The Seahawks' off-season long deep snapper shuffle took another turn on Thursday with the release of Drew Ferris, handing the job --- for now --- to Nolan Frese.
The news from earlier Thursday that the Seahawks had released long snapper Drew Ferris, giving the job — for now — to Nolan Frese, deserves a little more attention.
This is now the fourth time in this calender year the Seahawks have had just one long snapper on their roster, each apparently being the guy, only for the first three to eventually find themselves on the outside looking in.
Here’s a quick recap of what has been a dizzying array of long snapping moves (and we’d probably not be wrong to guess no other team has made more long snapper transactions this year than the Seahawks).
— First, the Seahawks entered 2016 with veteran Clint Gresham as the long snapper. Gresham, who had been with the team since 2010, had signed a new three-year contract in the spring of 2015, meaning that when the 2015 season ended he had two years remaining on his deal, with no reason to think he wouldn’t remain the long snapper for 2016.
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—However, on Jan. 4 the Seahawks signed Andrew East, a second-year player from Vanderbilt, to a futures contract, at the time apparently just giving Gresham some competition.
— East’s turn as the lone long snapper, though, didn’t last long as on March 23, the team signed Ferris, who had played at Florida and had been in camp with the Jets in 2015.
— A day later, the team waived East, making Ferris the only long snapper on the roster.
— Ferris’ reign at the top lasted a little over two months, through the off-season program, as the Seahawks then signed Frese, who played at the University of Houston from 2011-15, on June 28, or just a little over a week after the end of mini-camp.
— The Seahawks had two long snappers for four days of training camp before announcing Thursday they had waived Ferris, appearing to give the job to Frese. We say appear since this job has been about as secure this year as being the drummer for Spinal Tap.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll, asked a general question about the long snapping position after Thursday’s practice, gave a rather, well, entertaining answer.
“They are competing,” he said. “It is this thing that goes on in the side. It is like in an alternative universe that they are operating in over there. You look over there they are snapping that ball, man, they just keep snapping it. Then I look over there again and they just keep snapping it.”
Asked how the team evaluates the snapping position, Carroll smiles and said “you let a lot of time go by.”
That the Seahawks have now had three different snappers since releasing Gresham might make one wonder why they bothered to get rid of Gresham in the first place.
Once answer was to save a little money — Gresham was due to make a total of $900,000 in 2016 when including a $100,000 bonus while Frese is making the minimum of $450,000 (meaning the Seahawks’ total cap savings for this season could be $250,000 in 2016 and $260,000 in 2017, if you assume tht Gresham will be replaced by another player who is solely a long snapper.)
Carroll also seemed to indicate there was some value in shaking things up a bit — Gresham had had a bad snap in the playoff win at Minnesota.
“Competing and giving guys chances,” he said Thursday when asked why Gresham had been released.
Carroll then seemed to hint there was a chance the team could still consider signing Gresham — who remains a free agent — at a later point.
“He is still out there working I know,” Carroll said. “He is still out there, he’s right over there on the island snapping that ball in the trees over there somewhere. Trying to get ready in case we call. Gresh has been a great player for us. He was a great team for us for a long time.”
Intriguingly, about the time the news of the release of Ferris was made public, Gresham Tweeted a video of himself snapping with the caption “Hey.”
Given what’s happened so far, the safest bet may be that the Seahawks’ snapping shuffle may yet have a few more moves.