Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks adding again to defensive line, this time with a low-cost, veteran tackle

The Seahawks have been seeking a run-stopping tackle for the middle of their defensive line.

They hope they may have found him. For this year, anyway.

Seattle reached a contract agreement with 330-pound veteran Al Woods this past weekend, according to the free agent’s representatives.

The deal is for one year. It is worth $2.25 million, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. It’s follows the Seahawks’ recent pattern of signing older interior nose tackles to short-term, relatively low-cost contracts such as Ahtyba Rubin (2015-16) and Tom Johnson (2018).

Why was Woods available two months after free agency began?

He is 32 years old. This will be his fifth NFL team in nine years--and that’s counting the Seahawks. Twice.

He played two games for Seattle in 2011, Pete Carroll’s second season as the team’s coach.

Woods started 24 games the last two seasons for Indianapolis. New Orleans’ fourth-round draft pick in 2010 played for Tampa Bay, Seattle, Pittsburgh (2011-13) and Tennessee (2014-16) before the Colts. He started his first NFL games with the Steelers in 2013.

The Seahawks had undrafted rookie Poona Ford as their run-stopping defensive tackle last season, and he played well. But Carroll likes an older veteran in that role.

He had one in Johnson--for last season’s opener, anyway.

Johnson started for the first game at Denver. Then Carroll and general manager John Schneider decided to release Johnson because they wanted to use his roster spot to promote backup safety Shalom Luani to the active roster and play special teams at Chicago amid all the Seahawks’ injuries. Their thinking was they could re-sign Johnson soon, after the need for special-teams help subsided.

Luani played as many snaps on special teams and defense as you did against the Bears.

Because Johnson was a vested veteran who was on Seattle’s roster for week one, the Seahawks had to guarantee his salary for the entire season: $1,865,625. Seattle took a salary-cap hit for Johnson of $2.1 million. Johnson got paid by the Vikings, too, a second contract reportedly worth up to $1.5 million.

The Seahawks thought they traded for a longer-term answer at defensive tackle when they acquired one-time Pro Bowl selection Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets at the start of the 2017 season. But after a few months playing for Seattle Richardson’s contract ended and he priced himself out of town. He signed for $8 million to play last season for Minnesota.

This offseason Richardson signed a three-year, $37 million deal with Cleveland.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.
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