Seahawks defensive tackle Al Woods (99) tackles Jets running back Zonovan Knight (27) durin a game on Jan. 1 in Seattle. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)

Seahawks defensive tackle Al Woods (99) tackles Jets running back Zonovan Knight (27) durin a game on Jan. 1 in Seattle. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)

Seahawks position overview: D-line upgrade likely priority

Head coach Pete Carroll was frank in saying Seattle has to get ‘more dynamic’ up front before next season.

  • By Bob Condotta The Seattle Times
  • Tuesday, February 7, 2023 3:12pm
  • SportsSeahawks

By Bob Condotta / The Seattle Times

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll pretty much just laid down the gauntlet at the team’s defensive front during his end-of-season news conference.

“We are going to have to become more dynamic up front,” Carroll said. “We have to. We’ve kind of been in the same mode. We have to get more production out of the guys. They have to be more of a factor. We need to make the position really competitive, if we can. We will see what we can do.”

That statement came two days after Seattle’s 41-23 loss to the 49ers in the wild card playoffs, a game that was like too many for the Seahawks in 2022 where they couldn’t stop the run, allowing 181 yards on 33 carries after finishing 30th in run defense during the season, allowing 150.2 per game.

As Carroll made sure to also say, stopping the run isn’t solely about the defensive line.

But everything with the defense starts with the line, and for a team that continues to have surprising struggles on that side of the ball, any major personnel change figures to begin with the front seven.

As we continue our Seahawks position overviews as the offseason begins, let’s look at the defensive line.

And to keep it clean, we’ll stick solely here to Seattle’s definitions of defensive linemen on the team’s public depth chart, meaning the three down linemen positions in the 3-4 defense:


Defensive end Shelby Harris

Age: 31

Snaps played in regular season: 1,044

Contract situation: Harris is entering the final year of his contract with a non-guaranteed base salary of $6.5 million as well as a $2 million bonus for being on the roster on March 22, according to

Nose tackle Al Woods

Age: 35

Snaps played in regular season: 375

Contract situation: Has one year remaining on contract, due to make a non-guaranteed $3.25 million

Defensive tackle Poona Ford

Age: 27

Snaps played in regular season: 642

Contract situation: Now an unrestricted free agent


Defensive end Quinton Jefferson

Age: 29

Snaps played in regular season: 565

Contract situation: Has one year left on his contract, due to make a non-guaranteed $3.895 million

Defensive end L.J. Collier

Age: 27

Snaps played in regular season: 149

Contract situation: Now an unrestricted free agent

Nose tackle Bryan Mone

Age: 27

Snaps played in regular season: 270

Contract situation: Has two years remaining on his contract due to make $2.285 million in 2023

Defensive end Myles Adams

Age: 24

Snaps played in regular season: 190

Contract situation in 2023: Now an exclusive rights free agent

Others on roster: DT Jarrod Hewitt

2022 review

Seattle’s changes on defense and going with more 3-4 looks in 2022 under first-year coordinator Clint Hurtt impacted the players on the line as much as anybody, with several asked to change or alter their roles some, notably Ford, who in previous years had played mostly at nose tackle.

But Seattle liked the idea of a “big” line with Ford and Woods, teaming with Harris, who was the most notable offseason acquisition coming from Denver via the Russell Wilson trade, flanked by speedy outside linebackers.

Seattle brought back Jefferson, a 2016 draftee of the team, to join with a few other holdovers such as Mone (who got a two-year contract extension in the offseason) and Collier as rotational players/depth.

The new defense also called for more of a “read-and-react” scheme up front, meaning linemen reading the movements of the offense before making their move, rather than just shooting gaps at the snap.

It looked good early, with the Seahawks holding Denver to 76 yards rushing in a 17-16 win in the opener, keeping in line with how Seattle played mostly against the run in 2021, when the Seahawks allowed just 3.8 per carry, second in the league.

But a Week 2 loss on the road against the 49ers, who rushed for 189 yards, kicked off a string of disheartening performances against the run.

After four straight games in which Seattle allowed 145 or more rushing yards, the Seahawks changed things some to allow the linemen to play more aggressively. That worked for a while, keying a four-game winning streak and a 6-3 start.

But beginning with the loss in Munich to Tampa Bay, Seattle allowed 161 yards or more rushing in five straight games — four of which were losses — and put the defense seemingly back at square one when it came to stopping the run. And when the season ended, Seattle had allowed more than a yard more per rush — 4.9 — than the year before.

2023 preview

So what now? Carroll’s comments made it clear there could — and almost certainly will — be some significant change.

Seattle could consider releasing Harris and/or Jefferson, which would each bring substantial cap savings. As noted, Harris has a $2 million roster bonus due March 22 — a week after the free agent period begins — and if he is cut before then, Seattle could save $8.9 million against the cap. Releasing Jefferson could save $4.485 million against the cap.

Ford, meanwhile, is a free agent and could seek a fresh start after a year when he seemed to struggle not playing almost exclusively at nose tackle, as Carroll frankly noted after the season saying “We probably overplayed him. We would have liked him to rotate more. I really like him playing over the center.”

If he does return, expect Seattle to try to play him more at the nose.

Collier is also a free agent, but after four years in which he never lived up to having been taken 29th overall he would seem unlikely to be back.

Mone, meanwhile, is a question mark to be ready for the start of the 2023 season after suffering an ACL injury on Dec. 15 and the Seahawks may have to plan their offseason assuming he may not be available for camp.

Seattle’s struggles up front this year have many anticipating the Seahawks using their first pick at number five overall on a defensive lineman or rush end, with George tackle Jalen Carter possibly the preferred target if he falls that far.

But with 10 picks overall, using three or four of those on defensive linemen/rush ends wouldn’t seem out of order, especially with this considered a pretty solid draft class for interior defensive linemen.

Depending on what happens with Geno Smith’s contract and other moves, the Seahawks could have some decent money to spend in free agency.

The “shoot-for-the-moon” free agent to try to fix things up front is Washington defensive tackle Daron Payne. But he won’t come cheap. Pro Football Focus this week projected him to get a four-year, $80 million deal.

One who would likely come a bit more inexpensively is Minnesota’s Dalvin Tomlinson (PFF projected him at just over $11 million a year), who is regarded as one of the better run defending tackles in the NFL.

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