With the Seattle Seahawks having broken camp and taking Wednesday off, now is as good a time as any to introduce our weekly mailbag. Throughout the year, I’ll take your questions and give you my take on the most pressing topics facing the Seahawks. I want to start by thanking all of you who participated in Round 1.
With that, let’s dive in.
We’re just over two weeks until the deadline for roster cuts (Saturday Aug. 31 at 1:00 p.m. PT), and there’s still plenty of uncertainty as to which names will be on that 53-man list. This question is a little subjective because it all depends on how you define “surprise.”
I’ll give you three that I think fit that bill: Shaquem Griffin, Barkevious Mingo and Jaron Brown.
Griffin has struggled to find a home on defense, and guys like Cody Barton and Austin Calitro would be safer plays at SAM should Mychal Kendricks go down. His contributions on special teams may be what keep him around for one more season. To me it comes down to Griffin or 2019 fifth-round pick Ben Burr-Kirven. Seattle may opt to part ways with Burr-Kirven rather than break up the Griffin twins this year.
Mingo might be pushed off the roster by Ezekiel Ansah and L.J. Collier being on the active roster in Week 1. Cassius Marsh, Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin are three other defensive ends that should make the team. Like Griffin, Mingo may benefit from playing on special teams, which could give him a spot over a defensive tackle like Earl Mitchell. However, Seattle may look for those contributions elsewhere and save $4.1 million by cutting Mingo.
I think Brown is the safest of the three. Seattle doesn’t have enough sure things at wide receiver to part ways with the veteran who scored five touchdowns in 2018. But it’s still conceivable, especially if the Seahawks decide they want to keep Jazz Ferguson and John Ursua on the roster. More on this in a moment.
I’d be shocked if the Seahawks didn’t keep six receivers. They simply have too many talented rookies to go with just five.
Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and David Moore, in my opinion, are locks. Gary Jennings is also a safe bet and would really need to stumble the rest of the month in order to get cut. I’m also of the belief that Ferguson will be on the roster because he’s been too good already to sneak onto the practice squad. There aren’t enough 6-foot-5 receivers with 4.5-second speed going around to do that.
So then it comes down to Ursua vs. Brown. Like I mentioned before, with all of the unproved names on this list, it makes sense to keep Brown. Sure, Seattle could save $2.75 million by cutting the veteran, but that’s not a big enough number to have money be the primary factor in this decision. I think ultimately it’s Ursua who gets cut and ends up on the practice squad along with Malik Turner and potentially Terry Wright.
Rashaad Penny will be involved, but he’s the clear No. 2 in the 1-2 punch between him and Chris Carson.
I anticipate Carson taking at least two thirds of the workload, but Penny will still get a few series a game. Brian Schottenheimer’s plan to utilize running backs more in the passing game will also help bump Penny’s usage a bit.
It feels like Week 1 is more imminent than it really is. We’re still more than three weeks away from Seattle’s opener on Sept. 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, which gives Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) plenty of time to get back into the fold.
Pete Carroll has had nothing but positive updates regarding Ansah’s progress, but he’s also said that every player needs to practice. Unless Ansah gets a full week of work without limitations leading up to Week 1, I don’t see him being a major factor against the Bengals.
My guess is that Ansah is active but doesn’t play more than 15 snaps. The Seahawks are going to be extremely cautious with the guy they expect to be their top edge rusher.
Shaquill Griffin has been the Seahawks most consistent corner. He’s given up the fewest big plays, and has had his share of pass breakups.
However, Griffin and the rest of Seattle’s corners need to improve their ball skills. Griffin had just two interceptions last season and fellow starter Tre Flowers had zero. The pair hasn’t had many in camp, either. Getting more takeaways through the air is a point of emphasis for them in 2019.
I don’t see this happening for several reasons but here are the top two:
1. Seattle won’t part ways with the draft capital that the Houston Texans will be seeking in exchange for Jadeveon Clowney.
2. While the Seahawks can afford Clowney, who is due to make just shy of $16 million, it would be a one-year rent-a-player with no guarantee of working out a long-term deal. Clowney will play the 2019 season on the franchise tag, and the deadline has passed to sign him to an extension. All around this simply isn’t the kind of move that’s been in John Schneider’s DNA.