The Seahawks were off Thursday following their second of two CenturyLink Field mock games Wednesday. They’ll hold another mock game at the VMAC in Renton on Sunday and — believe it or not — start preparing for the 2020 season, which they will begin Sept. 13 at Atlanta.
The day off is a good time to answer some reader questions. So, away we go.
Q: @DMetGawd asked: Will we have dead cap if we cut (B.J.) Finney? Signing (Justin) Britt and putting Finney’s money towards (Jadeveon) Clowney would be ideal.
A: It’s a nice thought.
But the Seahawks can’t save any money this year in regards to Finney.
The Seahawks signed Finney in March to a two-year deal worth up to $8 million with $4.5 million guaranteed (figures from OvertheCap.com).
All of that guaranteed money counts as dead money against the cap this year, so there’s nothing to be gained by cutting Finney, which is why he’s almost certainly going to be on the roster.
The team gave Finney that deal thinking he could take over for Britt as the starting center. That was one reason why the Seahawks cut Britt in April, saving $8.5 million against the cap (another reason was that it was unclear if Britt would be healthy after he suffered an ACL injury Oct. 27).
While much of Finney’s experience in four years with the Steelers came at guard, he got three starts at center late last season. Those games undoubtedly convinced the Seahawks he would be a viable candidate to start at center for them this year (two of those came in Pittsburgh wins against the Browns and Bengals).
But Finney has struggled to take over the spot, and 2017 second-round pick Ethan Pocic has been running with the first unit consistently as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll acknowledged again after Wednesday’s mock game.
Carroll noted there are still two weeks for the competition to continue and he wasn’t ruling out Finney emerging. Carroll said, for now, the team is going with Pocic because he has more experience in the offense.
“He’s just learning the system,” Carroll said of Finney on Wednesday. “It’s just catching up and making sure he’s playing fast and helping the guys around him play well.”
As for Britt, the Seahawks gave him a tryout earlier this week, but that was thought to be in large part to gauge where he is in his recovery. The Seahawks made no signings on Thursday, so it’s unclear if a move with Britt is imminent (or one for receiver Paul Richardson, who was also listed as working out Wednesday).
But obviously if Britt signs there is more competition for Finney to find a way to make an impact this season. The Seahawks also have Kyle Fuller playing center, though his situation is complicated since he will be suspended for the first two games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. That’s another reason Finney will hang around, since unless Britt signs, Finney would be the only other center on the roster for the first two games.
Finney could slide to guard, but the Seahawks’ guard spots appear set with Mike Iupati on the left side and Damien Lewis on the right. They also have capable backups in Jordan Simmons and Jamarco Jones, and has Phil Haynes there, as well.
So yes, the Seahawks could be paying a lot of money for Finney to be a backup swing interior offensive lineman.
As for Clowney, the issue was never really cap space. The Seahawks had more than enough cap space to pay Clowney what they thought he was worth. Clowney wanted more than they wanted to pay him. I don’t think anything has changed there.
Q: @Jurgen_Meyer asked: Who is the starting center week 1?
With no offseason program and no preseason games, deciding on a starting five to begin getting the comfort needed for in-game communication is more vital than ever.
With Pocic having settled in as the starter and the regular season just 17 days away, it seems likely the Seahawks will want to keep the starting five it has, even if Carroll is publicly saying that things could still change.
“He played everything in college (LSU), but mostly at center — where I though the looked the best,” Carroll said last week of Pocic. “He had a fantastic offseason. He’s as primed as he’s been.”
Q: @NFLCuba asked: What will be the role of DeeJay Dallas and Jordyn Brooks in 2020?
A: Dallas, a fourth-round pick out of Miami, appears a lock to make the 53-player roster as a backup running back and a key part of special teams. With Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde ahead of him on the depth chart — and recall the high praise Carroll levied on Hyde this week — it won’t be easy for Dallas to get a lot of early-down carries.
But Dallas has an extensive receiving background, and that ability has showed in practices. He could get some significant snaps in the two-minute/third-down back role. Teams don’t always keep four tailbacks active on gameday.
But that’s where roster rule changes this year come into play. Teams can have as many as 48 players active this year instead of 46 as long as at least eight of them are offensive linemen.
As for Brooks, his role is harder to read. He’s working as the backup at weakside linebacker behind K.J. Wright. Wright is healthy and appears playing at the same level as always after having offseason shoulder surgery, and the team is not considering using him at strongside linebacker.
For the moment that appears to relegate Brooks to being a backup and a special teamer this year. But for those who will question using a first-round pick on a player who might just be a backup his first season, it’s worth remembering Wright has just a year left on his deal and draft picks are made with more than just the next season in mind.
Q: @SeahawksHaug asked: Who do you think will be the three starting LBs?
A: Speaking of linebackers, I think this is a pretty easy question to answer: Wright at weakside linebacker (WLB), Bobby Wagner in the middle (MLB) and Bruce Irvin at strongside linebacker (SLB).
The backups also appear set — Brooks at WLB, Cody Barton at MLB and Shaquem Griffin at SLB (though Barton can play there, too, as we saw last year, and if Seattle needed someone to step in for a long time at SLB, he might be the guy).
Ben Burr-Kirven is also working at the inside spots, specifically weakside, and it’ll be interesting to see if Seattle wants to keep all seven or tries to sneak someone onto the practice squad.
Recall, the practice squad this year has been increased to 16 with up to six allowed to be veterans who have any amount of experience. What may play into decisions the Seahawks make about the bottom of their roster is which players it thinks are the least likely to get claimed on waivers and can be re-signed to the practice squad.
Q: @SMaresh asked: With (Jamal) Adams and (Quinton) Dunbar on board and (Marquise) Blair seeing time at nickel, will Ugo (Amadi) be left without a chair when the music stops? Feels like he could contribute, but it feels like he may not get the chance.
A: Blair has been doing really well at the nickel spot and appears to be the clear front-runner there (he was the star of Wednesday’s mock game with two interceptions.)
The Seahawks have intimated they could divide time at the nickel spot — a “big nickel” package for the 6-foot-1 Blair and the 5-foot-9 Amadi used in a more traditional nickel package. If Blair continues to emerge the way he has, he’s going to be hard to take off the field.
That could relegate Amadi to a backup spot — as well as a significant special-teams role, which can’t be discounted.
One thing the Seahawks wanted this year was better depth across the board after the way injuries decimated the team last season.