The Seahawks get back to the practice field in Renton this afternoon for Sunday's game at San Diego following two days off, the back-side perk of playing a Thursday night opener. Then tonight they get to "scout" the Chargers, and division-rival Cardinals, from their living rooms as San Diego plays at 7:20 p.m. at Arizona.
As of this morning Seattle has 52 players on its 53-man active roster, following Saturday's release of wide receiver Phil Bates. That means a signing is coming, most likely a cornerback to back-fill for Jeremy Lane's groin injury and Tharold Simon's minor knee surgery late last week. The second priority would seem to be depth on the offensive line in the wake of Lemuel Jeanpierre going on injured reserve with a nerve issue in his neck.
This is an advantangeous time for the Seahawks to go shopping for a veteran defensive back; after Week 1 of the regular season a team can sign a vested veteran (four or more years of league service time) without having to guarantee his contract for the entire season. For example, if the Seahawks decided to add Eric Winston back to the offensive line right now they could do so by paying him on a week-to-week basis $50,294, the 1/17th proration of the $855,000 minimum, one-year contract the collective bargaining agreement mandates for a ninth-year veteran. If they had signed him last Wednesday, they would have had to pay him all $855,000 on a veteran-minimum deal. (As many of you likely know players are paid their salary split into 17 parts, one for each game of the regular season plus the bye week. The checks stop after the regular season ends, which is why postseason cash bonuses that increase with each playoff win are a big deal, especially for younger players on non-guaranteed, minimum contracts).
Of course, Winston and fellow veteran free agents have some leverage now they didn't have last week; for instance, Green Bay is in need of a veteran offensive tackle with starter Bryan Bulaga out two to four weeks from an injury he got in the opener against the Seahawks. Winston may not be the best fit for Seattle right now anyway, given the Seahawks need a guard/center more than a tackle.
UPDATE: Agent: Seahawks sign OT Andrew McDonald to active roster off Carolina's practice squad.
Agent Brett Tessler also tweeted: "So proud of my client Andrew McDonald... signed to an NFL roster today after beating testicular cancer just 3 months ago! #Seahawks"
As for Bates: Assuming he hasn't been claimed, as he wasn't last week when he was released before being re-signed, he should have cleared waivers by now and could be added to the practice squad soon.
In this morning's News Tribune I tell more of Bryan Walters' story. It's as much about his background and how he got from going to games watching Chris Warren and Brian Blades in the Kingdome to Juanita High School in Kirkland to Cornell via a football camp at Washington State before the NFL as him being Seattle's alternative to Earl Thomas as the primary punt returner. Did you know?: Walters is the 15th former Ivy League player to win a Super Bowl ring, and just the second Cornell graduate to win a Super Bowl title. The other? Derrick Harmon, a kick returner with the 1984 San Francisco 49ers.
--Speaking of Santa Clara's new team, it got thrown a 28-17 win yesterday at Dallas when Tony Romo threw three interceptions. That spotted the 49ers a 28-3 lead at halftime. When it was 21-3 in the first quarter, the Niners had run all of four offensive plays to that point. So it didn't matter that the 49ers were missing starters on defense.
--The Rams got rammed 34-6 at home to Minnesota, losing Sam Bradford's fill-in Shaun Hill to injury and having to go with Plan C Austin Davis at quarterback. As that article states St. Louis expects to hear more today of what's wrong with Hill and how long he might be out.
--Here's a preview of tonight's Chargers-Cardinals game from the Arizona Republic, whose beat writer sees a 27-21 win for Arizona at home.
--This is just bad and sad and indefensible, no matter which team you root for.
UPDATE: The NFL has announced that "based on new video evidence that became available today commissioner Roger Goodell has indefinitely suspended Ray Rice, whom the Ravens just released.
--I'll have more this afternoon from practice in Renton, if not before.