Chris Clemons was a bridge player for the Seahawks.
Not the card game, but the type of relentless pass rusher that helped the Seahawks’ defense morph from the 24th-ranked unit in the NFL in 2009, when it produced only 28 sacks; to the No. 1-ranked unit in 2013, when the Seahawks had 44 sacks. Clemons was acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in March 2010, just weeks after Pete Carroll was hired to be the Seahawks’ coach and John Schneider was brought in to be the general manager.
But the team’s continuing pursuit of pass rushers has made Clemons expendable, as the Seahawks released him Wednesday – on the second day of the NFL free-agency period. The club was able to clear salary-cap space by releasing Clemons, who signed a three-year contact in 2012.
Clemons’ 2012 season ended when he tore a knee ligament in the wild-card playoff victory over the Washington Redskins – the Seahawks’ first road win in the postseason since 1983. The recovery from that injury forced Clemons to miss the first two games of the 2013 season, when his sack total dipped to 4.5 and others picked up the slack – most noticeably
The Seahawks have now parted ways in the past two weeks with the starting ends from a defense that led the NFL in average points, yards and passing yards allowed during the 2013 season, as Red Bryant was released Feb. 28 and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars over the weekend.
Avril can step in at the Leo end spot he shared with Clemons last season and the options to replace Bryant at the five-technique spot include Bennett, who was re-signed Monday after playing on a one-year contract last season;