Seahawks likely signed the perfect leader for Mike Macdonald's defense

Seattle continues an excellent, mostly under-the-radar, free agency period.

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The Seattle Seahawks and John Schneider continued their stealth free agency campaign by signing one of the best linebackers in the league, Tyrel Dodson. He doesn't just fill a void at the position, he'll help redefine it for coach Mike Macdonald's defense.

There sure were a lot of worried 12s after the first day of the NFL's legal tampering period this past Monday. By legal tampering, the league means you can work out every last detail of your pending contracts while they give the team a wink. The Hawks may have waited until Thursday to sign him, but they certainly landed a prize in linebacker Tyrel Dodson. And really, how dare Schneider wait until the second day of free agency to make this deal!

The Hawks had to find some players at the position, to be sure. Both starters, Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks, had already signed deals elsewhere by then. The only inside linebacker on the roster at that point was Jon Rhattigan, and he had all of 19 snaps on defense last year. So, yeah, the Hawks had to start signing somebody.

The Seattle Seahawks get a high grade for snatching the versatile Dodson from the Bills

I have to emphasize this. The Hawks didn't just find a starter for the middle of their defense. They found the right starter. Macdonald's record-setting defense depends on a dizzying array of schemes and motions. As Jeff Zriebec wrote in The Athletic (subscription required), "This isn’t the constantly blitzing, physically pulverizing Ravens defense of yesteryear. This... is more controlled and calculated, relying heavily on deception... It is versatile, multiple, and creative, a beautiful harmony of scheme and personnel being studied and admired at both the college and professional levels."

The one thing Bobby Wagner could not do was cover the middle of the field. The one thing Jordyn Brooks could not do was cover the middle of the field. There's a reason that the Seahawks didn't match the offers either player received, or didn't make any effort to keep them in-house before they hit free agency. Neither player fits the multiple schemes that Coach Macdonald will run in Seattle. Tyrel Dodson does, like a pair of Nike Superbad 6.0 gloves.

One note regarding Dodson's league-leading grade, as assigned by Pro Football Focus (subscription required). If you've done much reading about one of the Seahawks' newest players, you've probably seen two different grades assigned to him. That best-in-the-NFL grade of 90.2 is based on his performance in the regular and postseason combined. You may have also seen a figure of 89.5, which pushes him just below Fred Warner at 90.1. That grade is based on the regular season only. Thanks, but I'll take the guy who raised his game even higher in the playoffs. Signing Tyrel Dodson most definitely deserves an A+.

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