NFL teams have to cut their rosters down from 90 players to 75 by 4PM EST (1PM PST) on Tuesday, Aug. 27th. Some teams have already begun the process by announcing major cutdowns - Carolina, Baltimore, Indianapolis - and it wouldn't necessarily surprise me if Seattle does some of the same today.
Though, I do think John Schneider and company are probably working the phones looking for trade partners before cutting guys that teams could like. Either way - before Tuesday, the Hawks' roster will go to 75 players, and here's a quick look at some of the guys that could be released over the next few days.
My guess on the first 15 (and I have no clue if I'll be even remotely close so don't give me any guff if I'm wrong):
QB Brady Quinn 6'4,225
FB Derrick Coleman 6'0, 233
FB Phil Bates 6'1, 220
TE Darren Fells 6'7, 280
TE Jameson Konz 6'4, 250
TE Andrei Lintz 6'4, 242
WR Brett Swain 6'0, 200
WR Bryan Walters 6'0, 190
WR Donavon Kemp 6'1, 195
G/T Ryan Seymour 6'4, 300
G/C Jared Smith 6'3, 303
LB Craig Wilkins 6'1, 238
LB Kyle Knox 6'1, 220
S/CB Ron Parker 6'0, 206
LS Kyle Nelson
Assuming Seattle is unable to find trade partners for guys like Derrick Coleman or Brady Quinn, I could see the Hawks focusing this first round of cuts on the offensive side. I think on defense, there are more 'tradeable' pieces in the defensive secondary and at LEO/LB so I'm guessing Seattle will hold off on that.
So, my cuts include the third string quarterback, two fullbacks that have a tough shot at the roster (though both Coleman and Bates are likely practice squad types), three tight ends that will not likely have a shot and haven't shown a ton in preseason (though I think Fells is another practice squad candidate), and three receivers that haven't shown much in the preseason. Walters has been hurt, so if he passes waivers I could see them hold on to him on the IR (or they may just put him on the Injured Reserve and keep him on the current contract they have him on). Kemp and Swain haven't done much at this point.
I don't know if Jared Smith and Ryan Seymour have done anything noteworthy enough in this preseason to warrant waiver claims so perhaps they'll be involved in this first purge. Both of those guys are potential practice squad types and the Hawks have included their eventual PS players in the first rounds of cuts in the past so it's not unprecedented. The main reason I see them cutting their PS type guys early on is because a good chunk of them are 'developmental' types like Bates, Fells, Seymour and Smith, and won't likely garner a ton of interest on the open market.
On defense, the first two to go might be Craig Wilkens and Kyle Knox. Knox has a shot to be claimed, as he's played fairly well in the preseason.
Ron Parker is a guy that this front office really likes but as he's been hurt over the last month or so, he could find his way to the injured reserve or practice squad after passing waivers.
Of course, there are countless combinations of other players that could be cut in this first round. Here are a few that may make the list....
RB Spencer Ware 5'10,229
WR Perez Ashford 5'10,182
WR Arceto Clark 5'10, 180
TE Sean McGrath 6'5, 255
TE Cooper Helfet 6'4, 240
T/C Mike Person 6'4, 299
G/C Lemuel Jeanpierre 6'3, 301
G Rishaw Johnson, 6'3, 320
DL Michael Brooks, 6'2, 295
DL Martin Parker, 6'3, 303
NT Dewayne Cherrington 6'2, 355
S/CB Deshawn Shead 6'1, 220
SS Winston Guy 6'1, 217
S Chris Maragos 5'10, 200
CB WIll Blackmon 6'0, 210
Ware didn't see much action on Friday so his future with the club comes into some question. I think the Hawks are high on both Ashford and Clark but could release them in the first round of cuts in order to 'hide' some of that excitement (did that with Phil Bates last year, for instance). McGrath has looked good and I don't really think he'll get cut, but the team could like the overall potential of Helfet or Fells. On the offensive line, Person, Jeanpierre, and Johnson haven't particularly distinguished themselves in the first three preseason games so they could face cutdowns.
On defense, Brooks has looked great, but probably doesn't have a legit shot at the active roster this year. An early cut could, again, try to 'hide' him a little. Martin Parker too has looked decent out there but has little shot at a roster spot at this point. Cherrington was just signed off the street so he's naturally a guy they could turn around and cut immediately with little fear of him catching on elsewhere.
The secondary is deep. That much we know. If anyone is going to get cut though, it would probably be among the four or Shead, Guy, Blackmon, and possibly Maragos.
These cutdowns are going to be brutal. Who are your 15? I went super offense heavy, obviously, and that will probably end up inaccurate, but it reflects my opinion on the strength of Seattle's depth on defense.
UPDATE: Here's a running tally of cuts as they come in. I'll be out for a while this afternoon but go ahead and put updates in the comments as we go. Craig Wilkens intimated on Twitter that he's been cut.
Thanks to the @Seahawks organization for giving me an opportunity to pursue my dream, Wish them nothing but the best moving forward— Craig Wilkins (@THE_12thmonarch) August 25, 2013