Seattle Seahawks news for Friday: Maybe Big Al returns

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Seattle Seahawks released defensive tackle Al Woods earlier this week for salary cap reasons. But there is a chance that Big Al returns. He just has to want to play and have to take a pay cut.

But there is no doubt that even though Seattle brought back defensive tackle Jarran Reed and signed defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones during free agency Woods can still help the team. Over the last two seasons, Woods has nearly inarguably been the Seahawks’ best interior defensive lineman. And while Woods has been excellent against the run, he is a bit overrated when it comes to getting interior pressure on quarterbacks.

In fact, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) graded Woods slightly better in pass rush (67.5) than run defense (65.2) in 2022. Those are good numbers in both categories, however. Woods got a total of 13 pressures in 2022, 2 sacks, and 5 tackles for loss, but he also only missed 2 tackles. He might be almost 36 years old – he turns 36 on March 25th – but he is still very effective.

Could Al Woods return to the Seahawks in 2023?

In 2021, he had 18 total quarterback pressures and 1.5 sacks. He had 5 quarterback hits and 4 tackles for loss. But none of this is what Woods does best.

What Woods does best is take up space while making an offensive line accountable for his presence. If Woods stays healthy, and he has missed just three games over the last two seasons, he is going to eat up blocks which would free up Reed and Jones to do even more damage. Woods would still get his tackles and QB hits, but his presence makes Jones and Reed better.

But releasing Woods cleared up $3.67 million in cap room for the Seahawks. This room is needed to sign the free agents Seattle has done as well as signing the 2023 draft picks Seattle will choose. But general manager John Schneider said on Seattle Sports radio on Thursday

"We were aggressive (in free agency), so you have to balance yourself out. And Al’s an amazing person, amazing player, great leader. Those calls (to release a player) 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, (head coach Pete Carroll) and I spoke with Al and we won’t shut the door on his return."

Of course, Woods may not want to play anymore. He isn’t young and football players take a beating. He might just choose to be happy with the money he has earned and go on to live his best life.

Must Read. 4 experiments the Seahawks could cut short in 2023. light

But if Woods does want to return at a deal less than what he was set to make in 2023 originally, the Seahawks should do everything they can to re-sign him. Woods is good on his own. But he makes the overall team better when he’s playing.