Seahawks legend suggests Seattle sign 2020 NFL tackles leader

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Zach Cunningham remains unsigned after spending 2023 with the Philadelphia Eagles.

With just three weeks until the start of training camp, the Seattle Seahawks have a couple of spots available on their 90-man roster. A position of potential concern is inside linebacker, with projected starters Tyrel Dodson and Jerome Baker recovering from their respective injuries. The rest of the depth, which includes fourth-round rookie Tyrice Knight, has only 19 combined professional snaps (all by Jon Rhattigan).

In an interview with Corbin Smith and Rob Rang on the Locked on Seahawks podcast, former All-Pro linebacker and fan favorite Lofa Tatupu offered up his thoughts on what Seattle could do at the position. No, he’s not coming out of retirement, but he is suggesting the ‘Hawks bring in Zach Cunningham, who led the NFL in tackles back in 2020.


“That’s one of these under appreciated guys, everywhere he goes, he just racks up 130 tackles, sacks, interceptions, just makes plays,” Tatupu said as a guest on the Locked On Seahawks podcast recently. “And so I think that would probably be the best fit, especially for what Mike [Macdonald] likes to do.”

Cunningham last played for the Philadelphia Eagles, which admittedly doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence considering how Philadelphia’s defense struggled throughout 2023. Originally drafted by the Houston Texans in 2017, Cunningham became a full-time starter as a rookie. As mentioned earlier, he led the NFL in solo (106) and combined (164) tackles in 2020.

In 2021, Cunningham was benched twice for violating team rules, and the Texans waived him before the season ended. The AFC South rival Tennessee Titans claimed him, and he played in 10 games over two seasons but missed significant time with an elbow injury. He recorded 85 tackles (2 for loss), 4 passes defensed, and a fumble recovery in 13 appearances in Philadelphia.

If you like and/or value PFF grades, Cunningham posted a career-best overall mark with the Eagles, particularly in pass coverage. However, his missed tackle rate consistently increased each year from 8.0% as a rookie to 14.8% in Tennessee, before declining to 12.4% last season.

“I would say Cunningham is probably the one you could plug in right away and not worry too much about injury or availability in terms of “do we have to put him on a pitch count or no practice to make sure he’s ready for Sunday?’ I think Zach could walk in and play right away,” Tatupu said.

Cunningham is still just 29 years old and while he hasn’t been a beacon of health, his injury history is comparatively minimal when you consider other veterans like Shaq Leonard (who was signed by the Eagles, to underwhelming results), Kwon Alexander (twice torn Achilles), and Anthony Barr (torn pec), all of whom are on the market.

It’s more than possible that the Seahawks bring in another linebacker or two before preseason starts. Whether Cunningham is that guy remains to be seen.

You can watch the full Tatupu interview in the video below:

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Title: Seahawks legend suggests Seattle sign 2020 NFL tackles leader
Author: Mookie Alexander

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