Seahawks Face the Bad Part of a Good Problem (Part 2: Staying Lean at Safety)

Seattle can handle its superabundance of defensive linemen by running lean at another position and leaning on its starters. If it does, it should do so at safety. Starters Brian Russell and Deon Grant are fixtures, and have combined to miss four games in their last 240. They were each involved in over 99% percent of Seattle's defensive snaps. Russell and Grant defy depth.

Seattle could then shift Jordan Babineaux temporarily to dime back and cut C.J. Wallace. Wallace is Seattle's top gunner and proven to be an asset on special teams, but as commodity, because of his limitations as a safety, recent injuries and low upside, a non-asset on the open market. Seattle could temporarily cut Wallace and re-sign him when its roster has stabilized. Wallace is a local product and the team will suffer some rebuke from the Steve Kelleys of the world, but as a local kid he's likely to refuse offers from other teams should they come and give reporters in the know the wink and nod that says "I'll be back."

That would leave Seattle paper thin at safety. It would have its starters and an overstressed Babineaux. It would also have Jamar Adams and Courtney Greene on the practice squad. With Wallace hanging around, there's a shadow depth that makes this move tenable.

The Seahawks would then take their defensive line depth into the regular season and let time simplify their decision making. Depth will be reduced by injuries. Other teams will suffer injuries and become more open to trades. Players like Nick Reed and Michael Bennett that dominated the preseason could be exposed against regular season competition. That might facilitate a move to the practice squad. When Marcus Trufant returns, Babineaux can move back to primary safety depth and Kelly Jennings to dimeback. It is better for Seattle to retain its best talent and risk losing Wallace than to cut a defensive lineman just because it has too many.

This plan still has its hitches. Dropping Wallace will be unpopular and weaken what last season was a weak coverage unit. Should Russell or Grant be injured, especially a routine injury that will only keep them from a few games, Seattle then must cut someone. And without the luxury of time or flexibility. The Seahawks corners are weak and thin. Wilson is a better nickel corner, Ken Lucas a solid but not foundational starting cornerback and Kelly Jennings is anything from steady but unimpressive to an abject liability. Babineaux is a safety. The best move might be the most active. Seattle could turn its depth into a regular, a regular at a position of need like offensive line and cornerback.

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