The Seahawks made another move Friday night to add to their defensive line, agreeing to terms with veteran tackle Al Woods.
His agency, SportsTrustAdvisors, announced the news on Twitter and the NFL Network reported it is a one-year deal worth up to $2.25 million. The team has yet to announce the move as Woods has yet to sign his contract, but when it does Seattle will have to waive a player to make room on the 90-man roster.
The 6-4, 330-pounder — who was a team captain last year with the Colts — adds some veteran experience to a defensive tackle group where the only sure thing is that fourth-year player Jarran Reed will be a starter.
Woods, who has started 43 games in his career, figures to become a leading contender to start alongside Reed in the team’s base defense — specifically, run downs — and at the least play regularly in rotations up front.
Woods, who turned 32 in March, will be entering his 10th NFL season in a career that has already included one stop in Seattle. He played two games for Seattle in 2011 before being cut in November of that year.
Originally a fourth-round pick in 2010, he has also played for Tampa Bay, the Steelers and the Titans as well as the past two seasons for the Colts, for whom he started 24 games in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
He played in only 14 games last season before suffering a foot injury that landed him on injured reserve.
Woods visited the Seahawks in April and becomes the fifth player the Seahawks have now signed since the deadline passed earlier this week when free agent signees no longer factor into the formula for determining compensatory picks for the 2020 NFL draft.
Woods also visited the Seahawks in 2016 before then re-signing with the Titans and then heading to the Colts in 2017.
Besides Woods, the Seahawks have six players on their roster who can be considered true defensive tackles — Reed, second-year player Poona Ford, 2019 sixth-round pick Demarcus Christmas, veteran free-agent signee Jamie Meder and undrafted free-agent signees Bryan Mone and Jay-Tee Tiuli. Seattle is expected to use Nazair Jones more as an end this season and Quinton Jefferson also plays primarily end.
Seattle will probably end up keeping four tackles on its 53-man roster.
Shoring up the tackle position was considered an emphasis for Seattle this offseason after a 2018 campaign in which the Seahawks allowed 4.9 yards per rush attempt, 30th in the NFL, and more bodies were also needed after the team decided not to re-sign Shamar Stephen, who started alongside Reed last season. Stephen signed as a free agent with the Vikings, the team with which he had previously played before spending last season in Seattle, and the Seahawks are projected at the moment to get a sixth-round pick in 2020 as compensation..
Coach Pete Carroll last week said the defensive tackle position was one the team needed to continue to address.
“This will be a very competitive spot for us for the rotations that we’d like to have,” Carroll said.
But the question will be how much Woods has left to really help the Seahawks.
Woods played a career-high 574 snaps in 2017 with the Colts, according to Pro Football Focus, and finished the year rated by PFF as the 10th-best defensive tackle in the NFL.
But his play was judged to drop off last season and he finished rated 109th out of 129 qualifying interior defenders by PFF, and with the third-lowest grade of his career while playing 375 snaps. After playing substantially early in the season he had seen his snaps decrease in the four games before he was injured.
Seattle had been linked to a few other defensive tackles, such as former UW star Danny Shelton, and it’s unclear if the Seahawks will want to add any others at the spot after signing Woods, and also having brought in Meder in January to help at tackle, and having signed Ziggy Ansah earlier this week to replace Frank Clark as the team’s primary pass rusher.
Meder did not play last season due to injury but was considered one of the better run defenders during his last healthy season in 2017.
Seattle earlier this week also signed Ansah, cornerback Jamar Taylor, fullback Nick Bellore and guard Marcus Martin in making major moves now that comp pick deadline has passed.