RENTON, Wash. -- Pete Carroll shed some light Wednesday on the Seattle Seahawks' surprising move to waive defensive end Dwight Freeney a day earlier, saying injuries and salary-cap restraints were among the factors that played into the decision.
So was the Seahawks' fear of losing rookie wide receiver David Moore, whom they promoted from their practice squad Wednesday to fill Freeney's spot.
"We had to make roster stuff happen," Carroll said. "We’ve got some injuries and some things we had to deal with. It is a spot where we have some guys that have played that spot. We’re a little bit deeper there. We hated to do it but we had to do something and that’s what happened.”
The Lions claimed Freeney off waivers Wednesday.
Completely confused to be in this situation but excited for the future.— Dwight Freeney (@dwightfreeney) November 22, 2017
Freeney's departure leaves the Seahawks with 10 defensive linemen, which is what Carroll was alluding to when he noted the team's depth there.
Then again, only two of them -- Michael Bennett (6.5) and Frank Clark (4.5) -- have more than the three sacks Freeney produced over his first two games with the team. Freeney had a quarterback hit in his third game and didn't record any statistics Monday night versus Atlanta, when he played 17 snaps after averaging 28 over his first three games.
The production Seattle had been getting from the 37-year-old Freeney -- at least until Monday night -- was the main reason by the team's decision to waive him Tuesday was head-scratching. The Seahawks signed him in late October to help their pass rush after losing Cliff Avril to a neck injury that landed him on injured reserve.
“He did a nice job," Carroll said. "Sure, he was productive, particularly the first two weeks. He really came out of the chutes and did a nice job.”
Carroll acknowledged the financial element of the decision when asked about what Freeney -- a seven-time Pro Bowl selection who's 17th on the all-time sack list -- was providing from an intangibles standpoint.
“We weighed everything," Carroll said. "There’s no question that you miss stuff because he’s such a tremendous guy, but we just had to do something. ... There’s cap concerns and all kinds of issues that we’re dealing with right now.”
The Seahawks are indeed hard up against the salary cap, with the NFL Players Association website listing the team's available cap space at only $150,505 before the Freeney move (as a reminder, NFLPA salary cap figures aren't always reliable to the exact dollar amount but typically provide an accurate ballpark).
It's not entirely clear how much Seattle will save by moving on from Freeney. He was making a prorated share of $1 million plus an $8,000 roster bonus for each game he was active, according to ESPN's Field Yates. The prorated amount of that $1 million would have been worth just under $353,000 over the final six weeks of the regular season, while Moore's minimum salary of $465,000 prorates to just over $164,000.
So the savings aren't much either way. But it was clear from Carroll's comments that the Seahawks were concerned about another team plucking Moore from Seattle's practice squad.
"He’s done a great job and he’s a very versatile athlete," Carroll said of Moore. "Much like we saw the ability that [running back] Mike Davis had to come off the practice squad and help us, hopefully we can find a way to do that with David, and we want to keep him on our team."
Seattle isn't hurting at wide receiver, Carroll said, so his mention of injuries was in reference to other positions. Seattle has lost two of its top special-teams players -- Dewey McDonald and Tre Madden -- to IR while D.J. Alexander and Michael Wilhoite are banged up. Bradley McDougald is playing less on special teams now that he's taking over for Kam Chancellor at strong safety.
Seattle drafted Moore in the seventh-round out of East Central in Oklahoma. He's listed at 6-foot-2, 219 pounds and was timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.43 seconds at his pro day. He becomes Seattle's sixth receiver behind Doug Baldwin, Paul Richardson, Tyler Lockett, Tanner McEvoy and Amara Darboh.
"He's a strong receiver with excellent speed and all that," Carroll said. "He did a nice job in preseason, too. Coming off of [Lockett's] game with the returns and all, he won’t get a shot at returning the ball, and that is one of his strengths. But he’s got a good future in that area."