As usual, the Seahawks made a lot of fans scratch their heads with some of their moves on cutdown day. But, as usual, some of the moves are going to be very temporary.
It was no surprise that John Schneider pulled a trade — he has made at least one in every preseason (16 total). But the surprise was that he traded for two safeties.
The Seahawks reportedly added Dewey McDonald (6 feet, 220 pounds) from Oakland and L.J. McCray (6 feet, 215 pounds) from San Francisco. The Hawks reportedly gave up conditional seventh-rounders for both (2017 seventh or McDonald, 2018 pick for McCray).
With those additions, the Seahawks made a deep secondary even deeper — keeping 12 for now. They kept undrafted rookies Tyvis Powell (not a surprise) and De’Andre Elliott (a big surprise) over young veterans Tye Smith and Marcus Burley (injured).
The Seahawks also terminated the contracts of veterans Jahri Evans and Will Tukuafu; waived DT Brandin Bryant, TE Clayton Echard, S Keenan Lambert, LB Steve Longa, WR Douglas McNeil III, WR E.Z. Nwachukwu, WR Kasen Williams, RB Troymaine Pope, G/C Will Pericak, WR Antwan Goodley, DE Tylor Harris, S Keenan Lambert, WR Kenny Lawler, LB Kache Palacio, DE Ryan Robinson and DT Tani Tupou; and waived/injured TE Joe Sommers, DT Jordan Hill, LB Eric Pinkins and OT Terry Poole.
The most notable departures are Hill, Burley, Smith and Tukuafu. Hill and Burley will revert to IR if unclaimed Sunday. A 2013 third-round pick, Hill simply has not been able to stay healthy in his short career. Aside from a brief five-game flash in 2014, before getting hurt again, he has been largely absent from the lineup. Burley had been the team’s nickel back since being acquired from Indianapolis two years ago. Smith was a promising fifth-round pick in 2015.
The Hawks kept six undrafted rookies, with Elliott the most surprising. He and Powell were joined by Trevone Boykin, Tanner McEvoy, George Fant and Nolan Frese. None of those guys are guaranteed to stick though.
Many are concerned about the Hawks using the erratic Boykin as the backup to Russell Wilson, but he’s hardly much worse than Tarvaris Jackson — while being much cheaper. Wilson never gets hurt anyway, so concern over that No. 2 spot is overblown.
The Seahawks kept the expected four tailbacks. With Tukuafu gone, the Seahawks are without a fullback for now. But that could easily change. It is possible the Hawks will bring back Tukuafu after Week 1, so they don’t have to guarantee his 2016 salary.
Late camp addition Troymaine Pope made a valiant effort at trying to unseat Alex Collins, but the odds were always against the diminutive back. The fifth-round pick made it as the fourth tailback instead.
As expected, they also went with just five receivers. McEvoy was the only real standout — literally, he’s 6 feet 6 — among a secondary group of banged-up receivers.
No surprise that Brandon Williams made it as the fourth tight end. The Seahawks usually keep only three, but injury concerns basically mandated that they keep four. And Williams validates the decision with his strong special-teams play.
The Hawks kept 24 offensive players — for now — and 26 on defense, with almost half of those being defensive backs and seven being safeties. The Seahawks obviously are trying to improve their special teams with the additions of McCray and McDonald, who may or may not stick.
The Hawks are not likely to keep 12 DBs for long. Adjustments will be made this week and beyond.
The only other mild surprise on defense beyond the secondary moves was Justin Hamilton making it. But he outplayed UDFA Brandin Bryant and took advantage of Hill’s injury to claim a spot — for now.
The Hawks will make more moves in the coming week and the Week 1 53-man roster will look different at the bottom than it does now, but this is it for now.