The Seattle Seahawks struggled to get to the quarterback in 2022, but CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso is suggesting the team consider releasing their top pass rusher Uchenna Nwosu. The analyst estimates the move would save the Seahawks more than $8 million in cap space with rookie Derick Hall and second-year defender Boye Mafe as potential replacements.
“Nwosu was an integral part of the Seahawks’ defense in 2022, playing on nearly 80% of the snaps and littering the stat sheet with production He had 66 tackles and 9.5 sacks,” Trapasso wrote on May 11, 2023. “But I don’t think it’d be bonkers if Seattle let him go. And my reasoning has many layers.
“…Also, in the last calendar year, Pete Carroll and John Schneider have added Boye [Mafe] — a 2022 second-round pick — Derick Hall — a 2023 second-round pick — and spent a fifth-round choice on Mike Morris a few weeks ago. They’ll be getting back Tyreke Smith too, a fifth-round pick from 2022, who missed his rookie season due to injury. Nwosu’s inclusion on this list isn’t to suggest he’s as good as gone, but at his current price, with the youth around him on the edge of Seattle’s defensive line, he could be expendable.”
Uchenna Nwosu Was the Seahawks’ Best Pass Rusher in 2022
Despite the cap savings, this is not a move the Seahawks can afford to make given how the team has approached the offseason. Seattle chose to bolster the middle of their defensive line with additions such as Dre’Mont Jones and Jarran Reed.
Jones does have position flexibility to line up inside and outside on the defensive line. The Seahawks also passed on available defensive linemen like Tyree Wilson and Jalen Carter in favor of cornerback Devon Witherspoon.
Consider these numbers Nwosu posted in 2022: 66 tackles, 26 quarterback hits, 12 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 17 starts. Nwosu was able to be effective despite having less than ideal circumstance with an overall weak Seahawks defense last season.
The pass rusher earned a respectable 72.6 grade from Pro Football Focus for his play in 2022. Given the significant defensive upgrades made by Seattle this offseason, Nwosu is poised for an even bigger 2023 season thanks to a revamped defensive line.
Uchenna Nwosu Has 1 Season Remaining on a 2-Year, $19 Million Contract
Nwosu has one season remaining on a two-year, $19 million contract and is slated to have a $7.5 million salary in 2023. While this number is on the higher end, it is a reasonable amount for a pass rusher given the rising cost of the position around the league. If Hall or Mafe emerge as legitimate starter candidates this season, the Seahawks have flexibility to move on from Nwosu next offseason when the veteran becomes a free agent.
The only way cutting Nwosu begins to make sense is if Seattle is going to re-sign Frank Clark or make a major trade for another veteran edge rusher. For now, the Seahawks would be more than wise to keep their most consistent pass rusher and save money at other positions. Nwosu is coming off career-high numbers in nearly every major statistical category.