Preseason Cut/Trade Candidates for Seahawks to Track in NFC West
The Seahawks have a history of adding significant talent late in the offseason, at the end of the preseason, and even during the season. John Schneider may have done most of his heavy lifting already, but the esteemed general manager will not sit idly. Seattle still has needs to address and if the Jadeveon Clowney trade last August has taught us anything, it's that they'll be aggressive to make it happen.
Every preseason, veterans are cut and or traded, giving teams an opportunity to make late improvements to their roster. In this series, I will look at one player from each of the other 31 teams that could come to Seattle via a late trade or as a free agent castoff. Wrapping up the eight-part series, let's look at the Seahawks rivals in the NFC West.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers actually have two names that immediately stand out as potential targets for the Seahawks on the waiver wire. First, former Washington Husky receiver Dante Pettis may be an odd man out. A second-round pick just two years ago, Pettis has been jumped on the roster by the likes of Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne. The 49ers also selected Brandon Aiyuk in the first round of April's draft and brought in veteran Travis Benjamin in free agency.
Pettis didn't get many opportunities last year and San Francisco was more willing to trade a third-round pick for a rental, Emmanuel Sanders, than give Pettis more opportunities. He has all the skills necessary to be a good wideout in the league. He is an elite athlete, has great hands, and is one of the most dynamic punt returners in NCAA history. If Pettis is cut, Seattle shouldn't think twice about adding him to their receiver room.
The other name to watch here is cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. The former second-round pick was replaced late in 2019 season opposite of Richard Sherman in the starting lineup. San Francisco reportedly loves D.J. Reed Jr. and Witherspoon's replacement, Emmanuel Moseley, is still on the roster.
Witherspoon has the size, length, and explosives that the Seahawks typically covet and compares quite favorably to young Richard Sherman in terms of athletic ability. He was better than Tre Flowers in 2019 and if the legal problems with Quinton Dunbar continue to persist, Witherspoon could make a lot of sense coming from a similar defensive system in San Fransisco.
Los Angeles Rams
This one is a bit trickier since the Rams did a lot of cap cleaning prior to the draft. But the Rams still have just over $4 million in cap space for this season and only have a couple of legitimate options to clear that money. Perhaps the best option that can nearly double their cap space is by cutting or trading nickel corner Troy Hill.
Hill was fantastic last season, intercepting two passes with eight passes defended and 43 total tackles. The Rams likely want to keep Hill, but the 29-year old will hit free agency next season and the Rams still need to pay Jalen Ramsey, Gerald Everett, and Cooper Kupp as well as make sizeable upgrades to keep up in a tough NFC West.
The Cardinals are in pretty good shape with their salary cap, now and in the future. And unless they would actually consider cutting or trading Patrick Peterson, there isn't a candidate who saves them a lot of money without taking a major hit, with the possible exception of J.R. Sweezey.
But sometimes, players getting cut or traded isn't about saving money. Sometimes, it is just time for two sides to move on. And in the case of Haason Reddick and Arizona, a divorce may be what is best. The 13th overall pick of 2017 NFL Draft has been a major disappointment in the desert and the Cardinals haven't made much of an effort to conceal that fact. They were reportedly shopping Reddick just one year after taking him and quickly declined his fifth-year option.
Reddick will turn 26 years old in September, and while he hasn't missed a game yet, he's only made 20 starts while collecting just 7.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hits. Arizona brought in Devon Kennard and De'Vondre Campbell to play linebacker and selected Isaiah Simmons in the first round of the 2020 draft, all bad signs for Reddick's future with the Cardinals.
Reddick isn't an easy fit, but his raw athleticism is sure to spark Pete Carroll's interest. Using Reddick as a standup rusher or finding sub-packages to work him into the mix could maximize his pass rushing potential and taking a shot on this caliber of athlete has never been something the Seahawks have shied away from.