The reason behind Seattle’s relentless pursuit of help on the defensive line has suddenly become much clearer. The Seahawks have yet to medically clear 2017 second-round pick Malik McDowell, and they are now expected to release him, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
McDowell was selected with the No. 35 overall pick by the Seahawks in 2017. He was Seattle’s highest selection and was expected to play significant snaps alongside veterans Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril.
However, an ATV accident in July of last year left McDowell with a severe concussion and ultimately sidelined for the entire season. While reports about his condition have been difficult to come by, it’s safe to say that he has not healed quickly.
The Seahawks would save some money by releasing McDowell, but they likely would not do so if they thought he could fully recover. Instead, they’ll allow him to test free agency and see whether another team will pick him up and try to medically clear him.
Of course, McDowell’s arrest for disorderly conduct last December likely factors into Seattle’s decision. McDowell was caught screaming at the head of security at a local club about money he believed the club owed him. Seattle has dealt with a handful of legal issues this past year and seems to be cracking down, as evidenced by the releases of Jeremy Lane and Trevone Boykin.
With no McDowell, Michael Bennett or Sheldon Richardson, and potentially the loss of Cliff Avril as well, it’s no surprise the team signed free agents Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen this offseason.