Now that preseason games are underway, so are the tough decisions for NFL teams.
All teams must pare their rosters from 90 players to 85 by Tuesday (after making a few moves Monday, the Seahawks were down to 86) and to 80 the following Tuesday. The regular-season maximum of 53 must be reached by Aug. 30.
On Aug. 31, teams can assemble a 16-man practice squad.
So what might the Seahawks’ 53-man roster look like? Glad you asked. With one preseason game in the books, it’s time to make our first projection.
Keep: Drew Lock, Geno Smith.
Cut: Jacob Eason.
Comment: It’s a tough call on whether to keep Eason on the roster. The Seahawks did all of last year after he was claimed off waivers in October. Would Eason slip through waivers so they could re-sign him to the practice squad? That will be the question asked of about a half-dozen or so players on the roster. Given some of the players the Seahawks might want to keep at other spots, it might be a gamble they’ll take.
Keep: Rashaad Penny, Ken Walker III, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas.
Cut: Josh Johnson, Darwin Thompson.
Comment: This spot seems pretty cut-and-dried as the top four are locks. Johnson and Thompson are likely practice squadders.
Keep: Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Dee Eskridge, Marquise Goodwin, Dareke Young, Bo Melton.
Cut: Freddie Swain, Penny Hart, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Cade Johnson, Aaron Fuller, Kevin Kassis.
Comment: The Seahawks could have a tough call on whether to keep both of their 2022 seventh-round picks — Melton and Young — at the expense of a few other veterans who have been fixtures on the roster the last few seasons such as Hart and Swain. The guess here is that’s likely the way they’ll lean. Swain has also missed time of late because of a back issue, which hasn’t helped his case. And probably three or so of those released would likely end up on the practice squad if they clear waivers. Arcega-Whiteside, acquired in a trade from the Eagles on Monday afternoon, now becomes something of a wild card in the mix. But given his lack of production with Eagles, it’s hard to predict him making the roster just yet until we see how he might fit in.
Keep: Will Dissly, Noah Fant, Colby Parkinson.
Cut: Tyler Mabry, Cade Brewer.
Comment: Here’s another position that seems pretty set. At least one of those cut would end up on the practice squad.
Keep: Charles Cross, Abraham Lucas, Stone Forsythe, Jake Curhan, Austin Blythe, Kyle Fuller, Damien Lewis, Gabe Jackson, Phil Haynes.
Cut: Dakoda Shepley, Greg Eiland, Sharmarious Gilmore, Liam Ryan.
Comment: This leaves Seattle with four tackles in Cross, Lucas, Forsythe and Curhan, who can also play guard; two centers in Blythe and Fuller, who can each play guard, and then guards Lewis, Jackson and Haynes. Shepley, who has been working as the third-team center and has gotten some reps at guard, would be the toughest call here. The Seahawks liked his potential enough to keep him on the roster all of last season after claiming him off waivers from the 49ers. Shepley played just two snaps against the Steelers, and the Seahawks might think he’d clear waivers, so they can get him back on the practice squad. The Seahawks cut Eric Wilson Monday but added Liam Ryan, a tackle from Washington State, off the PUP list.
Keep: Tackles Poona Ford, Al Woods, Bryan Mone, Myles Adams; ends Shelby Harris, L.J. Collier, Quinton Jefferson.
Cut: Jarrod Hewitt, Matt Gotel.
Comment: It’s worth remembering that the Seahawks are evolving to more 3-4 looks, which also means changing the position designations of a few players who previously were ends and now are linebackers. I’m going here with the designations they had on the depth chart for the Steelers game. I had Adams off the list until the trade of DB Ugo Amadi on Monday, which opened up a spot. I’ll now give that to Adams following his strong play against the Steelers, when he made four tackles with a QB hit and a pass defense in 41 snaps. He could well play his way onto the roster.
Keep: OLBs Uchenna Nwosu, Darrell Taylor, Boye Mafe, Alton Robinson, Tyreke Smith; ILBs Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton, Iggy Iyiegbuniwe, Nick Bellore.
Cut: Joshua Onujiogu, Tanner Muse, Vi Jones, Lakiem Williams, Joel Dublanko.
PUP list: Jon Rhattigan.
Comment: One question mark is the health of Smith, who has battled injuries to both hips and has rarely practiced. The Seahawks could put him on the injured reserve list if that doesn’t improve soon and open up a spot for someone else. Bellore, listed as a fullback and linebacker, has been solely a linebacker in camp the past week or so and played 12 snaps there against the Steelers. Jones, an undrafted rookie free agent out of North Carolina State, is an interesting prospect and could make the roster depending on how the numbers work out. The Seahawks again have a roster exemption for Aaron Donkor as an international player and he does not count against the roster limit, though he would if he were to make the 53-man roster.
Keep: Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Josh Jones, Ryan Neal, Marquise Blair.
Cut: Bubba Bolden, Joey Blount, Deontai Williams. Scott Nelson.
Comment: The Seahawks solved a logjam in the secondary Monday by trading Amadi, and now have what would seem to be a pretty clear set of five safeties who project to make the 53-man roster.
Keep: Artie Burns, Coby Bryant, Justin Coleman, Sidney Jones IV, Tariq Woolen.
Cut: John Reid, Michael Jackson, Elijah Jones, Jameson Houston.
PUP list: Tre Brown.
Comment: Burns, Jones and Coleman (as the nickel) have been the starters throughout camp, and rookies Woolen and Bryant are locks to make it. Jackson is the one player who could force his way onto the roster and would undoubtedly be wanted for the practice squad. Once Brown returns, the Seahawks could have a decision to make. But it’s unclear when he’ll be back, so he might remain on the PUP list heading into the season.
Keep: PK Jason Myers, P Michael Dickson, LS Tyler Ott.
Comment: The Seahawks have no other kickers, punters or long snappers on the roster.