It’s that time of the year on the football calendar when it’s the dead zone between the end of the offseason program in June and the start of training camp in July. For most of the NFL that means sitting around waiting for the league office to drop a Friday news dump on Deshaun Watson’s suspension late in the afternoon on July 1, just as most fans can miss it as they head into the long holiday weekend. For the Seattle Seahawks it means weeks filled with speculation about the possible answers to the most questions the team has faced heading into training camp since 2012.
So, without wasting too much time, here is an attempt to answer some of those questions with a way too early look at what the 53 man roster could look like when final roster cuts arrive in September.
Keep: Geno Smith and Drew Lock
Cut: Jacob Eason
Barring a late summer move to add another name, it’s looking more and more like the 2022 season will be the Geno Smith and/or Drew Lock show. Whether one or both of them will show anything, or whether they’ll both be free agents hoping to latch on with another team next spring remains to be seen.
Running Back (4)
Keep: Rashaad Penny, Kenneth Walker III, DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer
Cut: Josh Johnson, Darwin Thompson and whoever is added to spell Chris Carson
As much as Pete Carroll loves Carson, given that it’s been more than six months since his neck surgery and he has yet to pass a physical and gain clearance to play, it seems more and more likely that that clearance won’t be coming. With that the case, the decision will become whether to release him with a failed physical designation or whether to put him on the Physically Unable to Perform list in hopes that he could be cleared sometime between the start of camp and final roster cuts. The only issue with the strategy of placing Carson on the PUP list is that doing so does not open up an additional roster spot, and with the status of several players, including Marquise Blair, Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Ben Burr-Kirven, Jon Rhattigan and Tre Brown, unknown heading into camp, roster spots could be at a premium.
So, while there seems little question regarding the top two and Homer’s role as the third down back seems pretty secure, that leaves the fourth running back spot up for battle during camp.
Tight End (3)
Keep: Will Dissly, Noah Fant and Colby Parkinson
Cut: Cade Brewer and Tyler Mabry
The spots of Dissly and Fant seem secure after the team committed more than $30M to the pair this offseason, though there Parkinson could certainly see his spot snagged by either Brewer or Mabry. Entering the third year of his career Parkinson has recorded just seven catches for 49 yards, and while he’s still young at just 23 years of age, that is production that is far short of what many had hoped for after he was added in the 2020 draft.
Wide Receiver (5)
Keep: Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Dee Eskridge, Freddie Swain and Cody Thompson
Cut: Deontez Alexander, Aaron Fuller, Marquise Goodwin, Penny Hart, Cade Johnson, Kevin Kassis, Bo Melton and Dareke Young
The top of the depth chart for the receivers is set, barring injury, though there is certainly plenty of room for debate on the lower end. Thomson gets the nod over the contenders after logging 47 special teams snaps in five games during the 2021 season. It would not be a surprise at all to see the Hawks carry three or four receivers on the practice squad, which could easily include Hart and the duo of rookie seventh rounders, Melton and Young.
Interior Offensive Line (6)
Keep: Damien Lewis, Austin Blythe, Gabe Jackson, Dakoda Shepley, Kyle Fuller and Phil Haynes
Cut: Shamarious Gilmore and Pier-Olivier Lestage
There don’t be a lot of questions about the starters, outside of Jackson recovering from an offseason knee procedure that held him out of minicamp. There obviously appears to be a lot of hope among fans that Phil Haynes could unseat Jackson at right guard, but with Haynes set to be an unrestricted free agent next spring, that could become expensive for 2023, though that’s not exactly a bad problem to have.
It seems likely that fans won’t be all that excited to see Fuller on the roster again, but he remains the most experienced depth on the interior and has played in the system should Blythe go down.
Keep: Charles Cross, Abe Lucas, Stone Forsythe and Jake Curhan
Cut: Greg Eiland and Liam Ryan
Forsythe, who will turn 25 in December, is currently the oldest tackle on the roster, so it’s unquestionably a youth movement at the position in 2022 for the Hawks. That likely means growing pains, particularly early in the year, but without veterans around to steal their practice reps and playing time during training camp, the improvement will hopefully come quickly. With Jamarco Jones off to the Tennessee Titans, the role he filled as depth on both the interior and at tackle appears likely to get filled by Curhan.