Nolan Frese, Clint Gresham and the Seahawks’ situation at long-snapper
RENTON – You tend to only notice a long-snapper when he messes up, and over the Seahawks’ last two preseason games, Nolan Frese has been noticed all too often.
There were a pair of off-target snaps two weeks ago against Minnesota, including one that led to a missed field goal, and three more last week against Dallas. Frese, an undrafted rookie out of Houston, is the third potential replacement Seattle has looked at since releasing Clint Gresham, and his viability has become such a question in recent weeks – at least externally – that free-agent long-snappers have been tweeting incessantly at Seahawks beat writers about their availability.
So, needless to say, the Seahawks want to see a clean performance from Frese in their preseason finale against Oakland. Asked about that on Wednesday, coach Pete Carroll revealed that Frese has been playing through a shoulder injury that he sustained on his first snap of Seattle’s second preseason game.
“I’d like to see him play free of his injury,” Carroll said. “He’s farther away from it now; he should have a better chance. It has bothered him some. It’s right in his shoulder, so it does affect his snapping some. He’s done a really nice job.”
Carroll praised Frese for how he has excelled in covering punts, saying, “I don’t know that we’ve had a guy make five tackles in three games, so that’s a fantastic contribution for us.”
Gresham never signed elsewhere when he was released in March, a move that saved the Seahawks $660,000 against the cap from what he would have counted in the second year of a three-year, $2.7 million deal. Carroll indicated earlier this summer that Gresham was still an option for the Seahawks, saying he was staying ready in case they called. But Gresham wrote on Twitter earlier this week that he and his wife have moved back to Texas because they hadn’t heard from any interested teams, which suggests he’s no longer in play for Seattle, at least not right now.
If so, money would presumably be the primary reason, as it was with Seattle’s decision to release him in the first place. As noted on Spotrac.com, the minimum 2016 salary for a player with six years of NFL experience like Gresham is $760,000. Frese is scheduled to make $450,000, which is the minimum for rookies.
It’s still possible that Seattle finds another long-snapper between now and the regular-season opener, but Frese will get at least one more shot to show his injury and his snapping issues are behind him.
“He’s got some real positives there that we’re fired up about,” Carroll said, “but we’ve just got to get him cleaned up a little bit.”