Less than three weeks remain until the Seattle Seahawks take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, and while the Hawks trimmed the roster from 85 to 80 players Monday, one round of cuts remains. By Tuesday, August 31 at 4 PM New York Time the team must be down to 53 players, and here’s a final attempt at guessing what that might look like.
Keep: Russell Wilson and Geno Smith
Cut: Sean Mannion
This is not difficult. Mannion won’t be exposed to waivers after being cut, and likely takes up one of the spots on the practice squad for experienced players while holding down his role as the emergency quarterback.
Keep: Chris Carson, Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas and Rashaad Penny
Cut: Alex Collins and Josh Johnson
Carson and Homer have yet to see the field during the preseason, while Dallas has potentially been the highlight of the team through the first two fake games. Many may want to get rid of Homer and give his roster spot to Collins, but that ignores what running back coach Chad Morton had to say in a recent interview with Mike Dugar of The Athletic.
If you can’t protect, I am not going to put you back there. I’m not risking [Russell Wilson] or the team or anybody. You got to get it done.
Simply put, Homer is the third down back because he’s one of, if not the, best pass blocking running backs in the NFL, and that likely all but secures him a roster spot even after having missed most of training camp.
Keep: Pro Bowler Nick Bellore
Cut: None. Bellore’s the only fullback on the roster.
Here’s what I wrote about Bellore in May:
Fans keep calling for Bellore’s head, and Bellore and the team simply laugh at their naivete. Bellore has been on the field for 560 special teams snaps for the Seahawks since his arrival prior to the 2019 season, and that is where the focus should be for fans, rather than on his 64 offensive snaps. Fans may hate his $1.7M cap number, but the odds of Bellore going anywhere other than onto the field for Larry Izzo’s special teams groups seem very long.
Here’s what I wrote about Bellore in July:
That is still correct. The only thing that might be worth adding is that in addition to being a core member of the special teams and a Pro Bowl fullback, Bellore also has the third most experience at linebacker on the roster. Bellore did not convert to fullback until 2017, and prior to moving to fullback full time in 2018 he started a dozen games at linebacker while logging 819 defensive snaps for the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions. Meaning for those looking for another reason to hate Bellore, it’s possible that part of the reason the Hawks haven’t felt the need to bring back fan favorite K.J. Wright is because they already have emergency linebacker Nick Bellore in house. Happy Tuesday.
Keep: Gerald Everett, Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson and Tyler Mabry
Cut: Cam Sutton
Everett and Dissly are locks barring injury Saturday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Parkinson’s injury is the wild card. Either it’s bad, and he won’t play until well into the season, or it’s not that bad and he’ll be back in a couple of weeks. Having Luke Willson in for a visit doesn’t seem like a resounding vote of confidence for the foot of either Parkinson or Mabry, but the visit could be little more than getting Willson into the testing protocol so he’s able to sign to the practice squad next week if depth is needed.
Interior Offensive Line
Keep: Gabe Jackson, Ethan Pocic, Damien Lewis and Kyle Fuller
Cut: Jordan Simmons, Brad Lundblade, Jared Hocker, Pier-Olivier Lestage and Phil Haynes
The starters on the offensive line are likely set, with Fuller likely to be the primary depth on the interior of the offensive line. Pocic’s hamstring could complicate things at the position, but if the team truly believes he’ll be ready to play, it’s possible Lewis could be the emergency center if needed.
Keep: Duane Brown, Brandon Shell, Stone Forsythe, Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Curhan
Cut: Jamarco Jones, Greg Eiland and Tommy Champion
Brown and Shell remain the starters and Ogbuehi, once healthy, is the swing tackle for now. That said, Forsythe has shown enough during the preseason that he likely gets the nod as depth at left tackle, and with Brown unlikely to practice much at all during the season will give Forsythe plenty of live fire reps during the year. Curhan has shown enough at guard and tackle this offseason that he might not make it through waivers, and could fill the role of versatile depth who can fill in at multiple spots on the line. Never ideal to have a rookie undrafted free agent on the field as a rookie, but the hope would be that his services don’t become necessary.
Keep: Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, D’Wayne Eskridge, Freddie Swain, Penny Hart and Cody Thompson
Cut: Aaron Fuller, Cade Johnson, Connor Wedington, Travis Toivonen and Darece Roberson
Based on the limited number of snaps they have played in the preseason, Lockett, Metcalf, Eskridge and Swain appear to locks. Hart was performing well until a foot injury derailed his camp, so now the question becomes whether he did enough before the injury to secure a spot. He was one of the names in the competition as punt returner, and the injury to Ursua against the Broncos left Aaron Fuller to return punts. Who is back fielding punts in the preseason finale could give a hint. Swain’s lone snap against the Broncos came on a fair catch of a second quarter punt, meaning it would appear he may have that role secured.
Hart and Thompson secure the final spots based on the special teams and more time and experience in the system relative to the other names on the list competing for these roles.
Now it just comes down to hoping everyone stays healthy Saturday against the Chargers.