Seattle Seahawks: Predicting Which Players on 53-Man Roster Won't Be Back
Early in Pete Carroll and John Schneider's tenure with the Seattle Seahawks, this list would have required a full day's attention. They made close to 300 roster moves their first year, churning whatever talent they could find for a team that had no players worthy of Pro Bowl consideration and few that were quality NFL starters.
Their transition of the team is nearing fruition, though.
Seattle placed five players in the 2012 Pro Bowl and used a surging ground game and swarming defense to win five of their last eight games. They have a few holes left, but will have the luxury of looking for depth and hoping to find a few more gems in the late-rounds of the 2012 draft.
There is still some work to do with the roster. There are some quality names on the Seahawks free-agent list, making it difficult to retain every player they'd like to keep in-house.
Seattle took their first step in free agency by signing Breno Giacomini to a new deal last Friday.
B/R will keep you up to date with all of the Seahawks free agent signings: Seattle Seahawks: Tracking Their 2012 Free Agency Moves.
The following slides detail the players that aren't likely to return in a Seahawks uniform, including their age in September and how long they've played for the Seahawks.
1. Charlie Whitehurst (Age 30), QB, 2 Seasons in Seattle
This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who follows the NFL. Charlie Whitehurst was brought in to challenge Matt Hasselbeck in 2010, but has simply been a challenge for the coaching staff.
Watching "Clipboard Jesus" in the 2010 training camp was actually painful. He was long on short routes and short on deep balls. He wasn't in sync with the offense or the receivers, and little has changed in his two seasons in Seattle.
Whitehurst has always had the potential, but hasn't been able to parlay that into performance.
My concern from early on with him is a footwork issue. He tends to get antsy in the pocket and gets on his toes. He'll push backwards off his front foot instead of stepping into the pass. It makes his throws sail, contributing to the accuracy issues above.
I fully expect Whitehurst to sail away to Georgia and not return to Seattle. Unless, of course, he actually does land with the Jets.
2. Phillip Adams (23), DB, a Few Weeks in Seattle
Don't feel bad if you can't recall the name Phillip Adams from the Seahawks roster.
He was claimed from the New England Patriots in December and found the active roster for Seattle's Week 16 game against the San Francisco 49ers—due to concerns with Kennard Cox being healthy enough to play.
Adams will likely be given an opportunity to attend training camp, but I have little hope for a player that couldn't find room in New England's secondary.
3. Paul Fanaika (25), OG, 1 Season in Seattle
Paul Fanaika spent three games on the active roster in 2011.
He will likely be welcomed to their 2012 training camp, but with the Seahawks looking to find a roster spot for the player that can take over for Robert Gallery, his odds of making the final roster seem slim.
4. Chris Maragos (25), DB, 1 Season in Seattle
Chris Maragos is listed as the third-string free safety behind Earl Thomas and backup strong safety, Atari Bigby. Maragos spent part of 2011 with the Seahawks after spending a few weeks with the San Francisco 49ers in 2010.
While Seattle doesn't have another true free safety behind Earl Thomas, they do have a few reserve corners that could step back into the slot should Thomas miss any time.
They also have Jeron Johnson, but he is more of a true strong safety.
Seattle has the best young secondary in the NFL. They will be working on upgrading their depth this offseason.
5. Heath Farwell (30) or David Vobora (26), LB, 1 Season in Seattle
Heath Farwell is a 30-year-old backup on a team that has put an emphasis on youth. Acquired after being cut by the Minnesota Vikings, he was a solid special teams contributor.
David Vobora brought a lot of energy to the Seahawks, again primarily on special teams. He was in a tough situation learning the defense as a late addition following training camp. Those troubles were magnified by his revolving door policy with the roster.
Vobora wasn't able to make the St. Louis Rams's roster. Should there be a spot for him in Seattle?
Seattle is looking for upgrades at linebacker, but options on the free agent market aren't exactly thick. It seems likely that one of these two will return for his contributions on special teams.
6. Atari Bigby (31), SS, 1 Season in Seattle
Atari Bigby filled an important role for the Seahawks in 2011. The secondary needed a veteran presence, particularly from one with experience playing for a championship team.
Bigby supplied that, along with blitz capability and coverage help, to the Seahawks. He can still fill those roles on a team in need of safety help, but that team isn't likely to be the Seattle Seahawks.
Jeron Johnson is waiting behind Bigby for his opportunity to play a role on this defense and figures to get that chance in 2012.
Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are ready to lead this defense. The only reason Bigby might return is if Gus Bradley believes he can fill in for Thomas at free safety if he were to miss any time.
7. Raheem Brock (34), DE, 2 Seasons in Seattle
Brock was a solid member of the 2010 NFC West Division Champion team. He brought solid pressure off the edge and pitched in nine sacks.
He still brought pressure last season, but couldn't quite finish the plays he made the year before. He was a late signing during training camp in 2011, which could mean he had few other interested teams.
Brock has had a good career, but may be entering retirement.
8. Justin Forsett (26), RB, 4 Seasons in Seattle
It is difficult to see the Seahawks bringing Justin Forsett back in 2012. His role was significantly reduced in 2011, carrying the ball just 46 times for 145 yards. He added 23 receptions for 128 yards.
His on-field production can certainly be carried by their return specialist, Leon Washington, who signed a three-year extension a year ago.
Many believe Forsett's contributions to the Seahawks have been off the field. He has been a positive influence on Marshawn Lynch since the two were college roommates.
That tie will be severed in 2012 though, as Lynch has shown he is ready to be a professional running back.
9. Mike Gibson (26), OG, 2 Seasons in Seattle
Mike Gibson was part of the final roster cut following the 2011 training camp. He was a solid reserve and spot-starter for the team in 2010 and a player that had potential heading into 2011.
Gibson was brought back to Seattle as an injury replacement, as three of their starting offensive linemen ended the season on injured reserve.
I expect Gibson, a restricted free agent, to be tendered an offer and brought into training camp. He will likely be little more than a camp body though, and again feel the ax with the final roster cuts.
Seattle needs to find an offensive guard that can take over for Robert Gallery in the near future. As much as there is to like with Gibson's effort and versatility, he doesn't look to be the upper-end blocker Seattle is looking for.
10. Ben Obomanu (28), WR, 4 Seasons in Seattle
This might actually be a stretch for a player that signed a three-year extension last offseason. However, dropped passes plagued Ben Obomanu and helped short-circuit the Seahawks offense at times in 2011.
Obomanu had several crucial drops the last two games of the year.
That is not what a receiver wants sticking in the heads of coaches as they attempt to figure out how to handle a deep position group headed into the offseason—particularly when rookie Ricardo Lockette stepped in and made the very catch that Obomanu couldn't finish.
Seattle may very well be looking at trade options with Obomanu as free agency gets underway. He is slated to make $2 million in 2012 and $2.3 million the following year.
That is a contract they should be able to move to a team in need at wide receiver—like the Chicago Bears or Minnesota Vikings.
The Seahawks are better off spending that money elsewhere, as he could have difficulty finding playing time in Seattle next season.
11. Anthony McCoy (24), TE, 2 Seasons in Seattle
The path of Anthony McCoy is very similar to that of Obomanu.
He's a player that showed some good potential, but he's had problems holding onto the ball. He simply had too many dropped passes last season to figure high into the Seahawks plans for 2012.
McCoy might be difficult to trade, but there are several teams that need help at tight end and this year's free-agency pool and draft class are a bit thin. This could prompt a team to part with a late-round pick for McCoy.
If not, expect the Seahawks to bring him to training camp, only to lose his roster spot before the season begins. Seattle's offense runs much better with quality tight ends that can catch the ball.
That was missing too often in 2012.
McCoy might make the team if they lose John Carlson in free agency and they are unable to draft a suitable replacement. There will also be some competition from John Nalbone and possibly Jameson Konz.
12. Marcus Trufant (31), CB, 9 Seasons in Seattle
This is a tough realization for every Seahawk fan. Marcus Trufant has been a vital part of this franchise since being drafted 11th overall by Seattle in the 2003 NFL Draft.
The issue is Trufant's health.
He had a relapse of back issues last season that undermined his game-count and performance in 2009. With the emergence of Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, Trufant would have difficulty sniffing his old starting job.
Trufant will likely go the route of Lofa Tatupu, but there is a chance the Seahawks might be able to trade him to a team in need of help at corner. If he were to be released there are ample teams that would be willing to work him out.
Trufant could actually catch on with a franchise like Dallas. They have a need at CB and like to bring in veterans. They figure to draft a corner early in the 2012 draft, and having a player like Trufant in the fold would be useful for developmental purposes.
The Raiders also have a need at corner, and still have two draft picks left in 2012. They might as well use those fifth and sixth-round picks on Trufant and take some time off over the next six weeks.
To be fair, the Raiders should be in line to receive a compensatory pick after losing Nnamdi Asomugha, Robert Gallery and Zach Miller in free agency last season. That pick can't be traded so they'll at least have to send someone to New York for a day or two in April.
13. David Hawthorne (27) or Leroy Hill (30), LB, 4 and 6 Seasons in Seattle
One of these players will likely be re-signed prior to the start of free agency. The other will either be signed by another team on March 13 or languish in free-agent water until he's willing to sign a smaller contract than he was originally seeking.
The problem with letting both of these linebackers walk is there aren't many options available in free agency. It would also hinder the continuity of the defense.
The issue with re-signing both players is it doesn't address the Seahawks stark issues with pass defense at the linebacker position. Seattle has struggled with covering tight ends and running backs for the past several seasons.
Pete Carroll knows he has to find a player or two with the speed to keep up with the fast tight ends the Seahawks will be facing next season.
As much as this will hurt Seahawks fans to hear, David Hawthorne will likely be the casualty at the linebacker position. Leroy Hill will demand fewer dollars, and can be more easily used as part of a rotation with Malcolm Smith.
Seattle can then look at either outside or middle linebacker options in the draft, knowing they have the flexibility to move K.J. Wright inside. He was impressive filling in for David Hawthorne in Week 1 last season.
14. John Carlson (28), TE, 4 Seasons in Seattle
John Carlson is a good tight end. An argument can be made that he'd even be a really good tight end in the right situation. However, he isn't a great tight end as some Seahawks fans tend to believe.
Carlson has good hands and is a good blocker. But he lacks the speed needed to take that next step at the position.
The problem with the Seahawks re-signing Carlson is there are very few options at tight end in 2012's free-agent pool. There are several teams that either need to upgrade the position or will want to chase the success the Patriots had with their dual-threats at tight end.
Some team is going to overpay for Carlson in the offseason, and that team won't be the Seattle Seahawks.
As much as Seahawks fans would like to see what Carlson can do alongside Zach Miller, the odds of that happening seem slim. Instead, they will be surprised at just how good of a receiving option Cameron Morrah is.