Questions about Jermaine Kearse and the fullback position in our latest Seahawks' Twitter mailbag.
With a little lull (well, other than the backup QB intrigue) in the action for the Seahawks following rookie mini-camp, it’s time to get answer a few questions from Twitter. And as always, you can chime in at @bcondotta.
Q: @jaysondemers asks: Will Jermaine Kearse make the cut this year with such a competitive WR spot?
A: If my Twitter mentions are any indication, Kearse’s status going forward is one of a lot of interest among Seahawks’ fans. I often get suggestions that the team should just cut him now following a season in which almost all of his stats were a step back from the previous year.
I don’t really see that happening, though, as there is little real financial advantage in doing so. The Seahawks would save just $366,666 if they released him now. They could release him following June 1 to split up his $4.03 million cap hit for 2017 — 2.2 million in 2017 and $1.8 in 2018. But while that saves Seattle $1.8 million in 2017 it just moves that money toward 2018 — Seattle has to pay it at some point.
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So I’m working on the assumption the only way Kearse isn’t on the team in 2017 is if he gets beaten out for a roster spot, which can obviously happen. His contract, though, would seem to indicate he’d have to pretty decisively lose the job to get released.
The way I see it, three receivers are locks for the final 53-man roster, barring injury — Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Amara Darboh. I’m putting Darboh on there because of his status as a third-round pick. Teams rarely cut picks that high and even if he maybe proved not to be ready for a major role yet, he’d almost certainly be claimed if Seattle tried to waive him and put him on the practice squad.
Lockett obviously is coming off a significant injury. But all indications at the moment are that he should be ready for training camp. If so, he’s obviously a lock.
Paul Richardson and Kearse would each appear to have the edge on the next spots — Kearse in part due to the contractual stuff listed above.
The team would actually save more money if someone beat out Richardson than Kearse— if Richardson were released, the Seahawks would get $1.062 million back on the cap of his overall $1.499 salary in what is the final season of his initial four-year rookie deal.
Richardson played well down the stretch in 2016 but has also battled injuries throughout his career, playing just 31 of 48 possible regular-season games the last three years, and caught just 21 passes in 15 games last season before catching another seven in two post-season contests.
Seattle had just five receivers on its roster much of last season, in part due to keeping four tight ends — Baldwin, Lockett, Kearse, Richardson and Tanner McEvoy.
But with maybe just three tight ends making it this year, that could leave room for another receiver or two, though six would seem the most likely total number.
The Seahawks currently have 13 receivers on their roster, and the likes of McEvoy, Kasen Williams, Kenny Lawler and sixth-round pick David Moore would seem next in line for roster spots heading into training camp.
Can McEvoy, Williams, Lawler or Moore make a case for a roster spot over Kearse?
I wouldn’t rule it out.
But knowing what we know today, and given Kearse’s contract situation, I’d still bet on him being on the opening day roster.
Q: @littlehouses asks: Does Marcel Reece have a chance to make the 53?
A: I actually wrote extensively about Reece last week — here’s the link. As of now, he’s not on the team’s 90-man roster, so he’d have to be signed first. As I detailed in the earlier story, I could see him being a player the Seahawks look to sign later depending on how things evolve with the fullback competition.
Seattle has just two fullbacks currently — undrafted free agent Algernon Brown of BYU and Kyle Coleman, who was signed on Monday after taking part in the rookie mini-camp as a tryout player.
It wouldn’t surprise me if at some point Seattle signed another fullback — or used one or two of the 11 tailbacks it has on the roster at fullback.
But as I wrote in the earlier story, the most logical scenario to me for Reece rejoining the team at any point is that it would come close to camp, or during camp itself, depending on what happens with others at the position (sort of how Will Tukuafu was re-signed last season as a fullback or Tony McDaniel as a defensive tackle).