Seahawks release Al Woods

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 21: Al Woods #99 of the Seattle Seahawks looks on against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks released veteran nose tackle Al Woods on Monday as the team continues its overhaul of the defensive line.

Woods joins defensive ends Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson as members of the team's defensive front from last season released in recent weeks. Additionally, defensive tackle Poona Ford remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent.

Woods, 36, signed a two-year deal with the Seahawks last year and was set to earn $3.25 million in base salary this season with per game roster bonuses included, per The team will save $3.67 million against the salary cap with Woods' release.

Woods has played his last three seasons of football in Seattle while opting out of playing in the NFL during the 2020 season. Woods has appeared in 44 games for the Seahawks since 2019 and has 69 total tackles with 4.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. Woods was a standout in 2021 as he posted a career-high 50 tackles and key piece of the team's run defense efforts.

However, the Seahawks are tight against the salary cap after adding defensive end Dre'Mont Jones, defensive tackle Jarran Reed, linebacker Devin Bush, safety Julian Love and the re-signings of quarterbacks Geno Smith and Drew Lock. Add in space that will be required to sign the upcoming draft class and the Seahawks decided Woods was a piece they could no longer afford.

While Woods' play wasn't the biggest reason for the team's lack of success against opposing rushing attacks last season, the team is clearly focused on changing the unit in hopes of better output this fall.

"We needed to be better up front," general manager John Schneider told reporters at the NFL Combine. "I think it was pretty evident. We were on the field a lot. We didn’t defend the run real well. We had some games in there, we did a really nice job and then we had several games that didn’t go so well. We know what the issues are and we’re ready to attack them and fix them."