The Seattle Seahawks are moving on from one of their key starters.
According to senior reporter John Boyle of the Seahawks’ official website, Seattle is moving on from defensive tackle Al Woods.
“The Seahawks released defensive tackle Al Woods Monday, parting ways with a player who has been a big part of their defense over the past two seasons,” says Boyle. “Woods, a 13-year NFL veteran, played in Seattle early in his career, appearing in two games in 2011, then returned in 2019, then again for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.”
Al Woods Emerged as Full-Time Starter in 2021
Woods emerged as a prominent member of the Seahawks upon signing with Seattle for his second stint. After notching 32 tackles and appearing in 47% of the defensive snaps during the 2019 season, he became a full-time starter during the 2021 season. Woods notched a career-high 50 tackles and five quarterback hits while starting 16 games in 2021. Woods then followed that up with another strong campaign during the 2022 season, posting 39 tackles in 14 starts.
The 35-year-old’s release marks a major overhaul of the Seahawks’ defensive line, considering they also released veterans Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson last week.
“The release of Woods continues what has been a significant overhaul of the defensive line this offseason,” says Boyle. “The Seahawks released Shelby Harris and Quinton Jefferson last week, and have added in free agency defensive ends Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Woods posted a 68.2 defensive grade last season and a 75.4 defensive grade during the 2021 season. Among defensive tackles with at least 300 defensive snaps, Woods ranked 37th in defensive grade during the 2022 season and ranked 13th in defensive grade during the 2021 season.
Al Woods Was Named Defensive Captain for 2022
Woods — who was named a defensive captain with safety Quandre Diggs for the 2022 season — received praise from defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt last year.
“It’s a selfless, thankless job,” Hurtt. “But the guys that know they have a lot of success playing behind him, they know how valuable he is. His job is to take on two grown men, 600-something pounds between him and control two guys so the guys that play behind him can make tackles and not have to deal with blockers and address blockers. And he’ll do that every single time that he is out there, and never complain, doesn’t want any credit. As long as it helps us win, that’s what it is always about. So, the definition of unselfishness.”
Across 12 seasons, Woods has started 78 of 155 career games with 293 tackles, nine sacks, 28 tackles for loss and 20 quarterback hits. He has also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts.
Considering the run defense was a weak point of the defensive unit last season, it’s no surprise the Seahawks are going through a complete overhaul of their defensive line. Seattle ranked 30th in rushing yards, 27th in rushing touchdowns allowed and 26th in rushing yards per attempt allowed.