Seahawks Land Ex-Dolphins $37 Million LB at Major Discount

The Seattle Seahawks are in the midst of a major rebuild under new head coach Mike Macdonald. After Jordyn Brooks and Bobby Wagner left in free agency, the Seahawks needed to find new starting linebackers.

On Saturday, March 16, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that Seattle was signing former Miami Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker. After spending his entire career in Miami, Baker agreed to a one-year, $7 million deal with the Seahawks.

Jerome Baker

Considering the financial dispute that led to Baker’s exit from the Dolphins, that number seems like a steal. The Dolphins released Baker earlier this month “after the two sides discussed a restructured contract, but couldn’t reach an agreement,” Schefter reported. “The Dolphins left the door open to him coming back if he chooses.”

The Baker was entering the final season of his three-year, $37.5 million extension and was set to make approximately $10.8 million in 2024. The Miami Herald reported, “Baker agreed to take a pay cut from his $10.8 million base salary in 2024 but the sides could not agree on an exact number.” Miami saved nearly $10 million through his release.

Learning that $7 million was the winning number to keep Baker was a surprise for Phins fans. However, considering Baker is coming off wrist surgery, and missed time with a knee injury last season, it seems reasonable. The Dolphins’ third-round pick from the 2018 NFL draft registered 78 total tackles, 3 passes defensed, 2 interceptions, and a pick-six in 13 regular games last season.

However, the 27-year-old has registered three seasons with over 100 tackles and has 22.5 career sacks.

Former Seahawks LB Jordyn Brooks Signed With the Dolphins Before Jerome Baker Landed in Seattle

Jordyn Brooks
Jordyn Brooks
GettyFormer Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks at Lumen Field on December 15, 2022.

On the first day of free agency, the Dolphins signed Brooks to a $26.25 million contract worth up to $30 million. After Baker agreed to terms with Seattle on Saturday, numerous analysts considered this a linebacker exchange between the two teams.

While it’s a player swap, Seattle Sports’ Brock Huard believes the Seahawks got the better player in the end. He pointed out how Pro Football Focus ranked Baker as the 18th-best linebacker in coverage last season, while Brooks ranked 50th.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider was pretty blunt about his decision to let Brooks walk in free agency. Schneider said keeping the team’s former first-rounder simply wasn’t as important as retaining Leonard Williams. Seattle re-signed Williams to a three-year, $64 million contract.

“Leonard’s deal took a while and we knew Leonard’s deal was going to affect all of free agency,” Schneider explained. “[Miami] had a deal on the table [for Brooks] and we just couldn’t move as quickly as they could… We had prioritized Leonard ahead of the linebacker position at that point. So it’s basically like D-line ahead of a linebacker.”

The Seahawks Signed Former Bills LB Tyrel Dodson

Before adding Baker, Seattle was signed former Buffalo Bills linebacker Tyrel Dodson. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019, during the 2023 NFL season, Dodson got his chance to be a full-time starter after Matt Milano got injured. In 17 games and 10 starts, he recorded 74 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 passes defensed, and 1 forced fumble.

SI’s Corbin K. Smith wrote of the 6-foot, 237-pounder, “Dodson graded out as one of Pro Football Focus’ three best linebackers in 2023, finishing with an elite 86.8 coverage grade that ranked ahead of Ravens All-Pro defender Roquan Smith.

“Along with a fantastic 10.6 percent run stop rate that ranked in the top 10 for linebackers, he produced 11 pressures and 2.5 sacks on just 41 blitz opportunities as well, posting a gaudy 26.8% pressure rate when sent as an extra rusher by the Bills.”

Ultimately, the Seahawks replaced Wagner and Brooks with Baker and Dodson. The News Tribune’s Gregg Bell posted, “Seahawks get younger, cheaper at linebacker letting Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks go and signing Tyrel Dodson from Buffalo + Jerome Baker (1 year, $7M) from Miami this week. Time will tell of they got better. And with the imports on only 1-year deals, drafting LBs still in play.”

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