The biggest surprise for the Seahawks on NFL cutdown day (90 to 53 players) Saturday was the release of WR Kasen Williams, a move that prompted All-Pro CB Richard Sherman to tweet, “There is no explanation for this!”
That wasn’t the only big move by the Seahawks Saturday. They also traded DE Cassius Marsh to the New England Patriots and released two-year starter DT Ahtyba Rubin, a nine-year veteran.
To reach the mandatory limit, Seattle made two trades Saturday, all conditioned on players passing physicals. In addition to the trade of Marsh, Seattle acquired OT Isaiah Battle from the Kansas City Chiefs for a seventh-round pick in 2018. They made three trades Friday.
The Seahawks also waived 22 players, including last year’s backup quarterback, Trevone Boykin, which makes six-year veteran Austin Davis the tablet holder behind Russell Wilson.
Seattle placed three three players on injured reserve, including LT George Fant and CB DeAndre Elliott, and placed CB DeShawn Shead on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, meaning he’ll be out for at least the first six weeks of the season.
The Seahawks terminated the veteran contracts of a trio of last year’s starters in LB Mike Morgan, Rubin and FB Marcel Reece, a former Huskies player.
Williams, a former UW star from Skyline High in Sammamish, ranked third in the NFL in preseason receiving yards with 208 and made a number of highlight catches, including four against the Chargers 119 yards two weeks ago. He also had a notable tackle on a kickoff return.
But despite a vacancy created by the Friday trade of WR Jermaine Kearse to the Jets, the Seahawks opted to keep rookie Amara Darboh, a third-round draft pick.
Williams’ big day in LA, according to Pro Football Focus, came against an undrafted rookie cornerback who also was released Saturday. When Williams played against Kansas City’s No. 1 defense in a preseason game, he caught one pass for four yards.
By sending Marsh to the Patriots, the Seahawks got back the 2018 seventh-round pick they gave to the Patriots Friday for CB Justin Coleman. They also received a fifth-rounder. Marsh was entering the final season of his rookie contract and never started a game, playing a lot on special teams.
According to numerous reports, the Seahawks attempted to trade Rubin to Denver after acquiring DT Shelton Richardson in the Kearse deal. When that didn’t pan out, Seattle released Rubin, who signed a three-year contract worth up to $12 million prior to the 2016 season that included $5.5 million guaranteed.
The move will save the Seahawks $2.2 million this year and $3.8 million in 2018, but will also count $1.5 million against the cap in each of the next two years, according to OvertheCap.com.
The Seahawks acquired Battle presumably as a backup. He played at Clemson but has yet to play in a regular-season NFL game.
The cut to 53 players Saturday does not set the Seahawks’ regular-season roster. On Sunday, clubs can make waiver claims, which will create additional roster churn.
Also Sunday, teams can begin forming 10-man practice squads, which could return some players to clubs they parted with Saturday. That could be the way the Seahawks keep Williams, although he has a much increased chance of being claimed.
SEAHAWKS ROSTER AFTER SATURDAY’S CUT TO 53 PLAYERS
Russell Wilson (sixth year), Austin Davis (6)
RUNNING BACKS (5)
Eddie Lacy (5), Thomas Rawls (3), C.J. Prosise (2), Chris Carson (R), J.D. McKissic (R)
WIDE RECEIVERS (5)
Doug Baldwin (7), Paul Richardson (4), Tyler Lockett (3), Tanner McEvoy (2), Amara Darboh (R)
Tre Madden (2)
TIGHT ENDS (3)
Jimmy Graham (8), Luke Willson (5), Nick Vannett (2)
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)
Luke Joeckel (5), Oday Aboushi (5), Matt Tobin (5), Justin Britt (4), Mark Glowinski (3), Isaiah Battle (3), Germain Ifedi (2), Rees Odhiambo (2), Ethan Pocic (R), Jordan Roos (R)
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
Cliff Avril (10), Michael Bennett (9), Sheldon Richardson (5), David Bass (5), Marcus Smith (4), Frank Clark (3), Jarran Reed (2), Nazair Jones (R)
K.J. Wright (7), Bobby Wagner (6), Michael Wilhoite (6), Terence Garvin (5), Dewey McDonald (4), D.J. Alexander (3)
Richard Sherman (7) Jeremy Lane (6), Neiko Thorpe (5), Justin Coleman (3), Shaquill Griffin (R)
Kam Chancellor (8), Earl Thomas (8), Bradley McDougald (5), Delano Hill (R), Tedric Thompson (R)
Jon Ryan (12), Blair Walsh (6), Tyler Ott (3)
S Marcus Cromartie
CB DeAndre Elliott
T George Fant
PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO PERFORM
CB DeShawn Shead
DE Dion Jordan
DT Malik McDowell
LB Christian French
CB Demetrius McCray
DT Rodney Coe
TERMINATED VETERAN CONTRACT
LB Mike Morgan
FB Marcel Reece
DT Ahtyba Rubin
QB Trevone Boykin
T Darrell Brown
LB Rodney Butler
RB Alex Collins
RB Mike Davis
CB Pierre Desir
TE Steve Donatell
WR Cyril Grayson, Jr.
DT Tylor Harris
C Joey Hunt
DT Quinton Jefferson
WR Kenny Lawler
DT Jeremy Liggins
DT Greg Milhouse
WR David Moore
LB Kache Palacio
C/G Will Pericak
LB Otha Peters
WR Darreus Rogers
DT Garrison Smith
WR Rodney Smith
TE Tyrone Swoopes
T Tyrus Thompson
CB Mike Tyson
WR Kasen Williams