Undoubtedly one of the toughest decisions the Seattle Seahawks made while setting their 53-man roster over the weekend was waiving wide receiver Kasen Williams, one of the standouts of the preseason.
Williams made nine catches — including a few that were spectacular — for 208 yards and a touchdown, which seemed like enough to earn a roster spot. The Seahawks instead went with Tanner McEvoy as their fifth and final receiver behind Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson and rookie Amara Darboh, a third-round pick who was outplayed by Williams in the preseason.
“There is no explanation for this!” cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted in response to a Seahawks blogger who was trying to make sense of the team’s decision. The explanation that coach Pete Carroll offered Monday was that preseason games, while an important part of the team’s evaluation, aren’t everything.
“Certainly,” Carroll said when asked if it was a hard decision to waive Williams, who’s from the Seattle area and played at the University of Washington. “He’s a great kid. We love him and you can tell our players love him. These decisions are extremely difficult and they’re excruciating at times based on the experience and the time we’ve spent together and the guys that we’re dealing with. But there’s a lot of stuff that we take into consideration, a lot more than any one aspect of the process.
“Kasen had great games and did a beautiful job for us and did well. But other guys did really well too and the rest of the processes adds to it and we have to make our decisions and see how it all fits. Sometimes you lose guys that you just hate losing and that is great case of that.”
Williams was claimed by the Cleveland Browns after being waived by Seattle.
“I was talking with him all the way up until he got claimed, hoping we could get him back,” Carroll said, “and maybe we will someday.”
Asked what was the primary factor in not keeping Williams, Carroll said: “The mixture of the guys that we need to put together in a position group.”
Williams had made obvious strides in his third season. That was evident in his play at receiver and also on special teams, an area where he didn’t have extensive experience when he entered the league as an undrafted rookie in 2015. After catching a touchdown pass in Seattle’s third preseason game, for instance, Williams made the tackle on the ensuing kickoff.
Carroll noted Williams’ improvement there when asked if special teams was a factor in the decision to not include him on the roster.
“It is always a big factor in these situations,” Carroll said. “He had done well. He had done better than he had in the past and I commend him for that.”