The agonizing part is over for Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll.
The Seahawks pared down to their most talented roster since Schneider and Carroll took over in 2010, trimming to 53 players by the NFL’s Saturday afternoon deadline.
And, as is always the case, there were a few surprises.
Perhaps the biggest news was that leading sack man Chris Clemons was activated from the physically unable to perform list.
If Clemons had remained on the PUP list, the earliest he could have played was Week 7. However, Carroll has said that Clemons’ rehab from anterior cruciate ligament knee surgery in January has gone well, and the expectation is that after a couple of weeks of practice, he’ll be ready to play.
“To take the next step he needs to start pushing people and all that,” Carroll said. “He’s coming along great, and he’s making great progress.”
Veteran defensive back Antoine Winfield, brought in during free agency to solve Seattle’s third-down pass defense problems, announced to the team he would
retire instead of potentially being released.
The Seahawks will save about $1 million in salary cap space by not having the 36-year-old Winfield on the Week 1 roster.
Winfield’s departure said more about the talented young cornerbacks on Seattle’s roster than about his performance during training camp, which was steady. With the impressive play of Walter Thurmond during exhibitions, along with high quality depth from players such as Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell, the Seahawks could afford to part ways with Winfield.
Fourth-round draft choice Chris Harper was released after a poor performance against the Raiders in which he dropped two passes, including a sure touchdown. If Harper clears waivers, there’s a good chance Seattle will add the Kansas State product to the team’s practice squad.
And the Seahawks even made a trade, giving up an undisclosed conditional draft choice to Jacksonville for defensive tackle D’Anthony Smith.
At 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds, Smith was originally selected in the third round of the 2010 draft by the Jaguars out of Louisiana Tech. After spending the 2010 and 2011 seasons on the injured reserve, Smith saw his first action in 2012, playing in eight games and recording 10 tackles (six solo) before being placed on injured reserve (head) on Nov. 28.
The Seahawks need defensive line depth, with defensive tackles Brandon Mebane (groin), Tony McDaniel (groin), Michael Bennett (toe) and Jordan Hill (strained biceps) all dealing with injuries heading into Seattle’s opener Sept. 8 at Carolina.
Eight rookies made the final roster, including five draft selections. All players waived on Saturday are eligible to be claimed off waivers by other teams by 9 a.m. Sunday. Teams may start setting practice squads, once waiver claims have been settled.
Players the Seahawks waived were WR Phil Bates, DT Michael Brooks, DT Dewayne Cherrington, WR Arceto Clark, TE Darren Fells, DB Winston Guy, TE Cooper Helfet, DT Jaye Howard, G Rishaw Johnson, TE Sean McGrath, DB Ron Parker, LB Ty Powell, G Ryan Seymour, DB DeShawn Shead, DT Sealver Siliga, G Jared Smith, WR Bryan Walters and Harper.
Veterans who had their contracts terminated were DT Clinton McDonald, FB Michael Robinson, QB Brady Quinn and Winfield.
SEAHAWKS ROSTER BY POSITION
OFFENSE (24 PLAYERS)
Quarterbacks (2): Russell Wilson, Tarvaris Jackson
Running backs (5): Tailbacks – Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael. Fullback – Derrick Coleman, Spencer Ware.
Wide receivers (5): Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Stephen Williams.
Tight ends (2): Zach Miller, Luke Willson.
Offensive line (10): Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan, Max Unger, J.R. Sweezy, Breno Giacomini, James Carpenter, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Mike Person, Michael Bowie, Alvin Bailey.
DEFENSE (26 PLAYERS)
Defensive line (10): Chris Clemons, Brandon Mebane, Red Bryant, D’Anthony Smith, Cliff Avril, O’Brian Schofield, Tony McDaniel, Jordan Hill, Michael Bennett, Benson Mayowa.
Linebackers (7): K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner, Mike Morgan, Heath Farwell, Malcolm Smith, Allen Bradford, John Lotulelei.
Defensive backs (9): Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell, Jeron Johnson, Jeremy Lane, Chris Maragos.
SPECIAL TEAMS (3 PLAYERS)
Punter Jon Ryan, kicker Steven Hauschka, long snapper Clint Gresham.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org/seahawks