Seattle Seahawks sign linebacker Tyrel Dodson

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 15: Tyrel Dodson #25 of the Buffalo Bills on the field against the New York Giants at Highmark Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks signed former Buffalo Bills linebacker Tyrel Dodson on Thursday evening, addressing a significant area of need for the team following the departures of Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks.

Dodson, 25, is coming off his first season as a regular starter, taking over in Buffalo for an injured Matt Milano last year. Dodson appeared in all 17 games for the Bills with 10 starts. He racked up 74 tackles with 2.5 sacks, six quarterback hits, and two passes defended.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Obviously, we feel like we have a need at linebacker and we will be working to address that position as well as a few others as we keep going here," general manager John Schneider said in an interview with Seattle Sports 710 AM Thursday afternoon prior to the deal with Dodson.

Dodson signed with the Bills as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M in 2019.  Dodson was suspended six games in September 2019 stemming from a domestic violence incident that eventually saw Dodson plead guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He was waived and re-signed to the team's practice squad. After a season on the practice squad, Dodson played in 59 games over the last four seasons before reaching free agency for the first time. 

Dodson had primarily been a special teams contributor and reserve before getting a sustained chance to play in place of Milano last season.

And Dodson made a positive impression with the action he did see last year. Pro Football Focus rated Dodson as the best off-ball linebacker in the league last year, edging out San Francisco's Fred Warner and New Orleans' Demario Davis, though in a smaller sample size.

"Dodson carries some risk as a linebacker with only 1,066 career snaps, and one who was not a starter for the Bills until Matt Milano got injured in Week 5 of the 2023 season,’’ PFF wrote. "However, what he did with the opportunity and how he played once he became a starter makes him one of the more intriguing free agents this year. Dodson ended up as PFF’s highest-graded linebacker in 2023 (90.2). He was the only linebacker in the NFL to earn a grade above 83.0 for his work in run defense and coverage.’’


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Seattle's linebacker corps had become incredibly thin with the departures of Wagner, Brooks and Devin Bush in recent days. Wagner reached a deal with the Washington Commanders, Brooks with the Miami Dolphins, and Bush with the Cleveland Browns. That trio saw almost all of Seattle's snaps in the defense last season at the two off-ball spots.

Dodson had a visit with the Seahawks earlier on Thursday and signed his deal with the team while at the team's facility.