Could Von Miller, Chandler Jones fill Seahawks’ need for game wrecker

Seattle Seahawks are looking for a disruptive game-wrecker to take their defense from good to great. With the NFL Draft just around the corner, teams should be on high alert and think about who could come in as an impact player next season.

Von Miller is a 6’3″ pass rusher who has been the NFL’s sack leader with 78. Chandler Jones, who is 6’5″, has also been a big part of the Patriots defense and has eight sacks in his first year. Read more in detail here: von miller height.

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    Brady Henderson is a professional football player. ESPN

SEATTLE (AP) — When the NFL’s bargaining window opens next Monday, the Seattle Seahawks should be prepared to offer a large contract to a pass-rushing outside linebacker like Von Miller or Chandler Jones.

Yes, you read it correctly.

Splash signings are usually the stuff of pipe fantasies for Seattle supporters, who watch with bated breath as their club waits out the start of free agency month after month. The Seahawks usually let other teams spend big money in the first round, opting for bargain deals in the second. The majority of their high-profile arrivals have come via transactions made considerably later in the summer.

However, this year’s dynamics seem to be a bit different.

With nearly a third of the NFL now in the red or barely under the 2022 spending limit, the Seahawks are in good enough financial condition to be players in free agency. According to Roster Management, Seattle has roughly $38 million in available cap space and may free up even more by either releasing veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner (which would create another hole in their defense) or restructuring his deal to reduce his $20.35 million cap figure.

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After placing 29th in sacks per dropback previous season, they’ve made no secret of their desire to improve their pass rush. They also ended in the bottom half of the NFL in pressure rate and pass rush victory rate. As they shift to a 3-4 defense, they want outside linebackers to play on the edge rather than larger 4-3 defensive ends. When asked last month on Sports Radio 950 KJR-AM what their defense needed, first-year coordinator Clint Hurtt may have hinted at how far they’ll go to recruit that sort of guy.

Hurtt praised the team’s current offensive line, which includes veteran Carlos Dunlap II and third-year edge rusher Darrell Taylor, who combined for 15 sacks last season. According to reports, they want to deploy safety Jamal Adams more as they did in 2020, when he set a DB record with 9.5 sacks.

Hurtt, on the other hand, stressed the necessity for someone else to have a “devastating” influence.

“A game-changer,” Hurtt said of the edge rusher. “What we need is a game-wrecker.”

Outside of the top 15 picks in the draft, let alone outside of the first round, they are difficult to come by. The Seahawks aren’t expected to make their first choice until No. 41 overall, and they won’t have a first-round pick for the second year in a row thanks to the Adams deal.

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As a result, their best opportunity at adding an impact edge rusher may be to sign one next week, even if it means departing from their usual strategy. Consider that Ziggy Ansah’s one-year contract in 2019 with a base value of $9 million is still the richest APY deal they’ve awarded to an outside free agent in at least seven years.

However, game-wreckers are not inexpensive. Miller, on the other hand, may not be unreasonably pricey.

ESPN asked one NFL agent and another NFL contract expert to find out how much some of the best free-agent edge rushers will cost. Miller’s annual salary was estimated to be between $10 million and $12 million, with both mentioning his age — he turns 33 in late March — as a consideration that may keep his price low.

Jones, who turned 32 last month, drew criticism from both the agency and the contract analyst. Because of his age, one estimate put his market worth at $15 million each year. The other estimated that he’s still productive enough to demand $17-18 million, which would almost probably cost him his job in Seattle.

According to Spotrac.com, Miller is worth $10.6 million while Jones is worth $14.6 million.

Jones racked up 10.5 sacks in 15 games last season and 107.5 in 139 games overall. This is the second-highest total among current players, behind only Miller’s 115.5 points in 150 games.

Since joining the Arizona Cardinals in 2016, Jones has become a Seahawks foe. In 11 games versus Seattle, he has 16.5 sacks, the most of any club he has faced. The most recent was a strip-sack of Russell Wilson in Week 18, which Arizona recovered for a score. Miller has five sacks in three games against Seattle, including one in the Rams’ victory against the Seahawks in December.

What better way to gain ground in the NFC West than by acquiring a key player from another club in the conference?

After being acquired in a midseason trade from the Denver Broncos, Miller was a major part of the Rams’ championship run. He has five sacks in eight regular-season games with the Rams and four more in the playoffs, including two of Joe Burrow in Super Bowl LVI. He was initially hindered by an ankle injury he had while in Denver.

Miller finished the 2021 playoffs with a pass rush win rate of 41.5%. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, that was by far the highest by a player in a single postseason (with a minimum of 30 pass-rush plays with a win or loss) since ESPN started tracking that stat in 2017. He and teammate Aaron Donald both had 18 pressures in the Rams’ four playoff games.

How about that for a game-changer?

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When you consider that the Seahawks paid Ansah $9 million after he had serious shoulder surgery and had a bad year, $10 million or $11 million for Miller doesn’t seem excessive.

Miller has a permanent residence in Denver and a young kid, which he mentioned as one of the reasons it was tough for him to leave when he was transferred to Los Angeles. As a result, remaining on the West Coast and joining a contender may be his top priorities.

The Seahawks might persuade Miller, Jones, and other free agents that their 7-10 season was a one-off due to Wilson’s finger injury, and that significant improvements made by Pete Carroll to his coaching staff can set them for a worst-to-first turnaround as the Cincinnati Bengals did in 2021.

They may also sell their strategy for a more aggressive defense, which, according to Hurtt, will require the edge players to rush rather than drop into coverage.

“Everything we do is geared on rushing the quarterback because that’s where it all occurs,” Carroll said. “So everything we can do to make progress is right here.”

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