The Seattle Seahawks wasted no time making roster cuts shortly after head coach Pete Carroll alluded to sloppy tackling and special teams play potentially costing some players a roster spot. One of the more surprising cuts is former Bears linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe who signed a $1.1 million deal with the Seahawks in March. Seattle also released the following four undrafted rookies as part of the August 20 roster moves: safety Bubba Bolden, tight end Cade Brewer, defensive tackle Matthew Gotel and cornerback Elijah Jones.
Iyiegbuniwe spent his first four seasons as a linebacker for the Bears including 2021 under newly hired Seattle assistant Sean Desai, who was formerly the Chicago defensive coordinator. There was some thought that Iyiegbuniwe’s familiarity with the Seahawks new defensive scheme, which closely resembles the Bears defense, that the defender would be able to contribute this season.
Sports Illustrated’s Corbin Smith labeled Iyiegbuniwe’s release a surprise while adding that his play on special teams likely contributed to the defender’s early exit.
“Wow… Seahawks released Joel Iyiegbuniwe? I did not see that one coming, especially with the depth team lacks at the position,” Smith said in a series of August 20 tweets. “…Pete Carroll was miffed about the special teams issues and Iyiegbuniwe took a horrible pursuit angle on long punt return by Velus Jones. If you’re not a starter, you better be able to execute your assignments on special teams. Or the leash is short one.”
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Carroll: ‘If They Don’t Get It Right Then They Won’t Be Able to Be Here’
The Seahawks technically had until after their final preseason matchup against the Cowboys on Friday, August 26 to meet the 80-man roster limit. Seattle opted to make the moves sooner but still have plenty of cuts remaining before the team must finalize their 53-man roster by Tuesday, August 30. After the Seahawks’ blowout loss to the Bears, Carroll hinted at roster moves happening sooner rather than later.
“I’m gonna check on the tacklers, the guys that are missing them,” Carroll noted during an August 19 press conference. “I think that’s the most important thing to me right now. I want to see who’s missing tackles and fix that problem.
“I don’t think it’s like an epidemic kind of thing. It looked like that last week a little bit [against Pittsburgh]. But we got to clean some stuff up with some guys, and if they don’t get it right then they won’t be able to be here. We’ll get guys that can.”
The Seahawks Are Likely to Sign Another Linebacker
ESPN’s Brady Henderson expressed concern noting the “Seahawks’ depth at [linebacker] behind Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton is an issue.” Seahawks on Tape’s Matty F. Brown described Iyiegbuniwe’s special teams play as “dreadful” during his short stint in Seattle.
“I don’t mean to kick a guy when he’s down, but Joel Iyiegbuniwe was dreadful on special teams, over-pursuing, and visibly didn’t know his alignment/assignment in a Seahawks defense where he was supposed to be familiar with the system. Not a surprise,” Brown tweeted.