RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks released defensive end Chris Clemons on Wednesday, a move that saves significant salary cap room but takes away one of their top pass rushers the past four seasons.
The move, first reported by NFL.com and confirmed by Clemons' representatives, was not unexpected as Seattle tries to clear the right amount of financial space to make moves in free agency while also trying to work on extensions for safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman.
Clemons was set to make $7.5 million in base salary in 2014, the final year of an extension he signed with the Seahawks before the start of the 2012 season.
Clemons turned around his career when he arrived in Seattle via trade before the 2010 season and will be regarded as one of the top moves made by general manager John Schneider. After failing to find success in Oakland and Philadelphia, Clemons thrived in Seattle.
Placed into the LEO position on the defensive line, Clemons became Seattle's top pass rusher for his first three seasons with the Seahawks with a combined 33½ sacks from 2010 to 2012 and at least 11 sacks in each of those seasons.
Last season, Clemons had only 4½ sacks as the emergence of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett and a deeper rotation on the defensive line took away some of Clemons' opportunities. Clemons suffered a torn ACL in the 2012 playoffs but worked his way back to where he was on the field by Week 3 of the regular season.
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