In years past, the Seahawks would be taking the field sometime over the next few days for the first time as an entire team, getting ready to begin the on-field portion of their offseason workout program.
But this is obviously not just any year, so for now, the Seahawks and the rest of the NFL will continue learning the playbook and other such matters through virtual meetings (the league’s notice to teams last week that facilities can begin to reopen does not yet apply to coaches and players, and it’s unclear when teams will be able to do any on-field work).
Had the Seahawks been taking the field this week, though, it would have been the coaches first look at all 90 players at once in a true football setting, beginning the very early stages of evaluation that would eventually result in paring the roster to the regular-season limit of 53.
Which makes it good a time for our first projection of what the eventual 53-man roster could look like.
We’ll start with the offense and detail the defense in a separate post in the next day.
Keep: Russell Wilson, Geno Smith.
Cut: Anthony Gordon.
Comment: I’m cheating a tiny bit here by including Smith, who has agreed to return to the Seahawks but whose signing at the moment has yet to be announced. But Smith’s return makes him the front-runner to be the backup for Wilson unless he is just vastly outplayed by Gordon and the Seahawks then worry that they wouldn’t be able to get Gordon through waivers and onto the practice squad. But the team would likely view the ideal outcome as Smith being the steady-handed vet who could take over in a pinch if needed while beginning to groom Gordon for more of a long-term role.
Also worth remembering are some of the tweaks to the roster and the practice squad, which I wrote about last week that could influence some roster decisions. Specifically, the Seahawks could sign Gordon to the practice squad and now have the ability to at least twice during the season call him up to the active gameday roster and then send him back down without having to go through waivers. Especially given Wilson’s durability, that would seem to rule out needing to keep three quarterbacks on the initial 53-man roster, something Seattle has not done in years, anyway.
Keep: Chris Carson, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas, Nick Bellore.
Cut: Anthony Jones, Patrick Carr.
PUP: Rashaad Penny.
Comment: Yep, when you look at the tailback spot it still appears as if it needs some help. Seattle could well bring back Marshawn Lynch at some point, or maybe more likely will eventually go after some other veteran who remains available such as Devonta Freeman. Or maybe one of the UDFA guys really impresses and earns a spot on the team, ala Thomas Rawls in 2015, and Seattle feels OK going with what it has.
Penny seems ticketed for the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and maybe out the first six weeks of the season. How Penny’s situation impacts the team’s thinking will be interesting to see. Maybe the Seahawks will wait until they get a better sense of where Penny is physically before making an addition, especially knowing Lynch is probably always there ready to be called on if needed.
Bellore is the only fullback on the roster and assuming Seattle keeps one — which it always does — then he’s going to make the team.
Keep: Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister, Colby Parkinson.
Cut: Luke Willson, Stephen Sullivan, Justin Johnson, Dominick Wood-Anderson, Tyler Mabry.
Comment: This will be one of the really fun competitions to watch as the Seahawks have nine tight ends on the roster, six of whom you could make good cases at the moment for potentially making the roster. Hollister’s situation is something of a wildcard as he has a $3.2 million non-guaranteed salary, so he’ll have to really earn it to make the roster at that price. Sullivan is really intriguing but seems like an ideal practice squad candidate. And Willson could be a guy that the team wouldn’t keep initially to assure Parkinson a spot, but could always be brought back later if needed. Given that the Seahawks would probably be wary of losing Parkinson, it could be Hollister and Willson fighting for a final roster spot at tight end, assuming Seattle would want to keep four.
Keep: Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Phillip Dorsett, David Moore, John Ursua.
Cut: Freddie Swain, Penny Hart, Cody Thompson, Aaron Fuller, Seth Dawkins.
Comment: Going with four tight ends in this scenario has me keeping just five receivers, especially given how much all of the tight ends could factor into the passing game. The only real question here would be if Swain does enough as a sixth-round pick to merit keeping on the initial 53-man roster. There’s no question the Seahawks would want to keep Swain and at least one of the others on the practice squad.
Keep: Duane Brown, Brandon Shell, Cedric Ogbuehi, Mike Iupati, Jordan Simmons, Damien Lewis, Phil Haynes, B.J. Finney, Chance Warmack, Ethan Pocic.
Cut: Chad Wheeler, Tommy Champion, Demetrius Knox, Jordan Roos, Khalil McKenzie, Kyle Fuller, Joey Hunt, Jamarco Jones.
Comment: One of the other really intriguing position battles of camp will be Seattle whittling down what is currently 17 offensive linemen to eight, nine or 10. New roster rules this year, though, also could come into play here. Teams this year will be allowed to have 48 players active on gameday as long as eight of them are offensive linemen. That would seem to point to keeping at least nine to start out, if not 10, as I have here — the Seahawks actually ended last season with 11 offensive linemen on their active roster. Even keeping that many makes for some tough calls — specifically here, going with Pocic, Warmack and Simmons as the final three instead of Hunt.
To break it down further, the thought for now is that the starting five could consist of Brown, Iupati, Finney, Lewis and Shell, going left to right. Ogbuehi would be the swing tackle and maybe fill the George Fant-esque extra-tackle, big-tight end role. Haynes will compete with Lewis at RG and Jones could serve as depth at guard, as well. If healthy, Simmons is an intriguing prospect. And Pocic can back up at basically every spot. All of which could make Hunt and his $2.13 million cap hit , potentially vulnerable. Jones would also be a tough cut but there will be some tough cuts to be made here.