The Seahawks announced the signings of five rookie undrafted free agents Friday, including former Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon and ex-Washington receiver Aaron Fuller.
Others announced: Mississippi State tackle Tommy Champion, Albany defensive end Eli Mencer and Texas A&M cornerback Debione Renfro.
None was a surprise, as all five were among the undrafted free agents who had been reported as agreeing to sign with the Seahawks after the NFL draft ended last weekend.
Other signings are likely to be announced over the next week or so.
For now, Gordon is the only QB on Seattle’s roster aside from starter Russell Wilson, and Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Thursday on KJR-AM 950 that “we were really excited about” being able to get him.
Gordon threw for 5,579 yards and 48 touchdowns last year for Washington State and had generally been considered a likely late-round pick. Seattle didn’t take a quarterback among its seven picks and had a possible signing of Gordon in its sights as the draft concluded.
Schneider, though, also said the quarterback position needs to be further addressed — it would be a rare team that would have just two quarterbacks on a roster going into camp — and Seattle seems assured of adding at least one more to the mix.
And that could well be last year’s backup, Geno Smith, who remains an unsigned free agent.
Seattle has had four backup quarterbacks since the last year for Tarvaris Jackson in 2015 — Trevone Boykin (2016), Austin Davis (2017), Brett Hundley (2018) and Smith. Neither Hundley nor Smith took a snap in a regular-season game.
Gordon joins the competition to become the latest backup to Wilson, and his signing was lauded by Pro Football Focus, which labeled it as the second-best UDFA signing (behind only that of UW tight end Hunter Bryant by the Lions).
Wrote PFF of Gordon joining the Seahawks: “We were admittedly higher on Gordon than most heading into the draft, but that’s because our data paints an intriguing picture for him. PFF tracks ball-location data for every throw at the college level, and last season Gordon ranked second in the percentage of his passes that were deemed accurate (69.4%), trailing only Joe Burrow among draft-eligible quarterbacks. NFL teams often fall in love with the quarterbacks who have ideal size and big arms while discounting the most important trait a quarterback needs to be successful — accuracy. He joins Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks on the roster at the moment, in prime position to earn a backup job in the same state he played in college.”
The signings put Seattle’s roster at 82. Teams can have up to 90 in the offseason, and the other eight spots will be filled out by the other UDFAs Seattle has reportedly agreed to sign. Reports had Seattle agreeing with up to 15 UDFAs, so the Seahawks might still have to do some roster shuffling to fit everyone in. Seattle created two roster spots this week by releasing veteran offensive linemen Justin Britt and D.J. Fluker.
Fuller, who caught 117 passes for 1,576 yards and 10 TDs in his UW career, becomes the 10th receiver on Seattle’s roster — the others being Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, David Moore, Phillip Dorsett, John Ursua, sixth-round draft pick Freddie Swain, seventh-round pick Stephen Sullivan (who can also play tight end but is listed as a receiver), Penny Hart and Cody Thompson.
Here is how the Seahawks described the other three players:
- “The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Champion, a six-game starter as a senior, brings versatility to the Seahawks, having started games at left guard and right tackle.”
- “Mencer, an FCS second-team All-American as a senior after setting a Great Danes record 14.5 sacks, had a team-high 24 tackles for loss, and led all FCS players with five forced fumbles. Mencer, who is 6-foot-1, 229 pounds, also added 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss as a junior, and returned two fumbles for touchdowns as a sophomore.”
- “Renfro, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound cornerback, played in 37 games for the Aggies, totaling 124 tackles and 14 passes defensed over three seasons. He started six of 11 games last season.”