An NFL roster can change at any time.
But with the draft in the rearview mirror and the Seahawks at the maximum 90 players with their offseason roster, it’s a good time to review what Seattle has at each spot and make an early guess as to how the initial 53-man regular season roster could look come September.
Two quick reminders — the practice squad will include at least 14 players in 2022 but could be increased to 16, the size it was the last two years because of COVID-19; and teams will again be able to have 55 players on their roster on gamedays, which then has to be whittled to 48 active players by kickoff.
So of the players cut, many will remain with the team on the PS and could see action during the season.
Keep on the 53: Drew Lock, Geno Smith.
The tough calls: Seattle also has Jacob Eason and Levi Lewis on its roster, and the Seahawks could be tempted to keep three QBs on the 53 all season. How well Eason performs in camp and the preseason will be the biggest determiner of that. Seattle kept Eason on the roster all last season after claiming him in October, not wanting to risk losing him on waivers. But with the addition of nine draft picks that Seattle won’t want to risk losing, there will be some hard decisions throughout the roster.
Keep on the 53: Rashaad Penny, Ken Walker III, Chris Carson, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas, Nick Bellore.
The tough calls: The wild card here is Carson, whose status remains uncertain as he recovers from neck surgery last December. If he can’t play, then the Seahawks could get by with four tailbacks and Bellore, and maybe allow for a third QB. Bellore, Homer and Dallas are all key special teamers, which likely gets all three on the roster again.
Keep on the 53: Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Dee Eskridge, Bo Melton, Freddie Swain.
The tough calls: Assuming Seattle keeps just five WRs on the roster, the final spot could come down to Swain and seventh-round pick Dareke Young — and that’s where the Seahawks gauging who they think would clear waivers and get back on the practice squad comes into play. That could make Seattle keep Young regardless.
Keep on the 53: Will Dissly, Noah Fant, Colby Parkinson
The tough calls: This position seems pretty cut-and-dried. Tyler Mabry, who played in eight games last year spending time on the PS and active roster, seems ticketed for a similar role again as a de facto fourth tight end.
Keep on the 53: Tackles Charles Cross, Abraham Lucas, Stone Forsyth and Jake Curhan; centers Austin Blythe and Dakoda Shepley; guards Damien Lewis, Gabe Jackson and Phil Haynes.
The tough calls: I have the Seahawks keeping nine OLs at the moment. If they kept a 10th, I’d also have Kyle Fuller making it. And at the moment, the battle for the ninth-10th spots is likely to come down to Fuller or Shepley. Fuller has more experience and the ability to back up everywhere, which would well get him on the roster again — and undoubtedly on the PS. But the team likes the long-term potential of Shepley at center and Blythe and Fuller, the other two centers on the roster, are on just one-year deals. Seattle may not want to risk losing him. Haynes’ situation is also worth watching as he is on a one-year restricted free-agent tender that will pay him $2.54 million if he makes the team but none of it guaranteed. So he’ll have to earn his way on the team — or could well get a different deal if he makes it, as well.
Keep on the 53: Tackles Poona Ford, Al Woods and Bryan Mone; ends Shelby Harris, L.J. Collier, Quinton Jefferson, Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson.
The tough calls: With Seattle going to more 3-4 looks and some players who might have been listed as ends in the old days now considered linebackers, we have just eight DLs. This is another spot that seems pretty straightforward on who will make it assuming the vets all perform as advertised. Some might consider Collier on the fence as he enters the final season of his rookie deal. But there’s a thought the new scheme will be a better fit for him. And he has a $2.4 million dead cap hit with just $986,323 in savings if he’s cut, so the team will be pretty motivated to keep him.
Keep on the 53: ILBs Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton, Iggy Iyiegbuniwe and Ben Burr-Kirven; OLBs Uchenna Nwosu, Boye Mafe and Tyreke Smith.
The tough calls: Definitely some intrigue here on how the backup spots shake out inside. Burr-Kirven is coming off a knee injury but if healthy seems likely to make it again for his special-teams prowess at the least. Same with Iyiegbuniwe, whose connections with new associate head coach for defense Sean Desai also seem to give him a leg up. But Tanner Muse and Jon Rhattigan (also coming off a knee injury) could factor in. And that Bellore can play ILB in a pinch might also impact how the roster shakes out. Obviously, the roles of players such as Nwosu, listed as an OLB, and Taylor, listed as a DE, will overlap. It may be better to view Seattle as five edge guys — Taylor, Mafe, Robinson, Nwosu and Smith — with Harris, Collier and Jefferson playing more traditional end roles.
Keep on the 53: Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Ryan Neal, Marquise Blair, Ugo Amadi.
The tough calls: Blair and Amadi, each entering the last year of their rookie deals, will be interesting to watch. The two shared the nickel spot the last two years (Blair when healthy, obviously). But with Justin Coleman expected to fill that role now Blair and Amadi may be fighting to be backup safeties or situational players. Blair’s health, though, is a wild card and if he’s not that could open the door for one of the four undrafted rookie free agents (Bubba Bolden, maybe?) or veteran signee Josh Jones, who has 26 career starts, to make it.
Keep on the 53: Tre Brown, Coby Bryant, Justin Coleman, Sidney Jones IV, Tariq Woolen.
The tough calls: The tough call here is Woolen or veteran free agent signee Artie Burns for the last spot. But the team probably wouldn’t want to risk Woolen getting claimed on waivers and might gamble Burns could slip through to the PS — or, same with Jones if Burns moved ahead of him on the depth chart.
Keep on the 53: PK Jason Myers, P Michael Dickson, LS Tyler Ott.
The tough calls: None. Seattle has no other kickers, punters or long snappers on the roster.