The Seattle Seahawks’ backfield appears set to become a Marshawn Lynch-Fred Jackson Buffalo reunion.
The team is to announce its initial 53-man roster for the regular season by Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Jackson may or may not be on it. Robert Turbin apparently won’t.
A league source with knowledge of the negotiations said Friday evening the Seahawks are “close” to a one-year deal for Jackson, the free-agent running back the Bills released this week and that the team could finalize it over the holiday weekend.
That means the 34-year-old Jackson, a close friend and former co-lead back in Buffalo with Lynch, may or may not be on the 53-man roster.
Indications were that Turbin, the No. 2 running back for years, learned he will be placed on waived/injured status Saturday around the same time Jackson was close to signing with the Seahawks.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network was the first to report Seattle’s fourth-round draft choice in 2012 will be waived with an injury designation because he is estimated to be out five weeks with a sprained ankle.
Turbin has been a change-of-pace back in the Seahawks’ hurry-up offensive sets. Jackson, who is known as an exquisite receiver out of the backfield, now is about to assume that role.
Turbin sustained a high-ankle sprain last weekend at San Diego in the third exhibition game. Coach Pete Carroll has been asked all week for a time frame on his recovery from what he called “a legitimate” ankle sprain, knowing that would tie into a Jackson signing. The coach hasn’t given one. That type of injury can take a month or more to heal, depending on the severity of ligament damage.
Before the ankle injury, Turbin went outside the team’s medical staff to have double-hip surgery in Colorado this offseason.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday afternoon the deal for Jackson was done, but the Seahawks may need another roster move after they set the initial 53-man roster with 22 moves on Saturday to add Jackson to it.
Jackson, who shared the lead-back job with Lynch in 2009 and the start of the 2010 season in Buffalo, visited the Seahawks on Tuesday and took a physical exam according to Carroll.
Turbin’s exit means Christine Michael remains on the team for the start of his third regular season. The second-round pick in 2013 had an up-and-down preseason and for the past year has been trying to gain the trust of Seahawks coaches following fumbles, missed assignments, fundamental errors and pouting. But he’s also shown flashes of brilliance.
Who else will stick on the initial, 53-man roster? Here are The News Tribune’s projections:
Russell Wilson, Tarvaris Jackson
Cut: R.J. Archer onto practice squad
Wide receiver B.J. Daniels’ versatility as an emergency third quarterback means Seattle doesn’t have to use up a roster spot. Jackson will return next week from a high-ankle sprain, though the Seahawks count on Wilson to take just about every snap.
RUNNING BACK (5)
Marshawn Lynch, Derrick Coleman, Christine Michael, Thomas Rawls
Cut: Will Tukuafu, Rod Smith onto the practice squad
Rawls, the impressive rookie, will only be on if Jackson hasn’t signed his deal by Saturday. Tukuafu can also play tight end and defensive line, but loses out because fullback Coleman returns after sustaining a broken foot last season.
WIDE RECEIVER (7)
Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Tyler Lockett, Chris Matthews, Ricardo Lockette, B.J. Daniels, Kevin Smith.
Cut: Kasen Williams onto practice squad
Physically-unable-to-perform list: Paul Richardson
They keep seven because of Daniels’ versatility. Lockette could be out if Seattle keeps only six receivers, but remember how much this coaching staff values his special teams play. Matthews has not seized on his breakout game in the Super Bowl. Daniels had a fantastic summer, selflessly changing positions from quarterback after initially not being too thrilled over it. Coaches will reward that. Smith makes it over Williams, barely, because of special teams. Williams did all he could have — except make more tackles on the kick coverage teams. Williams over Smith wouldn’t surprise, though.
TIGHT END (3)
Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Anthony McCoy
Cut: Cooper Helfet, RaShaun Allen.
Helfet can’t stay healthy, and is basically a speedy clone of the more productive Willson. McCoy gives this position needed bulk for run downs. Graham is a tight end in name only. He’ll be like he was with New Orleans — all over the formations, inside and outside.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
Russell Okung, Justin Britt, Drew Nowak, J.R. Sweezy, Garry Gilliam, Alvin Bailey, Patrick Lewis, Mark Glowinski, KeaVon Milton
Cut: Kristjan Sokoli to practice squad, Will Pericak, Terry Poole.
The new starting five, plus swing man Bailey, backup center Lewis, athletic rookie Glowinski and Milton. Bailey has been far from great, but playing multiple positions saves him. Tough to cut Milton three weeks after he was the first-team left guard, but it may happen if they think Sokoli is improving more rapidly than it seems. Poole was the top-drafted lineman (fourth round) of this rookie class, but is a big disappointment.
DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Brandon Mebane, Ahtyba Rubin, Jordan Hill, Frank Clark, Cassius Marsh, Demarcus Dobbs, Jesse Williams
Cut: Obum Gwacham, T.Y. McGill, Julius Warmsley, David King
So much deeper than it was in February’s Super Bowl, when Landon Cohen was playing a couple weeks after parking cars as a valet in South Carolina. Hill looks great after a calf injury in January. Clark was unblockable all summer. Dobbs being able to play inside at defensive tackle and outside at end is valuable. Marsh’s speed is too enticing to cut.
Williams said this week he was getting evaluated to see if his cancer had spread. If the Seahawks know the results by Saturday afternoon, he could go on the injured-reserve/non-football-injury list. That would end his season but he’d still get paid his $435,000 salary for this year.
Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Bruce Irvin, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Brock Coyle, Eric Pinkins
Cut: Mike Morgan, Tyrell Adams, Alex Singleton
Pierre-Louis is pushing for plenty of first-team time this season. Pinkins’ value on special teams gets him the final spot over Morgan, who has a hamstring injury and may be placed on waived/injured status.
Richard Sherman, Cary Williams, Will Blackmon, Tharold Simon, DeShawn Shead, Tye Smith
Cut: Douglas McNeil, Marcus Burley, Mohammed Seisay
PUP list: Jeremy Lane
Williams is the starting corner and Blackmon is the nickelback — for now. Neither has convinced anyone they will start all season. If Simon, only fully healthy from offseason shoulder surgery two weeks ago, gets consistent he could challenge for Williams’ right-cornerback job. Rookie Smith’s new experience as a nickel inside, too, makes Burley expendable. Shead’s best position is corner, but his ability to play safety and special teams is why he’s on the team.
Earl Thomas, Dion Bailey, Steven Terrell
Cut: Ronald Martin and Keenan Lambert onto practice squad, Ryan Murphy
Reserve, did-not-report list: Kam Chancellor
If Chancellor ever shows up from his 36-day holdout, Terrell could be out. Bailey starts in Chancellor’s place for now. Shead can play strong or free safety. Martin almost makes it. Chancellor won’t be happy when the team cuts his half-brother Lambert.
Steven Hauschka, Jon Ryan, Clint Gresham
SEPT. 13: Season opener, Seattle at St. Louis, 10 a.m., Ch. 13, 97.3-FM, 710-AM