The Seattle Seahawks released former Pro Bowl pass rusher Aldon Smith before he ever played a snap for the team. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll declined to get into the specifics of what led to Smith’s release other than to say the defensive end “couldn’t make it” through the off-field system the team created to give him a chance to make the roster.
“He just couldn’t hang with us, he just couldn’t,” Carroll told reporters after the team’s preseason loss to the Raiders. “He tried, he just couldn’t make it. …It is disappointing. I’m disappointed for him because we gave him a real chance. We looked after him in every way that we knew how to do it. I wish we’d have done better, I don’t know what we could have done better. We were very open to helping him become part of the program. It’s just unfortunate he wasn’t able to do that.”
The release of Smith opened up a roster spot which the Seahawks filled by signing former Syracuse linebacker Lakiem Williams. Seattle will have to make the team’s first edition of cuts by trimming the roster down from 90 players to 85 by August 17.
Carroll on Signing Smith: ‘We Did a Lot of Homework’
The surprising move came just weeks after Carroll praised Smith when explaining why the team opted to sign the pass rusher. Carroll emphasized that the Seahawks conducted “a lot of homework” before adding Smith. As indicated by the pass rusher’s release, the Seahawks took on little risk by signing Smith to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum.
“It’s a good question, because I wanted to feel him and feel where he’s coming from,” Carroll explained when Smith was still on the roster, per The News Tribune. “We talked to him a number of times before we made a decision. We did a lot of homework, a lot of research on him and him as a person. A number of our coaches have been with Aldon in other places, which really helped us. They’ve seen him work on a day-to-day basis. That was really important. Kenny was really important in this decision.”
The Seahawks Still Have a Deep Rotation on the Defensive Line
Much to the delight of Seahawks fans, the team invested heavily on the defensive line this offseason giving the unit much more depth than in recent years. Even without Smith, all indications are the Seahawks will have a solid rotation full of pass rushers. The Seahawks signed former 49ers starting defensive end Kerry Hyder in free agency, and second-year pass rusher Darrell Taylor made his NFL debut against the Raiders after missing his entire rookie season with a leg injury.
“That’s the best part about being on our defense, the competition level is really high, and it forces you to really compete and really get after it every day, whether it’s practice or on the game field, it just forces you to compete and give it everything you’ve got on every snap,” Taylor noted, per Seahawks.com.
Seattle also re-signed their top edge rusher from last season Carlos Dunlap in addition to bringing back Benson Mayowa. Alton Robinson is another player expected to be a key part of the Seahawks rotation in his second season, and the defensive end was one of the few bright spots in the team’s preseason opener against the Raiders.