Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider addressed reporters here at the VMAC this afternoon on the roster moves they made today.
Carroll began by stating this is one of the busiest times of the year in terms of roster movement with teams around the league working to upgrade the talent on their rosters as they trim down to the final 53 players.
“This is the most difficult weekend in the year for everybody involved,” Schneider said. “For the coaches, for the players – all of these guys – and for the personnel staffs to have to go through the evaluations and address players that have worked their tails off the whole season."
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With Wilson gone, the Seahawks have a extra roster spot, and used that to sign defensive end James Wyche. At 6-foot-5, 279 pounds, Wyche appears to be a 5-tech guy for Seattle.
That said, a move that appears to look like Seattle may have wound up with the short end of the stick by sending Josh Wilson to Baltimore for what has been reported as a fifth-round pick appears to have been sped up by the play of Marcus Trufant, and ultimately Walter Thurmond.
The rookie out of University of Oregon came back from major knee surgery much quicker than most anticipated, and he is now competing for time as a starter with Kelly Jennings.
Carroll said Thurmond would be the team’s nickel back for the first unit right now, along with guys like Roy Lewis and possibly Jordan Babineaux.
Specifically, the Seahawks like Thurmond’s size at corner and his ability to come up and play physical, both in pass coverage and in run support.
Wilson and Jennings had been sharing reps with the first team, but it appeared that Wilson had nudged forward in the competition for the starting cornerback job opposite Trufant.
“This is an opportunity for us that came along to us because of our depth,” Carroll said. “And our situation at the cornerback position that we’re very happy with, with the play of Tru and Kelly Jennings, Walter Thurmond and Roy Lewis. ... Josh is a great kid and we love him and all of that. But this is a team that really came after him, and it happened very quickly.”
Added Schneider: “Josh has been a factor here for several years now, and has done a great job in the community and everything. He’s very well respected. This was a team that was very aggressive in coming after Josh. They have a situation where they have a strong need. And as Pete said, it has more to do with the way Walter has stepped up, and the way Tru is playing and some of the younger guys.”
Schneider went on to say that the Wilson deal was too enticing.
“It was one of those deals that comes along,” Schneider said. “We get calls on players and we don’t do everything. But this was one of those deals we felt like we couldn’t pass up.”
In terms of the compensation of potentially a fifth round pick from Baltimore for Wilson, Schneider said the Seahawks got market value.
“The market is different at different times,” he said. “Randy Moss was traded for a fourth-round pick. So it fluctuates. And right now with Josh in terms of the value, we felt like it was at a level with him being an unrestricted free agent next year that it was at a point we felt was definitely fair.”
With Wilson gone, Leon Washington now will get a chance to earn the kick returner position, something that he’s been chomping at the bit to do according to Carroll. If the regular-season opener was today, Carroll said Washington would be the kick returner.
Carroll said that he was excited to add offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus to the roster, beefing up the team’s depth at offensive tackle.
“He’s played both left and right tackle in the same system in Denver,” Carroll said. “He’s started in games, and we have plenty of film on him. We know that he can play. So at this time, I think we were very fortunate to find Tyler.”
Carroll and Schneider also addressed the Leroy Hill contract situation. Hill accepted a pay reduction in his base salary of $6 million that was due this season, reducing it down to $2.125 million and voiding the four remaining years of his contract, giving up about $20 million in future earnings.
“That was a situation where both sides, we had obviously been talking to Leroy through the whole thing,” Schneider said. “He had a situation that came up, and both sides just felt like we could come with a solution. And (Vice President of Football Administration) John Idzik and Leroy’s representatives did a nice job of figuring out a solution for the situation that Leroy was involved with.
So will Hill be with the team for the remainder of the 2010 season?
“We really like the way Leroy plays,” Carroll said. “We’re looking forward to him playing for us.”