RENTON The Seahawks got down to 75 players on their preseason roster by the league’s Tuesday deadline by waiving 2015 starting center Patrick Lewis, rookie seventh-round draft choice Zac Brooks and seven others.
Four of the nine waived were injured, including former Washington Huskies wide receiver Kevin Smith. Smith began last season on Seattle’s practice squad, then appeared in seven regular-season games and the team’s two playoff games. But this summer he could never get fully healthy following a hamstring injury.
This week I asked line coach Tom Cable what’s happened to Lewis in the months since Cable and Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson praised Lewis replacing long-gone Drew Nowak as the starting center in the middle of last season as the primary reason for the line solidifying and Wilson getting time to throw for 4,000 yards. Cable said, cryptically, Lewis got better — and that the entire line got better this spring and summer, too.
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Justin Britt clearly won Lewis’ job, from the first minicamp back in May he’s been the No. 1 center and Lewis has been No. 2. Britt is proving dependable and durable as the new center, after being the right tackle as a rookie and left guard last season. Wilson praised Britt after Tuesday’s practice.
Lewis waived saves Seattle what was scheduled to be his $1,671,000 salary-cap charge for this year. Rookie sixth-round pick Joey Hunt costs $475,000 against this year’s cap. Hunt and Will Pericak are battling to be the No. 2 center.
Pericak could be a “swing” man for the line’s interior. He is getting increasing work as a backup center and has been a guard. Pericak’s cap charge is $450,000.
The two words to remember for the Seahawks’ offensive line: younger and cheaper.
Brooks, the seventh-round pick from Clemson, had long odds once Christine Michael proved this spring and summer to the Seahawks they could trust him at running back in his second go-round with the team. Then Brooks missed much of training camp with a hamstring injury, all but eliminating him from consideration for a back-up running-back job.
Sokoli, from Albania, was one of Cable’s projects from last year’s draft. He moved the former University of Buffalo defensive tackle to the offensive line for his first time there last season, trying to make Sokoli a center and a guard backup that Pericak is now trying to become. Sokoli’s agent tweeted last night his client needs to move back to defense.
Farmer appeared to injure his right foot during Monday’s practice. The Seahawks moved the former USC running back from defensive back back to offense during training camp.
Tuesday’s moves combined with Monday’s six moves, including cutting veteran defensive back Brandon Browner, got Seattle from 90 to 75 players. The Seahawks’ final preseason game is Thursday night at Oakland. They must be down to 53 players for the start of the regular season by Saturday afternoon.
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle