Some things the Seahawks have to think about during this bye week...
I guess the whole 'Aaron Curry getting traded' thing came at a good time because it gives us bloggers and writers something to talk about during the bye week. Other than that though, the Seahawks have had Thursday - Sunday off and that means almost no news or anything intriguing has come out of the VMAC, so that just means it's time for me to do some speculating.
First, because Aaron Curry has been traded, that leaves the Seahawks with five linebackers on their active roster: Leroy Hill, David Hawthorne, K.J. Wright, Malcolm Smith, and David Vobora. Linebackers Jameson Konz, Matt McCoy, and Dexter Davis are on the injured reserve.
Jameson Konz' roster spot was filled by former USC RB Allen Bradford on Friday but there's still one open spot on the team due to Curry's departure.
With the Seahawks on their bye weekend, coming up on the trade deadline this Tuesday, and facing some pretty serious injuries and personnel scenarios, let's take a quick look at the avenues they could take in the next couple days in terms of filling out their roster, if and when they lose any more players.
Keep in mind that Curry's spot is open, Tarvaris Jackson has a fairly serious injury that could mean his being placed on IR, we haven't yet heard the severity of Zach Miller's injury, the trade deadline is coming up and John Schneider LOVES Draft picks, meaning he might trade off more players for picks, and the PUP rules go into effect after week six, meaning the three Seahawks on the Physically Unable to Perform list can now start returning to practice and soon be added to the active roster. Let's review:
The Practice Squad:
The Seahawks have eight players on their practice squad at all times. They've been pretty active in churning this group, based on need and roster evaluation. Right now the Seahawks have offensive linemen Paul Fanaika, Brent Osborne, cornerback/safety Chris Maragos, defensive end Lazarius Levingston, wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, running back Vai Taua, TE John Nalbone, and linebacker Mike Morgan on their 'scout team'.
The Hawks could call these guys up, so to speak, to their active roster if they have personnel needs at a certain position. Mike Morgan might be the most likely candidate, but with Zach Miller injured the Seahawks have only one healthy TE in Anthony McCoy at the moment. This could mean good things for John Nalbone.
There are still hundreds and hundreds of free agents out there on speed dial for the Seahawks' front office. Lawyer Milloy, Lofa Tatupu, Dominique Byrd, Junior Siavii, Colin Cole, Mark LeGree, and any of the dozens of undrafted free agents that came through Seahawks training camp are still without jobs, waiting to heal up from injuries or get a call when another player has one.
Just because a player doesn't have a job doesn't mean they're not skilled. Some guys are on their couch for various reasons, but remember that WR Brandon Stokley was signed by the Seahawks mid-season last year and came on to be one of their most effective receivers during the later part of the year. All these guys have talent and most have drive - if put in the right situation, a lot of them could shine. The NFL has only 1,700 roster spots for thousands of college football players and free agents out there right now. Sifting through the haystack to find that perfect fit needle is what separates great front offices from the rest.
The Seahawks are blessed, I think, with a very open-minded and deep scouting General Manager in John Schneider. His personnel quest is what brought the Seahawks Chris Clemons, a middling backup defensive end from the Eagles, and turned him into what he is today. Schneider brought us Doug Baldwin - an unheralded and undrafted free agent rookie that is lighting it up right now. He brought us guys like Brandon Browner down from Canada, and Mike Williams from career suicide. Obviously, some of these reclamation projects don't work out, but I for one am glad he's willing to give them a shot.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see if and when they bring in some obscure player to play a role on this team.
The PUP list:
Right now, WR Deon Butler, TE Cameron Morrah, and DB Roy Lewis are on the Physically Unable to Perform List. Here is how the PUP works: If a player is placed on the PUP list to start the season, they can't play for the first six games. They are also not allowed to practice with the team during those first six weeks.
After that, the PUP list player has three weeks to begin practicing with the team. If he is unable to start practicing with the team during those three weeks, he has to go on IR and thus miss the rest of the season.
From the time that the player starts practicing with the team, the team has three more weeks to add the player to the 53-man roster.
In summary, there are four relevant dates:
Start of season: If you're on PUP, you have to sit out 6 weeks. This is what happened with Butler, Morrah, and Lewis.
Week Seven: now you're allowed to practice. This will be Monday.
Week Ten: if you're not practicing by now, you're on IR.
Week Thirteen: if you're not on the 53-man roster by now, you're on IR.
This means that trio has three weeks from tomorrow to start practicing with the team or they'll be placed on the IR. If any of them start practicing with the team, starting Monday, they'll have three weeks to be placed on the Active Roster, meaning another player will lose his spot.
My opinion is that Cameron Morrah is the most likely to return to action soon. He had a foot issue that kept him out of training camp and on the PUP, but from the scuttlebutt going around it seemed to be not too serious. Furthermore, Morrah is good. And the Seahawks are short on tight ends. He'll most likely be the first priority.
I'm not sure about Lewis or Butler though. Lewis is a good nickelback but this team drafted three this year and two stuck - Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell. If the Hawks were super high on Lewis I'm not sure they'd have selected that many DBs but you just never know. He might fill a need.
Butler is the product of an earlier regime and we've seen what has happened with the vast majority of those guys. I doubt Butler has a spot on this roster anymore with the talent the Seahawks have amassed there. Of course, I could be wrong, but I see Butler as the most likely IR or cut candidate.
These are the things that are on the minds of the Seahawks' front office right now. The players are just using their time off to get healthy.