RENTON, Wash. – In a surprising move, the Seattle Seahawks have terminated the contract of defensive end Marcus Smith, who was projected to fill a significant role as part of their pass-rush rotation this season.
Coach Pete Carroll said “some personal reasons” factored into Smith’s release. He said earlier in the week that Smith’s absence from practice was due to a family issue.
The Seahawks on Friday also made official their deal with outside linebacker/pass-rusher Erik Walden, which was previously reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“Really, there was some personal reasons that came into it,” Carroll said of Smith’s release. “He’s been a great kid in the program and all. All things considered — this is as far as I’m going with it — it was the right thing to do. He understood and agreed with it.”
Carroll said Smith’s health wasn’t an issue. Asked if Smith had requested his release or if it was a mutual decision or the team’s choice, Carroll paused and said: “We talked through the whole thing. I just kind of want to leave it alone because it’s personal stuff and I’d just like to leave it there.”
The Seahawks re-signed the 26-year-old Smith to a one-year deal this offseason worth $1.425 million and $400,000 guaranteed. He recorded 2.5 sacks in a rotational role for the Seahawks last season after the Philadelphia Eagles, who had drafted Smith in the first round in 2014, waived him before training camp.
Smith’s release clears a little over $1 million in cap space. However, Walden’s NFL tenure means his 2018 salary will be at least $1.015 million.
The 32-year-old Walden has 36 sacks since entering the NFL in 2008, including four last year for the Tennessee Titans.
“He’s been an outside ‘backer and a nickel rush guy,” Carroll said. “He’s real physical and tough and we’d like to see how he fits into the competition.”
Seattle also signed running back Justin Stockton and waived cornerback Elijah Battle.