The Seahawks on Friday released defensive tackle Jarran Reed after finding no takers on the trade market for the $8.9 million 2021 salary cap hit any team would have had to take on.
Seattle is now free of that money, however, and used some of it to help fill the void left by his departure, bringing back veteran defensive tackle Al Woods to a one-year deal said to be worth up to $3 million with a $750,000 signing bonus.
Woods’ agency, SportsTrust Advisors, announced the deal on Twitter.
It will be the third stint with the Seahawks for the 34-year-old Woods, who played two games in 2011 and then 14 in 2019 before he was suspended for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
After signing with Jacksonville last spring, he decided to sit out the 2020 season for COVID-19-related reasons.
A source confirmed Thursday the Seahawks had decided to try to trade Reed, and if they couldn’t, to release him after they were unable to reach agreement on a restructured contract. The Seahawks reportedly wanted to redo Reed’s deal to reduce his 2021 cap hit. Reed reportedly wanted a longer-term contract as part of the deal.
Unable to come to an agreement, the Seahawks decided to move on.
Reed had made public Thursday afternoon that his days as a Seahawk were coming to an end, tweeting at 4:08 p.m. that “It’s been real 12s….tomorrow at 1 it’s official … on to the next chapter,” a move that may not have helped Seattle’s efforts in the final moments to pull off a deal.
Reed was entering the last year of a two-year contract signed last March that carried a $13.9 million cap hit for the 2021 season. Seattle will take on a $5 million dead cap hit for 2021 with his release but will save the rest. The contract would have paid Reed up to $23 million overall, a deal that many questioned at the time given that Reed was coming off a truncated 2019 season in which he had just two sacks after recording a career-high 10 1/2 in 2018.
He collected 6 1/2 in 2020. All but two came after the October arrival of Carlos Dunlap, whose presence Seahawks coaches felt opened up things for other players.
Reed seemed to take offense to that, tweeting after Pete Carroll’s end-of-season news conference that “I can’t even get credit for my own play on the field lol I guess there was someone else playing as jarran reed besides jarran reed lol … I put the work in and it showed off regardless of timing simple as that , and not because someone showed up!!”
Reed was a full-time starter at defensive tackle for the Seahawks the past four years after arriving as a second-round pick out of Alabama in 2016. Now a free agent, he can sign with another team immediately.
Woods, listed at 6-4, 330 pounds, has also played with Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Indianapolis in a career that dates to 2010.
Woods started five games for Seattle in 2019 when Reed was serving a six-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, then continued to play a regular role in the team’s defensive line rotation.
The addition of Woods gives Seattle five listed defensive tackles, the others being Poona Ford, Bryan Mone, Cedrick Lattimore and Myles Adams.
However, the Seahawks often use their five-technique, or big, defensive ends such as L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green — and now Kerry Hyder — as tackles in their nickel package.
Woods would likely play mostly on running downs in the base defense as he did in 2019. That year, Woods had a run defense grade of 77.7 from Pro Football Focus, which is higher than Reed has had in any of his five NFL seasons. Reed had a run defense grade in 2020 of 64.7, and his highest was 66.1 in 2017.
Seattle needed to clear out cap space as a number of contracts the team has signed players to in recent days are being processed and counted toward the salary cap.
The latest was for rush end Benson Mayowa, whose contract was revealed Friday. Mayowa signed what was a four-year deal, worth up to $7.62 million with $4.1 million guaranteed and a $3 million signing bonus. The last two years are void, allowing Seattle to spread out the signing bonus over four years instead of two for cap purposes.
The release of Reed and signing of Woods capped a busy second week of NFL free agency in which the Seahawks took major steps toward solidifying their defensive line.
On Wednesday, the Seahawks reached deals with Hyder and Mayowa. On Thursday, Seattle reached an agreement to re-sign Carlos Dunlap to a two-year contract worth $16.6 million.
Seattle released Dunlap earlier this month to clear out his $14.1 million cap hit for this season, then was able to re-sign him for $5.8 million less on a per-year average (the exact details of his contract and cap hits have yet to be revealed).
Swapping out Reed for Woods saves at least $5.9 million, though Woods’ contract may not involve a full $3 million cap hit.
And in the first week of free agency the Seahawks were able to re-sign Ford to a two-year deal worth up to $14 million instead of using a restricted free agent tender on him.
In the process, the Seahawks retained three-fourths of their starting line from the end of last season, losing only Reed, keeping both of their leading rush ends in Dunlap and Mayowa, while adding Hyder to compete with Collier and Green for the five-technique end spot. Seattle also has 2020 rookies Alton Robinson and Darrell Taylor to compete at the end positions.
The Seahawks on Friday also announced the signings of guard Jordan Simmons and tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, which had been confirmed earlier this week.
The re-signings of Simmons and Ogbuehi gives Seattle 12 offensive linemen under contract for the 2021 season.
With the offensive and defensive lines appearing pretty well stocked, the Seahawks’ major remaining questions focus on whether to re-sign linebacker K.J. Wright and how to replace him if they don’t and how to fill out the cornerback spot.
Seattle may also need to make a move or two to create more cap space. The Seahawks were listed as more than $7 million over the cap Friday by OvertheCap.com, though that was before the release of Reed but also without taking into account the contracts of Dunlap, Hyder and Woods.