Clayton: Seahawks learn from Clowney experience, don’t wait to address DE

Mar 24, 2021, 8:55 AM | Updated: 10:30 am

Seahawks DE Kerry Hyder...

The Seahawks reportedly signed DE Kerry Hyder to a three-year deal on Tuesday. (Getty)


The Seahawks learned something from last offseason’s Jadeveon Clowney experience: Don’t wait to get something done if the player overprices himself.

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Clowney wanted more than $20 million to return to Seattle. The Seahawks started out offering him $13 million a year. They eventually got up to $16 million but Clowney didn’t return any counter offer. He waited until the end of training camp before signing a one-year, $13 million deal with the Tennessee Titans, and ultimately he didn’t make a single sack in 2020 and ended up on injured reserve with a knee injury.

That put the Seahawks in the position to trade for Carlos Dunlap in the regular season.

On Tuesday, Seahawks general manager John Schneider decided not to wait. After fixing up the offensive line, adding a tight end and re-signing Chris Carson, Schneider tried to rebuild the defensive end position that is so vital to the defense. He get a three-year deal with Kerry Hyder and reached a two-year deal to re-sign Benson Mayowa.

The wait was for Dunlap, who Seattle released ahead of free agency as a salary cap casualty. He was thinking he should get around a $10 million salary. In this market, that’s not happening.

As good as Dunlap is – and he was great for Seattle last year – players in their 30s are getting destroyed on the market. Sure, J.J. Watt was able to get $14 million a year from Arizona, but there have been only two players in their 30s who got $10 million or more. We are two weeks into a free agency period where players are struggling to get $4-5 million salaries, with more than 130 free agents have reached deals. The market is crashing for big money deal.

With the agreements with Hyder and Mayowa, the Seahawks added 14.5 sacks from last season to their defense. Both players have the ability to start. Seattle can still see if it can get a deal with Dunlap, or it can add a cheaper pass rusher. The Seahawks also have Rasheem Green, L.J. Collier, Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson. They can take that into the season if they wish.

Mayowa had six sacks last season. The Seahawks have Robinson, Taylor and Green who can rush from the Leo position, which is their main quick pass rush position. Dunlap was different in the sense that he is 285 pounds and can play Leo and play it well.

Hyder is a five-technique who has the ability to get eight or more sacks. He did that as a backup one year in Detroit. Last year with all the injuries in San Francisco, Hyder had 14 starts and ended up with 8.5 sacks. It’s not known whether the Seahawks were looking at Melvin Ingram, though there’s no doubt Dunlap was their first choice. Instead of waiting, the Seahawks moved and took care of their defensive end needs.

Next up is to see if the Seahawks want to bring back Quinton Dunbar or add a different cornerback. They will be looking for a third receiver. The two areas of biggest need – offensive line and defensive end – have been addressed.

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Clayton: Seahawks learn from Clowney experience, don’t wait to address DE