Seahawks Still Pursuing 'Snacks,' Veteran Defensive Tackles

Adding depth to the interior defensive line still remains a top priority for the Seahawks and with players at the position opting out across the league due to COVID-19 concerns, they may need to strike quickly when it comes to signing a reliable veteran.
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With training camp officially kicking off on Tuesday - albeit with constant testing and virtual meetings instead of actual football -the Seahawks remain on the lookout for veteran reinforcements at the defensive tackle position.

Per a league source, Seattle continues to have interest in former All-Pro defender Damon Harrison. The team also has kept tabs on ex-Eagles starter Timmy Jernigan, who has been on the market since a multi-year deal with the Texans fell through in June after he didn't pass a physical.

To this point, the 31-year old Harrison hasn't made a decision on whether or not he intends to play in 2020. After being released by the Lions in March, there was speculation "Snacks" may choose to retire, though conflicting reports indicated he planned to suit up for a ninth season.

However, with a newborn at home, Harrison reportedly has reservations about playing during a pandemic and is still weighing his options.

Undrafted out of William Penn, the 350-pound Harrison quickly developed a reputation as one of the NFL's premier run stuffers clogging the middle for the Jets and Giants. He's amassed 485 combined tackles, 37 tackles for loss, 11.0 sacks, 10 pass deflections, and four forced fumbles in 117 career games.

Harrison's finest season came with the Giants in 2016, as he produced a career-best 86 tackles and six tackles for loss while garnering First-Team All-Pro honors. While his production declined in 2019 for the Lions, he still yielded 49 tackles and three pass deflections in 15 starts and could rebound with a change of scenery.

As for Jernigan, the 27-year old previously shined with the Ravens after being selected in the second round out of Florida State in 2014. He posted at least 4.0 sacks and double digit quarterback hits in each of his first three NFL seasons, proving himself a capable 295-pound interior rusher.

However, durability has been a real problem for Jernigan over the past two seasons. After undergoing back surgery, he missed all but three games for the Eagles in 2018 and finished with just two tackles. He also missed six games with a broken foot last season and was once again limited to 12 tackles and a pair of sacks.

As Seattle's depth chart currently stands, the team lacks depth behind starters Jarran Reed and Poona Ford. Only second-year player Bryan Mone has ever dressed for an NFL game, as he appeared in four regular season games as a rookie in 2019. Demarcus Christmas missed the entire season on the PUP list, while incoming undrafted rookies Cedrick Lattimore and Josh Avery haven't even participated in an NFL practice.

It's not abnormal for Seahawks general manager John Schneider to sign a veteran defensive tackle late in the offseason or even early in training camp. In fact, the latest example came last year, as Al Woods didn't join the team until after the compensatory pick deadline passed in May.

With the pandemic limiting travel and closing team facilities over the past several months, Seattle hasn't been able to bring veterans in for physicals, further delaying players such as Harrison and Jernigan from signing with a new team.

If Harrison decides he doesn't want to play and Jernigan's health remains a concern, Seattle could move to a couple of other high-profile veterans who remain unsigned, including former Green Bay Pro Bowler Mike Daniels and one-time All-Pro Marcell Dareus.

But Schneider may want to move quickly if he's keen on adding much-needed experience at the position, as several notable defensive tackles have already opted out due to COVID-19. Eddie Goldman of the Bears, Michael Pierce of the Vikings, and Star Lotulelei of the Bills have decided to skip the 2020 season, which should drive up demand for free agents at the position.