Defensive end Dion Jordan had not played in the NFL in over two years due to injuries and suspensions that nearly brought his career to an end. But after compiling four sacks in five games late last season and with Michael Bennett being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday, Jordan may be a vital piece of the Seattle Seahawks defense in 2018.
Although Jordan is a restricted free agent, his circumstances have made it incredibly likely for Seattle to keep him next season. The Seahawks can place the cheapest restricted tender on Jordan, an original-round tender worth $1.9 million for 2018. However, since Jordan’s original round was the first round, any team looking to sign Jordan to an offer sheet would have to give the Seahawks a first-round pick in compensation should Seattle decline to match.
The Los Angeles Rams were able to do the same with Dominique Easley last year. However, it’s a rare occurrence that a first-round pick doesn’t accrue enough service time to avoid restricted free agency.
Bennett is gone, Cliff Avril may never play again due to a neck injury sustained last season and Frank Clark is set to enter the final year of his rookie contract with Seattle. It presents the Seahawks with a clear need for defensive ends help this offseason.
Jordan expressed his strong desire to return to Seattle at the end of the season. The need for pass rushers looms large for Seattle moving into the future. It’s not without risk. Jordan will remain just one misstep away from another indefinite suspension by the NFL. But Jordan’s play in five games down the stretch earned the chance for an increased opportunity. He had more sacks in five games with Seattle than he did in 26 games with the Miami Dolphins after being the No. 3 overall pick of the 2013 draft.
The Seahawks need to first get Jordan back under contract for 2018, but there is a clear chance for the former top pick to finally make a breakthrough in Seattle.