Seahawks Roster Analysis: The Offense

Published on December 31, 2008 by     Seahawk Fanatic

Quarterbacks

#3 – Jeff Rowe
Age: 24
Contract status: signed through 2010
2009 salary: $460,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $460,000
Probability of return: 100%

Rowe was signed off the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad on December 12. It’s unclear how the front office views Rowe. Is he an extra arm for the off-season and training camp, or do they view him as a prospect? At the very least, he’s got all the ingredients of a 3rd quarterback: He’s young, affordable and under contract for two years.

#5 – Charlie Frye
Age: 27
Contract status: Free agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number: N/A
Probability of return: 25%

Frye was given an extended look during training camp, and even got a start when both Hasselbeck and Wallace were injured. All that playing made it clear that as long as Hasselbeck and Wallace are here, Frye would always be the team’s 3rd quarterback. Seattle could opt to bring Frye back to compete for that third spot (with Rowe or perhaps a rookie), but it’s more likely that Frye will seek an opportunity elsewhere this off-season.

#8 – Matt Hasselbeck
Age: 33
Contract status: signed through 2010
2009 salary: $5,250,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $9,450,000
Probability of return: 100%

Hasselbeck’s injury-plagued season was his worst since becoming the starter in Seattle, and ended after being sacked seven times on Thanksgiving. Hasselbeck spent the final month of the season serving as the 3rd quarterback. Unless the bulging disk in his back is more serious than anyone has let on, and only those inside the VMAC would know that for sure, Hasselbeck will be back as the Seahawks starting quarterback in 2009.

#15 – Seneca Wallace
Age: 28
Contract status: signed through 2010
2009 salary: $1,500,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $1,900,000
Probability of return: 90%

The emergence of Seneca Wallace as a viable starting quarterback was one of the bright spots of an otherwise disappointing 2008 season. Wallace was simply outstanding during his eight-game stint as a starting quarterback in the NFL, and has expressed an interest in perhaps going elsewhere to pursue that dream. As long as there are questions about Hasselbeck’s health, Wallace is simply too valuable and affordable for the Seahawks to let go.

Running Backs

#20 – Maurice Morris (RB)
Age: 29
Contract status: Free agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number: N/A
Probability of return: 25%

Morris stated the season opener, but injured his knee, which allowed Julius Jones to start from Week 2 through Jones’ fumble-laden return to Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving. Morris had over 100 yards rushing in two of the final 6 weeks, but for the fourth time in six NFL seasons, was held without a rushing touchdown. Morris is the ideal back-up running back, but since he’s approaching 30 and the team heavily invested in the position last off-season, re-signing Morris does not appear to be a high priority.

#22 – Julius Jones (RB)
Age: 27
Contract status: signed through 2011
2009 salary: $1,950,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $3,950,000
Probability of return: 100%

Jones went from being the team’s lone offensive weapon in September to logging just a handful of snaps per game in December. Despite that inactivity in the final six weeks, Jones still led the Seahawks in rushing (698 yards) and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. With Morris a free agent and not expected back, Jones should be “The Man” in the Seahawks backfield in 2009.

#30 – Justin Forsett (RB/PR)
Age: 23
Contract status: signed through 2011
2009 salary: $385,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $419,500
Probability of return: 100%

Forsett’s solid training camp earned him a spot on the 53-man roster, but he was released after Week 1 to make room for a veteran wide receiver (Billy McMullen or Samie Parker. Take your pick). Forsett spent three weeks return punts and kicks for the Indianapolis Colts before being released and quickly re-signed to the Seahawks practice squad. Forsett was promoted to the active roster on October 14 and served as the team’s punt returner for the remainder of the season. With Morris likely moving on, Forsett may be given an opportunity to be a 3rd down/change-of-pace back in 2009.

#35 – Owen Schmitt (FB)
Age: 23
Contract status: signed through 2011
2009 salary: $385,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $424,500
Probability of return: 100%

The “runaway beer truck” was a fan favorite the moment he was drafted and YouTube clips of Schmitt smacking himself in the head with his own helmet. Schmitt made an immediate impact on special teams, and saw extensive action (including a start) at fullback when Leonard Weaver was hurt. Schmitt could be the team’s starting fullback if a long-term agreement with Weaver can’t be reached.

#42 – T.J. Duckett
Age: 27
Contract status: signed through 2012
2009 salary: $2,500,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $4,950,000
Probability of return: 75%

Duckett was nearly automatic in short-yardage situations and led the team in touchdowns (8), which is exactly what he was brought to Seattle to do. However, Duckett is due a sizeable roster bonus and the team could save around $3.3 million in cap room by releasing him.

#43 – Leonard Weaver (FB)
Age: 26
Contract status: Free agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number (approx.): N/A
Probability of return: 75%

Seattle signed Weaver as an undrafted free agent tight end out of Division II Carson-Newman and patiently developed him into a play-making, potentially Pro Bowl-caliber fullback. With his contract now expiring, it would seem odd for the front office to not re-sign him. Using the franchise tag is out of the question, though. The franchise tag does not distinguish tailbacks from fullbacks, so using the tag on Weaver would cost upwards of $6.5 million dollars in 2009.

Wide Receivers

#16 – Michael Bumpus
Age: 23
Contract status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number: N/A
Probability of return: 100%

Bumpus appeared in four games, made one start and caught his 1st NFL touchdown pass before being released to make room for Justin Forsett. Bumpus was re-signed to the team’s practice squad the following day and has been there ever since. The Wazzou product worked primarily out of the slot in the preseason and his brief stint on the active roster (Bumpus lined up in the slot on 68 of his 71 plays in ’08), and given his lack of top speed, that’s where he’ll likely need to be successful to continue at the NFL level.

#17 – Trent Shelton
Age: 24
Contract status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number: N/A
Probability of return: 100%

Shelton was with the Seahawks in training camp and had 3 receptions for 25 yards and a touchdown in the preseason. Shelton was apart of the team’s final cuts on August 30, but was re-signed to the practice squad when Courtney Taylor was signed to the active roster in November.

#18 – Koren Robinson
Age: 28
Contract status: Free agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number: N/A
Probability of return: 0%

Tim Ruskell was reluctant to sign Robinson, despite his familiarity with the Seahawks offense and the team being very short-handed at the wide receiver position in mid-September. With Mike Holmgren in Arizona or Santa Cruz this Spring, there’s very little chance Ruskell will expend much energy attempting to re-sign Robinson in the off-season.

#19 – Logan Payne
Age: 23
Contract status: Signed through 2009
2009 salary: $310,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $310,000
Probability of return: 100%

Payne was signed to a multi-year contract after the 2007 regular season and was the talk of the Seahawks’ 2008 mini-camps. Payne entered training camp as a favorite to earn a roster spot, and did so, but tore his ACL four plays into Seattle’s Week 2 loss to San Francisco. Payne should be ready for training camp and should be expected to battle for a roster spot.

#81 – Nate Burleson
Age: 27
Contract status: Signed through 2010
2009 salary: $3,250,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $4,050,000
Probability of return: 100%

Burleson tore his ACL in Week 1 and the Seahawks desperately missed Burleson’s play-making ability the rest of the way. Burleson should be ready for training camp, but expectations that Burleson will be the same dynamic player he was before the injury should be tempered a bit. Recovery from that operation takes time and Burleson may not be the same as he was right away.

#82 – Jordan Kent
Age: 24
Contract status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number (approx.): N/A
Probability of return: 100%

Kent remains a project as a wide receiver, but his speed and athleticism have helped Kent become a valuable contributor on special teams. He’s far too young and athletically-gifted to not bring to training camp in 2009.

#83 – Deion Branch
Age: 29
Contract status: Signed through 2011
2009 salary: $4,940,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $7,306,667
Probability of return: 90%

Recovery from ACL surgery and an injured heel limited Branch to just 8 games, 30 catches and 412 yards in 2008. Branch hasn’t been the game-breaking receiver Seattle thought they were getting when they spent $39 million dollars and a 2007 1st round pick in September of 2006, but Branch showed what he’s capable of doing in the final month of the season (17-260-4) and for the first time will benefit from an off-season of work with Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace. For an offense starved for playmakers, cutting Branch at this point makes little sense.

#84 – Bobby Engram
Age: 35
Contract status: Free agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number: N/A
Probability of return: 25%

Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren had to ask Tim Ruskell to bring Engram back the last time he was a free agent, so it’s likely that Engram will need to look elsewhere to finish out his NFL career. Engram turns 36 next week and spent the 2008 off-season protesting the Seahawks’ front office’s unwillingness to discuss a new contract with him.
Before slamming the door on a possible return by Engram, Seattle’s front office should consider that he’s one of the leaders on this team and even when Darrell Jackson was here, Engram was always Matt Hasselbeck’s favorite target, especially on third downs. Even this season, Engram very quietly put up respectable numbers (47 catches, 489 yards) for . He’s excellent in the slot and whichever young receivers make this team would benefit from playing alongside a guy like Engram.

#86 – Courtney Taylor
Age: 24
Contract status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number: N/A
Probability of return: 100%

By default, Taylor opened the 2008 season as the starting flanker. Unfortunately, for both him and the team, he played like it. He dropped passes, was sloppy in his route-running and when you do that on a Mike Holmgren-coached team, you end up losing your roster spot, which Taylor did in early October. Seattle re-signed Taylor to the practice squad, and after a month of getting back in the team’s good graces, he was re-signed to the active roster and saw time in the final seven games. Taylor worked primarily on special teams and in four-wide packages, but in the final few weeks, he was also stealing snaps from Koren Robinson at split end in regular and three-wide sets, as well.

#87 – Ben Obomanu
Age: 25
Contract status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number (approx.): N/A
Probability of return: 100%

With Bobby Engram and Deion Branch both expected to miss the first month of the season, Obomanu was expected to start and be a major contributor to the passing game. Instead, he fractured his clavicle in the final pre-season game and was placed on injured reserve. Obomanu figures to be back for the off-season mini-camps and should have a shot at earning a roster spot in 2009.

Tight Ends

#46 – Joe Newton
Age: 25
Contract status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number (approx.): N/A
Probability of return: 100%

Seattle originally signed Newton as an undrafted free agent after the 2007 NFL Draft. He’s been through two training camps and has spent the last seasons on the team’s practice squad. Newton will be brought back to show what he’s learned the last two seasons and with no practice squad eligibility left, he’ll have to win a roster spot to stick around in 2009.

#85 – Will Heller
Age: 27
Contract status: Free agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number (approx.): N/A
Probability of return: 75%

Heller is a bigger tight end (6-6, 270), who is more of a blocker than a receiver. Still, Heller has shown a knack for making plays in the red-zone (7 of his 36 career receptions have gone for touchdowns), but his blocking ability makes him an ideal complement to John Carlson and worthy of a contract extension.

#89 – John Carlson
Age: 24
Contract status: Signed through 2011
2009 salary: $423,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $1,048,000
Probability of return: 100%

Carlson led the Seahawks in receiving in 2008, setting single-season franchise records for a tight end with 55 receptions, 627 yards and tying the single-season touchdown mark with 5. Carlson’s future with the Seahawks could include repeat visits to the Pro Bowl.

Offensive Line

#?? – Donovan Raiola (OC)
Age: 26
Contract status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number (approx.): N/A
Probability of return: 35%

On the “Transactions” page of the Seahawks official website, there’s no mention of the team adding Raiola to the practice squad in mid-December. Raiola doesn’t have a listed number and may or not may be allowed to dress for practice in the team’s locker room. Long-time Seahawks beat writer Clare Farnsworth of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has misspelled Raiola’s last name each of the two times he’s mentioned it on his “Talkin’ Hawks” blog and to be honest, if Donovan Raiola walked into my office right now and punched me in the face, I still wouldn’t be able to tell you who he is. Because he’s a center, and Chris Spencer’s back will likely keep him out of the OTA’s, Raiola has a chance to return for the off-season workouts and training camp.

#60 – Erik Robertson (G)
Age: 24
Contract status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number (approx.): N/A
Probability of return: 100%

Robertson was signed to the practice squad in early December. Robertson has spent much of his time in the NFL on the San Diego Chargers’ practice squad.

#64 – Steve McKinney (OC/G)
Age: 33
Contract status: Free agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number (approx.): N/A
Probability of return: 20%

McKinney was signed on December 5th to take Mike Wahle’s spot on the active roster. McKinney was active for four games, but did not play, even on the field goal unit. McKinney shouldn’t be expected back in 2009, unless the Seahawks want to keep a veteran center around as insurance.

#65 – Chris Spencer (OC)
Age: 26
Contract status: Signed through 2009
2009 salary: $850,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $1,816,210
Probability of return: 100%

In terms of raw, physical talent, Spencer may be the most gifted center in franchise history. If only he could stay healthy. Spencer missed most of the 2008 off-season while recovering from off-season shoulder surgeries (plural) and missed training camp with a bulging disk in his back. That bulging disk became herniated and in early December, Spencer was placed on injured reserve. It’s unclear how the team will treat Spencer’s back (rest/rehab vs. surgery), but Tim Ruskell’s first ever draft choice with the Seahawks will be back for the final year of his rookie contract. How healthy he will be for it is anyone’s guess.

#66 – Mansfield Wrotto (OG)
Age: 24
Contract status: Signed through 2010
2009 salary: $460,000
2009 cap number (approx.); $564,250
Probability of return: 100%

After spending much of his two-year career on the weekly inactive list, injuries pressed Wrotto into the starting lineup at right guard for the final four games of the season. Considering the abruptness of the opportunity, Wrotto played reasonably well, and barring any major additions to the offensive line this off-season, could be involved in a competition for the starting right guard spot in training camp.

#67 – Rob Sims (OG)
Age: 25
Contract status: Signed through 2009
2009 salary: $530,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $627,500
Probability of return: 100%

Sims began the season as the starting right guard, but tore a pectoral muscle in Week 1 and was placed on injured reserve. Often referred to as the team’s strongest player in the weight room, Sims has yet to convert his weight room prowess into on-field domination. Sims plans on being around Seattle all off-season and will be vying for the starting right guard job during training camp.

#68 – Mike Wahle (OG)
Age: 31
Contract status: Signed through 2012
2009 salary: $3,100,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $3,900,000
Probability of return: 100%

Like every other Seahawks starting offensive lineman, Wahle’s 2008 season ended on injured reserve. Wahle has already had his right shoulder operated on and is expected to be ready for training camp. Some may look at Wahle’s age and salary and think he’s a candidate to clear some cap room, but the cap savings by releasing him is very small (approx. $1.1M) and the veteran leadership he provides has to be taken into account.

#69 – Steve Vallos (OC/G)
Age: 25
Contract status: Signed through 2011
2009 salary: $385,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $396,563
Probability of return: 100%

Vallos spent 2007 on the practice squad and was moved to center during the 2008 off-season by new offensive line coach Mike Solari. Vallos worked with the first-team line during much of training camp and the preseason, with that experience coming in handy when a herniated disk ended Chris Spencer’s season. Vallos started the season’s final five games at center, and should benefit from a full off-season in the weight room and classroom.

#70 – Na’Shan Goddard (OT)
Age: 25
Contract status: Signed through 2009
2009 salary: $460,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $460,000
Probability of return: 60%

Seattle signed Goddard off the New York Giants practice squad to take Walter Jones’ place on the active roster. He was active for the final two games, and pressed into service in the 4th quarter of the regular season finale against Arizona. Goddard is massive (6-5 and a few doughnuts over his listed weight of 315), but doesn’t appear to be blessed with a nimble set of feet. With Walter Jones expected to miss the entire OTA’s, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team keep Goddard and see what the training staff and (hopefully) Mike Solari can do with him in the off-season.

#71 – Walter Jones (OT)
Age: 34
Contract status: Signed through 2012
2009 salary: $6,200,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $9,800,000
Probability of return: 100%

Jones had the dreaded microfracture procedure performed on his left knee and isn’t expected back until training camp. Mike Holmgren has been quick to soothe the masses by telling reporters that Jones is going to be fine, but that surgery combined with Jones’ age (34) has to signal to the front office that it’s time to give serious thought to drafting Jones’ heir apparent at left tackle. Until Jones decides to trade in his free trips to Hawaii for a free trip to Canton, Ohio, he is and should be the team’s starting left tackle.

#73 – Will Robinson
Age: 24
Contract status: Signed through 2009
2009 salary: $310,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $310,000
Probability of return: 60%

Robinson was signed as an undrafted rookie out of San Diego State. He barely made it onto the field during preseason before he was hurt and placed on injured reserve, so Robinson could be given another look in 2009.

#74 – Ray Willis (OT/G)
Age: 26
Contract status: Free agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number (approx.): N/A
Probability of return: 75%

Willis started 10 games for the Seahawks this season, mostly at right tackle, after appearing in just 12 games total in the three seasons prior to 2008. Willis was one of the pleasant surprises of 2008, proving to be a solid pass blocker and occasionally mauling opponents in the running game. His age (26), size (6-6, 315) and feistiness will make him an under-the-radar free agent on the open market. Seattle can’t make any promises that he’d be a starting tackle if he returned, but he did start 3 games at right guard and could be given the inside track to start there in 2009 with an eye towards him eventually moving to right tackle if and when Walter Jones retires.

#75 – Sean Locklear (OT)
Age: 27
Contract status: Signed through 2012
2009 salary: $1,000,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $6,650,000
Probability of return: 100%

Locklear missed the first two weeks of the season with a knee injury and missed the final two games after dislocating his toe on the game-winning field goal by Olindo Mare in Week 15. Locklear is expected to be ready for training camp and will likely see plenty of action at left tackle this off-season as Jones recovers from knee surgery. Locklear can be penciled in as the starting right tackle in ’09.

#77 – Floyd Womack (G)
Age: 30
Contract status: Free agent
2009 salary: N/A
2009 cap number (approx.): N/A
Probability of return: 50%

Was 2008 a bizarro year? Well, with all the injuries to the Seahawks offensive line this season, Floyd Womack was the only one to emerge unscathed. Womack started 14 games at guard this season and played fairly well. His veteran experience may have also helped the Seahawks avoid total disaster when they were forced to start the inexperienced Vallos and Wrotto the last few weeks. The Seahawks didn’t re-sign Womack until May last off-season, and despite his sudden immunity to the injury bug, they’ll like take the same wait-and-see approach to re-signing him this year.

#78 – Kyle Williams (OT)
Age: 24
Contract status: Signed through 2009
2009 salary: $385,000
2009 cap number (approx.): $385,000
Probability of return: 100%

Williams spent all of 2007 and much of 2008 on the practice squad before being signed to the active roster before the Thanksgiving Day game against Dallas. Williams appeared in four games, making two starts in December. Williams is under contract for next season and will be given a shot at a roster spot during training camp.

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