Wide Outs Are Plentiful
It’s hard to believe, but we are well inside 30 days until the first preseason game for the defending Superbowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. As you likely heard, the Seahawks made some interesting moves in the draft and free agency this offseason. No single position in my estimation will be more interesting to watch than the 13 guys — yes, count ‘em: THIRTEEN guys — trying to win a spot as a wide receiver.
Okay; maybe right tackle will be an interesting match too, but that position doesn’t have 13 guys chasing the spot.
When you consider Seattle is likely to keep just six wide outs, and possibly only five, that means that more than half of these guys will be playing elsewhere — or not at all — come September. Here are the candidates in no particular order:
Percy Harvin 5’11, 200
Doug Baldwin 5’10, 189
Jermaine Kearse 6’1, 215
Kevin Norwood 6’2, 200
Paul Richardson 6’1, 183
Ricardo Lockette 6’2, 211
Arceto Clark 5’10, 180
Phil Bates 6’1, 230
Bryan Walters 6’0, 190
Taylor Price 6’1, 195
Chris Matthews 6’5, 218
Sidney Rice 6’4, 212
Kevin Smith 5’11, 214
I’ve included their height/weights because I do think that’s going to become relevant in the cut-down process this August, despite the fact that Angry Doug might disagree with me.
I really only think there are three names on the list that are absolute no-brainer type of decisions.
Percy Harvin makes the team.
Doug Baldwin makes the team.
Sidney Rice is placed on IR, much the way Seattle handled Harvin last year.
Does Rice start 2014 on the Seahawks IR?
Now, stop. Take a deep breath and wait before you send me a flame on Twitter or my email. I’m just saying Rice starts the year on IR. Maybe he eventually gets cut, maybe he comes back and plays at mid-season when his ACL tells him it’s okay to do so.
I’m simply saying it’s doubtful Rice is ready to play opening week and I’m talking about who the six guys are going to be on Week 1. I am counting Rice out, for now. So with Harvin and Baldwin in, we need four more names out of the remaining 10 guys to join them. Those decisions are going to be a lot harder.
Let’s start with this year’s draftees: Kevin Norwood and Paul Richardson. Richardson is going to make the team. You don’t make a guy your first-round pick and not give him a chance, at least in my estimation. Punch Richardson’s name on the roster card.
Kevin Norwood just might be a different story. Let’s not forget that the Seahawks drafted a WR in the fourth round last year too. His name was Chris Harper and he did not survive until Week 1 on the Seahawks roster.
Could Norwood come into a similar fate? It’s possible, but I don’t think so.
I feel that this time, in the fourth round, the Seahawks got a steal. Harper was a fourth-round talent WR. Norwood probably should have gone higher than that, so go ahead and call it now: Both rookie draftees make the team. That leaves just two names to choose out of the remaining eight.
Ricardo Lockette and Jermaine Kearse suddenly might look like bubble players considering the Seahawks draft this year. Lockette bounced in out of Seattle as it was last year, while Kearse developed into a go to guy for Russell Wilson after Rice was injured.
Lockette might be done as a seahawk
What I like about Kearse is that he is a bit taller than Harvin and Baldwin, although not tall enough to really call him a big guy. He also has great hands and a knack for making the tough catch.
I think Kearse survives the cut if for no other reason than the chemistry he’as developed with Wilson. Lockette, on the other hand, I think might be heading down the road. I realize the bedroom incident with Colin Kaepernick and a drunk girl was nothing from a legal standpoint, but I do consider it relevant from an intelligence standpoint.
Nothing good happens in an apartment in the middle of the night with the opposing team’s star QB and a doped and/or drunk girl in the bedroom.
The decision to put himself in that situation makes me question Lockette and his future as a Seahawk. Yes, yes; he’s young, immature, it was a mistake — yadda, yadda, yadda — but it’s one than costs him a spot on the Seahawks roster in 2014.
Practice Squad Material
Arceto Clark, Bryan Walters, Phil Bates, and Taylor Price all wind up on the practice squad. Okay: Not all of them on the Seahawks’ practice squad, but they are fringe players at best and maybe one or two of them stick on the practice squad in Seattle.
Walters was on the practice squad most of last year, so he might be the guy who has the best chance of sticking in that role in 2014. The others go to other teams’ practice squads or hit the street.
The Last Spot
That leaves just Kevin Smith, the recent undrafted free agent acquisition from UW, and Chris Matthews, the Seahawks’ next apparent attempt at pulling a “Brandon Browner” move.
Remember when I said size was going to be an issue? Well, now the time has come.
Chris Matthews can play!
Of the five players I have chosen so far, the tallest is Norwood at 6’2.” It’s time Seattle had that tall WR again, and that’s precisely why I feel it will go forward with its Canadian import plans one more time and give that spot to Matthews.
Matthews is 6’5″, 218 pounds, which easily makes him the biggest target Wilson has ever had. And if that’s not enough for you, let me tell you one other thing: This guy can play.
I’ve been fortunate enough to see this guy play in Canada. Yes, I know he’s playing against a lesser defense up there, but the skills are obvious. Matthews has an amazing ability to use that large frame of his to shield defenders from the ball. His height and leaping ability also gives him a huge advantage to out-jump defenders for the ball.
Best of all, he plays a physical game, which is something we all know plays well in Pete Carroll’s mind.
One Last Wrinkle
So there are my six names to start the year: Harvin, Baldwin, Kearse, Norwood, Richardson, and Matthews. I do, however, want to throw one more curve into this discussion.
Despite denials from the Houston Texans, rumors persist that the Texans are shopping Andre Johnson. At 6’3″, 230 pounds, plus a hall of fame resume, Johnson certainly fits the into that “big guy” WR that the Seahawks have long been looking for.
A couple of things about this potential trade worries me, though. Johnson is 33 years old. How much does he have left in the tank? Also, whom do the Seahawks trade, either draft-pick wise or player wise to get him?
The financials might kill this deal before it even has a prayer anyway. Trading Johnson leaves Houston with more than 10 million in dead cap money. The Seahawks have precious little cap money left to spend themselves.
Dollars and cents say it doesn’t make sense.
If it did happen, I think the Seahawks say goodbye to Matthews.
Will it happen? I doubt it, but it’s still fun to dream.
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