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Five Qs before camp: Do Seahawks know they have an open roster spot?

Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

It’s Monday, which means it’s back to the grind for most people even though it’s the middle of summer. However, for football fans this week marks the end of the offseason. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys will report for training camp in advance of their matchup in the 2021 Hall of Fame Game on August 5, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will report on Saturday the 24th. For fans of the Seattle Seahawks, there is another week of waiting, with the Hawks scheduled to report on July 27, with the first on field activities set for Wednesday the 28th. To help fans fill the void of this final full week before the Seahawks report to camp, Field Gulls will look at five roster questions facing the team before or during training camp.

The first of these is one that has been looked at here earlier this month, and that is how the team will fill the roster spot that has been sitting open for nearly three weeks. Obviously, there have not been any practices during the time that the roster spot has been sitting open and available, but that doesn’t mean there’s no advantage to filling the spot. Specifically, any offensive player would be coming into a new system, that of first time offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, and even in the absence of practices, there is an advantage in getting the playbook into the hands of a new players. NFL level offenses are complicated, and the more time a player has to learn the specifics of their assignments, the better. Thus, the fact that the front office has let the spot sit empty for nearly three weeks is, in a word, interesting.

Digging right to the heart of the matter, the most interesting thing about it sitting open for so long is that this could indicate the team is looking at filling the spot with a defensive player. There are fewer question marks on the offensive side of the ball, with ten of eleven positions effectively locked down by the presumed starter, barring injury. Those ten spots are:

  • QB Russell Wilson
  • RB Chris Carson
  • TE Gerald Everett
  • LT Duane Brown
  • LG Damien Lewis
  • C Ethan Pocic
  • RG Gabe Jackson
  • RT Brandon Shell
  • WR1 Tyler Lockett
  • WR2 DK Metcalf

With so few questions on that side of the ball, it is not difficult to see the team adding to the defensive side. There are certainly more unknowns there, where the starters who have their roles clearly known include

  • MLB Bobby Wagner
  • WLB Jordyn Brooks
  • SLB Darrell Taylor
  • SS Jamal Adams
  • FS Quandre Diggs
  • DT Poona Ford

From there it’s a mix of names who will no doubt see the field, but for whom the exact role likely won’t be known until training camp is finished and the regular season has arrived. The defensive line, for example, is a mix of experience and potential, including L.J. Collier, Carlos Dunlap, Rasheem Green, Kerry Hyder, Benson Mayowa, Alton Robinson, Al Woods and others, but exactly who will start and who will play where and when appears far more dependent on the training camp competitions than in years past.

Which brings things back to the open roster spot. There is a ton of competition at outside cornerback, where five different players bring at least a thousand defensive snaps and ten games of starting experience, before even considering fourth round draft pick Tre Brown who figures to throw his name into the mix. With that much experience on both the defensive line and in the secondary, it almost funnels the discussion to a position which has been discussed at length by fans during the offseason: linebacker.

As noted above, throughout the offseason all indications have been that there is no doubt who the starters will be for Seattle. However, as has been noted by many, the depth of the group is somewhat lacking. This brings thing back to the discussion that there are multiple free agents available who could be signed to fill the spot, including fan favorites K.J. Wright or Bruce Irvin, or even Mychal Kendricks, all of whom have experience in the system. That experience could be key, and could be the reason why the Hawks are not in a rush to fill the open roster spot. As noted above, getting the playbook into the hands of a potential contributor early so they can learn their assignments is certainly beneficial on offense, and the same goes for the defense as well. However, there would not be as much urgency to get the playbook into the hands of someone who is already familiar with the system and their responsibilities. That point certainly could mean that the reason the front office is not in a rush to fill the final roster spot is because they know who they are going to sign and that player already knows their role and responsibilities.

From there it becomes a matter of who could be the best option to fill the spot. Would be interested in being a backup for a team on which he has been the unquestioned starter for much of the past decade? Could the team be looking to take advantage of Irvin’s recovery from a 2020 knee injury by structuring a contract in such a way that his initial cap hit could be minimized? Lastly, with no more sentencing delays, could the team turn to Kendricks, who will finally learn his punishment for insider trading Thursday morning at 10:30 AM?

It’s a single open roster spot that the Seahawks currently need to figure out how to fill, however the fact that it has been open for nearly three weeks leads to more questions than answers for an organization known for bottom of the roster churn.