For the second straight week, the Seattle Seahawks have made an unexpected move with only two days left until they battle the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
After surprisingly placing cornerback Dontae Johnson on injured reserve prior to the season opener last week, Seattle has informed defensive tackle Tom Johnson that he will be released ahead of Monday's Week 2 contest in Chicago per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.
Thanks to a plethora of injuries, Seattle needed a roster spot and opted to cut the 34-year old veteran defensive tackle rather than risk losing promising second-year defender Naz Jones or undrafted rookie Poona Ford on waivers. The Seahawks kept Jones and Ford inactive last week and opened the season with six defensive tackles on the 53-man roster.
On Friday, five defensive starters didn't participate or were limited at practice, including star linebacker Bobby Wagner, cornerback Shaquill Griffin, and strong safety Bradley McDougald. Seattle also expects to be without K.J. Wright for a second consecutive game as he continues to recover from knee surgery.
It remains to be seen what other move will be made now that Johnson has been released, but the Seahawks latest move indicates at least one of the key defenders who has been sidelined this week won't play against the Bears.
As Pelissero reported, Johnson's salary for 2018 has already been guaranteed, so even with his release, the Seahawks will be in good position to re-sign him next week.
Seattle signed Johnson to a one-year, $2.1 million contract on March 23, bringing the eight-year defender into the fold to help generate interior pass rush. In four prior seasons with the Vikings, he recorded 16.0 sacks despite only starting 25 games, including a career-best 6.5 sacks in 2014.