Tariq Woolen

Seahawks DL Mike Morris Out For Season; CB Riq Woolen Likely To Miss Time

The Seahawks will be without one of their rookies the rest of the way. They placed Mike Morris on IR today, and while that is no longer an automatic season-ending transaction, it will be in the rookie defensive lineman’s case.

Morris will need season-ending shoulder surgery, Pete Carroll said (via ESPN’s Brady Henderson). A fifth-round pick out of Michigan, Morris played 26 defensive snaps in Seattle’s Week 1 game. He was inactive in Week 2. Brought in as part of a D-line overhaul, Morris made three tackles against the Rams. Last season at Michigan, the 6-foot-6 pass rusher totaled 7.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.

Of the six defensive linemen who began the day on the Seahawks’ active roster, only one — backup Myles Adams — was with the team last season. Seattle brought in Dre’Mont Jones and Mario Edwards and reunited with Jarran Reed this offseason. A round before selecting Morris, the Seahawks chose Mississippi State’s Cameron Young. Bryan Mone remains with the Seahawks, but the veteran D-lineman is on the team’s reserve/PUP list.

Seattle won last week despite playing without both its starting tackles, but the team also squeaked past Detroit with top cornerback Riq Woolen leaving the game due to a chest injury. The issue will likely sideline Woolen for Week 3, Carroll added, though the 14th-year coach indicated the second-year starter’s issue is likely not serious enough for an IR move to enter the equation. The Seahawks, who also began the season without No. 5 overall pick Devon Witherspoon, promoted veteran cornerback Artie Burns from their practice squad Tuesday.

Additionally, the Seahawks waived linebacker Tyreke Smith on Wednesday. A 2022 fifth-rounder out of Ohio State, Smith has played in one regular-season game. He missed last season due to injury. The team also plans to sign tight end Brady Russell off the Eagles’ practice squad, The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar tweets. Russell is a rookie UDFA out of Colorado. Will Dissly is battling a shoulder injury, leading to the expected P-squad poaching. Because the Seahawks plan to sign Russell from the Eagles’ practice squad, he must remain on their active roster for three weeks.

Seahawks Sign CB Artie Burns To Active Roster

Artie Burns is joining Seattle’s active roster. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Seahawks have signed the cornerback from their practice squad to the 53-man roster.

Burns struggled to live up to his first-round pedigree during his four seasons with the Steelers, starting only 32 of his 58 appearances. His fifth-year option was naturally declined, and the cornerback caught on with the Bears before the 2020 campaign. Unfortunately, a torn ACL knocked him out for the entire season, and he started six of his 11 games for Chicago during his comeback campaign in 2021.

He spent most of last year in Seattle, getting into three games. He re-signed with the organization this past offseason, and after getting cut during roster deadline day, he caught on with the practice squad. He’s already been promoted for both of Seattle’s two games this season, with the veteran appearing in 33 defensive snaps.

Riq Woolen suffered a chest injury during Sunday’s win over the Lions, potentially leaving the team with a depleted CB corps. Fortunately, Pete Carroll indicated that Burns’ promotion to the full-time roster wasn’t related to Woolen’s injury.

“He’s still sore; he’s sore today,” Carroll said of Woolen (via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times). “We’re just one day at a time. There’s nothing that we need to do other than treat him, and then we see if he can make it back. We’ll take it one day at a time.”

If Woolen is forced to miss time, Burns would be re-joining a depth chart that also features Tre Brown, Coby Bryant, Michael Jackson, Kyu Blu Kelly, and Devon Witherspoon.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/6/23

Here are today’s minor moves as the weekend comes to a close:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

Andrews joins Philadelphia as a potentially strong depth piece on the offensive line. The seven-year veteran has played 48 games over the years with five different teams, so rejoining the Eagles, even with a new staff from when he left, shouldn’t be too big of an issue. Last year, he started five of the six games he played with the Saints.

Woolen underwent arthroscopic knee surgery back in May and was given a four-to-six-week recovery timeline. He was forced to start camp on the physically unable to perform list, but it’s time for him to make his way back to the field. Last year’s other starter at cornerback, Michael Jackson, has had a great camp and rookie Devon Witherspoon is pushing for a starting role, so Woolen will be glad to get back and reestablish his role in the secondary.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/26/23

Today’s minor transactions:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

  • Signed: WR Cody Chrest
  • Placed on NFI: OT Caleb Jones
  • Waived/injured: WR Jeff Cotton

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Among the additions on today’s list, defensive back A.J. Moore is the most notable. The defensive back spent four years with the Texans to begin his career, compiling 69 tackles in 55 games while primarily playing on special teams. The 27-year-old spent a chunk of last season on the Titans practice squad, and he ultimately got into one game with the big-league club.

Seahawks Rookie CB Devon Witherspoon Competing For Starting Role

The Seahawks return two starting cornerbacks next year in Michael Jackson and Tariq Woolen, as well as Coby Bryant, who started six games as the team’s primary nickel cornerback last year. Still, Seattle decided to draft Illinois’s Devon Witherspoon as the draft’s first cornerback off the board at No. 5 overall. Despite his high draft pedigree, Witherspoon will have to compete with the incumbent starters to establish his role as a rookie.

The team is currently running Witherspoon in the slot with two former college teammates out of Miami (FL) in Jackson and Artie Burns on the outside, according to Brady Henderson of ESPN. Burns is simply filling in for a currently injured Woolen, while Bryant has reportedly been sidelined lately, allowing Witherspoon more time in the slot early.

There are some early ideas out of workouts concerning how the depth chart might shape up. Henderson posits that the team may work with Witherspoon starting on the outside across from a healthy Woolen in base packages. When the defense needs to add an extra defensive back, Witherspoon will shift inside to the slot with Jackson replacing him on the outside.

His spot in the starting lineup isn’t guaranteed, though, as Henderson reports that Jackson is have a strong spring with regular dominant outings in 7-on-7. Jackson was a surprise for the Seahawks’ defense last year, starting every game despite only having appeared in four games in his first three seasons of NFL play before that. Playing alongside the rookies in what was perhaps the league’s least-experienced cornerbacks group, Jackson was third on the team with 75 total tackles, adding an interception, 12 passes defensed, two fumble recoveries, and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. If he continues to impress throughout the summer, it’s not out of the question that he may retain a starting role.

In that case, Witherspoon will likely start games at nickelback and rotate in when needed on the outside. In situations when a slot corner is needed while Witherspoon is outside, Seattle can go back to Bryant or even turn to safety Julian Love, who has experience working in the slot, as well. He hasn’t been working at the position much lately, though, as the team has opted to keep Love working at safety, in case Jamal Adams‘s return to the field takes longer than anticipated, but Love does have the requisite experience.

So for now, the depth chart appears to have Woolen and Witherspoon as the top outside options with Jackson and Burns behind them, though Jackson has a chance to retain his starting spot by continuing to impress. At the slot, Witherspoon should be the first option, moving out of his outside position, with Bryant and, potentially, Love behind him. The most experienced members of the position room, Burns and Love, are contributing as depth pieces in what is expected to continue being one of the youngest cornerbacks rooms in the league.

Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen Undergoes Knee Surgery

The Seahawks have received an unwanted piece of injury news at the onset of OTAs. Cornerback Tariq Woolen has undergone arthroscopic knee surgery, as detailed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Brady Henderson.

The injury occurred last week, and surgery was quickly deemed to be necessary. The procedure went “as well as doctors could have hoped,” per ESPN, but it is nevertheless expected to keep Woolen sidelined until training camp. A return by July would put the 24-year-old well on track to suit up for the regular season, but Seattle will no doubt proceed with caution considering his importance to the team.

To call Woolen’s rookie campaign a success would be a dramatic understatement. The fifth-rounder racked up six interceptions (tied for the league lead), returning one for a touchdown. He added 16 pass deflections and three fumble recoveries to his impressive statsheet. Those totals earned him a Pro Bowl nod, and placed him third in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.

They also cemented his status as a long-term foundation of Seattle’s secondary. The Seahawks invested their top pick in this year’s draft on Devon Witherspoon, so their CB tandem should be a formidable one for the foreseeable future. The absence of Woolen for much of the offseason has been met with a depth move as well, though.

The Seahawks brought back veteran Artie Burns on Monday, which will give them a familiar face on the backend. Burns made three appearances in Seattle in 2022, and he could see extra usage in the spring with Woolen sidelined. Despite the timing of his signing, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweets that the Seahawks intended to bring back Burns regardless of Woolen’s status. In any event, the latter’s recovery will be a situation to monitor in the build-up to training camp.

NFC West Rumors: Bosa, McGlinchey, Hawks

It continues to look like the 49ers will wait until 2023 to extend Nick Bosa. The fourth-year defensive end became extension-eligible in January, but unlike 2019 draft classmate Deebo Samuel, Bosa has a fifth-year option for 2023. The 49ers would prefer to wait here, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com, and Bosa has not pressed the issue regarding a 2022 extension. This comes after John Lynch said next year will likely be the window for a Bosa deal, despite the expected $24MM windfall the 49ers are expected to receive when they move Jimmy Garoppolo‘s contract off their payroll — via trade or release — by Week 1. This will not be a DeForest Buckner situation, however. Lynch said this week Bosa will be a long-term 49er.

What I do know, as long as we’re here, Nick Bosa is going to be a part of the Niners and he’s going to get paid handsomely to do so,” Lynch said. “His time is coming, and when it does, he’ll get what he deserves because man, what a special player.”

Bosa will be expected to bridge the gap between Aaron Donald ($31.7MM per year) and the field, with the prospect the NFL has at least two $30MM-AAV defenders by Week 1 2023 looking likely. Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • One of Bosa’s top practice opponents will not be on the field for a bit. The 49ers will hold Mike McGlinchey out of practice for at least this week, Kyle Shanahan said (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch). McGlinchey, who missed the second half of last season due to a torn quad, experienced knee pain after an eight-snap preseason opener and underwent a PRP procedure. The fifth-year right tackle does not have a timetable for return, making this a must-monitor situation. The 49ers’ offensive line is already set to look considerably different. Alex Mack retired, Laken Tomlinson signed with the Jets and McGlinchey’s 2021 backup — Tom Compton — is now a Bronco. Colton McKivitz, who spent most of 2021 on San Francisco’s practice squad, resides as McGlinchey’s current understudy.
  • Drew Lock missed the Seahawks‘ second preseason game Thursday and remains away from the team. Pete Carroll said the QB trade acquisition is “really sick” with COVID-19, which the team announced he contracted Tuesday. After a solid start (minus a late-game fumble) in Seattle’s preseason opener, Lock is losing ground to Geno Smith by missing time. Smith remains in the lead for the Seahawks’ QB1 post, Eric Williams of Fox Sports writes. This seems like a situation in which both players will start games for the 2022 Seahawks, but Smith remains in pole position to get the Week 1 call.
  • After the 49ers cut Darqueze Dennard, they look set to give their slot cornerback job to rookie Samuel Womack, Branch notes. The fifth-round pick, who had been viewed as behind Dennard in this competition earlier in camp, intercepted two passes in the 49ers’ preseason opener. Charvarius Ward and Emmanuel Moseley are expected to be San Francisco’s outside corners.
  • The Seahawks traded one of their slot options, Ugo Amadi, to the Eagles for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. They may well call on a rookie to man the post as well. Coby Bryant is looking like he will play in the nickel role, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. The Seahawks have not used presumptive outside starters Sidney Jones or Artie Burns during the preseason. Seattle chose Bryant in the fourth round and Tariq Woolen in the fifth; the latter worked as an outside corner in the team’s second preseason tilt Thursday.

NFC West Rumors: Hopkins, Brunskill, Seahawks, Rams

While there was some contention in regards to the six-game suspension handed down to Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the NFLPA considers his case a closed issue, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. There was a sliver of hope that the ban may be reduced from six to four games, and Hopkins still believes there may be, but it seems all but certain that he will be out for all six.

With Hopkins out, Arizona’s receiving room will be led by trade acquisition Marquise Brown, veteran A.J. Green, and second-year player Rondale Moore. The depth gets pretty thin behind those three with Andy Isabella, Antoine Wesley, and Greg Dortch on the roster, among a few others. The Cardinals also shopped Isabella earlier this year.

Here are a few other rumors from around the NFC West, starting with a note out of the Bay Area:

Latest On Seahawks’ CBs Room

The cornerback position group in Seattle is one of the more intriguing in the NFL this year. The Seahawks look to put together a formidable group of corners with last year’s trade acquisition, a veteran attempting a comeback, and two mid-round rookies. 

With D.J. Reed leaving for the Jets, Tre Flowers to the Bengals, and Bless Austin in Denver, the Seahawks return only three cornerbacks who started games in 2021 for the team: Sidney Jones, Tre Brown, and John Reid. To fill out the roster, Seattle brought in Artie Burns as a free agent and drafted Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant and Texas-San Antonio’s Tariq Woolen in back-to-back rounds.

Jones was a second-round pick out of Washington back in 2017 for Philadelphia. He only appeared in one game of his rookie season due to an Achilles injury, but received a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Eagles. A nagging hamstring injury kept him from consistently contributing during his sophomore season, but he was able to start four games that year for Philadelphia. An injury to starter Ronald Darby gave Jones an opportunity in Year 3, but another hamstring injury sidelined him and Jones was cut just prior to the 2020 season having only started eight games for the Eagles.

Jones signed with Jacksonville and started six games for the Jaguars, but, once again, injuries held him out of multiple games. The Jaguars extended his contract in March 2021 just to trade Jones five month later to the Seahawks. In Seattle, Jones finally found himself healthy, appearing in all but one game and starting 11. Jones is currently taking some time off the field after sustaining a concussion in practice, but he is is expected to return to a starting role in 2022.

Burns is the other cornerback running with the ones this offseason. Burns is a former first-round pick that many in Pittsburgh will regard as a bit of a disappointment. Burns started his career in Pittsburgh as the No. 3 cornerback behind William Gay and Ross Cockrell. He eventually replaced fellow rookie Sean Davis as the starting nickelback and, in his first career start, picked off Joe Flacco for the Steelers’ first interception by a defensive back that season. Burns was a full-time starter in his second season before losing playing time to Davis, Coty Sensabaugh, Mike Hilton, and Cameron Sutton over the next two years. Pittsburgh declined Burns’ fifth-year option and allowed him to walk in free agency.

Burns signed with the Bears but was carted off the practice field with a torn ACL weeks before the season started. He re-signed with the Bears and, after getting small morsels of special teams snaps in the team’s first 10 games, Burns started six of Chicago’s final seven games last season. Following the dismantling of the Bears’ coaching staff after the 2021 season, Burns followed former Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai to Seattle, where Desai would take the role of associate head coach/defensive assistant. Seattle seemed to notice how Burns was progressing in Desai’s defense and decided that bringing him in could certainly benefit the Seahawks secondary.

“We still feel like he is an ascending player and, sure enough, he has familiarity with the scheme from being in Chicago last year,” defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “You’ve seen that benefit pay off since he has been here. He has great command, helps out the young guys.”

Although Jones and Burns will slot in as the starters going into the season, Burns’ influence on “the young guys” is crucial as first- and second-year players fill out the depth chart just behind them. Brown is entering his second season out of Oklahoma. Brown’s rookie season saw two separate stints on injured reserve, but he started three of the five games he appeared in. Add to the roster the two rookies, Bryant and Woolen. Bryant was a playmaker for the Bearcats en route to winning last year’s Jim Thorpe Award for the best defensive back in college football. Woolen made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback while with the Roadrunners. He put together a productive college career but really shot up draft boards with a 4.26 40-yard dash time and a 42-inch vertical at the NFL Combine. All three will play significant roles in the Seahawks secondary, along with veteran free agent addition Justin Coleman.

Rounding out the current roster is Reid, former Cowboys’ fifth-round pick Mike Jackson, and undrafted rookies Elijah Jones and Josh Valentine-Turner. With a top six of Jones, Burns, Brown, Bryant, Woolen, and Coleman, it’s going to be a tough run for Reid, Jackson, Jones, or Valentine-Turner to make the final roster. After spending last year with the Seahawks, Reid may be in the best position to push Coleman for a spot, but Coleman has seniority and experience over Reid.

An injury-riddled Washington native returning as starter, a fallen star from Miami looking for a resurgence, and a host of young go-getters with everything to prove, this secondary is a bit of an island of misfit toys. The Seahawks may need some minor miracles on offense to put them in playoff contention, though, which means it’s the perfect time to experiment with some interesting projects, like they are at cornerback, to see what they can make work.

Latest On Seahawks’ D.K. Metcalf, CB Competition

The Seahawks have seen multiple franchise pillars depart this offseason, but they have maintained an optimistic tone with respect to keeping one of their young stars. Still, the recent actions of D.K. Metcalf have caused a stir in the organization. 

The 24-year-old made headlines with his unexcused absence from Seattle’s minicamp. That decision “surprised the team some,” according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Metcalf had been present for a portion of the voluntary offseason program, which could explain why members of the team were caught off guard by the move to skip mandatory practice last week.

Metcalf is among the numerous wideouts from the 2019 draft class who are in line for second contracts, something which is taking place within the context of a skyrocketing WR market. Head coach Pete Carroll provided an update on contract talks, saying that things are still “semi-quiet” right now, but that negotiations could intensify in the coming weeks. Condotta, likewise, states that “the drama [surrounding Metcalf] may linger all summer but it should end by fall.”

While the Metcalf situation is front and center right now in Seattle, the offseason has also led to speculation about the team’s cornerback situation. As Condotta’s colleague Adam Jude writes, there appears to be a competition along the outside which is “wide open.” He notes that Sidney Jones has been practicing with the starters, which should come as little surprise given that he started 11 of 16 contests last year. However, Jude adds that one, if not both of rookies Coby Bryant and Tariq Woolen could take on starting roles this season, given their performances in practice, as the team looks for a D.J. Reed replacement.

Bryant and Woolen won’t have the chance to push for a starting spot until training camp in July. By that time, the Seahawks may have already taken care of their most pressing financial issue.