NFC West teams signed two defensive linemen from the Tennessee Titans during free agency this year.
Only one of them remains a factor after the Seattle Seahawks placed Jason Jones on injured reserve Thursday. Jones was signed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract as the team sought to upgrade its interior rush on passing downs. The move paid off at times, but knee trouble limited Jones as the season progressed.
Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the Rams are getting good value from defensive end William Hayes, the former Titan they signed to a one-year deal worth $900,000.
Jones and Hayes have each played about one-third of their teams' defensive snaps this season. Jones has three sacks. Hayes has four. Hayes scored high marks from Pro Football Focus for his play against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15. Jones stood out previously.
The Rams also visited with Jones during the offseason. Their decision to sign Hayes was unrelated.
Jones had played increased snaps over the past two weeks, including about two-thirds of them against the Buffalo Bills in Week 15. The Bills run their offense primarily from pass-oriented personnel groupings, inviting defenses to use sub packages favoring pass-rush players such as Jones.
Rookie Greg Scruggs could see additional playing time now that Jones is on injured reserve. The team will presumably address the position in the offseason. Seattle can expect to spend more time in its base defense against San Francisco in Week 16. The 49ers favor heavier personnel groupings on early downs.