The Seattle Seahawks have remained quiet through the first two days of the legal tampering period, watching multiple players leave for other teams. However, as expected, on Wednesday the team made public its decision on at least one of its three remaining restricted free agents, defensive end Quinton Jefferson.
The #Seahawks tendered RFA DL Quinton Jefferson at the original round level (5th round), source said. Started 12 games last season. Could be in play on the RFA market.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 13, 2019
Jefferson was originally drafted by the Seahawks in the fifth round of the 2016 draft when the team traded up to select him. A knee injury ended his rookie season early and landed him on injured reserve after playing just 20 defensive snaps that season.
In 2017 he did not make the roster out of training camp and was waived in the cutdown to 53 players, at which point he was claimed by the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams kept him on the roster through the first week of the season, but then waived him after their Week 1 route of the Indianapolis Colts. QJeff cleared waivers that time, and was then signed to the Rams practice squad. However, after Cliff Avril suffered a neck injury against the Colts in Week 4, the Seahawks poached Jefferson off the Rams practice squad, and he has appeared in 22 of 27 games Seattle has played since then.
The original round tender is effectively a one year contract offer from the Hawks for 2019 with a base salary of $2.025M. However, should another team wish to sign Jefferson to a contract as a free agent, they may do so and Seattle would then have a week to decide whether to match the contract, or whether to allow Jefferson to leave. Should Jefferson sign such an offer sheet with another team that the Hawks decline to match, the other team would then acquire Jefferson while sending its fifth round pick to the Seahawks.
Restricted free agents have not typically been hot commodities in free agency, however, a soon to be 26 year old coming off a four sack season in which he started twelve games that is available for a fifth round pick might pique the interest of other teams.
This leaves fans waiting for information about the two remaining RFAs for the Hawks, fullback Tre Madden and tackle George Fant. With the deadline for the use of a tender at 4 pm New York time Wednesday, the answer should be coming soon enough.