Latest on Seahawks free agency: Jarran Reed in, Rashaad Penny out

Mandatory Credit: Tork Mason-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Tork Mason-USA TODAY Sports /

The Seattle Seahawks continued to remake their defensive line on Tuesday by reportedly agreeing to a deal with Jarran Reed. But Seattle also lost two running backs to free agency as well. Travis Homer will reportedly sign with the Chicago Bears and Rashaad Penny will reportedly join the Philadelphia Eagles.

Reed is a former Seahawk. The team drafted him in 2016 and he played in Seattle from 2016 through 2020.  He has the capability of supplying interior pass rush and is solid against the run. He might never come close to the 10.5 sacks he had for Seattle in 2018 and will likely generate 2 to 3 sacks, but teams still have to account for him in pass protection more than they did any other interior Seattle defender in the last couple of seasons.

In each of the past three years, Reed has had at least 12 quarterback hits. Twice he has had 14 QB hits. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Reed produced 33 total pressures this past season for the Green Bay Packers. In 2021, Reed had 28 total pressures when he played for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jarran Reed is reportedly returning to the Seahawks

Quinton Jefferson, who will reportedly be released by the Seahawks, had 13 QB hits and 5.5 sacks for Seattle last year, but Jefferson is more of a pure defensive end. Reed is a defensive tackle who can flex out to end in a 3-4 base and is a three-down player who can help stop the run and the pass. With Reed and newly added DT Dre’Mont Jones, the interior of Seattle’s defensive line should be much more versatile while applying quarterback pressure which should in turn help edge rushers Uchenna Nwosu and Darrell Taylor.

Reed’s deal is for two years and up to $10.5 million. Adding Reed alone doesn’t make Seattle’s defensive front better, of course. But joining him with the recently acquired Jones plus a likely relatively high draft pick along the defensive line should mean Seattle’s defense is upgraded over last year.

A group that is really thin now, however, is the running back unit. Homer’s signing with the Bears will hurt on special teams because he called out alignments on punts and sometimes acted as a kick returner. But he was a decent number 4 back.

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Losing Penny isn’t truly a surprise as he is injured so often and is a high-risk player, but he also is a high-reward running back who has averaged 6.2 yards a carry in the last two seasons (176 carries) and has 8 touchdowns. When healthy, he is arguably one of the better backs in the NFL but he is just never healthy for a full season. If he plays most of 2023 with the Eagles, he could be among the league’s rushing leaders.