News broke yesterday that Seahawks wide receiver David Moore will not require surgery, and should return much sooner than expected. It was also reported that he will not need to go on injured reserve. That may be accurate, but could also be misleading. A variety of factors are creating a lengthening list of scenarios for how the team handles the receiver position. Here are a few of the options, and the probability of each occurring.
Moore is out for several weeks, but not the whole season. We know this given the news about not needing to go on IR.
Players placed on IR before the 53-man roster is finalized are ineligible to return during the season. Players placed on IR after the roster is finalized are eligible to come back after eight weeks.
Moore plays all three receiver spots, but is almost always going to be on the outside at either the split end or flanker spots
Jaron Brown has been playing all three spots as well, but also is far more likely to be on the outside
Tyler Lockett has typically played flanker, but is expected to play much more in the slot this year
D.K. Metcalf is a split end only
Metcalf is recovering from surgery, and my best guess is he will be available by week two. If the team is confident he will be back for the opener, there will be meaningful impact on the roster decisions.
John Ursua is only a slot receiver at this point, and has most clearly earned a roster spot of all the newer receivers on the roster.
There is no other player close to making the roster who profiles as a backup slot receiver.
Malik Turner plays flanker and split end. He also plays special teams, and has been on the active roster before.
Jazz Ferguson is only a split end, has no role to play on special teams, and has fallen off after a strong start
Gary Jennings has mostly been a split end, has not contributed on special teams, and has not stood out for most of training camp and preseason
Option 1: Keep Seven Receivers, No IR for Moore
The idea here would be that Moore is going to be back soon enough that they do not want to place him on IR, but the team also can’t make up their minds about who to cut, so they just keep a bunch of players and know they will cut one or more in the weeks that follow. This would require them to keep only four running backs or two tight ends.
Option 2: Keep Six Receivers, Place Moore on IR immediately, Sign Replacement
In this scenario, the Seahawks name Moore to their final roster, but immediately place him on IR, with eligibility to return later in the season. This would mean they would have to cut someone like Jennings and expose him to waivers before re-signing him shortly after. The most likely candidates for being cut and re-signed would be Jennings and Turner. Turner is the more valuable player to the team right now, but Jennings is more likely to be snagged by another team due to draft status.
I’d guess the team would risk letting Turner go, and try to resign him soon after.
David Moore (immediately to IR)
Malik Turner (cut and resigned)
Option 3: Keep Six Receivers, No IR for Moore
If the team thinks Moore can be back within 3-4 weeks, they may just choose to keep him on the roster. The truth is that this team only needs four active receivers on any given week, and rarely keeps six on the full roster. This essentially means they have five receivers on the roster for the time that Moore is injured.
I still believe the team see Turner as more useful than Jennings at this point in their careers. They could decide that Turner is someone they could stash on practice squad and keep Jennings instead. That comes with some risk as Turner is more able to step in for Moore than Jennings. That only really becomes an issue if Metcalf cannot come back soon or if there is an injury to Brown.
Fans will want Jennings, but keeping him over Turner represents more risk to this season.
David Moore (inactive for a few weeks)
Option 4: Keep Five Receivers
This is a variation of the above options. You could repeat each with one less name from the bottom of the list. If they put Moore, immediately to IR, they would have to cut both Turner and Jennings and then resign one of them.
If Moore is not put on IR, they would cut both Turner and Jennings and hope they could get at least one to the practice squad, possibly with Ferguson as well.