The Seattle Seahawks received some concerning news on Monday, as the NFL slapped Jarran Reed with a six-game suspension for an incident that occurred two years ago.
Although the Seattle Seahawks have generally been known for their vaunted defense, they were in the bottom half of the NFL in net yards per pass attempt and yards per carry allowed in the 2018 season. And things could get worse for Seattle in 2019.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, star defensive tackle Jarran Reed has been suspended for the first six games of the 2019 season for being accused of assaulting a woman in 2017. Per Rapoport, Reed’s appeal was denied on Friday.
Reed’s suspension comes at a time when the Seahawks defense is already facing plenty of question marks. Top pass rusher Frank Clark was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, and they replaced him with a less productive Ziggy Ansah, who is hoping to have a bounce-back season. Seattle also lost standout cornerback Justin Coleman, thinning a position that is of critical importance to the Seahawks success.
Though Reed will return after six games, this is a massive loss for the Seahawks defense. Clark and Reed were the team’s best pass rushers last season with 27 and 24 QB hits, respectively. Nobody else on the Seahawks defense had more than three sacks, whereas both Reed and Clark had over 10.0 sacks each.
Reed is one of the best interior pass rushers and run defenders, and his value to the Seahawks has only grown following the decision to trade Clark. While Seattle recouped plenty of draft value from the Clark trade and have a potential first-round standout off the edge in L.J. Collier, losing Clark and Reed puts the Seahawks behind the curve.
Seattle barely made it to the playoffs last season, and the NFC has only become more competitive now that the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers, and Carolina Panthers have made major improvements. Meanwhile, the Seahawks defense may have taken a step back, especially with no obvious replacements at defensive tackle for Reed’s lost production in the first six games. The onus was already on Collier to step up at defensive end in Clark’s stead, but he may now have to pick up the production of two 10-sack pass rushers in just his first six NFL starts.
On the bright side, Reed won’t be gone for long, and the Seahawks could get a breakout player at defensive tackle in his absence. But the problem is that every win counts for a Seattle team that is more likely fighting for a Wild Card spot behind the Los Angeles Rams, so losing one of the NFL’s best defensive tackles for any amount of time is a notable loss.
The Seahawks should take these uncertainties on defense as more of a reason to cut MVP candidate Russell Wilson loose on offense, since they may have to aggressively put points on the board with their superstar quarterback to offset a potentially weak pass rush in 2019.