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The Seahawks' 2015 Free Agents: Defense

A detailed look at which Seahawks defensive players are slated to hit the open market when NFL free agency begins March 10.

Photos of the Seahawks' 2015 defensive free agents to-be. NFL free agency opens on Tuesday, March 10.

On Thursday, we took a look at Seahawks offensive players that will hit the open market when NFL free agency begins at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, March 10. In case you missed it, you can check out the feature [right here](/news/articles/article-1/The-Seahawks-2015-Free-Agents-Offense/ce2ccb25-2b70-4a59-9aa5-31e1430dcb31 "/news/articles/article-1/The-Seahawks-2015-Free-Agents-Offense/ce2ccb25-2b70-4a59-9aa5-31e1430dcb31

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To review what we outlined yesterday, Seattle has 16 players set to become unrestricted free agents, four that will become restricted free agents, and two that will become exclusive rights free agents.

Unrestricted free agents are able to sign wherever they please when the signing period opens. Restricted free agents can be offered tenders from their old club that would allow the old club to match any offer that player may receive from another team, or not match the offer and possibly reap a draft pick as compensation. Exclusive rights free agents can be kept by the player's old club if the club makes a minimum qualifying offer by March 10.

As promised, we continue our free agent to-be preview with a look at the Seattle defense. Below, find out how Seahawks defenders will classify when free agency opens, followed by a note on how that player performed this past year.

Unrestricted Free Agents

DL Landon Cohen

Until the Seahawks signed him this past January, Cohen was tending to his valet-parking business in his hometown of Spartanburg, S.C. Cohen, a member of the Chicago Bears in 2013, saw action in the Seahawks' final two postseason games and if re-signed could help bolster the team's depth up front.

DL Demarcus Dobbs

Another late-season add by the Seahawks by way of the San Francisco 49ers, who waived him this past November. Seattle's NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers was Dobbs' fourth-straight trip to a conference title game - he had experienced the previous three as a member of the Niners. After overcoming an ankle injury late in the season, Dobbs played valuable playoff snaps for the Seahawks. He was part of a three-man rotation including Kevin Williams and Tony McDaniel that the team used to replace the pass-rush efforts of Jordan Hill, who landed on injured reserve with a calf injury just prior to the playoffs.

LB Heath Farwell

He spent 2014 in a coaching role after a preseason groin injury sent him to injured reserve. But in the three seasons prior, Farwell was a productive member of the Seahawks' special teams unit. He captained the group in 2012, when he led Seattle with 15 special teams tackles, and again in 2013, when he finished tied for second with 10. In 2011, his 21 special teams tackles led the way despite not joining the club until mid-October as a free agent. Farwell, age 33, has voiced he'd like to continue playing in what would be his 11th NFL season.

LS Clint Gresham

He's steadily handled the long-snapping duties for the Seahawks the past five seasons, also accounting for five tackles on special teams. Gresham likes to work out with the linebackers during practice and has developed a close relationship with punter Jon Ryan and kicker Steven Hauschka. The Seahawks did sign long snapper Luke Ingram in early February, a 24-year-old out of the University of Hawaii who's spent time in training camps with the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Pittsburgh Steelers.

S Jeron Johnson

Johnson, a special teams standout, served as the primary backup to strong safety Kam Chancellor but doubled as a trusted fill-in to free safety Earl Thomas this past season. A four-year player for Seattle that entered the League as an undrafted rookie out of Boise State, Johnson made his first career start in 2014, pacing the club with a career-high eight tackles when Chancellor was held out against the New York Giants. He's encountered hamstring and elbow injuries over the past two seasons with the Seahawks.

CB Byron Maxwell

Perhaps the hottest name the Seahawks have set to hit free agency, Maxwell has tallied 24 passes defensed and six interceptions playing opposite All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman the past two seasons. Executive VP/General Manager John Schneider has called keeping Maxwell a priority, but also expects Seattle's 2011 sixth-round pick to command good money on the open market. Maxwell has made the most of his opportunities since he earned the starting corner job in the final five games of the 2013 season.

DL O'Brien Schofield

Photos of the Seahawks' 2015 offensive free agents to-be. NFL free agency opens on Tuesday, March 10.

An active pass rusher for the Seahawks the past two years who has probably played better than his statistics show. He had 2.0 sacks in 2014 to go with nine quarterback hits and 15 tackles. Remember, Schofield was nearly lost in free agency last March, but a failed physical prevented him from signing a multi-year deal with the Giants. Instead, he returned to the Seahawks on a one-year contract.

DL D'Anthony Smith

Smith spent 2014 on injured reserve, but he's a player the Seahawks traded a draft pick to acquire - Seattle sent an undisclosed choice to the Jacksonville Jaguars ahead of the 2013 season. He had five tackles in two games that year before the Seahawks released Smith and signed him to the practice squad.

LB Malcolm Smith

After a 2013 campaign that saw him earn Super Bowl XLVIII MVP, Smith battled injury and had his play time decrease this past season as he worked behind K.J. Wright and Bruce Irvin. He finished the year with 33 tackles and a pass defensed in 14 games (five starts), down from the 50 tackles, four passes defensed, two interceptions, and one sack he posted in 15 games (eight starts) the year prior.

DL Kevin Williams

Williams, a perennial Pro Bowler and All-Pro selection in his 11 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, signed in Seattle this past year as an unrestricted free agent with the hopes of securing a Super Bowl ring. Originally considered a rotational player along the defensive line, Williams wound up playing plenty of meaningful snaps at nose tackle after Brandon Mebane (hamstring) went on injured reserve in November. Williams played in all 16 games for Seattle with eight starts, logging 29 tackles, 3.0 sacks and two passes defensed.

Restricted Free Agents

LB Mike Morgan

A special teams mainstay and backup linebacker for Seattle the past three seasons who signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He registered his first career touchdown in 2014 when he scooped up a Doug Baldwin-blocked punt and returned it 25 yards for a score against the Dallas Cowboys.

DL Greg Scruggs

Scruggs played in just three games in 2014 before his season ended on injured reserve (knee) for the second-consecutive year. A seventh-round draft pick of the Seahawks in 2012, Scruggs managed two sacks his rookie year. There has been no official word from the team, but according to his Instagram page, Scruggs says he will be back with the Seahawks next season. 

Update (3/6 at 3:30 p.m. PT): The Seahawks confirmed Scruggs' signing.

Exclusive Rights Free Agents

CB DeShawn Shead

A versatile defensive back for the Seahawks since signing as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Shead made his first career start this past year in place of an injured Chancellor and Johnson. He finished the year with seven tackles, four of which came against the Oakland Raiders in that first career start. Shead was active for all 16 regular season games, seeing snaps on special teams, at cornerback and at both safety spots.


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