Seahawks’ Schneider explains why Al Woods was cut, but could return

Mar 23, 2023, 2:57 PM | Updated: 3:04 pm

Seahawks Al Woods...

Seahawks DT Al Woods reacts after a sack against the 49ers during a Dec. 5, 2021 game. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seahawks parted ways with one of their leaders this week as they released veteran nose tackle Al Woods, one of their four 2022 captains.

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Woods, 35, has played 44 games for the Seahawks since 2019, including 14 last year where he had two sacks, five tackles for loss and three quarterback hits while manning the middle of Seattle’s defensive line in the team’s new 3-4 scheme. Woods played 39% of the Seahawks’ defensive snaps in 2022.

Woods’ release was part of a major overhaul of the Seahawks’ defensive line as he joined Quinton Jefferson and Shelby Harris as D-linemen released by Seattle this offseason, while Poona Ford is still a free agent and 2019 first-round pick L.J. Collier signed with the Arizona Cardinals earlier this week.

So why did the Seahawks part ways with the veteran nose tackle? And could a reunion be in the cards? Here’s what general manager John Schneider said during his weekly Seattle Sports show on Thursday.

“Al’s situation was really cash and cap,” Schneider said.

Prior to last season, Woods signed a two-year deal worth up to $9 million. The move to release Woods reportedly frees up $3.6 million in cap space while also creating a dead cap hit of $1.75 million for 2023.

“Everybody has a cash budget in the NFL that you need to work within, and every team is probably slightly different,” Schneider said. “Although it may show if you go to like websites or whatever and say, ‘Hey, where are the Seahawks with their salary cap?’ there’s a lot of budgeted items that fall into that as well when you talk about incentives, premium roster bonuses, injuries.”

For instance, Schneider said, linebacker Jordyn Brooks and nose tackle Bryan Mone “are gonna miss some time here” at the start of 2023, and they’ll still be counting against the Seahawks’ cap.

“So there’s a ton of different accounting mechanisms that go into this thing, and we just felt that at this time while we wouldn’t shut the door on Al coming back, we needed to create some space to try to get something done,” Schneider said. “We’re still working through some of those issues in how we can use that cap room and the cash effectively.”

Additionally, Schneider said, the Seahawks have been far more aggressive in the early stage of free agency than normal, signing D-linemen Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed as well as linebacker Devin Bush, safety Julian Love and center Evan Brown.

“We were aggressive, so you have to balance yourself out,” he said. “And Al’s an amazing person, amazing player, great leader. Those calls are not fun … Those are the tough decisions that we have to make in order to just keep moving this thing forward. And like I said, both (head coach Pete Carroll) and I spoke with Al and we won’t shut the door on his return.”

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