The Seahawks have rarely been active on the opening days of free agency ever since Pete Carroll and John Schneider took over in 2010, but they made an exception this year, agreeing to a deal with defensive end Dre'Mont Jones on the first day teams could negotiate with players.
"The process was crazy," Jones said on Monday. "It was a heck of a day for me, just hearing so much different stuff from my agent and just trying to figure out what is the best fit for me and my family. It ended up working out in the long run. Seattle seemed to be the greatest spot to be at. From a schematic standpoint, I don't know the ins and outs of what I will be doing yet, so I will wait and see soon. Just with everything going on, Seattle seems to be the best fit.
Jones added that his first experience as a free agent was, "Kind of like being a kid in a candy store, you have a bunch of different options coming at you and you hear a bunch of different crazy things. You only get to choose one and this was the place where we both chose each other. I'm loving Seattle so far, I like these colors."
Explaining the decision to take a big swing early in free agency, Schneider said at the NFL Annual Meeting, "We've been searching for that big, long 3-technique, a guy that can be an inside pass rusher with length. We were playing against Calais Campbell in Arizona for so long, we were like, 'That body type, that physicality, we need that.'"
Carroll added that in addition to being an interior pass rusher, Jones also brings unique versatility to the job reminiscent of one of the best linemen on Seattle's two Super Bowl teams.
"I'm really excited about Dre coming to us," Carroll said. "He's got such a style and a knack in playing 3-technique and rushing and passer, and he has versatility to do other things as well. But he's got such a knack that we've been looking for for some time. And really, I go back and I keep giving Michael Bennett a little shout here—when Mike was with us, he was a real factor. He caused people problems. And he didn't cause people problems just by the basic fundamental technique he played, but by the other aspects of the game that he brought, and Dre has a variety of things. His expertise in using his body and movement and willingness to take a shot and take chances shows that he's got a knack that goes beyond a lot of other players. And so I think he's going to add a tremendous amount. He's going to enhance the relationship with the speed guys that we have on the edge, and the more factor they have to play off of him, the more opportunity and spacing it creates for the other guys. I think it's going to fit really, really well. I love the kid, he's serious, loves the game, has a really good mentality about studying it, working and all that. So that's going to fit in, and our guys are going to love him."
Jones considers himself a versatile player who can make things happen all over the defensive line, but he wasn't ready to call himself the Seahawks' next Michael Bennett given everything Bennett meant to the team.
"I'm honored to be considered in the same conversation as him," he said. "His style of play, he's a Hall of Fame type of defensive lineman that I have known about since I was a kid. Last time he played here, I was in high school, so it kind of came full circle a little bit from watching him on TV and now I am being compared to him in a way. I'm not touching the surface of Michael Bennett, he's a Hall of Famer and I'm not there yet. I just have to keep doing my due diligence to be a better player."
While Jones doesn't yet know exactly what type of role he'll play in Seattle's defense, he knows the type of effort and approach he'll bring to the team.
"Definitely a high motor and definitely not a one-trick pony type of player," he said. "I like to attack, whether it's first or fourth down, I like to attack. I'm always trying to apply pressure and I'm definitely just a high motor guy in my opinion."
On his pass-rush ability in particular, he added, "The new era of pass rushing, someone who is on the little lighter side of the average three technique. I'm bringing that explosiveness, that quickness, I'm someone who is great with their hands, someone who is very instinctual, and someone who is a go-getter when it comes to the run and pass game."