Wyman: Why Seahawks re-signing Jarran Reed makes sense
The opening week of the NFL Free Agency period saw some surprising signings: We’ll see Tom Brady in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform. Houston inexplicably traded receiver DeAndre Hopkins, arguably one of the top-three receivers in the NFL, to Seahawks rival Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson. We’re also seeing a lot of money go to players that most NFL fans have never heard of.
Backup linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski who was a fourth-round draft choice out of West Virginia in 2016 and has started in just 22 games in four seasons with Chicago, signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.
First of all, I feel like we go through this every year. Remember when Tyler Lockett signed a contract for $11 million per year? That seemed steep until he responded with over 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns the next two seasons. Now, Lockett seems like a bargain.
Last year, the Seahawks wouldn’t pay nickel corner Justin Coleman what the Detroit Lions paid him: $9 million per year. Most fans agreed, but with the Seahawks’ struggles at nickel corner in 2019, most fans would have killed to pay a good nickel corner that much money.
So I would say, don’t overreact to the numbers. Certainly don’t overreact to the signing of defensive tackle Jarran Reed.
Although $23 million sounds like a big number, it’s a two-year, quasi prove it contract. It allows Reed to hit free agency in two years, still in his 20s, and for the Seahawks, it allows them to see which Jarran Reed they’ll get for the next two years – the 1.5-2 sack Jarran Reed of 2019 or the 10.5 sack Jarran Reed of 2018.
Now I must admit, recently I’ve talked about not spending money on interior defensive lineman as much as edge rushers. It’s the same principle as paying outside linebackers more than inside linebackers, offensive tackles more than guards, wide receivers more than tight ends, etc. The players that live out on the edge in the wide-open part of the field, have special talents – mostly speed.
Phone Booth Tough
My old coach Chuck Knox used to say that players like Reed are “phone booth tough.” For those of you that didn’t grow up in the ’80s and ’90s, a phone booth was a 3-foot-by-3-foot glass compartment in which you entered to make a phone call.
As a matter of fact, I negotiated my first NFL contract in a phone booth outside of a Shell station in Kirkland back in 1987. Well, actually my agent Marvin Demoff told me, “This is a great deal for you, so go sign the contract.” But I digress …
If you had to fight someone inside of a phone booth and came out of the phone booth alive, you are a baaaaad dude. That’s Jarran Reed.
Now, unless you’re Aaron Donald, John Randle or the late-great Cortez Kennedy, interior defensive lineman don’t record a lot of stats. However, they do make a lot of plays but you have to, as a lot of us old guys say, watch the tape.
Good defensive tackles like Reed will not only make tackles and some sacks, they’ll take on double team blocks, hold their ground with 600 pounds pushing on them and often allow their teammates to make plays. That’s what I see from Jarran Reed.
Defensive tackles are the unsung heroes of the defense. I played behind guys like Cortez Kennedy, Joe Nash and Greg Kragen with the Broncos. While playing linebacker in the NFL, any time I came clean (unblocked) and made a solo tackle, the first person I would thank would be a player like Jarran Reed.
Yes he did miss six games and he did only have 2 sacks in 2019. The question this offseason is whether or not Reed can duplicate what he did in 2018 (10.5 sacks).
But when it comes to interior defensive linemen, unless you’re Ndamukong Suh, or Aaron Donald or Cortez Kennedy, you’re not likely to amass a lot of stats. That’s what we tend to dwell on these days with websites like Pro Football Focus. They count the stats rather than watching the game and assessing the effect a player has on a game.
For this old linebacker, I’d love to play behind Jarran Reed.
710 ESPN Seattle’s Dave Wyman is not on Twitter, but you can hear his thoughts every day from 3 to 7 p.m. on 710 ESPN’s Bob, Dave and Moore.