The Seahawks needed only one game of problems on short-yardage plays and tailback Thomas Rawls running fullback dives before they decided to bring back Will Tukuafu.
Seattle on Tuesday re-signed their veteran fullback from the last two seasons, two weeks after they’d released him. The reason he was gone in the first place: a vested veteran such as the 32-year-old Tukuafu get all of his contract for that season guaranteed if he is on a roster for Week 1 of the regular season. By not being on it then but on it for Week 2, the Seahawks will pay Tukuafu week-to-week on his $760,000 base salary, with the option to release him if need be at no extra cost.
If he is on the roster for the final 15 regular-season games, beginning on Sunday at Los Angeles, Tukuafu will earn 16/17ths of his full base pay.
Seattle waived Tani Tupou, the former Washington Huskies defensive lineman the Seahawks had been using as a backup fullback. Tupou played seven of the offense’s 82 snaps in Sunday’s opener against Miami.
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In that game, the Seahawks failed to get a first down on third and 1 and fourth and inches, using Rawls as a dive fullback out of I formation with Christine Michael as the tailback. By the end of the game in short yardage, the Seahawks were resorting to shotgun, spread formations.
With Tukuafu back, Seattle has a 285-pound vanguard to ram into running lanes ahead of Rawls and Michael carrying the ball.
The Seahawks also waived cornerback Tharold Simon and signed defensive back Neiko Thorpe. Thorpe played in 28 games the last two season with Oakland. He was an undrafted rookie free agent out of Auburn for Kansas City in 2012.
Simon was Seattle’s fifth-round pick out of LSU in 2013. He spent three-plus seasons either injured or prone to penalties. The Seahawks gave up waiting on him to fulfill what they saw as potential as large as his 6-foot-3, 202-pound body. This was the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, and in August he spoke as if he knew this was his last chance to impress the Seahawks. Yet he remained a backup cornerback and special-teams bit player. Simon was inactive for the opener last weekend.
Many Seahawks fans will remember Simon for Super Bowl 49 in February 2015. Nickel back Jeremy Lane broke his arm and shredded his knee early in that title game. Then-starting cornerback Byron Maxwell went inside to nickel, and an ailing Simon took Maxwell’s right cornerback spot. That was because Seattle decisively had left Marcus Burley, the backup nickel who had played there at the start of the 2014 season, on the inactive list before the game.
Tom Brady and New England targeted Simon immediately upon his entrance. Brady threw two touchdown passes against Simon as the Patriots rallied from two scores down in the fourth quarter to win the NFL championship.
KASEN WILLIAMS RELEASED FROM PRACTICE SQUAD
The NFL’s official transactions from Tuesday also showed the Seahawks swapped three of their 10 spots on the practice squad.
The most familiar name was Kasen Williams; the Seahawks released the former UW wide receiver from the Seattle suburbs. He couldn’t get his hamstring healthy after injuring it early in training camp. That cost him the spot he had on the active roster for the final seven regular-season games and both playoff games last season as an undrafted rookie.
Seattle also released defensive tackle Justin Hamilton and wide receiver Rodney Smith from the practice squad, and signed to it quarterback Jake Heaps, Williams’ teammate at Skyline High School in Sammamish (explained here from Tuesday morning), defensive tackle Tylor Harris and offensive tackle Michael Ola.