SEATTLE -- The Seahawks released defensive linemen Quinton Jefferson and Shelby Harris on Tuesday, the team announced.
The moves save Seattle approximately $13.4 million in cap space and come one day after the Seahawks and former Denver Broncos defensive lineman Dre'Mont Jones agreed to a three-year deal reportedly worth $51 million.
The remaking of the Seahawks' defensive line continued Tuesday when they agreed to a two-year deal to bring back defensive tackle Jarran Reed, a source told ESPN, confirming a report by NFL Network. The 30-year-old Reed gives the Seahawks a proven run stuffer who has also shown the ability to pressure the quarterback.
Jefferson, who turns 30 on March 31, played in all 17 games last season and made three starts. His 5.5 sacks and six tackles for loss were both career highs.
Jefferson returned to Seattle last offseason on a two-year, $9.5 million deal that was set to pay him $4.485 million. His release incurs a dead money charge of $2 million.
It was Jefferson's third stint with the Seahawks, who drafted him in the fifth round out of Maryland in 2016. Jefferson has also played for the Buffalo Bills and Las Vegas Raiders over seven NFL seasons. He has 20.5 career sacks in 89 regular-season games.
The 31-year-old Harris had a scheduled cap charge of $12.2 million for 2022, the final year of his contract. His release saves the Seahawks just under $8.94 million in cash and cap space while incurring $3.27 million in dead money. The savings includes a $2 million bonus that Harris would have earned on March 19 had he remained on Seattle's roster.
One of the three veteran players the Seahawks acquired from the Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade in March 2022, Harris started 15 games last season, recording 2 sacks, 44 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 6 quarterback hits and 4 passes defensed. He missed one game with an illness and another in order to tend to a family matter.
Harris had one year remaining on the three-year, $27 million contract he signed with Denver in 2021. That year, he tied his career-highs with six sacks and 11 quarterback hits in what would be his final season with the Broncos, who sent him to Seattle along with quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant and a haul of draft picks in the Wilson trade. Part of Harris' appeal to the Seahawks is that he played in the Vic Fangio-style 3-4 defense that Pete Carroll and coordinator Clint Hurtt were installing in Seattle.
But Harris' cap charge -- comprised of a $6.5 million base salary, the $2 million roster bonus and roughly $440,000 in per-game roster bonuses -- proved too rich for a Seahawks team that needs to drastically upgrade what was an underperforming front seven in 2022. Seattle finished 30th in rushing yards allowed per game and 28th in ESPN's pass rush win rate.
A seventh-round pick in 2014 out of Illinois State, Harris spent his first two seasons with the Raiders, had a brief stint on the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad in 2016 and spent the next five seasons in Denver. This past season marked the first of his career in which he played for a team that made the playoffs. For his career, Harris has made 64 starts, appeared in 98 games and recorded 24.5 sacks.
Reed's return comes two years after his bizarre and acrimonious departure from Seattle. The Seahawks, according to a source, wanted Reed to agree to what's known as a simple restructure of his contract, which would have paid him the same amount in 2021 while giving the team immediate cap relief. Reed refused, insisting that Seattle give him a new deal. The Seahawks declined and released him after they were unable to find a trade partner.
Reed spent the 2021 season with the Kansas City Chiefs and last year with the Green Bay Packers, combining for five sacks, seven tackles for loss and 26 QB hits in that span.
He spent his first five seasons with the Seahawks after they drafted him in the second round out of Alabama in 2016. Reed totaled 22 sacks with Seattle, including a career-high 10.5 in 2018.