Seahawks' GM Ruskell explains Hill decision

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seahawks withdrew the franchise tag from linebacker Leroy Hill because they felt the tag wasn't helping them reach a long-term deal. The team always had reservations about using the tag on Hill.

That was the word from Seahawks president Tim Ruskell during his post-draft news conference Sunday night. Coach Jim Mora said he spoke with Hill on Sunday morning. He thought Hill possibly seemed "shook up" and "disappointed" but not angry after Seattle withdrew the tag. Mora said he hoped to get something done with Hill in time for the linebacker to attend the post-draft minicamp.

The Seahawks' decision to withdraw the tag made Hill free to negotiate with other teams. Ruskell said he'll have a better feel about possibly re-signing Hill after speaking with Hill's agent, Todd France, later Sunday night. The sides have not come close to reaching an agreement.

Drafting Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry with the fourth overall choice was the driving force behind the decision to withdraw the tag, Ruskell said. The team also wanted the $8.3 million in salary-cap relief to gain flexibility for pursuing free agents. Without the cap relief, the Seahawks couldn't do "anything else" in free agency, Ruskell said.

Ruskell did not mention cornerback Ken Lucas or linebacker Derrick Brooks, but the Seahawks definitely have interest in Lucas. They brought him in for a visit last month. While discussing the secondary, Mora even made an unsolicited reference to considering options in free agency.