Hunter, Locklear to compete for starting spot

In a move that will create competition among two youngsters for the right offensive tackle spot, the Seattle Seahawks released starter Chris Terry, whose combination of injuries and off-field problems likely cost him his job.

The release of Terry, who started only 18 games after the Seahawks signed him to a new five-year, $19 million contract following the 2002 season, had been rumored for weeks.

Given the Seahawks' healthy cap situation, cutting Terry was hardly a financial consideration, but one more fueled by frustration and pragmatism. Releasing Terry does, however, give the Seahawks an additional $3 million to $4 million in cap room.

A pair of former third-round draft selections, Wayne Hunter (2003) and Sean Locklear (2004), will compete in camp to fill the vacancy. Neither has been a starter in the past.

Seattle did provide itself a safety net last weekend when the Seahawks re-signed veteran offensive lineman Floyd "Pork Chop" Womack to a new two-year, $5 million contract.

Womack, who had garnered plenty of attention in the unrestricted free agent market, has played right tackle in the past. The Seahawks prefer that Womack play this year at guard, which they consider his natural position, but he could be an alternative at right tackle if neither Hunter nor Locklear demonstrates they can handle the job.

A six-year veteran, Terry, 29, came to Seattle on waivers late in the 2002 season. He started the final five games of that campaign, immediately upgrading what had been a problem area for the Seahawks. He had been released by the Carolina Panthers, where he was a starter from his 1999 rookie season, because of his failure to appear in court as scheduled on charges relating to a domestic violence incident.

From just a football standpoint, Terry could attract some attention now that he is a free agent, because there is no denying his talent. He is an unusual tackle, in that he plays the strong side position, but is regarded as a better pass protector than run blocker. Any team that considers Terry, however, will have to factor in his past off-field problems and that he missed considerable playing time the last two seasons.

Terry was suspended for four games in 2003 because of a repeat violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. He was also fined an additional five game checks that year for violating the league's personal conduct policy. In 2004, he started in just eight games, largely because of a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery.

The former University of Georgia standout still had three seasons remaining on the five-year contract signed in 2003 and was scheduled to earn a $3 million base salary in 2005.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click hereInsider.