Since the start of free agency, the Seattle Seahawks haven’t been shy about their need for a boost in the pass-rush department.
The Seahawks signed Cliff Avril, the top edge rusher of the 2013 free agency class, on Wednesday. They followed up that move by nabbing fellow pass-rush specialist Michael Bennett on Thursday, effectively taking two of the top defensive ends off of the open market. Teaming them with youngster Bruce Irvin suddenly gives the Seahawks the fiery pass rush that they wanted heading into the 2013 campaign.
While these moves are both great for the Seahawks’ 2013 forecast, what does it mean for the future of veteran Chris Clemons?
Clemons is coming off an ACL tear, which he suffered in early January during a Wild Card Round showdown with the Washington Redskins. While he proved this past season that he can be a difference-maker at defensive end, his injury coupled with the Seahawks’ signings could make Clemons expendable.
Severing ties with Clemons would also make sense from a financial standpoint.
While he’s unlikely to be ready for the 2013 season opener, Clemons is due $6 million and will count $8.17 million against the cap for the Seahawks this year. Seattle still has some wiggle room financially, but they might not see paying that much for a 30-year-old end coming off of a serious knee injury as a reasonable expenditure. Plus, if they make a few more moves in free agency, the Seahawks could soon be in need of some extra cap space.
Even if his rehab turns out to be ahead of schedule, keeping Clemons around will only cause a logjam at a position that was rather thin about two days ago. And I’m thinking that the Seahawks would pick their 2012 first-rounder and two recent investments over a frail veteran if they had to make a choice.
We’ll see how it plays out as the offseason progresses. Don’t be surprised if Clemons gets the proverbially ax sooner rather than later, though.