As always for the Seahawks, length matters.
It took less than a day for Seattle to create a second 53-man roster for the regular season that begins next weekend. The team claimed off league waivers rookie cornerback Simeon Thomas from Cleveland and guard Jordan Simmons from Oakland.
To make room on the 53-man roster they set on Saturday, the Seahawks waived guard Rees Odhiambo and defensive end Branden Jackson.
Waiving Jackson, who started a couple weeks of the preseason, is another indicator defensive end Dion Jordan is getting closer to playing for the first time since a stress fracture in his leg a month ago. Jordan was expected to begin this season opposite Frank Clark as the replacements for departed Pro Bowl defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. Then Jordan had offseason knee surgery, his third knee procedure in 13 months, plus the stress fracture that kept him out all of August.
Saturday, Jordan passed a physical examination and Seattle took him off the physically-unable-to-perform list and put him on the active regular-season roster.
The Seahawks begin the season Sunday at Denver.
The Browns drafted Thomas in the sixth round of this spring’s draft, out of Louisiana-Lafayette. He is 6 feet 3 inches tall—the same height as Richard Sherman and Tre Flowers, the rookie Seattle drafted to replace Sherman this year. Like Flowers, Thomas’ arms are 35 inches long.
Why does that matter?
Since arriving to run the Seahawks in 2010, coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have not drafted a cornerback with arms less than 32 inches in length. That requirement is how they built the Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” secondary that led the defense to consecutive Super Bowls and the franchise’s only NFL title in the 2013 and ‘14 seasons.
Thomas also played safety in college. That versatility could come in handy while the Seahawks’ other Thomas, All-Pro safety Earl, continues his holdout into the start of the regular season.
Earl Thomas will lose his first $500,000 game check of the season if he doesn’t report to the team before Saturday at 1 p.m. There are absolutely no signs he will report anytime soon.
Seattle got thinner at cornerback Saturday when Byron Maxwell, a starter late last season after Sherman ruptured his Achilles tendon, went on injured reserve. Maxwell missed all last month with a hip-flexor injury.
The Seahawks are expected to have returning starter Shaquill Griffin at left cornerback and former San Francisco 49ers starter Dontae Johnson at right cornerback to begin the season against the Broncos Sunday. Johnson had a broken bone in his foot from June delay the start of his training camp. But he then seized the opportunity Maxwell’s injury created.
Flowers continues to learn the cornerback position after playing safety at Oklahoma State through last season.
Simmons, 6-3 and 339 pounds, was on Oakland’s practice squad last season. The Raiders signed him in 2017 as an undrafted rookie free agent from USC.
He stands to compete for the “swing,” backup guard role Odhiambo had for one day on the 53-man roster.
Odhiambo goes down as a Seahawks draft failure. The team’s third-round pick in 2016 from Boise State moved from college tackle to guard with Seattle. Then he started seven games at left tackle early last season as an emergency Plan B after George Fant had season-ending knee surgery in August.
Odhiambo ultimately was only holding the place until the Seahawks could agree on trade terms with Houston to acquire veteran Duane Brown to play left tackle.
Seattle re-signed Brown to a three-year contract extension worth $36.5 million in July.
The New England Patriots on Sunday claimed wide receiver Amara Darboh off waivers. No surprise there: third-round draft choices from a major program such as Darboh’s Michigan attract attention when they become available in the NFL—particularly such higher-round picks from the previous year’s draft.
The Seahawks gave up on Darboh Saturday after he had hip and clavicle issues throughout training camp and the preseason. Seattle kept only five wide receivers on its 53-man roster: Doug Baldwin, Brandon Marshall, Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown and David Moore.
The Philadelphia Eagles claimed linebacker and special-teams player D.J. Alexander off waivers. Seattle let him go Saturday after an injury-filled offseason and preseason.