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Reunion? Ex-Steelers NT Al Woods Released by Seahawks

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Steelers DT Al Woods

The Seattle Seahawks have released former Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Al Woods, and the big man could immediately be on Pittsburgh’s list at a position of need.

Woods, 35, spent time on the Steelers’ practice squad in 2010 and then ended up back in Pittsburgh for a three-year stint starting in 2011. In between was the first of three tips to Seattle for Woods, who has become something of an itinerant in his NFL career.

Woods played with the Tennessee Titans from 2014-16, the Indianapolis Colts from 2017-18, Seattle in 2019, the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020 and back with the Seahawks for the last two seasons.

The 6-foot-3, 330-pounds Woods gas been reliably available throughout his career. He’s played in 14 or more games in each of the last five seasons. Statistically, he’s near his pinnacle despite his advanced age. Woods set a career high with 50 tackles and five quarterback hits in 2021. This past season, he set or tied career marks in sacks and tackles for loss.

The Steelers have a big need at nose tackle with Tyson Alualu a free agent and not expected to return. Montravius Adams is the only other player on the Pittsburgh roster with extensive experience at the position.

Woods also does have some versatility to his game, having split his playing time between a true nose tackle spot and three-technique defensive tackle over the last two seasons in Seattle.

Pro Football Focus gave Woods a 75.4 grade in 2021 and a 68.2 grade this past season. Compared to Alualu (30.4) and Adams (48.9), Woods would represent a serious upgrade to the position in Pittsburgh should he make a third return to the Steel City.

If the Steelers want to make an upgrade on the nose, there aren’t many options in free agency. Beside Woods, only former Rams tackle A’Shawn Robinson and ex-Buccaneers big man Akiem Hicks seem to have the requisite size to play nose tackle.

Woods had been set to count for $5.42 million against Seattle’s 2023 salary cap. His release will incur a $1.75 million dead cap charge. The Seahawks are in the middle of completely revamping their defensive line ahead of the 2023 season.

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