SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Doug Baldwin #15 of the Seattle Seahawks runs away from the 49ers defense for a 55 yard touchdown catch and run in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on September 11, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
News coming out yesterday from the NFL headquarters is that NFL team rosters move from 80 players to 90 today, effective at 1:00 pm PST. Per NFL PR guy Greg Aiello, Management Council Executive Committee (chaired by John Mara) agreed to roster limit and cutdown procedure [on Monday], and the 90-player limit will include active, inactive, practice squad, exempt, reserve lists, unsigned draft choices, and franchise free-agents.
I don't think this means much for the Seahawks immediately - it's unlikely they'll add anyone in the next few days prior to the Draft, but in terms of post-draft rookie free agency, the ten extra spots are very nice, particularly to the Seahawks. This is a front office that takes rookie free agency pretty seriously - perhaps more than most teams - and hit on four guys last year - Doug Baldwin, Richardo Lockette, Jeron Johnson, and Josh Portis. There are some other UDFA's from last year's 'class' that are still with the team as well - DB Ron Parker, DL Pierre Allen, DB Jesse Hoffman, OL Brent Osborne, and LB Mike Morgan.
Per John Schneider in his presser yesterday: "We're a group that takes a lot of pride in the fourth round and down. We think there's a lot of really neat things that can happen in there. It's all about being able to provide a coaching staff that is willing to put a guy out there, let him compete. That's a very attractive thing. It's identifying some of those unique qualities, then having the faith that the coaching staff is going to give a guy a shot."
"With the rookie free agency, based on our whole philosophy about competition, and open competition, I think this is a very attractive place for guys that don't get drafted."
Right now, by my count, based on the Seahawks official lists at NFL.com and Seahawks.com, the Hawks have 74 players on their roster. Add six to eight draft picks, and you can still add eight to ten undrafted free agents without even cutting anyone. In reality, I could see them taking twice as many UDFAs as that into camp (20 or so) and cutting some of the current roster bubble guys that they're not especially sold on. We've seen some crazy end-of-the-roster churn in previous years, so it wouldn't surprise me to see this continue this year. As I said - to me, this just makes Seattle that much more attractive to the top tier of undrafted guys that are looking around, with their agents, at teams that they could possibly break into.
Players would then have all of training camp, plus three weeks of Preseason, before initial cuts, where teams much go from 90 players to 75.