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Seahawks roster thoughts: Expect even more changes

Safety Tyvis Powell is one of 21 new players and 15 rookies on the Seahawks' 53-man roster. (AP)

Though there weren’t many surprises in the Seahawks’ cut-down to 53 players, the amount of change from last year was staggering.

The Seahawks ended up with 21 new players on this year’s roster, including 15 rookies. Sure, general manager John Schneider ended up with a great draft and did well finding undrafted free agents, but 21 changes is a lot.

Let’s review the 10 things we learned from the cut-down:

1. Expect the roster to be flexible the first three weeks of the season. The Seahawks had to waive/injured around 17 players, meaning their offset salaries work against the cap until there is an injury settlement. That eats up a lot of cap room. As a resort, the Seahawks kept more rookies making the league minimum of $450,000, giving them more cap flexibility. As of Tuesday, Seattle had about $5.7 million of cap room.

2. The cap flexibility of having so many low-priced players gives the Seahawks the option of bringing back veterans such as fullback Will Tukuafu, defensive back Brandon Browner or others if they wish after Week 1. If the Seahawks had Tukuafu on their roster past Saturday, his $760,000 salary and $600,000 cap number would have been guaranteed for the season. A rookie like Tani Tupou eats up only $26,471 a week.

3. The trades for safeties Dewey McDonald and L.J. McCray showed the Seahawks were looking for upgrades on either special teams or those last couple safety spots. Clearly, the Seahawks like the potential of undrafted rookie Tyvis Powell, but they were looking for some veteran experience for the first weeks of the season. The McCray trade was voided when he failed his physical.

4. Remember how Schneider said the Seahawks had draftable grades on all 13 of their initial undrafted free agents? Five ended up making the team. Leading the list was tackle George Fant, who received a $20,000 signing bonus. Quarterback Trevone Boykin received $15,000 followed by Powell at $12,000 and cornerback DeAndre Elliott at $10,000. They were the four highest paid among the team’s undrafted rookies. Wide receiver Tanner McEvoy was the fifth who made the team.

5. Despite rushing for 152 yards in three preseason games, Troymaine Pope didn’t have a chance to make the roster. Fortunately for him, his tape was so good the Jets claimed him on waivers. There was no way Pope, despite his great numbers, was going to beat out Thomas Rawls, Christian Michael, C.J. Prosise or Alex Collins for a roster spot. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wants bigger backs, more in the 220-pound range. Pope is 207, and he didn’t offer the potential of Collins, who appears to be talented enough to be an NFL starter.

6. Congrats to defensive tackle Tony McDaniel. He turned his mini-vacation to Leavenworth, Wash. into a potential starting job against the Dolphins in Week 1. McDaniel is listed ahead of Jarran Reed on the unofficial depth chart. His agent set up a workout with the Seahawks when he learned McDaniel was just 90 minutes away from the facility.

7. Going back to the 21 new Seahawks, let’s look at the turnover at certain positions. They replaced six of the nine offensive linemen who finished last season with Seattle and the entire backfield except for Michael, who was traded to Dallas and eventually came back to the team late in the season.

8. Even though the turnover was vast, it wasn’t as if the Seahawks were getting rid of a lot of high-priced players. Marshawn Lynch retired. Russell Okung, J.R. Sweezy and Bruce Irvin were the only other high-priced players who finished last season on the 53-man roster and didn’t come back.

9. For what it’s worth, eight former Seahawks draft picks who were on last year’s roster – including Injured Reserve – didn’t make it this year. The Seahawks kept eight new draft choices and seven undrafted rookies.

10. By keeping tackles Bradley Sowell and J’Marcus Webb – two unrestricted free agents – the Seahawks should get two compensatory picks, a No. 4 for Irvin and a No. 5 for Sweezey. They won’t get a possible compensatory pick for Okung or Brandon Meabane because they suffered a net loss to two players.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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