Why the Seattle Seahawks should not sign linebacker Jaylon Smith

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In Seattle Seahawks news for your Wednesday, should Seattle try to bring in another free-agent linebacker?

Last week Michael Bumpus of Seattle Sports suggested that maybe the Seahawks need to add another linebacker for depth behind Bobby Wagner and Devin Bush. It's not a bad idea. If either Wagner or Bush gets injured, and assuming Jordyn Brooks isn't ready to play early in the season, Seattle's defense could be much worse.

The free agent LB that Bumpus had in mind is Jaylon Smith, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, and New York Giants. Smith has played for all three of those teams in his five-year career. Heck, he played for all three in 2021 alone. He played his first three seasons with the Cowboys and even made the Pro Bowl in 2019.

Seattle Seahawks should not entertain signing LB Jaylon Smith

Smith has turned into a fantastic tackler since he entered the league. He started 11 games for the Giants last season, had 88 tackles, and wasn't credited with a missed tackle, per Pro Football Reference. Of course, Seattle struggled mightily with missed tackles in 2022, so maybe Smith could help in that area.

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But the issues Smith does seem to have are also concerns the Seahawks have. Last year, neither Brooks or Cody Barton were that great covering tight ends and receivers. Smith hasn't recently excelled at that. Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Smith had a coverage grade of just 44.9 in 2022. He graded far higher in coverage in 2021 but he also got much fewer snaps.

Smith also hasn't been consistently good against the run in his career. While his quarterback pressures don't always turn into sacks, he is better in pass rush than coverage or the run. Frankly, the Seahawks need an inside linebacker, which is what Smith is, to worry much more about stopping the run and Smith might not help much there.

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Seattle likely does need to add another linebacker somehow, whether that is through a trade or picking up a player after NFL teams make roster cuts before Week 1 of the season. But signing Smith would be a mistake. He simply doesn't give the Seahawks what they need.