When the Seahawks waived rookie safety Tyvis Powell last month, they knew there was a good chance they would lose him for good. Indeed they have. The Browns announced on Monday that they’ve claimed him.
While that news was not a surprise to the Seahawks, it was surely a bummer considering how highly they regarded Powell as a high-upside prospect. General manager John Schneider said after the draft that Seattle had a “very high” grade on Powell and that the Seahawks made it a priority to sign him as a rookie free agent.
Powell had some nice moments in the preseason, including some stellar special-teams plays against Kansas City, and made Seattle’s initial 53-man roster among a crowded group of safeties. He appeared in eight games, solely on special teams (104 snaps), and was inactive for last four games of the regular season.
The Seahawks waived Powell when they signed kick returner Devin Hester the week leading up to their first playoff game. At that point in the season, the NFL’s waiver period lasts through the Super Bowl, which means it wouldn’t be revealed until Monday whether Powell or any other player who was waived at that time got claimed.
So why did the Seahawks waive Powell if they liked him so much? The short answer is that circumstances more or less dictated it.
Terrence Magee would have been a candidate to be waived instead as one of four healthy tailbacks on Seattle’s roster at the time, but that was complicated by rules pertaining to players signed off another team’s practice squad. They count against the new team’s 53-man roster limit for three weeks after being signed. The Seahawks signed Magee off Cleveland’s practice squad two weeks earlier, so waiving him wouldn’t have cleared the roster spot they needed for Hester.
Defensive tackle John Jenkins would have been another option, but Tony McDaniel was dealing with a concussion that ended up keeping him out of Seattle’s first playoff game.
Powell was one of five safeties on Seattle’s roster at the time and at the bottom of the depth chart behind the other two backups, Jeron Johnson and Kelcie McCray, veteran players whom the Seahawks would have felt more comfortable pressing into action than a rookie. So they deemed Powell the most expendable given their immediate needs at the time, even if he was a player they would have ideally liked to keep and develop, especially with Earl Thomas coming off a broken leg and Kam Chancellor entering the final year of his contract.
Being claimed by the Browns is a homecoming for Powell, who’s from the Cleveland suburb of Bedford and played at Ohio State.
— Tyvis Powell (@1Tyvis) February 6, 2017
@1Tyvis u know where to find us Rook!
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 6, 2017
— The Enforcer (@Kam_Chancellor) February 6, 2017