The Seahawks are expected to sign rookie linebacker Jon Rhattigan to the 53-man roster, a source confirmed to The Seattle Times
Rhattigan, an undrafted free agent out of Army, played 16 snaps on special teams with one tackle on a punt return in Sunday’s 28-16 regular-season opening win over the Colts in Indianapolis after being promoted from the practice squad for game day.
Under NFL rules, he reverted to the practice squad on Monday. Players can only be promoted off the practice squad and then returned to the practice squad twice in a season. After that, they would have to sign to the 53-man roster and clear waivers to return to the practice squad.
The Seahawks obviously view Rhattigan as a player who could have a regular role as a backup linebacker and on special teams, leading to the decision to sign him to the 53.
The Seahawks will have to make a move to create a spot for Rhattigan on the 53. An option is placing one of the injured players on injured reserve, specifically running back Rashaad Penny or offensive lineman Ethan Pocic, who each left Sunday’s game.
Penny has a calf strain, and coach Pete Carroll said Monday he is likely out for this week’s game against Tennessee and could be sidelined longer. Pocic has a bruised knee, and Carroll said Monday he hadn’t seen tests yet to know if Pocic will be sidelined or for how long.
Receivers Penny Hart and Dee Eskridge also left the game with concussions. Players placed on IR during the season need only miss three games before they can return.
Rhattigan played just one game in the preseason due to a hamstring injury.
But he impressed when he finally got on the field in the third preseason game against the Chargers with four tackles, two pressures and a pass breakup in 20 snaps, earning the highest defensive grade on the team from Pro Football Focus.
That helped earn him the promotion from the PS for Sunday’s game.
“He was really excited that he got a chance to play and he helped out,” Carroll said.
Rhattigan signed with the Seahawks in May as a free agent, taking advantage of a rule change in 2019 allowing athletes from military academics to apply for waivers and pursue playing careers immediately and serve required enlistment later.
“I’m just blessed that I was able to graduate from West Point and there’s a policy in place that allows us to represent and play in the NFL, as well,” Rhattigan said then.
According to Pro Football Reference, Rhattigan became the 36th player from Army to appear in an NFL game when he suited up last week.
Rhattigan was making $9,200 per week on the practice squad but will now presumably get the NFL active roster minimum of $660,000.
Rhattigan’s promotion means the Seahawks now have an opening on their 17-man practice squad.
Seattle was reported to have four players in for workouts Tuesday including outside linebacker Jachai Polite, a third-round pick of the Jets in 2019 who then spent three weeks on Seattle’s practice squad in 2019 and played in 11 games with four tackles for the Rams last season.
Seattle also reportedly worked out cornerback Tre Roberson, who played two years in the CFL and last year was released earlier this month by the Bears; running back L.J. Scott, who played at Michigan State but has not appeared in an NFL game; and De’Quan Hampton, who played at USC.