Team sources confirmed that the Seattle Seahawks removed the franchise tag designated to linebacker Leroy Hill in an effort to create some financial flexibility for the team.
The move came just hours after Seattle selected Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry with the team's No. 4 overall pick in the first day of the draft on Saturday.
Curry will likely sign a lucrative, multi-year deal with the team to join a talented, linebackers' unit that includes Hill and Lofa Tatupu.
The Seahawks designated Hill with the franchise tag this offseason. Hill did not show up to the team's pre-draft, minicamp in April and had not signed the $8.3 million tender, although head coach Jim Mora indicated at the time there was no animosity between the two sides, and the Seattle was still negotiating with Hill.
Hill reportedly turned down a six-year, $36 million deal offered by Seattle. A team source said even though the franchise tag was removed, the two sides will continue negotiations.
However, Seattle's latest move seems to create some uncertainty as to what Hill's future will be in Seattle.
Hill was arrested in January and charged with marijuana possession in an Atlanta suburb after police there found the Seahawks linebacker passed out behind the wheel at a major intersection in suburban Atlanta with less than one ounce of marijuana in the vehicle.
Hill later publicly apologized for his actions. Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell stood behind Hill, and both parties decided to move forward.