Summer surprise Drew Nowak has apparently won the Seahawks’ starting center job in an upset. And eight wide receivers – including former Washington Huskies Kevin Smith and Kasen Williams – remain for seven or perhaps six spots on the regular-season roster there.
That’s the upshot of the 14 roster moves Seattle announced Monday, to get down to the league’s roster limit of 75 by its deadline of 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The 15th move was trading wide receiver Kevin Norwood, the 2014 fourth-round draft choice who missed the first half of last season following foot surgery, to Carolina for an undisclosed, conditional pick in 2017.
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Terminating the contract of Jeanpierre, traded Max Unger’s primary backup at center the last five seasons whom the Seahawks brought back on a one-year, $745,000 contract this spring, means Nowak now has the job Unger held for six seasons until his trade to New Orleans in March for Jimmy Graham. Here is how far Nowak has come since chopping wood as a teen in his native Wisconsin.
Line coach Tom Cable has been impressed with Nowak’s strength, how stout he has been standing up defensive linemen and linebackers while clearing running lanes and pass blocking this month in practice and three preseason games. The simple fact has been Nowak hasn’t been getting moved back, and he has proved to Cable he has enough of a mastery of the pre-snap blocking calls on which he has improved dramatically since June’s minicamp.
This doesn’t mean the Seahawks still couldn’t go out and add a veteran center who may become available with cuts around the league over the next week. But bringing in a new center this soon before the regular season begins in less than two weeks would be an unusual move that would disrupt whatever continuity and chemistry Seattle’s shaky, remade line has achieved so far.
No surprise Richardson (reconstructive knee surgery in January) and Lane (broken arm, knee surgery in the offseason) are on the physically-unable-to-perform list. Both become eligible to possibly return after the sixth week of the regular season. Per PUP list rules they remain exempt from the 53-man regular-season roster until they are activated.
Scruggs was Seattle’s seventh-round draft choice in 2012. He spent all of 2013 on injured reserve with a knee injury, then played three games for the team last season. His release means Jesse Williams still has a chance to make the roster as a hole-stuffing defensive tackle, three months after he had surgery to remove a cancerous kidney.
The return of fullback Derrick Coleman from an injury early in camp ended Cottom’s brief rise at that position.
The Seahawks return to practice Tuesday following two days off from their exhibition-game win Saturday at San Diego. They host Oakland Thursday in the final preseason game.