NFL Free Agency 2012 Primer: More Defensive Options for the Seattle Seahawks

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 18: Jason Jones #91 of the Tennessee Titans reacts to a defensive stop against the Baltimore Ravens at LP Field on September 18, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessee won 26-13. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Ok, let's break right into it. I put this list together last week, and haven't had a chance to really go in-depth, save for the defensive ends, but with the speed this free agency race is going, I just want to get this published.

Defensive Tackles:

Paul Soliai, NT, Dolphins. Age: 28

No going to happen, likely, with the re-sign of Red Bryant. Soliai has a meeting set up with Denver for tomorrow, and though the Seahawks allegedly had interest in the 28 year-old nose tackle, I just don't see it happening. Regardless, he's a Pro-Bowler from last year and has a cool name.

Red Bryant, DE/DT, Seahawks. Age: 28

This got done yesterday. I still don't really know how I feel about the whole thing. On one hand, I think it's a good thing that the Seahawks are actively 'taking care of their own' and keeping their players in Seattle. I think he's a very strong presence, leadership and intensity-wise, on the defense, on the field and in the locker room, something that is scheme transcendent and regardless of how you feel about it, important to this front office. Obviously though, this trait is ultimately intangible.

As for his impact on the Seahawks efficiency, I think it's obvious that he played a big role in their success in stopping the run and he made some big plays on special teams, but I'm unsure as to the long-term effectiveness he'll have. I realize that's fence sitting but I honestly don't know how much this defense will change and evolve going forward.

Either way, he was given $14.5M in fully guaranteed money, but it's only a $4M cap hit in 2012. Not a huge cost, and hopefully he can stay healthy and as productive as he was in 2011, because the Seahawks evidently plan to use him a lot.

Kendall Langford, DE/DT, Dolphins. Age: 26

Another Dolphins defensemen (is that used in football? I'm going to start using that). You may remember him for losing a $50,000 earring at practice in Miami, but he's a large defensive linemen at 6'6, 295 and has reportedly drawn interest from New England and has a visit with the Bengals lined up. Still, he's a great run stopper and could potentially play on the line at a number of spots so I threw him up here. He's young, versatile, talented, and yet to enter his prime. Does he fit? Great question. Does anyone fit on this offense? The Seahawks have Alan Branch at 3-tech and Red Bryant on the end. I don't know how to predict this front office.

Jason Jones, DT, Titans. Age: 26

Jason Jones is probably the best defensive linemen out there after Mario Williams, and guess what!? He's on his way to Seattle right now (scheduled visit tomorrow). Jones could play the 3-tech at 6'5, 276 or bump outside to rush the passer in certain sets. His versatility would give the Seahawks the ability to disguise formations and do a lot of things, and at 26 he's still yet to enter his prime. I know that Thomas is very high on Jones as well and as I've done very limited scouting on him, I trust Beekers' opinion on this one.

For what it's worth Greg Cosell compares Jason Jones to Quinton Coples, another player the Seahawks are allegedly very interested in. If the Seahawks can land a guy like Jones in free agency and take an Melvin Ingram or Courtney Upshaw in the first round... oh boy.

PFF listed Jason Jones as a secret superstar last year, with this explanation:

"On the surface of things, you'd like him to have more than four sacks (we don't recognize half sacks,) but as we always say, there's more to life than sacking the QB. There weren't many better than Jones at putting pressure on the quarterback. The former First Team All-MAC performer was getting pressure on 9.17% of all defensive plays (eighth among defensive tackles,) proving more than a handful for interior linemen who couldn't deal with his explosiveness.

To some degree, this would be expected. Carrying less weight than most defensive tackles, he should be flying past the comparably sluggish guards and centers of the NFL. Conversely, you'd also expect him to be driven out of running lanes on a regular basis because he is so keen on getting up the field, but that didn't happen.

Aggressive enough to penetrate, but disciplined enough not to sacrifice his run responsibilities, Jones ended the year with a positive grade in run defense. From being one of the worst run defenders we'd ever seen in his rookie year, Jones was ranked in our top twenty just two seasons later. That he did it without his pass rushing missing a beat (he earned our highest grade for a DT in pass rushing), is a testament to his development."

Amobi Okoye, DT, Bears. Age: 25

You may remember this name from last year, as the Texans released their former No. 1 pick and we here at Field Gulls lobbied for his signing. Instead, he chose Chicago (and I never really heard whether or not the Seahawks had any interest) on a one-year deal and is now a free-agent. If the Seahawks want quality depth at 3-tech, Okoye might be a great option, and is still only 25. Here's what CSNChicago writer John Mullen said:

A deal with Okoye, whom coach Lovie Smith holds in very high regard based on Okoye's play in spot duty last season, remains a possibility. The Bears would prefer that the former No. 1 pick and teammate of Williams' in Houston not get to the market, but Okoye is likely to receive genuine consideration for every down starter money after a solid '11 with 4 sacks.

In some ways, Okoye reminds me of Clinton McDonald so I'm not sure if it'd be redundant to go after him. We will see.

Outside Linebackers:

Jarret Johnson, DE/OLB, Ravens. Age: 31

Signed with Chargers. Doh.

Erin Henderson, OLB, Vikings. Age: 26

I don't know a ton about Henderson, but here's what Gil Alcatraz has to say about him, after pointing out that the Vikings are apparently making a big push to re-sign him.

Since joining the Vikings as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland back in 2008, Henderson has slowly asserted himself as a quality contributor at the weakside linebacker spot. After spending his first few seasons with the Vikings mostly on special teams, Henderson finally broke the starting lineup in 2011 and made the most of his opportunities. He finished the season with 70 total tackles, 1.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Although he struggled at times and received limited playing time, he played with unmistakable passion and was one of the few consistent components of the Vikings' disappointing defense.

Seems like a guy the Seahawks would like.

Leroy Hill, OLB, Seahawks. Age: 29

Haven't heard anything about Leroy, and I honestly wouldn't mind seeing him back this year on a short-term, inexpensive deal. Wouldn't mind getting younger and faster but I'd also like to never have to work ever, so I gotta be realistic on this one. Hill might be a good choice.

Wesley Woodyard, OLB, Broncos. Age: 26

Special teams ace, undersized and quick. Sound familiar? It should, because the Seahawks love guys like this - Heath Farwell, Matt McCoy, Adrian Moten, David Vobora, Jameson Konz, Allen Bradford, Mike Morgan. Long list. Per this PFW scouting report:

Positives: Woodyard played his best at the beginning of the 2011 season when D.J. Williams was out of the lineup because of an elbow injury. He had 13 tackles in Week Two vs. the Bengals and 10 the following Sunday against the Titans. He continued to make plays coming off the bench, including what might have been the most important defensive play for the Broncos last season, a forced fumble on Bears RB Marion Barber in the fourth quarter of Week 14 that helped Denver to an improbable comeback win. With excellent speed and athleticism, Woodyard has the ability to play both inside or outside linebacker and in the team's nickel defense.

My guess - he'll probably want more money than the Seahawks are willing to give him. Either way, interesting.

More soon.

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