Chris Clemons #91 of the Seattle Seahawks tackles Christian Ponder #7 of the Minnesota Vikings during a game at CenturyLink Field on November 4, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks 30-20. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - The Seattle Seahawks have trimmed their roster to 53 players. The biggest surprises were DE Chris Clemons being kept on the active roster after spending all of training camp on the physically unable to perform list and the retirement of CB Antoine Winfield.
The also made a last minute trade for defensive line help as well.
A report from Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com early Saturday morning said that Winfield would be among the Seahawks cuts. Instead, Winfield elected to retire, per Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com
The decision to keep Clemons on the active roster is an indication he could be close to returning to action. The Seahawks made a similar decision to keep G James Carpenter on the active roster last season. He made his season debut Week 4 against the St. Louis Rams.
Clemons tore his ACL in the team's playoff victory over the Washington Redskins in January and was placed on PUP prior to the start or training camp. Getting Clemons back early in the season would be a big boost for a team that's currently banged up along the defensive line.
The Seahawks also acquired DT D'Anthony Smith from the Jacksonville Jaguars in a trade for an undisclosed draft pick to help add depth to the defensive front.
There were surprised among the list of cuts. TE Sean McGrath was released leaving the Seahawks with only two tight ends on the active roster in TE Zach Miller and TE Luke Willson.
Fourth round pick WR Chris Harper was also waived.
The early cuts for Seattle were not kind to veterans.
FB Michael Robinson was told Friday he would be released by the team and Winfield also won't be a part of the roster.
The moves were made largely for salary considerations - though the play of CB Walter Thurmond and CB Byron Maxwell made the decision to part with Winfield more palatable.
The release of Robinson saved $2.5 million against the salary cap. Winfield's release netted an additional $1 million.
The Seahawks are not in salary cap trouble for this season. However, the new rules of the collective bargaining agreement allows teams to rollover unused cap space from one year to the next. Because the Seahawks rolled more than $13 million in additional money to this season, they have to roll some money over to next year in order to avoid a tight salary cap situation in 2014.
It's a major piece of why the Seahawks have made the roster moves they have in purging some veterans making too much money. It's not so much a reflection of the team not wanting to pay Robinson or Winfield, but more of an eye to the future with extensions for CB Richard Sherman, S Earl Thomas and QB Russell Wilson needed in the next few seasons.
Players who were kept on the 53-man roster today aren't necessarily going to be a part of the roster for the season opener against Carolina either. Seattle could claim players released by other teams on waivers by 9 a.m. Sunday and alter the final few spots on their roster. Once players clear waivers tomorrow, teams can form an eight-man practice squad.
The full list of Seahawks roster moves appears below...
WR Phil Bates
DT Michael Brooks
DT Dewayne Cherrington
WR Arceto Clark
TE Darren Fells
DB Winston Guy
WR Chris Harper
TE Cooper Helfet
DT Jaye Howard
G Rishaw Johnson
TE Sean McGrath
DB Ron Parker
LB Ty Powell
G Ryan Seymour
DB DeShawn Shead
DT Sealver Siliga
G Jared Smith
WR Bryan Walters
Terminated Veteran Contract
DT Clinton McDonald
FB Michael Robinson
QB Brady Quinn
CB Antoine Winfield