Seahawks cut their roster down to 75
Former starting center Lewis among cuts prior to NFL deadline
RENTON — For the second straight day the Seattle Seahawks cut ties with a notable veteran.
Center Patrick Lewis, who finished last season as the starter, was the prominent name among Seattle’s cuts Tuesday as the Seahawks got their roster down to the NFL-mandated 75 players.
Seattle made nine moves Tuesday prior to the 1 p.m. deadline. In addition to Lewis, the Seahawks cut two other veterans from last season’s team, those being former University of Washington receiver Kevin Smith and guard Kristjan Sokoli. Also among Tuesday’s casualties was running back Zac Brooks, a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft.
Tuesday’s cuts came one day after veteran cornerback Brandon Browner was the standout name among six cuts made by the Seahawks. Browner, who spent 2011-13 in Seattle as an original member of the Legion of Boom secondary, had been signed as a free agent during the offseason.
Lewis, Sokoli and Brooks were among five players waived by Seattle on Tuesday, the other two being linebackers Quayshawn Nealy and Pete Robertson.
Smith was one of four players waived with an injury designation, the others being running back George Farmer, cornerback Trovon Reed and defensive end Josh Shirley. If those waived with an injury designation are not
claimed by another team they are placed on Seattle’s injuredreserve list.
Lewis was one of the stories of Seattle’s 2015 season. The Seahawks had all kinds of issues on the offensive line during the first half of the season, with quarterback Russell Wilson being sacked 31 times in Seattle’s first seven games. Lewis took over for Drew Nowak as the starting center for good beginning with Seattle’s ninth game against the Arizona Cardinals, and over the final eight games the Seahawks allowed just 15 sacks and scored 32 points per game.
However, the Seahawks converted Justin Britt, who played left guard last season, to center during the offseason, and Seattle has committed to Britt as the starter. Lewis, who was re-signed as a restricted free agent during the offseason, was scheduled to make $1.671 million this season, which would have been spendy for a backup center.
The release of Lewis opens the door for rookie Joey Hunt, a sixthround selection in this year’s draft, to serve as the backup center this season. Hunt is set to make $475,089.
Smith began last season on Seattle’s practice squad, but was elevated to the 53-man roster following injuries at receiver, and he became a contributor, particularly on special teams. He appeared in seven games, catching three passes for 43 yards. However, he suffered a hamstring injury during training camp that’s prevented him from appearing in preseason games.
Sokoli was a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft. He was a project who was kept on Seattle’s roster the entirety of last season after being converted from defensive tackle. However, he appeared in only one game.
Brooks was the last of Seattle’s 10 selections in this year’s draft, taken 247th overall. Brooks was never a starter at Clemson, but he tested well during his pro day, and his background as a receiver made him a possible option as a third-down back. However, the return to health of Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise, as well as strong performances by Christine Michael, have created a squeeze at running back.
Among those who survived Tuesday’s cuts was Archbishop Murphy High School graduate Taniela Tupou. Tupou, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Washington, is trying to make the team as a fullback after converting from defensive tackle. He and veteran Will Tukuafu, who was just re-signed last week, are the only two fullbacks remaining on the roster.
The Seahawks will carry their 75-man roster into Thursday’s preseason finale on the road against the Oakland Raiders. The deadline for getting down to the final 53-man roster is 1 p.m. Saturday, with teams allowed to establish their practice squads on Sunday.
Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has missed the past two practices getting treatment on his toe. A team representative said Bennett is getting the usual treatment he’s received in the past. Bennett played through the toe issue all last season and went on to have 10 sacks and be named to his first Pro Bowl.
RICK SCUTERI / ASSOCIATED PRESS Center Patrick Lewis (65), who started eight games for the Seahawks this past season, was among the players cut by the team Tuesday.