After testing the free agent market, veteran pass rusher Benson Mayowa is officially returning to the Seahawks.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network and multiple sources, Mayowa has agreed to terms with Seattle on a four-year contract that voids after the first two years. Financial terms have yet to be disclosed.
Mayowa, 29, signed a one-year contract with the Seahawks last offseason, re-joining the organization that originally signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Idaho in 2013. He opened his second stint as a starter at the LEO defensive end position and though he started the season slowly with only 2.0 sacks in his first seven games, he came on strong during the team's 6-1 finish to close out the regular season.
In particular, Mayowa played his best football closing out the season with wins over the Cardinals and 49ers, generating nine quarterback pressures, four quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, and a pair of sacks. One of those sacks in the season finale resulted in a critical fumble recovery that helped the Seahawks secure a road win to head into the playoffs with a 12-4 record.
Over the final three weeks of the season, Mayowa earned the sixth-best overall grade (88.1) for edge rushers in the NFL from Pro Football Focus. During that span, he tied for sixth in total quarterback pressures, with talented edge rushers such as Saints star Cameron Jordan and Lions standout Romeo Okwara in front of him.
Appearing in 13 games with nine starts for Seattle, Mayowa logged a career-high 572 defensive snaps and finished the season with 24 tackles, 6.0 sacks, nine quarterback hits, and 22 pressures per Pro Football Reference. He finished second on the team behind safety Jamal Adams in quarterback pressures and third on the team in sacks.
Interestingly, Mayowa's awakening in the second half coincided with the arrival of defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who remains a free agent after Seattle cut him earlier this month to create $14 million in salary cap relief. Dunlap's chances of re-signing seem slim after the team reportedly signed ex-49ers starter Kerry Hyder to a three-year contract on Tuesday.
With Dunlap unlikely to return, Mayowa will have another chance to earn for a starting role for the Seahawks. But he will face stiff competition from 2020 second-round pick Darrell Taylor, who missed his entire rookie season recovering from leg surgery. Fellow second-year defensive end Alton Robinson could also be in the mix in what should be one of the more entertaining camp battles to watch next summer.