Hawkeyes sign NFL free agent deals

On3 imageby:Tom Kakert04/30/23


Once the NFL Draft ended, the process for players who were not selected to find a home got underway. Some times for prospects, it may end up being better to be a free agent than a late round pick. The reasoning behind that is you can pick your own destination based on the makeup of their roster.

Thus far, three former Hawkeyes have found homes after the draft. It should be noted that it was a very successful NFL Draft once again for the Iowa football program. They had two first round picks in defensive end Lukas Van Ness landing with the Green Bay Packers and All American and Butkus Award winning linebacker Jack Campbell finding a home with Detroit.

The Lions weren’t done picking Hawkeyes as they nabbed tight end Sam LaPorta early in the second round and then defensive back Riley Moss was drafted by Denver.

Sticking with the defensive side of the ball first, Iowa safety Kaevon Merriweather has signed a free agent deal with Tampa Bay. The Bucs are a familiar home for Hawkeyes with former Iowa players Tristan Wirfs and Anthony Nelson currently on their roster.

Merriweather started 25 games in his last three years with the Hawkeyes, including every game this past season at strong safety except for the Music City Bowl, which he opted not to play in. He had four career interceptions with three of them happening this past year. He also had 118 career tackles for the Hawkeyes. Merriweather was named first team All American by Pro Football Focus and second team All American by The Sporting News and the Associated Press.

Another defensive standout landing a free agent deal was Seth Benson. The three year starter at linebacker agreed to terms with the Denver Broncos. In addition to teammate Riley Moss heading to Denver, he will also join former Hawkeye Josey Jewell at the linebacker position.

Benson had an outstanding career for the Hawkeyes. He started all but one game the last three seasons and finished his Iowa career with 258 tackles, which ranks 32nd all-time at Iowa. This past season he was named second team All Big Ten by the media and coaches.

Finally, also signing was Monte Pottebaum. The former Iowa fullback is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He joins former Hawkeye offensive lineman James Daniels in the Steel City. Pottebaum started 13 games in his Iowa career and mainly filled a blocking role on offense. But, he did have 20 rushes for 82 yards and one score. He also caught ten passes for 85 yards.

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