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Seahawks make quality pickups in Dre’Mont Jones, Julian Love

Seahawks make quality pickups in Dre’Mont Jones, Julian Love

Pencil the San Francisco 49ers as the best of NFC West in 2023 at your own risk. After the bombing that the Seattle Seahawks suffered at the hands of the 49ers in the playoffs, they have taken significant steps to fill the talent gaps on the roster. Come fall, Kyle Shanahan and Co. better be ready for the 49ers-Seahawks rivalry to be back in full force.

The Seahawks’ bountiful offseason began with the re-signing of Geno Smith. After a breakout Pro-Bowl season in his early 30s, he signed a three-year, $105 million contract. It includes $27.3 million guaranteed at signing.

The collateral itself is almost $10 million more than what he earned as an NFL quarterback throughout his 10-year NFL career. However, the case is extremely team friendly for the Seahawks. The $52 million owed to him for his first year, Smith only receives the full amount if he is on the list for a calendar year. Moreover, his hit cap for the 2023 season is only $10 million, and if he is released after the upcoming season, his dead cap for 2024 is $17.4 million. With the NFL’s leader in completion percentage tied to a team-friendly deal, the Seahawks were able to be aggressive in free agency.

For the Seahawks to improve on their 9-8 record in 2022, they badly needed better personnel to defend against the run. Per Football Outsiders, the Seahawks had the 25th-worst DVOA defense in the league. This was exploited by the 49ers in the playoffs.

Brock Purdy has been impressive throwing for over 300 yards and four touchdowns, but he probably doesn’t have those jaw-dropping passing stats without his beastly rushing performance. Christian McCaffrey is averaging 7.9 yards per carry and Deebo Samuel is averaging 10.7. With the 49ers able to consistently slash the Seahawks on the ground, it opened up the rest of the field for the 49ers’ wide receivers. Three of them – Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings – average over 20 yards per reception.

The Seahawks’ biggest move in free agency was the signing of Dre’Mont Jones. According to Next Gen Stats, Jones had the 10th highest run-stuff rate in the league. He is also a versatile player who can line up both inside and outside. Jones is also a capable pass rusher. He’s had 6.5 sacks over the past two seasons.

He’s not the only addition the Seahawks have made to their defensive line. They brought back their 2016 second-round pick, Jarran Reed. In his final season with the Seahawks — 2020 — they had the seventh-best DVOA point defense in the NFL.

Reed isn’t the only former Seahawk the franchise has signed this offseason. The captain is at home. They brought back Bobby Wagner after a season with their division rival Los Angeles Rams.

Wagner may not be as explosive a player as he was during the Legion of Boom years, but he’s still a very productive player as an inside linebacker. Pro Football Focus rated him the Rams’ best player of 2022.

The signing of Julian Love marks an improvement in the Seahawks’ defense at all three levels. Of all the NFL safeties that have had a minimum of 150 tackles in the last three seasons, Love missed the second-least. He will be paired in high school with Jamal Adams.

Thanks to the Russell Wilson trade, on top of all that defensive improvement, the Seahawks still have two picks in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft — including No. 5 overall.

For the players, it’s time to bet not only on the Seahawks to win the NFC West, but also for them to go to the Super Bowl. They have a solid roster that will continue to improve with the draft only a month away.

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