’s not exactly the same spot, but maybe we can be fortunate enough to make it up with what he can do.”
Most notable of those the team let become free agents is Rawls, who looked like a budding star when he rushed for 830 yards and 5.6 per carry. But Rawls hasn’t really been the same since breaking an ankle against the Ravens late in the 2015 season and it’s unclear if he remains in the team’s plans.
Davis emerged as Seattle’s starting tailback late in the season and was the leading rusher of all of the team’s running backs last season with 240 yards behind the 586 of quarterback Russell Wilson. It’s thought the team will try to re-sign him.