Tyrel Dodson the Seahawks’ answer at LB in free agency

Mar 14, 2024, 5:52 PM | Updated: 7:17 pm

Seattle Seahawks free agency Tyrel Dodson...

Tyrel Dodson of the Buffalo Bills celebrates after making a defensive play in 2022. (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

(Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks have made a handful of moves in the first week of free agency, but one position stood out as particularly bare going into Thursday: linebacker.

Seahawks 2024 Offseason Tracker: Keep up with every move in free agency

Seattle would not end the day without addressing that position, however, with the Seahawks announcing the signing of Tyrel Dodson on Thursday night.

Dodson is certainly an interesting addition as he was Pro Football Focus’ top-rated linebacker last season.

In his fourth season with the Buffalo Bills in 2023, Dodson registered 74 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss, six QB hits, a forced fumble, a fumble record and two passes defensed.

Entering the day, the Seahawks had neither signed a new linebacker nor re-signed any of their own free agents at the position. In fact, Seattle has watched Jordyn Brooks, their 2020 first-round NFL Draft pick, leave for the Miami Dolphins, and all-time franchise great Bobby Wagner go to the Washington Commanders to reunite with some of his former Hawks coaches.

Hours before news broke of Dodson to the Seahawks, Seattle Sports’ Brock Huard pointed to him as a potential answer in free agency for the team’s hole at linebacker.

“You look at Pro Football Focus and say, ‘How in the world is this guy not signed?’ He was their No. 1 graded linebacker. He was their No. 3 graded coverage linebacker,” Huard said on Thursday’s edition of Brock and Salk. “How is he not signed? … He has not been ‘the’ guy, and is probably with his agent looking for a payday after four or five years. I think now the market has simmered, everybody else took their linebackers.”

There could be a few reasons Dodson went unsigned into the fourth day of free agency, as Huard went on to explain. At 6-feet tall and 237 pounds, he is “a little bit undersized.” There also could have been character concerns. Dodson, who went undrafted out of Texas A&M in 2019, was arrested in Arizona that same year and accused of domestic violence. After pleading guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges, he received a six-game suspension by the NFL.

Four years later, Dodson was named an NFLPA Community MVP, making him eligible for the Alan Page Community Award, which the NFLPA considers the highest honor it can bestow upon a player.

Dodson went to Texas A&M with a lot of excitement around him, but it wasn’t the easiest road for him to regular NFL playing time.

“Athletic linebacker, Mr. Tennessee out of high school, five-star 5A player of the year,” Huard said. “Just an absolute stud, goes to A&M and was just kind of inconsistent. Was a little bit of a running back, a little bit of a linebacker, and by the end was good but was never great.”

Dodson, who will turn 25 in June, made his NFL debut with 10 games including two starts with the Bills in 2020. He played 16 games in each of the next two years, including three starts in 2022, and became more of a regular presence in the Bills’ defense last season.

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