The Seahawks’ release of fullback Michael Robinson on Friday should not have been a huge shock to anyone. But expect a move or two that will surprise.
Kind of like the draft, it’s just how the Hawks do things.
Every year under general manager John Schneider, they have made at least one preseason trade and also have continued to make moves after the “final” cutdown to 53.
In 2010 — as they jockeyed to find decent players, let alone good ones — they dealt cornerback Josh Wilson and acquired linemen Tyler Polumbus and Stacey Andrews. They also cut wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh despite owing him $7 million guaranteed. After the cutdown day, they picked up Robinson, defensive end Raheem Brock and defensive tackle Junior Siavii.
In 2011, they traded cornerback Kelly Jennings to Cincinnati for defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. Then they made four waiver claims the day after the cutdown (kicker Steven Hauschka was the only one who stuck), plus signed defensive end Anthony Hargrove the day before the season.
Last year, they traded quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to Buffalo four days before the final cut (if that had happened this year, he probably would be in line to start the injury-ravaged Bills’ opener). Then the Hawks swapped out tight ends after the cutdown day, releasing Kellen Winslow and signing Evan Moore.
Robinson is the first “final” cut this year, as reported by him on Twitter. This move had been hovering around all offseason, and the fact that his mysterious illness might keep him sidelined made him and his $2.5 million salary expendable. The Hawks could choose to keep both rookie Spencer Ware and Derrick Coleman to fill Robinson’s roles.
Robinson was a fan favorite because he had been in Seattle for all three seasons under Carroll and Schneider and was one of the faces of the team turnaround. His release is a bit of a leadership loss for the Hawks, but they are ready to move on — just like they were when they released Leon Washington this offseason.
They will move on from 20 other guys by 3 p.m. Saturday as well (with Bruce Irvin going on the suspended reserve list).
With all of their injuries, they are likely to do some roster shuffling after that, though. And it might even include a trade. And a couple of unexpected moves.
Let’s take a look at some other possibilities, including some potential shockers:
Trade Byron Maxwell. The third-year cornerback is finally healthy and had a very good preseason, which makes his value as high as it has ever been — and probably as high as it ever will be since he has little chance of starting in this deep secondary. The Hawks would be wise to try to pull a fifth-round pick for the 2011 sixth-rounder. Anything less, and they should just keep him as the emergency sixth corner and as a special teams guy.
Trade Robert Turbin. He’s a valuable backup running back, and he showed what he can do in the final two preseason games. But Chris Michael is obviously going to be the No. 2 back in Seattle. A team needing depth at the position could do much worse than Turbin. Would the Giants, Detroit, San Diego or Jacksonville (coached by former Seahawks DC Gus Bradley) be interested for a mid-round pick?
Cut Antoine Winfield. Walter Thurmond appears ready to take the nickel spot that Winfield was signed to play. The Hawks would be out $500,000 on the signing bonus they gave Winfield, but they would get back $1.5 million. It seems unlikely if only because Pete Carroll loves defensive backs and Winfield’s savvy could come in handy. But it is not impossible that they cut bait cheaply after Thurmond’s great preseason, and with Maxwell and Jeremy Lane in reserve.
Cut or trade Sidney Rice. It might not seem to make much sense but for the fact that he has not played all preseason, has a balky knee, is due to make $8.5 million and Jermaine Kearse and Stephen Williams seem capable of picking up the slack alongside Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. A trade seems very unlikely considering his salary, but the Hawks could feel they have the leverage to ask him to take a pay cut and then release him if he does not comply (a la Lofa Tatupu in 2011).
With Irvin headed to the suspended list and offensive tackle Michael Bowie possibly going on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, here are our projected 19 other cuts for Saturday: QB Brady Quinn, WR Chris Harper, WR Bryan Walters, WR Phil Bates, WR Arceto Clark, TE Cooper Helfet, TE Darren Fells, OT Mike Person, OG Ryan Seymour, C Jared Smith, DT Tony McDaniel, DT Sealver Siliga, DT Dewayne Cherrington, DT Michael Brooks, LB John Lotulelei, LB Ty Powell, CB Ron Parker, S Winston Guy, S DeShawn Shead.
Top practice squad candidates (assuming they clear waivers): WR Chris Harper, WR/FB Phil Bates, TE Cooper Helfet, TE Darren Fells, OG Ryan Seymour, C Jared Smith, LB John Lotulelei, LB Ty Powell, S DeShawn Shead.