You may have heard ESPN Seahawks beat writer, Terry Blount, has accepted a new role for NHRA. This is welcome news for many Seahawks fans who had been spoiled by Mike Sando’s analysis over the years, and were disappointed to see what often seemed like an uninformed slant from Blount, a former Nascar reporter. The latest set of articles he wrote on the Seahawks roster contain a few headlines worth challenging.
Christine Michael on roster bubble
Blount correctly asserts that Christine Michael has a lot to prove, and that the coaches have had positive things to say about Thomas Rawls. His conclusion about what those two things add up to is where things unravel.
Michael has another year under club control next season when he will make $1M. Robert Turbin is both injured and entering the final year of his rookie contract. Marshawn Lynch most likely plays this year and next (his deal was structured in a way that makes it unlikely the Seahawks would cut him until after 2016) and then hangs it up, but he could decide to retire after this season.
If you are John Schneider, are you in a better position to mitigate the risk of Lynch leaving with Michael on the roster or without? If they truly believe Rawls is a better option, then Blount could be right. Far more likely, however, is that Rawls is shooting for a spot on the practice squad where he could be stashed away and the team would still have a premium talent in the running back stable in Michael should he ever figure out how to get on the field.
Two fullbacks make the roster
Yep. You read that right. Blount has both Derrick Coleman and Will Tukuafu “likely” making the roster. Cutting Michael in order to have two players a position that only plays ~20% of the offensive snaps would be beyond absurd. Hard to have any credibility after coming to that conclusion.
Coleman has the advantage here because he is a core special teams player who the coaches have repeatedly noted as a big loss when he was injured before the first Rams game last year. Tukuafu played well as a lead blocker and provided some emergency depth at defensive line, but he is more of a jack of all trades, master of none. Generally speaking, John Schneider and Pete Carroll prefer to find masters, even if it is a niche.
Kevin Norwood on the bubble
The second article I read before I forced myself to stop was on the receiver position. It listed Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, and Paul Richardson as locks, had Chris Matthews and Ricardo Lockette as likely and Kevin Norwood on the bubble.
Norwood being on the bubble is not totally ridiculous, but the logic was thin. Here is a player who the team thought highly of in the draft and was very excited to add to the roster, who had an early injury problem that limited his opportunities. He made the most of the chances he got, and should be in position to step forward as a receiver in his second season. Keep in mind that receivers often take 2-3 years to find their footing in the NFL.
Add to all that the fact that Norwood is on his rookie deal for three more seasons, and the Seahawks would have to be pretty down on him or really excited about someone else to cast him aside so soon.
Separately, Richardson still may be a PUP candidate, so listing him as a lock seems premature and misleading. Lockette is far from “likely” to make the roster despite his excellence as a gunner. Lockette is 29 and has proven to be limited as a receiver. Schneider will look for every opportunity to get younger at the back end of his receiving group, and ideally with guys who have the potential to contribute more as receivers than Lockette ever has or will.
Jermaine Kearse is not a lock to make this team.
He is scheduled to make $2.3M this year, and the Seahawks could save all of it against the cap if he was cut. His performance was uneven last year and there is almost no chance he is signed again after this season. Should the Seahawks need cap space due to a Russell Wilson or Bobby Wagner signing, Kearse could be a cap casualty. Should Matthews and Lockett really step forward, Kearse may not be worth his contract to Seattle. If Richardson is healthy enough to make the opening day roster or Jimmy Graham is being counted as a wide receiver in the minds of the front office, Kearse could find himself playing elsewhere.
All those things could challenge Norwood as well, but he has the advantage of being far cheaper and under contract for three more seasons.