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June 12, 2014 at 6:09 PM

What the Kevin Williams signing could mean for Seattle

When the time comes, defensive tackle Kevin Williams will generate consideration for the Hall of Fame.

Williams’ 11-year career with the Minnesota Vikings has been that good, his presence in the middle that felt. But the Seahawks aren’t getting that Kevin Williams.

When a big-name player with big-time credentials joins a new team, the name and credentials often overshadow the realities. Williams is 33 years old, and his last season in Minnesota saw a drop in productivity. In other words, the sunset is forming on Williams’ career.

And yet he could be exactly what the Seahawks need after agreeing to a one-year deal Thursday.

The Seahawks like using a heavy rotation along the defensive line, and Williams should give them productive bursts when used in doses. He can play in run or pass-rushing situations, and people around the game think he should be a productive contributor if used in the right capacity.

He also addresses a want, if not exactly a need, for the Seahawks.

Seattle’s roster looks poised to make another deep playoff run, but the Seahawks took hits along the defensive line. Gone from last year’s team are defensive linemen Chris Clemons, Red Bryant and Clinton McDonald.

In their place come a wave of young players with little experience: Jesse Williams and Greg Scruggs didn’t play last season because of injuries, and Jordan Hill played only a small role.

Williams not only offers veteran leadership in the locker room, but he should also give the defensive line’s second unit some stability. And while last year was his worst statistical season, a part-time role could make him more effective.

According to Football Outsiders, Williams played 718 defensive snaps last season. Michael Bennett was the only Seahawks defensive lineman to play 600 defensive snaps a year ago. No lineman played more than 58 percent of Seattle’s defensive snaps.

“The rotation is key,” said Louis Riddick, a former NFL scout and ESPN analyst. “He won’t be nearly as effective without it at this point in his career, and he gives them size, length a veteran hungry for team success.”

Williams’ deal is reportedly for one year and around $2 million. That’s a team-friendly contract for a player who could become a key piece along the defensive line, even if it’s in a part-time role. Just think back to a year ago, when Clinton McDonald played only 50 percent of Seattle’s snaps but was vital to the defense’s success.

Williams faced his own football mortality last season, and there were questions out of Minnesota about whether he would accept a reduced role or simply retire. By agreeing to terms with the Seahawks, Williams has accepted his new reality while also bolstering a defensive line that should be good again this season.


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