Huard: By signing Mayowa, Seahawks sending a message to Clowney
The Seahawks added a second pass rusher in free agency on Wednesday, bringing back defensive end Benson Mayowa, who started his NFL career with Seattle in 2013 as an undrafted free agent.
The move makes sense for a number of reasons, as Mayowa has familiarity with the Seahawks’ system under head coach Pete Carroll, even though he appeared in just two games as a rookie in 2013, and because he was productive and efficient last season.
Since Mayowa left the Seahawks after the 2013 season, he’s bounced around a bit, playing for the Raiders in 2014 and 2015, then the Cowboys in 2016 and 2017, then the Cardinals in 2018 and then back to the Raiders in 2019.
Last season with Oakland, Mayowa played 15 games, all as a reserve player, and recorded 7 sacks. According to Pro Football Reference, Mayowa played 29% of the Raiders’ defensive snaps.
His production surprised former NFL quarterback Brock Huard.
“Benson Mayowa had 7 sacks last year?” Huard told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Thursday morning. “He had almost double the amount of sacks that Rasheem Green, the top sacker on the Seahawks (had) … That was probably the initial reaction, ‘That dude had 7 sacks last year?'”
One of the main storylines of the Seahawks’ offseason has been what the team will do to improve its pass rush. In 2019, Seattle recorded 28 sacks, tied for second-worst in the NFL. They were one of four teams who failed to have 30 sacks during the regular season.
In limited action last year, Mayowa showed he can get after the quarterback and he earned a one-year contract worth $3 million guaranteed that can exceed $4 million per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero.
The #Seahawks are giving DE Benson Mayowa a one-year deal worth over $3 million fully guaranteed, per source. Max over $4M with incentives.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 1, 2020
While Mayowa didn’t play much his rookie season in Seattle, Huard does remember when he made the team.
Mayowa was an undrafted free agent that first worked out for the Seahawks at their “local pro day” for college players from the Pacific Northwest. Mayowa played collegiately at Idaho. He was able to make the team and won a Super Bowl ring despite being inactive for essentially the whole season and playoffs.
“I do remember him here as an athletic guy, super, super raw,” Huard said. “Obviously the team was much better in 2013 and the roster was much, much better, especially on that defensive line when he was trying to make an impact here and then obviously he left and did make an impact across the league. Seven sacks are 7 sacks and we can scoff at it or laugh at it and everything else, but the guy has carved out a pretty unique career for himself out of absolutely nothing.”
Mayowa and Bruce Irvin, both members of that 2013 team, have returned to the Seahawks this offseason to help improve the pass rush.
The Seahawks hadn’t made a move on the defensive line since Irvin’s reported signing over two weeks ago, but Huard said signing Mayowa was also sending a message to top Seahawks free agent Jadeveon Clowney, a defensive end who is arguably the top player left on the open market.
Clowney’s initial asking price was reportedly at least $20 million per season, but lately, it’s been rumored that he’d consider a shorter deal so he can re-enter free agency when the salary cap has increased. Additionally, it was reported Wednesday by ESPN’s Dianna Russini that Clowney has lowered his asking price to $17 or $18 million.
As we continue to watch the market for Jadeveon Clowney, I am told by several sources the asking price has been moved off that $20mil+ number and it’s closer to $17-18mil. This could spark more interest. Also told Titans and Seahawks are still “interested”
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) April 1, 2020
“This is also telling Jadeveon Clowney ‘listen, we’re going to sign other guys. You don’t have until the draft to figure this out and we have the leverage here and you know what, if we’re going to sign Benson Mayowa, we may sign Everson Griffen, we may sign Clay Matthews and then poof, that money that we would love to give you … it’s there, but it’s not going to be there forever,'” Huard said. “I do think that this move reminds Clowney and his people that there are guys out there who they can still get this done with if he does not want to accept the terms that they have come to the table with.”
Clowney has also been receiving strong interest from the Tennessee Titans, whose official website had an article with quotes from their general manager and head coach about how they’re looking at potentially signing him.
The Seahawks may not have made the big move in signing Clowney, but they’ve certainly added a capable pass rusher in the meantime.
More Seahawks offseason coverage
• Should Hawks draft a RB in second round? If so, Huard has his pick
• Rost: 3 free agents who could be the Seahawks’ next signings
• Clayton: Seahawks’ offseason is going to plan — with DE the exception
• 2020 offseason tracker: Signings, departures and more