And who would be the backup nickelback if needed? That's answered here, too, as well as some thoughts on what happened with Amara Darboh.
Now that we are in the regular season, the plan is to answer as many relevant questions as we can each Tuesday in this space.
For our first regular-season mailbag here is a selection of questions gathered via Twitter and e-mail.
Q: Can you clarify what Ed Dickson’s situation is again?
Dickson is an eight-year veteran tight end signed by the Seahawks to a three-year contact in March worth up to $10.7 million — and a $3.6 million dead cap number for the 2018 season. He was placed on the Non-Football Injury list Saturday after having been on that list all preseason (only players on the list in the preseason can be placed on it to start the regular season).
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Going on NFI means Dickson was injured away from official team activities and the team has reported he had a quad injury suffered in offseason conditioning, with coach Pete Carroll saying Monday other “muscle related’’ issues also crept up along the way that meant Dickson wasn’t in football playing shape yet even if he might be able to soon be healthy enough to practice.
Going on NFI means Dickson can return to practice after six weeks.
In fact, he can return any time from weeks six to 11. If he cannot return by week 11 he either has to go on season-ending IR or be released. Once a player returns, there is a three-week window where he can practice and then he either has to be activated or placed on IR (or released).
That Dickson figures he’ll be ready by week six was evident in a Tweet he sent Monday night expressing some displeasure over the decision to place him on NFI.
“Can’t say that I’m happy with the decision but I’m trusting God’s plan. I’ll be ready when #84 is called,’’ he tweeted.
Dickson may not have liked it, but the Seahawks appear to want to make sure he’s ready when they need him and they like their roster flexibility until then, especially after trading for Darrell Daniels of the Colts on Saturday to serve as a third tight end behind Nick Vannett and Will Dissly.
Q: If Amara Darboh’s reported surgery that resulted in him being waived as injured by the Patriots on Tuesday relates to the injury he was dealing with this preseason, why didn’t Seattle waive him with an injury designation, so they could IR him and hold his rights moving forward?
A: That’s a fair question that’s hard to answer without being in the rooms when those decisions were made — and it’ll be interesting to hear at some point if more comes out about this. To recap quickly, after being waived by Seattle Saturday in the cutdown to 53, Darboh — a receiver taken in the third round out of Michigan in 2017 — was claimed by New England Sunday. He then was waived by the Pats on Tuesday with a designation that he failed his physical, with a later report that he will need surgery. UPDATE — Darboh tweeted a picture of himself late Tuesday afternoon in a hospital bed and his arm in a sling stating: “The past month been crazy but I never question Gods plan & the path he has set for me. Happy to say surgery went well
The Seahawks, by waiving Darboh without the injured designation on Saturday, were clearly indicating they thought he was healthy enough to play. Coach Pete Carroll had said the day before the final exhibition game against the Raiders that they expected Darboh to play.
Darboh didn’t, and here was what Carroll said afterward: “We almost had him cleared to play. They just felt like it was better to not do it one more time. So, we held him out.”
So what could have happened in 48-72 hours or so?
One thing to keep in mind is that different doctors and teams can make different diagnosis of injuries.
Seattle’s hope — as the Seahawks even wrote in a news release about the moves made that day — was that Darboh would re-sign to the practice squad if he cleared waivers. Instead, he was claimed by the Patriots, who then gave him their own physical and apparently found an issue that will require surgery (exactly what has not been detailed).
Waiving him with the failed physical designation means any team that wants to claim him knows there is an injury. But unlike being waived as injured, it simply means that if Darboh clears waivers he then becomes a free agent instead of reverting to the Patriots’ Injured Reserve list. So his future is pretty unclear at the moment.
If Seattle had placed him on IR Saturday he would not have been eligible to play for the rest of the season — he could only return after eight weeks if he was put on IR once the initial 53-man roster was set. So Seattle’s obvious intent here is that Darboh re-signs to the PS and becomes available to play this year, if needed.
True, by waiving him they have for now lost him (Seattle could theoretically claim him now). But again, Seattle’s obvious hope and thought here was that he’d be available to play this season in some way (there may also have been some minor salary cap concerns at play, too).
Darboh didn’t play in the preseason due to several injuries, including a clavicle. So that he had injuries isn’t in dispute just, maybe, how serious they were.
Darboh’s position on the Seahawks was also obviously rather tenuous since he hadn’t done anything either in his first year or in the offseason to show cement himself as part of the team’s future.
Looks like Seattle hoped and thought he could help this year and that’s all they were making their decision based on.
Q: Do you think we’ll see Poona Ford in the FB spot at all a la Will Tukuafu?
A: I’d doubt it. Ford did play fullback in high school — but it’s really common for players who are good enough to reach the NFL level to be pretty proficient at two positions at the high school level.
It’s a lot trickier to do at the college or NFL level. Ford didn’t do it at Texas and I never saw him play fullback during camp with the Seahawks as Seattle usually had more than one fullback around anyway, ultimately keeping Tre Madden on the 53-man roster.
You are right that Tukuafu pulled that off a little bit for a few years, even officially listed as starting two games there in 2014 and another in 2016.
But Tukuafu had already been something of a two-way player when the Seahawks got him, first playing both defensive line and fullback during his time with the 49ers from 2010-14.
Certainly, there’s some real value to two-way players when teams have to pare their rosters to 46 on regular-season gamedays. But Madden figures to be active every week anyway due to his special teams role, so Seattle will have a fullback.
Ford, listed as a third-team tackle, may not be active every week to start out. And for now, as a rookie, I’d imagine the Seahawks want to just leave him where he is and get him comfortable there before throwing much more on his plate since Seattle has a fullback as is.
Q: What’s the status of Khalid Hill? I saw he was dealing with a shoulder injury through camp but at this moment would he be considered a free agent or still under control of the Hawks?
A: More fullback questions! Hill, an undrafted free agent from Michigan, was not claimed when waived and reverted to the Seahawks’ Injured Reserve. So he is still Seattle’s property. But going on IR before the season means he cannot play this year unless there were to be an injury settlement made and he became a free agent.
Q: Why did they not re-sign Damore’ea Stringfellow as a receiver to the practice squad but they kept Caleb Scott?
A: It was a bit of a surprise that Scott was re-signed as a second WR on the practice squad joining Keenan Reynolds, given some of the training camp buzz about Stringfellow, who then capped it off with an 81-yard TD reception in the preseason finale to finish the preseason with 110 receiving yards — most of anyone on the team other than David Moore, who had 147.
Scott, meanwhile, was quiet early, not playing in the first game due to injury and finishing the preseason with five receptions for 91 yards, 55 coming on the almost-Hail Mary at the end of the Vikings game.
Sounds like a couple of things might have played into it.
One, special teams. Scott may have had an edge there on Stringfellow. Two, speed. While Stringfellow was touted as being a bigger receiver, he really isn’t much bigger than Scott — the Seahawks listed Stringfellow at 6-2, 209 and Scott at 6-2, 203.
Scott, meanwhile, was timed in the high 4.3s at his Pro Day at Vanderbilt in March, while Stringfellow’s official 40 time was 4.54.
The Seahawks may just think there’s more they wanted to find out about Scott, who is a rookie this year.