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Pass rushers reportedly still on market

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Divisional Round - Indianapolis Colts v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

I’ve expected the Seattle Seahawks to hit the free agent market for pass rushers, but not until the cream (usually overrated cream) has been scooped from the crop. The Kansas City Chiefs traded franchise tagged Dee Ford to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2020 second round pick, with the Niners giving Ford $87.5 million over five years. That’s been the biggest move for any of the pass rushers currently moving around the league.

Frank Clark, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Jadeveon Clowney remain tagged by their respective teams. Trey Flowers signed a $90 million deal with the Detroit Lions. The Green Bay Packers signed both Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith. Here are some notable remaining names:

Justin Houston, OLB, Chiefs

He was released by Kansas City (thereby removing two of their highly-regarded pass rushers) and he could potentially sign somewhere that gives him an opportunity to make the Super Bowl, but likely in a system that still fits his abilities. He’s still only 30 and he has 18.5 sacks over the last two seasons, can he play LEO? Houston is actually more than a year younger than fellow free agent Bruce Irvin.

Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Lions

This is the name I’ve thrown around the most since last season. He turns 30 in May, but Ansah was so dominant in his first three seasons that I have hopes that the last few years have just been dampened by injuries. If Ansah wants to sign a one or two-year deal with an opportunity to win games, get sacks next to a good defensive line (Jarran Reed, Clark), then maybe the Seahawks could be a fit.

Nick Perry, OLB, Packers

One of the few players left in the NFL who once played for Pete Carroll at USC. Perry was disappointing over his first four seasons, then had 11 sacks in year five, got paid, had seven sacks in 2017, and 1.5 sacks last year. He was released as Green Bay overhauled their linebacker corps this week and is now available at age 29. He shouldn’t be too expensive for whoever signs him.

Shane Ray, OLB, Broncos

Ray had eight sacks and 21 QB hits in 2016 and two sacks with five QB hits in the two seasons since. It’s another Perry, younger, but also a little worse.

Clay Matthews, OLB, Packers

One of the other guys who played for Carroll at USC. Maybe Matthews would be a consideration as depth at weakside linebacker but probably not as a pass rusher and only if the 33-year-old (in May) wants to play for the veteran minimum.

Derrick Morgan, DE, Titans

He had 16.5 sacks from 2016-2017, but just shared a piece of one sack over 13 games in 2018. Morgan is 30 and it’s hard to say if he had a bad year or if that was the end. So he’d be a thought later on down the line perhaps.

Dion Jordan, DE, Seahawks

His two years in Seattle have resulted in 17 games and 5.5 sacks. He’s not great but he’s made a case to be a valuable depth piece (fourth DE option) for a good defense. On a bad defense, he’d probably just start and that’s part of the reason that defense would be below average maybe. The Seahawks may be considering re-signing Jordan on a one-year deal and he may not get any better offers.

Vinny Curry, DE, Buccaneers

The Eagles really convinced themselves that they had done a great job drafting Curry when they signed him to a huge contract extension a few years ago. He was traded to the Bucs last year and produced 2.5 sacks in 12 games. This is an accurate snaps shot of how quickly the edge rushing market can dry up and why the good ones get paid a lot.

Markus Golden, DE, Cardinals

Golden is 28 and he had 12.5 sacks in 2016, but that’s virtually his entire career. No sacks and 12 games missed in 2017, 2.5 sacks in 2018. Golden should be relatively cheap.

Bruce Irvin, OLB, Falcons

There’s been talk of Atlanta wanting to retain Irvin and working to do that. If not, we know there’s a relationship between the Seahawks and Irvin, as well as Irvin and some current players in Seattle. I don’t think it does much to address their pass rushing though.

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(Written as of Tuesday night)