Seahawks final 53-man roster: Winners and Losers from final cuts
8/30/2022: How decisions at QB, CB, and C impacted the players who got kept or cut on Tuesday
Though the Winners and Losers category of articles may have peaked in 2019*, I’ve been blogging for a long time and this type of post remains the “Aaron Donald” of the industry: So annoyingly productive and unstoppable that you can’t help but stand back and respect it. Why is it that sports fans—maybe NFL fans especially—are enamored with this concept of winners and losers within a game that already has winners and losers?
More puzzling than that: Why is it just as normal to get feedback that it is rude to call anyone a “loser”? Hey maybe you’re right, but then stop clicking those posts. What is your opinion on the Winners and Losers subset of sports articles? Do you find yourself drawn to them, avoid them, and do you find them rude?
*“Winners and losers” over last 5 years:
For the time being, given the importance of final cuts after nearly six months of roster building since the first day of the league year, I will continue and post a third Tuesday article about the Seattle Seahawks’ final 53-man roster.
Who comes away feeling the best and feeling the worst after Tuesday’s news?
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Winner: John Schneider’s current college scouting department
Part of Seattle’s downfall is no doubt attributed to the lack of long-term answers with drafts between 2013 and 2019. It was not a total failure by any means, with picks like Tyler Lockett and Frank Clark mixed in, but certainly the expectation of momentum to follow the 2010-2012 draft classes never came to fruition.
But despite cutting Freddie Swain, Bo Melton, and placing Tre Brown on PUP, the Seahawks have kept 16 of 19 picks since 2020, including eight of nine rookies, plus two more in Joshua Onujiogu and Joey Blount.
Of course, we expect players on rookie contracts to stick around, plus it is also a symptom of not having the same roster that they had in 2013, but go beyond the numbers: Charles Cross, Boye Mafe, Ken Walker, Abe Lucas, Coby Bryant, Tariq Woolen, and Dareke Young all had really strong training camp and preseason debuts.
Lucas already feels like an upgrade at right tackle, and Cross has held his own against his first taste of NFL competition.
The 2020 class includes three important starters—Jordyn Brooks, Darrell Taylor, Damien Lewis—and three key backups in Colby Parkinson, DeeJay Dallas, and Alton Robinson. The three-person 2021 class has held up remarkably well considering, with all three still on the team and maybe Dee Eskridge, Brown could have significant roles; Jake Curhan was an undrafted free agent steal, even if he sticks as a utility man.
There’s no question that the past three drafts have felt a lot stronger than the previous seven.
Winner: Kyle Fuller
Loser: Dakoda Shepley
It really felt like if there was a position where a quick and surprising ascent was possible, it was center. I know Mookie Alexander, for one, was shocked to see Kyle Fuller brought back for another year when the team re-signed him.
Austin Blythe was all but out of football last season. Apparently though, the Seahawks are comfortable with Blythe and Fuller, as those were the only two to get a real shot at making the roster, as they were the only ones getting reps with Geno Smith and Drew Lock.
Lock has the most experience with Fuller and that could mean that if Pete Carroll makes a switch this season, the center could make a change too. If so, does that impact the competition, even slightly? The desire to see Blythe out there instead of Fuller?
I don’t think this was ever an “either/or” situation necessarily, but the team ran out of roster spots for a third option at center. Shepley is now 27 and he has never played an offensive snap in the NFL.
Winner: Geno Smith
Geno Smith didn’t get any surprises today. He knew that his contract was sealed last Friday. But Tuesday’s final cuts officially locks it in: Smith will make a $585,000 roster bonus and he will get $65,000 per game, so long as he is active, even if he is the backup.
Winner: Drew Lock
Bro, you are still on an NFL team! That means you are right there, bro.
There’s a world where Lock does spend the next 10 years with the best job that there is: Backup NFL quarterback. Make a few million per year doing something that you love, even if you’re not playing with the team on Sundays. Lock will make $1.4 million this year, the final season on his rookie contract.
Winner: Jacob Eason
He’s got a clear path to the practice squad, also one of the coolest jobs any 24-year-old could have. There’s a non-zero chance that a team claims Eason.
Loser: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
Though it was surely a longshot for Arcega-Whiteside to make the Seahawks, he also saw the player he was traded for make the final roster of the Titans.
AND he saw the Eagles decide to hold onto Jalen Reagor, while the Jets hung onto Denzel Mims.
Arcega-Whiteside is a good bet to be signed to Seattle’s practice squad, but do the Seahawks prefer three other receivers? Cade Johnson, Bo Melton, Aaron Fuller, Kevin Kassis would like to think so.
Freddie Swain is obviously not a winner today. But let’s see where he lands. Swain has already increased his stock as a former sixth round pick and that could get him claimed on waivers.
Loser: ILB depth
The Seahawks need two inside linebackers just to run their base formation. They have three inside linebackers total. One of them is Nick Bellore.
Seattle cut Tanner Muse, Vi Jones, and Lakiem Williams, a week after cutting Aaron Donkor. They have no Ben Burr-Kirven. This is seemingly the area on the roster that the Seahawks need to address more than any other. We didn’t even have a full training camp without Jordyn Brooks getting hurt.
Winner: John Reid
Loser: Justin Coleman
As the final cuts drew near, I had to start putting John Reid as “in” because the cornerbacks group is just so fragile. If memory serves me right, Sidney Jones, Artie Burns, and Reid all suffered injuries in camp, leaving Mike Jackson, two rookies, and Coleman often manning the spots.
Coleman did not look good over three preseason games and despite the inexperience at cornerback, Seattle felt comfortable risking the veteran’s availability for the rights to John Reid.
I remember Reid, a fourth round pick in 2020, showing out as a rookie for the Texans that year. But there weren’t many other choices to choose from in Houston and the Texans let him go after one season.
The Seahawks clearly feel differently, keeping Reid despite not seeing as much of him in training camp and preseason.
Winner: Jason Myers
Imagine if you just won $4 million in the lottery today.
Good to see a very strong draft class this season. A bunch of starters for sure. Man, there hasn't been much in the cupboards before this season! I'm really excited to see Walker, Woolen, and Mafe the most, but our new tackles should provide some good stuff, too. Go Hawks!
Myers is something of a head scratcher. Could have likely been cut and re-signed at a lower price. But it shows that Pete trusts the guy even though we've lost games on his leg. In a year when wins (and points) are almost certain to be scarce, he's willing to let a lot ride on his four million dollar man.