Seahawks Expected to Target Veteran DT Damon Harrison

Corbin Smith

After agreeing to terms with running back Carlos Hyde on Friday, the Seahawks aren't done attempting to shore up holes on their roster in the latest phase of free agency.

Per a source, Seattle has been diligently exploring veteran options at defensive tackle, which remains an area of concern depth-wise. The team has particularly been searching for a proven nose tackle, with former All-Pro standout Damon Harrison emerging as the preferred target.

Harrison, 31, considered stepping away from the game following a down season by his standards in 2019. He finished with 49 tackles and 2.0 sacks in 15 starts, receiving a 63.2 grade from Pro Football Focus, easily his lowest grade since his rookie season.

But after Harrison and the Lions agreed to a "mutual" split in mid-February, reports surfaced that he intended to suit up and play in 2020.

After an ugly exit from Detroit, Seattle would check off many desirable boxes for Harrison, presenting an opportunity for him to win a ring while getting a much-needed fresh start playing in a scheme well-suited for his strengths.

Harrison would immediately replace Al Woods as the team's primary nose tackle, providing the Seahawks with a massive 6-foot-3, 350-pound defender capable of eating double teams and making plays in the backfield. Forming a talented trio of interior defenders coupled with starters Jarran Reed and Poona Ford, he would see plenty of action and his experience would be invaluable for a young, unseasoned unit.

As the depth chart currently stands, only one player, Bryan Mone, has played in an NFL game behind Reed and Ford. Demarcus Christmas missed his entire rookie season on the PUP list and undrafted rookies Cedric Lattimore and Josh Avery will be entering their first training camp in July.

In an additional perk that should interest Harrison, Seattle also has a lengthy history of success with veteran defensive tackles over the years.

At 34 years young, Kevin Williams produced 31 tackles and 3.0 sacks for the Seahawks in 2014. In his second stint with the team, a 31-year old Tony McDaniel made 25 tackles and a sack. Last year, the 32-year old Woods had a fine season with 32 tackles and two fumble recoveries, helping him land a deal with the Jaguars this offseason.

Compared to those four players, with the exception of Williams, Harrison offers the most star power as a former All-Pro selection. With a strong supporting cast around him, he would be set up nicely for a strong bounce-back campaign and if he could rediscover his pre-2019 form, it would be a potential game changer for the Seahawks defensively.

Back in 2016 with the Giants, Harrison registered a whopping 86 tackles for the Giants and earned First-Team All-Pro distinction. Over the past seven seasons, he's averaged nearly 70 combined tackles per year and produced 37 tackles for loss, somehow never managing to make a Pro Bowl squad.

Despite pedestrian sack and quarterback hit numbers, Harrison has also been a capable pass rusher in his career. He has the ability to collapse the pocket and creates opportunities for teammates to get to the opposing quarterback.

Like many veterans, Harrison hasn't been in a rush to sign a new contract amid the coronavirus pandemic. In his case, retirement has remained on the table if the right offer doesn't present itself.

But while a deal doesn't appear to be imminent, assuming Harrison intends to play next year, Seattle looks poised to make an offer and would be a great fit for both sides. If a signing doesn't come to fruition, Mike Daniels, Marcell Dareus, and Brandon Mebane could be other proven alternatives for the team to consider as they try to bolster depth in the trenches.

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