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Seahawks Analysis: Grading Seattle's 2024 Free Agent Signings

With another offseason under way and free agency officially opening on March 13, reporter Corbin Smith dishes out instant reactions and grades for each of the Seattle Seahawks free agent signings.

With the new league year officially in full swing, the Seattle Seahawks and all 31 other teams have been working diligently to retain their own free agents and improve their rosters for the upcoming 2024 season.

Unlike past offseasons, in part due to a lengthy coaching search that culminated with Mike Macdonald appointed as the successor for Pete Carroll, the Seahawks didn't begin negotiations with their own free agents in earnest until after the NFL combine last month. As a result, they didn't re-sign any players before the legal tampering period opened on Monday, but they did have north of $50 million in cap space after releasing high-priced veterans Quandre Diggs, Jamal Adams, and Will Dissly.

As Seattle looks to get back into contention in the NFC West with a new coach at the helm, I'll be breaking down each of the team's signings with contract length, key financial details, and an overall grade. Make sure to check back often as moves continue to trickle in throughout free agency and leading up to April's NFL draft.

Leonard Williams

Contract: Three years, $64.5 million

Grade: A-

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Riq Woolen (27) and defensive end Leonard Williams (99) celebrate following a play against the Washington Commanders during the second quarter at Lumen Field.

Acquired at the trade deadline from the Giants last October, the Seahawks made sure Leonard Williams didn't become an expensive 10-game rental by showing him the bag.

While the Seahawks needed to re-sign Williams after giving up a second-round pick as part of the trade package to deal for him in October, Schneider had more incentives to retain the standout defender than compensation. Though the team stumbled down the stretch and ultimately missed the playoffs, the former USC star wasn't to blame for those struggles, as he dominated with four sacks, 11 quarterback hits, nine tackles for loss, and 32 pressures in just 10 games, providing the disruptive play expected upon arrival. Even with his 30th birthday coming soon and a price tag exceeding $20 million per year, he should have a ton of great football left in him and his positional flexibility playing up and down the line will be a perfect fit for Macdonald's scheme.

Noah Fant

Contract: Two years, $21 million

Grade: B-

Production-wise, Fant hasn't been a top-12 tight end since the Seahawks acquired him as part of the Russell Wilson trade, including catching a career-low 32 receptions in 17 games last season. Not all of that has been his fault, obviously, especially with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba getting the bulk of the targets. But under the terms of his new contract, the organization is paying him as such with the expectation he will emerge as that caliber of player in a scheme that utilizes him much more effectively under new coordinator Ryan Grubb. Only 26 years old and an elite athlete for the position, the traits are in place for a breakout year, but this signing is much more projection-based than Williams' new deal.

Rayshawn Jenkins

Contract: Two years, $12 million

Grade: B+

Known for coming through in clutch moments, Rayshawn Jenkins will bring his diverse skill set and positional flexibility to Mike Macdonald's defense in Seattle.

Known for coming through in clutch moments, Rayshawn Jenkins will bring his diverse skill set and positional flexibility to Mike Macdonald's defense in Seattle.

Without a Pro Bowl or All-Pro selection on his resume, Jenkins isn't a star by any means. But he has been one of the most underrated safeties in the sport for quite some time, producing over 200 tackles and five interceptions for the Jaguars over the past two seasons. Advanced metrics illustrate his talent as well, as per NFL Next Gen Stats, he ranked first among safeties with -5.6 receptions allowed over expected. With over 1,900 snaps in his career as a free and strong safety, his versatility will help open up the playbook for Macdonald and allow him to maximize pre-snap disguises, making this deal a fine one at just $6 million per year.

Pharaoh Brown

Contract: One year, $3.2 million

Grade: B

Brown won't wow with his receiving skills, as he has only 64 catches for 686 yards and three touchdowns in six NFL seasons. But that isn't why the Seahawks signed him to begin with, as he has earned a reputation for his physicality and blocking prowess in stints with the Raiders, Browns, Texans, and Patriots. Last season, per PFF, he finished ninth in overall blocking grade among tight ends, and he finished fifth in a strong season for Houston in 2020. After struggling to run the football well consistently last year, Brown will be a natural fit to replace Dissly and should help open up running lanes for Ken Walker III and Zach Charbonnet at an affordable price point.

Nick Harris

Contract: One year, $2.15 million

Grade: B+

From an NFL standpoint, Harris returns to the Pacific Northwest largely as an unknown with 522 total offensive snaps under his belt in four seasons with the Browns. But the former Washington standout will reunite with offensive line coach Scott Huff, who held the same position for the Huskies during his final three years on campus and developed him into an All-Pac 12 center. Like last year with Evan Brown, the Seahawks aren't making a steep financial investment on competition for Olu Oluwatimi, but the battle to earn a spot in the lineup could be one of the most intriguing to watch come August due to Harris' background with Huff and flashes of excellence in pass protection in limited action in Cleveland.

Artie Burns

Contract: TBD

Grade: B

Re-signed in May last year after the draft, Burns gave the Seahawks quality snaps as an injury replacement in 2023, including surprising many by holding his own as a slot corner, a position he had never played previously. Though he allowed 19 receptions on 24 targets, he limited receivers to under 10 yards per reception and didn't give up a touchdown, playing sound football primarily in nickel sets slid inside. With Devon Witherspoon, Riq Woolen, and Mike Jackson all returning, he's likely a core special teams player on a veteran minimum contract, but he provides the team a great insurance option if injuries strike again.

Darrell Taylor

Contract: One year, $3.166 million

Grade: C+

Rather than tender Taylor as a restricted free agent at roughly the same price point, the Seahawks did the former second-round pick a solid by providing $350,000 in pass rushing incentives for him to attain on a one-year contract. Through three seasons, he has been a one-trick pony, amassing 21.5 sacks and five forced fumbles as a situational rusher while consistently struggling to set the edge against the run. He has had spurts of dominance, only to disappear for several games afterward, and he will an interesting player to watch in regard to how Macdonald uses him and whether or not a new staff can squeeze maximum potential out of him in a contract year.

George Fant

Contract: Two years, $14 million

Grade: B

Coming back to where his NFL career began as an undrafted signee out of Western Kentucky after a steady season with the Texans, the Seahawks hope Fant will pitch in with occasional snaps as a sixth offensive linemen and provide a veteran presence for a young offensive line. But with the potential to earn as $7 million per year, he's clearly a high-priced hedge for right tackle Abraham Lucas, who missed all but six games last season with a troublesome knee. Since the deal is incentive heavy and gives Seattle a safeguard for Lucas, this looks like a strong addition for a player who has started 73 games and seen extensive action at both tackle positions.

Tyrel Dodson

Contract: TBD

Grade: B

Busting onto the scene in his first extended opportunity to start with the Bills last season, Dodson racked up 74 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and eight tackles for loss replacing veteran Matt Milano in the lineup. He also posted an excellent 26.8 percent pressure rate on blitzes, turning 41 rushes into 11 pressures. Just 25 years old, the former undrafted signee out of Texas A&M will now have a chance to be the alpha in a revamped Seahawks linebacking corps. Possessing plus athleticism and a relentless motor, the tools are in place for him to be a long-term piece in Macdonald's defense, but there may be some potential boom-or-bust to this signing given his limited experience and somewhat inconsistent play in a small sample size as a starter.