Seahawks release Branden Jackson and Joey Hunt, cut 7 more
The Seahawks released defensive end Branden Jackson and center Joey Hunt and waived seven more players Sunday, just two days ahead of the start of training camp.
Hunt may be the biggest surprise on the list, as he served as Seattle’s starting center in 2019 after the team lost Justin Britt for the season to an ACL injury. Hunt, a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Seahawks, started eight of the 14 games he appeared in for Seattle in 2019. The 26 year old has 34 career appearances over three seasons with 11 starts.
The Seahawks signed center B.J. Finney away from the Steelers early in free agency.
Jordan Roos, a guard who appeared in seven games in each of the 2017 and 2019 seasons for Seattle, is the most notable name on the list of waived players.
The 27-year-old Jackson has spent the last three seasons of his four-year NFL career with the Seahawks. He had two sacks, three quarterback hits and 20 combined tackles in 15 games (three starts) for Seattle in 2019. Jackson has 3.5 career sacks, all with the Seahawks, who he has played for in 36 of his 39 games as a pro.
A Texas Tech product, Jackson was an undrafted free agent signing of the Raiders in 2016. He initially joined Seattle early during the 2017 season as a practice squad member.
The moves with Jackson and Hunt fuel speculation on a possible next transaction for Seattle.
On Saturday, Seahawks general manager John Schneider pulled off one of the biggest trades of his tenure with the team, sending safety Bradley McDougald, a first-round pick in each of the next two NFL Drafts and a 2020 third-round pick to the New York Jets for All-Pro safety Jamal Adams and a 2022 fourth-round pick. That appeared to be a signal that the Seahawks are going “all-in” on the 2020 season in an attempt to get back to the Super Bowl while quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Bobby Wagner are still in their primes.
So, of course the attention will turn to the position Jackson plays – defensive end. More specifically, it shines a spotlight once again on Jadeveon Clowney, the star pass rusher who Seattle acquired on the eve of the 2019 season and who continues to be the most high-profile free agent still available on the market.
After signing restricted free agent tenders this offseason, both Jackson and Hunt were set to make $2.133 million in 2020, according to Spotrac.com. Freeing up that amount of money would put the Seahawks around $18 million of salary cap space. Seattle was believed to have offered Clowney a deal with around a $17 million salary earlier this offseason, according to 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton, before it made other moves in free agency.
Pass rush has been a position of emphasis all offseason for the Seahawks, who added free agents Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa. They also picked a pair of defensive ends in the NFL Draft – Tennessee’s Darrell Taylor in the second round and Syracuse’s Alton Robinson in the fifth round – and in addition to Clowney, their name has come up in speculation of where other top pass rushers could land, whether they are free agents (such as Everson Griffen) or have requested a trade (Jacksonville’s Yannick Ngakoue).
Here’s the full list of moves announced Sunday by the Seahawks:
• DE Branden Jackson
• C Joey Hunt
• RB Patrick Carr
• WR Seth Dawkins
• G Kahlil McKenzie
• DB Josh Norwood
• G Jordan Roos
• LB Sutton Smith
• TE Dominick Wood-Anderson