RENTON, Wash. — With their run defense struggling and starting safety Ryan Neal hurting, the Seattle Seahawks claimed 2019 first-round pick Johnathan Abram off waivers from the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday, sources confirmed to ESPN.
Abram, 26, joins his third team this month. He was waived on Nov. 9 by the Las Vegas Raiders, whose previous regime drafted him 27th overall in 2019. The Packers claimed him the next day and waived him on Tuesday. Abram appeared in two games with Green Bay, with all but one of his 29 snaps coming on special teams, and was a healthy scratch in Week 12.
Abrams’ addition comes as Neal deals with elbow and shoulder injuries. Coach Pete Carroll has sounded optimistic about Neal playing this Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium but said he would likely miss Wednesday’s practice.
Neal is starting at strong safety for the Seahawks with Jamal Adams out for the season because of a knee injury from Week 1. Josh Jones replaced Neal when he was hurt late in the Seahawks’ overtime loss to the Raiders on Sunday and missed a tackle on Josh Jacobs’ 86-yard game-winning touchdown.
Jacobs ran for 229 yards, the most Seattle has ever allowed to a single player. That came on the heels of the Seahawks also struggling against the run in their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 10, before their bye.
Carroll said one potential adjustment could be committing another defensive back to playing closer to the line of scrimmage, something they didn’t do much of against the Raiders while trying to give their cornerbacks help against All-Pro receiver Davante Adams.
Abram (6-0, 205) has primarily played strong safety and is known more for being a physical presence in the box than he is for his coverage. According to NFL Next Gen Stats data, of the 121 players who had logged at least 1,000 coverage snaps since 2019 at the time Abram was waived by the Raiders, he had allowed the second-highest completion percentage as a nearest defender.
In 38 career games, Abram has 257 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 12 passes defended and 2 fumble recoveries.
The Seahawks had an open spot on their 53-man roster after placing wide receiver/kickoff returner Dee Eskridge on injured reserve over the weekend, so they don’t need to make a corresponding move to fit Abram.
The NFL Network first reported that Seattle claimed Abram.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky and Paul Gutierrez contributed to this report.