The Seattle Seahawks made an unexpected roster move on Tuesday, waiving veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney just four games after signing him to help boost their pass rush.
Freeney was signed in late October to boost Seattle’s pass rush after Cliff Avril was lost to a neck injury earlier in the season. Freeney had three sacks in his first two games, moving into 17th on the all-time sack list. But he did not record a tackle in each of his last two games.
The Seahawks did not announce a corresponding move, so their 53-man roster has an opening. The Seahawks still have 10 defensive linemen on their roster, so the move to waive Freeney could be to clear a spot for a player at another position.
It will also save Seattle some needed cap space. Freeney’s deal was worth a prorated share of $1 million and included roster bonuses worth $8,000 for each game he was active. The Seahawks have the least amount of cap room of any team in the league, according to the NFL Players Association website, which lists the figure at $150,505.
A deal with Freeney had been in the works for a few weeks before the Seahawks signed him in Week 8 to boost their pass rush. Their interest in him began in earnest when Avril suffered a neck injury in Week 4 that landed him on IR.
Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard praised Freeney last week for the impact he had made on the field and also said his presence has helped Seattle’s other defensive linemen.
“Dwight’s awesome,” Richard said last week. “He had a couple of games back there to where he kind of lit it up, and he was the Dwight of old. Nevertheless, it’s really about what he’s giving to the other guys, which is kind of the best of his nature. What made him so successful is his preparation, the way he takes care of his body, the way that he prepares out there on the field, obviously, his practice habits, and things like that. Those are the things that he’s able to share, so when he gets out there in the football game, it’s what he does. It’s another day at the office for him, and that’s kind of what we’ve seen. This is what he does, and he’s a true professional.”
Freeney is 17th on the NFL’s all-time sack list with 125.5, which is second among active players behind Julius Peppers’ 151. He’s in his 16th season, and the Seahawks were his fifth team.