JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Seahawks’ signing of Aldon Smith solidifies return to quality pass-rush rotation

Apr 15, 2021, 12:07 PM | Updated: 12:13 pm
Seahawks DE Aldon Smith...
Aldon Smith is joining the Seahawks after a five-sack season with the Cowboys. (Getty)
(Getty)

You can never have enough pass rushers. That’s why the signing of defensive end Aldon Smith at a low cost by the Seahawks was a smart move.

Related: Seahawks, DE Aldon Smith agree to one-year deal

Smith had five sacks, 20 pressures, 14 hurries and nine quarterback knockdowns for the Dallas Cowboys last year. It was a surprise the Cowboys didn’t bring him back, but for the past year, Smith has been on the Seahawks’ radar.

Sure, he’s had plenty of off-the-field issues, but if he can play to the level he did last year in Dallas, he will be a good asset for the Seahawks’ defense. He’s 31 and he still has plenty of good football left in him.

What you are seeing is the Seahawks going back to their 2014 plan when they didn’t overuse their defensive linemen. If they can get 50 percent playing time out of each defensive end, they will be fresh throughout the season for 17 games.

The Seahawks brought back Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa. They added Kerry Hyder as a Michael Bennett-type five-technique defensive end. They still have L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green. They have last year’s two draft choices, Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson. And now they have Smith. That’s seven defensive ends.

With only three picks in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Seahawks needed to make sure they have enough veterans, but they can’t add to every position. Now they can ignore defensive ends in this draft. If necessary, they could take a cornerback, center, offensive tackle or wide receiver. Plus, you figure general manager John Schneider could trade down and add to their draft list.

The Seahawks have so much more pass-rushing talent than last year, and they didn’t have to overspend to help the position. Dunlap got $6.8 million a year for two years. That was the most they had to pay for a defensive end. Hyder was a bargain at $3.25 million a year for two years. They didn’t have to go to the $13 million to $16 million they offered Jadeveon Clowney they offered last offseason.

It’s funny about the timing. The Seahawks get the Smith deal done one day after Clowney agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Cleveland Browns.

With seven defensive ends, the Seahawks are in good shape for 2021 to pressure the quarterback.

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