The Seahawks have gone back to their Super Bowl-winning legacy to add depth on the defensive line.
The team announced Friday it had reached a contract agreement with 13-year veteran Chris Clemons, a defensive end for the Super Bowl 48-winning Seahawks in the 2013 season.
The move is for defensive-line depth behind Pro Bowl end Michael Bennett, disruptive Cliff Avril and Frank Clark, Seattle’s top draft choice in 2015. Clemons’ signing adds a veteran familiar with Seattle’s defensive system for specific pass-rush and situational roles.
This is also Seattle’s low-cost, low-risk attempt to revive the 34-year old’s career.
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Clemons had eight sacks in 2014 and three last season, both years with Jacksonville. His three sacks in 2015 was his lowest total in six years. He was playing for former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, now the Jaguars’ head coach. Clemons made just one start with five tackles and one sack in the final eight games last season for Jacksonville. The Jaguars released him rather than pay him a $4 million salary in 2016. He had two years left on his deal with Jacksonville when he got cut last month.
While terms weren’t immediately known Friday, the Seahawks will be paying a lot less than $4 million for Clemons this year. The team was believed to have less than $8 million in salary-cap space before this agreement, 25th in the 32-team NFL according to overthecap.com. That’s with a few million still to spend on draft choices and rookie free agents, and the likelihood of extending No. 1 wide receiver Doug Baldwin before the regular season as we discussed here this week.
Clemons had 4½ sacks in 2013 as part of the deepest and most effective defensive front in Seahawks’ history. Seattle released him in March 2014 as his contract was about to balloon, a move that saved the Seahawks $7.5 million against that year’s salary cap.
They had acquired him from Philadelphia in 2010 by trading fellow defensive end Darryl Tapp to the Eagles. Clemons had 11, 11 and his career high of 11 1/2 sacks in 2010-12 with Seattle.
OTAs, MINICAMP DATES ANNOUNCED
The Seahawks also announced Friday their nine-week offseason workout begins April 18 and will include organized team activites and minicamps across May and June.
The team’s voluntary (but strongly encouraged) OTAs at Seahawks headquarters in Renton will be May 23-24, May 26, June 1, 3, 6-7 and 9. The one mandatory mincamp of the offseason is June 14-16. Seattle’s rookie minicamp is likely to be May 6-8 or 13-15, one or two weekends after the draft April 28-30.
Training camp will begin at the end of July, with an exact date still to be announced.
Unlike training camp, none of the OTAs or minicamp practices are open to the public.