Preseason Cut/Trade Candidates for the Seahawks to Track in AFC North

The Seahawks are no strangers to adding talent after the third wave of free agency. They could do it again this offseason as other teams start to cut and trade players while finalizing 55-man rosters.
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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. Continuing the eight-part series, let's swing to the AFC North.

Baltimore Ravens 

The Ravens are in the last years of their sweet spot. Lamar Jackson is the reigning MVP, but they'll need to pay him soon. They went 14-2 in 2019, but exited quickly from the playoffs, getting demolished by the Titans in the AFC Divisional Round. Baltimore went out and added talent on both sides of the ball, trying to maximize their odds while Jackson is still playing on a bargain contract.

The Ravens are in good shape with the salary cap, so they don't need cut any big-name players. Matthew Judon is the name that most Seahawks fans will gravitate to, but it seems unlikely the Ravens will move him at this stage.

But one player they might move on from is nose tackle Brandon Williams. Set to earn $14.1 million in 2020, Williams is a decent candidate to be cut thanks to a revamped defensive line. At 31 years old and with two young, cheaper options behind him, Williams could be looking for employment in September. A large, immovable run-stuffer, Williams is a good candidate to replace Al Woods and improve the Seahawks suspect 2019 run defense. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Unlike the Ravens, the Steelers are right up against the salary cap and don't have many obvious options to cut to give them more flexibility. There aren't many veterans who would actually save the Steelers money, so their best bet may be to trade Bud Dupree, their franchise-tagged player. 

Coming off a 13-sack season, Dupree would improve the Seahawks pass rush. But he would likely require at least a first-round pick and a new contract to acquire him if Pittsburgh is even willing to shop him.

Cleveland Browns

While the Steelers are a tough team to find trade and cut options, the Browns have a glaringly obvious candidate that makes a lot of sense for the Seahawks. Olivier Vernon, set to make $15.5 million against the cap in 2020, is one of the more popular candidates to be released in training camp.

Vernon will turn 30 in October and has missed 15 games over the past three years. He saw his sack numbers drop by 50 percent in 2019, though he was still a solidly graded player in 10 games. A good but not elite pass-rusher could appeal to John Schneider and the Seahawks, but only if he is cut.

The Browns reportedly made Jadeveon Clowney a serious offer and if Clowney changes his mind about playing in Cleveland, Vernon would almost certainly be cut to help pay for his arrival. In what amounts to a trade of sorts, Seattle could sign him once he hits the market.

Cincinnati Bengals

I would like to believe that former Washington standout John Ross may be available in trade. His skill set is a fantastic fit in Seattle's vertical passing game and the Bengals retained A.J. Green and drafted Tee Higgins with the 33rd pick to play alongside Tyler Boyd. But alas, the Bengals simply don't make trades and Ross is only set to be a $5 million cap hit.

Ross would be ideal, but it's an unlikely that move happens. But someone who could get lost in the shuffle of a revamped secondary is strong safety Shawn Williams. While safety may not be a priority, the Seahawks current crop of safeties do carry some durability concerns. 

Williams has missed just one game the past two years and has been hyper-productive, racking up more than 100 tackles in 2018 and 2019. He also has some ball skills, picking off five passes in 2018 and leading the NFL in return yards. 

Williams will be 29 years old and a free agent after the season. But as an insurance policy come September, the veteran is one heck of an option to consider if he's released by Cincinnati.