Of all the trades, waives, cuts and moves the Seahawks announced involving 42 players Saturday, the one they listed last was their most important.
They got back a pass rusher they truly need.
Dion Jordan passed his physical after missing the entire preseason with a stress fracture in his leg. That means the former first-round draft choice who entered the year expected to start at defensive end is on Seattle’s first active roster for the regular season. Jordan is now poised to join a pass rush that sure needs him and more.
Veteran cornerback Byron Maxwell went on injured reserve Saturday among Seattle’s moves to get to 53 players for the start of the regular season. That seemingly hands the starting right-cornerback job to Dontae Johnson, while rookie Tre Flowers develops into the role.
After all the debate the last couple weeks on who will be the sixth and final wide receiver, the Seahawks kept only five: Doug Baldwin (returning from the left-knee injury that kept him out all preseason), resurgent, 34-year-old Brandon Marshall, newly re-signed Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown and David Moore.
Moore, the 2017 seventh-round pick from lower-division East Central in Oklahoma, won his job with an impressive preseason catching passes and returning punts.
Marshall was never in danger of not making the roster. Not after he showed in the first week of training camp in early August he was back from toe and ankle surgeries plus a hamstring injury. Quarterback Russell Wilson has spent a lot of extra time during and after practices this month working with the six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver. In fact, Marshall may start the opener at Denver Sept. 9.
The Seahawks waived Keenan Reynolds and former University of Washington wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow after their impressive training camps and preseason games.
Seattle also released two draft choices from last year: third-round pick Amara Darboh, the wide receiver from Michigan who had leg and clavicle injuries keep him off the field almost all of August, and sixth-round pick Mike Tyson, a backup safety.
Nothing in the Seahawks’ official release on their moves Saturday mentioned Earl Thomas. The All-Pro safety remains on the reserve/did-not-report list, as his holdout enters its sixth week with no end in sight.
The Seahawks terminated the contract of former Rams starter Maurice Alexander, who was injured this month then failed to seize the starting strong-safety job. That means it will be Bradley McDougald at strong safety and 2017 draft choice Tedric Thompson debuting at free safety for Thomas next weekend in the opener.
The Seahawks released rookie quarterback Alex McGough with the intent of him clearing league waivers so they can put him on their 10-man practice squad; they will form that early this coming week.
Darboh could end up on the practice squad, too, but it more likely to have another team claim him on waivers in the next 24 hours.
Veteran backup quarterback Austin Davis went on injured reserve two days after playing the first half of the preseason finale and throwing for 194 yards against Oakland. That makes Brett Hundley Russell Wilson’s backup to begin the regular season. The Seahawks traded a sixth-round pick to Green Bay this past week to get Hundley.
Jordan moving off the physically-unable-to-perform list Saturday doesn’t ensure he will play in eight days when the Seahawks play their opener at Denver. It does show the Seahawks believed he will be back within a month, and certainly before the first six weeks of the regular season. That’s how long Jordan would have missed had he started the regular season still on the PUP list.
Ed Dickson will miss the first six weeks. The Seahawks put the tight end they signed to a three-year contract in March to replace Jimmy Graham on the reserve/non-football injury list.
Seattle still has three tight ends on the active roster to begin the season. That’s because it traded wide receiver and special-teams player Marcus Johnson to Indianapolis for tight end Darrell Daniels, a former University of Washington Husky. Nick Vannett and rookie Will Dissly from UW are the other tight ends. So two of the three tight ends are former Huskies.
Seattle acquired Johnson from Philadelphia in March in the Michael Bennett trade. Johnson appeared on track to get one of the final wide-receiver spots on the Seahawks’ roster. David Moore, the seventh-round pick from 2017 from lower-division East Central in Oklahoma, got that instead after his impressive preseason.
The Seahawks kept five tailbacks and one fullback. Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, C.J. Proise, Mike Davis and J.D. McKIssic (two weeks into a four-to-six week recovery from a broken bone in his foot) are the tailbacks. Tre Madden is the lone fullback, after coach Pete Carroll talked about Vannett being able to be a blocking fullback, if need be.
Need not be, for now, anyway.
Veteran guard J.R. Sweezy made the roster over Jordan Roos, even though Sweezy did not play in any of the preseason games because of a high-ankle sprain. Carroll said Thursday Sweezy will be ready to contribute this coming week.
Seattle acquired former Washington State safety Shalom Luani from Oakland for a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft. The Raiders drafted the 24-year-old Luani in the seventh round in 2017.
As expected, Austin Calitro made the 53-man roster as the backup middle linebacker. The second-year free agent from Villanova showed in the preseason he could be the best backup All-Pro Bobby Wagner has had since Seattle drafted Wagner in 2012.
All of the Seahawks’ moves Saturday to get the 90-man preseason roster down to 53:
WAIVED: LB D.J. Alexander, CB Elijah Battle, OT Isaiah Battle, G Willie Beavers, CB Jeremy Boykins, WR Marvin Bracey, TE Kyle Carter, WR Amara Darboh, LB Josh Forrest, WR Cyril Grayson, C Marcus Henry, RB Gerald Holmes, DT Joey Ivie, S Lorenzo Jerome, CB Akeem King, FB Daniel Marx, QB Alex McGough, G Skyler Phillips, LB Jacob Pugh, CB Trovon Reed, WR Keenan Reynolds, G Jordan Roos, WR Caleb Scott, TE Tyrone Swoopes, RB Justin Stockton, WR Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR Malik Turner, CB Mike Tyson, TE Clayton Wilson.
WAIVED/INJURED: DE Ricky Ali’fua, LB Emmanuel Beal, S T.J. Mutcherson.
INJURED RESERVE: QB Austin Davis, OT Jamarco Jones, CB Byron Maxwell, LB Erik Walden
TERMINATED VETERAN CONTRACT: S Maurice Alexander
DEPARTED BY TRADE: WR Marcus Johnson
ACQUIRED BY TRADE: TE Darrell Daniels (from Indianapolis for WR Marcus Johnson); S Shalom Luani (from Oakland for a seventh-round draft choice in 2019)
RESERVE/NON-FOOTBALL-INJURY-LIST: TE Ed Dickson
ACTIVATED FROM PHYSICALLY-UNABLE-TO-PERFORM LIST: DE Dion Jordan
Here is the first 53-man roster for the regular season. This will change, perhaps as soon as Sunday, as the Seahawks claim players off waivers from other teams and make other moves: