Sea­hawks cut their ros­ter down to 75

For­mer start­ing cen­ter Lewis among cuts prior to NFL dead­line

The Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By Nick Pat­ter­son Her­ald Writer

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.

Ex­tra point

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.

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