In a move that continues to reshape their defensive line — a stated goal of the offseason — while also creating some needed salary cap space, the Seattle Seahawks announced Monday night that they have released veteran defensive tackle Al Woods.
The move saves $3.67 million against the cap, space that helps Seattle fit in some of the contracts of recent players it has signed.
After re-signing quarterback Drew Lock to a contract worth up to $4 million in 2023 but before accounting for the contracts of safety Julian Love and linebacker Devin Bush, Seattle was listed with just $2.2 million in effective cap space by OverTheCap.com, which accounts for including money that will be needed to pay for draft picks.
Woods, who turns 36 next week, signed a two-year contract before last season that was due to pay him a non-guaranteed base salary of $3.25 million for 2023. Seattle will incur a dead cap hit of $1.75 million for Woods in 2023.
Woods is the third veteran defensive lineman Seattle has released in the past week, joining Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson.
Seattle signed linemen Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed to replace those two and figure to sign another linemen or two as well as add some with some of their 10 picks in the draft.
Woods’ release came after Seattle announced the signing of Lock, whose contract includes $1.75 million guaranteed.
His release leaves the middle of Seattle’s line uncertain as Poona Ford is also now a free agent and Bryan Mone is recovering from an ACL injury suffered against the 49ers in December.
Coach Pete Carroll said after the season that Mone had “a difficult surgery.” Woods was listed as Seattle’s starting nose tackle last year and Mone his backup until his injury. Ford was officially listed as an end in Seattle’s new 3-4 scheme but had played nose primarily in previous seasons and Carroll said after the season he felt Ford was at his best at nose. For now, it’s unclear if Ford is still listed in the team’s plans.
Releasing Woods means Seattle could have a totally new starting defensive front in 2023 as the team typically listed Woods as the starting tackle and Ford and Harris as the starting ends.
Seattle lists just two defensive tackles who are under contract aside from Mone — Myles Adams and Jarrod Hewitt (Reed and Jones are listed as ends).
Woods was in his third stint with Seattle in 2022, having also played with the Seahawks in 2011 and 2019 and then returning to the Seahawks in 2021 after signing with Jacksonville but sitting out the year because of COVID-19.
Woods was one of Seattle’s best defensive players in 2021 when he set a career-high with 50 tackles. That earned him a new two-year deal with the team and he was also selected by teammates as a co-captain of the defense along with safety Quandre Diggs.
But Woods missed three games during the 2022 season with injury. He likely sees his Seahawks career come to an end with Carroll having said the team needed to get “more dynamic” up front after the Seahawks fell off dramatically on defense, finishing 26h in total yards allowed and 30th in rushing yards allowed.
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