By signing the 26-year-old Nkemdiche, the Seahawks are taking a low-risk flier on a former first-round pick who was out of the NFL last season.
A source told ESPN's Ed Werder that Nkemdiche wanted another chance to play in the NFL and "crushed" a workout with Seattle. The source told Werder that Nkemdiche's signing is unrelated to Aldon Smith's recent arrest.
His signing potentially adds depth to a position that took a hit when the Seahawks released longtime starter Jarran Reed earlier this month after an odd situation in which he refused to restructure his contract. The Seahawks then signed Al Woods as an option to replace Reed on early downs.
Seattle gave its other starting defensive tackle, Poona Ford, a two-year deal in March as a restricted free agent. But behind Ford, Woods and Bryan Mone, Seattle's other defensive tackles are a pair of second-year players in Myles Adams and Cedrick Lattimore who have one game of NFL experience between them. Also, Woods is 34 and didn't play last season after opting out due to COVID-19 concerns.
The Arizona Cardinals drafted Nkemdiche 29th overall in 2016, two spots before the Seahawks took tackle Germain Ifedi. Nkemdiche recorded zero sacks and zero starts in 17 games over his first two seasons, then had 4.5 sacks in 10 games (six starts) in 2018 before a knee injury ended his season.
The Cardinals waived Nkemdiche with a failed-physical designation before the 2019 season after coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters that he arrived to training camp out of shape. Nkemdiche signed with the Miami Dolphins but was waived after playing in two games.
While a free agent, Nkemdiche served a two-game suspension in 2019 for a violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy. In June 2019, Nkemdiche was arrested on an outstanding warrant after he was pulled over for speeding on his way to practice.
The Seahawks have only three picks in this year's NFL draft, no first-rounder and only one selection in the top 125.