It seems that the NFL Lockout could mercifully end soon and once that happens teams will be able to finally sign their rookies, make trades, and go out into the free agency market and pick up some key players. During this mad frenzy of activity, there are always a few players that get released due to bloated salaries, injuries, bloated salaries combined with injuries, and/or poor performance. In the next week or two I'll go through and point out some players on other teams that may get released and subsequently could be attractive to the Seahawks, but first I wanted to look a few players that could be on a short list of expendability on Seattle's roster.
Though I don't really think there will be many high-profile releases at this point, - the Hawks are well under the salary cap and did a lot of house-cleaning already last season-, nothing would really surprise me with this front office. The release of LenDale White only a few weeks after trading for him was a surprise. The release of arguably our 'best' wide receiver at the time last season, TJ Houshmandzadeh, came as a surprise to a few as well. With that in mind, let's review a few players and their chances in 2011- first up: G/T Stacy Andrews.
Andrews is due $5.25 million in 2011. He's a true tackle, and that's where he made his money in Cincinnati. He scored 6-year, $38.9 million contract in Philadelphia after playing quite well at right tackle for the Bengals but the Eagles projected him to play guard (apparently without telling him?), which turned out to be a failure. The Seahawks gave up a 2011 7th rounder for Andrews last September, but since coming to the Seahawks he found himself again moved to guard and subsequently relegated to the bench for the most of the later part of the season. He couldn't beat Sean Locklear out for the right tackle position and now James Carpenter has been drafted to play the spot Locklear is vacating in free agency.
It's a bit unclear if he's in the Seahawks plans for this season- they seem to have traded for him with the belief he could work at either guard or tackle but it remains to be seen what they saw from him results-wise last year. In a recent interview, he stated he's down to about 312 (from 342 last season) and has been working to improve his lower body power and strength. His goal is to play at about 320, 325 and as he puts it, "I'm going to be one to reckon with this year!"
Twenty (or thirty) pounds is a pretty significant weight loss and in the ZBS that will be run by Bevell and Cable this season, some added quickness could prove to be beneficial for Andrews. For a weight/height comparison - Andrews stands at 6'7 and would probably be playing at around 325. This is almost identical to Robert Gallery's size (6'7, 325 ... ok, so exactly identical). Other Seahawks in the fray are Mike Gibson (6'3, 298), Chris White (6'2, 295), and Tyler Polumbus (6'8, 300). So really, Andrews' weight loss could be important in his quest to find a starting spot on the Seahawks' roster, most probably at the empty left guard position.
Andrews is now about 2 years removed from an ACL tear to his knee. As most people are beginning to realize, you can come back and "play" about 8-10 months after a tear, but one doesn't really regain full strength and mobility until about two years after surgery. This could have been a huge factor in his play the last two seasons and is something the Seahawks will have to take into account if they indeed have plans to release him.
My guess is that Andrews will be invited to camp and will be given the opportunity to prove his knee is healed and he's ready to compete. It never hurts, as we saw last season, to have quality depth on the line at tackle, and with Russell Okung's ankle and James Carpenter's inexperience, Andrews could find himself on the field in relief.
With the Seahawks (likely) ridiculous amount of cap space, the money he's owed could become less of a problem, depending on how much of a splash they make in free agency. Either way, what happens with Andrews in training camp will be an interesting storyline.
Stay tuned for more on the subject in the next few days.
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