Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider once again were the engineers of a surprise roster move Saturday, a day after setting the team’s 53-man roster.
In what appears to be a cost-cutting maneuver, the Seahawks waived tight end Kellen Winslow after he apparently balked at a pay cut.
Seattle wasted little time in replacing Winslow, signing former Cleveland Browns tight end Evan Moore.
Moore was released by the Browns on Friday as part of their effort to get down to 53 players. He was due to make nearly $2 million in base salary in 2012, in the second year of a three-year deal.
In 33 games with Cleveland, Moore had 62 catches for 804 yards and five touchdowns. The Stanford product finished last season with 34 catches for 324 yards and four touchdowns.
Similar to Winslow, Moore is a pass-catching tight end who works off the line of scrimmage and also can split out as a wide receiver. Moore is familiar with the West Coast offense from his time in Cleveland under coach Pat Shurmur and team president Mike Holmgren.
Carroll said that money was not a consideration when choosing his starting quarterback, with Matt Flynn making $8 million in total compensation as the team’s backup to rookie Russell Wilson ($390,000).
But it appears to have been an issue in Winslow remaining on the roster.
The Seahawks gave a seventh-round pick to Tampa Bay when they traded for the San Diego native.
Winslow was owed three years and $13.3 million in base salary, and was scheduled to make $3.3 million in base salary this year. Winslow’s chronic knee issues also likely played a role in Seattle’s decision to move on.
The Seahawks may have concluded they had too much tied up in the tight end position. Starting tight end Zach Miller is scheduled to make $6 million this season, and has four more years to go on his $34 million deal.
The Seahawks now have three tight ends on the roster – Miller, Moore and third-year pro Anthony McCoy.
Carroll praised McCoy’s performance during exhibition play, saying he’s shown significant progress since last season, so his development also could have played a role in Seattle’s decision to release Winslow.
McCoy led all Seattle receivers during the preseason in receiving yards with 106 on six catches.
And although the team did not officially make an announcement, quarterback Josh Portis, receivers Ricardo Lockette and Jermaine Kearse, tight end Sean McGrath, offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson and linebacker Korey Toomer reportedly all cleared waivers and will be added to the team’s practice squad.