I'll just say it: A lot will change between now and August. For now, though, here's a look at the Seahawks roster from a "Locks, Bubble, and Long-Shots" perspective.
It turns out all that talk of the Seahawks' interest in USC quarterback Mark Sanchez was a smokescreen, which means that there will be no change at the top of the Seahawks quarterback depth chart. Hasselbeck remains the starter, with Wallace as the capable back-up. Rowe would be the ideal third/emergency quarterback (young, low salary), but the Seahawks may look to add a more experienced veteran to the group before training camp.
With Maurice Morris and Leonard Weaver off the roster, the roles of the current running backs have become more clearly defined. Jones will be the starter, getting 15-20 touches per game. Duckett will be the short-yardage, "move the chains and drain the clock" back, while Schmitt paves the way for Jones and Duckett and gets a few touches each game. The free agent departures also mean an opportunity for an increased role for Forsett, who returned punts after leading the team in rushing last preseason. Forsett can expect to be challenged by Moore, a 5-9, 190-pound undrafted free agent from Wyoming who wasn't invited to this year's Combine (in his native Indianapolis), but ran a 4.33 at his Pro Day and did 29 reps on the bench press. Griffith has followed Seahawks offensive coordinator Greg Knapp throughout his NFL career and will certainly have a role in the offense.
Players Brought to 2008 Training Camp: 11
Players Kept in 2008: 6
Locks: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch, Nate Burleson, Deon Butler
Bubble: Jordan Kent, Courtney Taylor, Ben Obomanu, Michael Bumpus, Logan Payne
Long-Shots: Mike Hass, Billy McMullen
Being a Seahawks wide receiver in 2008 was a lot like being a drummer for Spinal Tap. So it wasn't much of a surprise when Tim Ruskell signed the best free agent receiver on the market (Houshmandzadeh) and packaged a pair of picks to trade into the third round to get Butler. Burleson is reportedly ahead of schedule in his rehab from ACL surgery last September, and Branch flashed his play-making ability late in 2008 as he recovered from his ACL and heel injuries. Kent, Taylor, Obomanu, Bumpus, and Payne figure to get long looks this August. After what happened last Fall, nobody should be counted at out at this point.
Carlson set or tied franchise receiving records for a tight end and may just be scratching the surface on his potential and production. Owens was signed to two-year deal to fill the blocking tight-end role, and Newton, Tereshinski and Morrah figure to battle for the third tight-end role. Seattle has spent two years developing Newton into an NFL tight end, making this a critical off-seaosn for the former Oregon State standout.
Players Brought to 2008 Training Camp: 13 (6 OT / 7 OG/OC)
Players Kept in 2008: 9 (4 OT, 5 G/C)
Locks: Walter Jones, Sean Locklear, Ray Willis, Max Unger, Chris Spencer
Bubble: Steve Vallos, Mike Wahle, Mansfield Wrotto, Rob Sims, Kyle Williams, Na'Shan Goddard
Long-Shot: William Robinson, Andre Ramsey
As long as they remain healthy, Jones and Locklear will start at tackle. Willis was re-signed to a two-year deal in March. While Jones recovers from off-season knee surgery, Willis figures to see time during mini-camp and training camp at right tackle, but he's officially listed as a guard, perhaps indicating that he has the inside track at one of the guard spots. Second round pick Unger could start at center or left guard, depending on the health of Wahle and Spencer. Vallos, Wrotto and Sims are safe bets to return, but tackles Williams and Goddard could push one of them out.
Players Brought to 2008 Training Camp: 14 (7 DT, 7 DE)
Players Kept in 2008: 9 (4 DT / 5 DE)
Locks: Patrick Kerney, Brandon Mebane, Colin Cole, Lawrence Jackson, Darryl Tapp, Corey Redding, Craig Terrill, Red Bryant
Bubble: Baraka Atkins, Nick Reed, Brandon Miller, Kevin Brown
Long-Shots: Michael Bennett, Tez Doolittle
Kerney, Mebane, and Cole will start, with Jackson, Tapp and Redding likely competing to start on the right side. Terrill and Bryant will rotate at the tackle position, where both Redding and Jackson could rush the passer from in dime packages. Atkins and/or Reed could stick around as the 9th and 10th defensive linemen, with Miller, Brown, Bennett and Doolittle as potential candidates for the practice squad.
Players Brought to 2008 Training Camp: 9
Players Kept in 2008: 6
Locks: Lofa Tatupu, Aaron Curry, Will Herring, D.D. Lewis, Lance Laury, David Hawthorne
Long-Shots: Tony Fein, Dave Philistin
Seattle's front office is leaving the light on for Leroy Hill, who along with Tatupu and first round pick Curry, would form one of the most talented linebacking corps in the league. Herring, Lewis, Laury and Hawthorne are core special team players. Fein and Philistin may see a lot of talent ahead of them on the depth chart, but should be encouraged that the Seahawks' organization has been very friendly towards undrafted linebackers over the years.
Players Brought to 2008 Training Camp: 13 (7 CB, 6 S)
Players Kept in 2008: 7 (4 CB / 3 S)
Locks: Marcus Trufant, Josh Wilson, Ken Lucas, Deon Grant, Jordan Babineaux
Bubble: Brian Russell, Kelly Jennings, Kevin Hobbs, Jamar Adams, C.J. Wallace, Courtney Greene
Long-Shots: Marquis Floyd, DeMichael Dizer
Trufant, Wilson, Grant, Babineaux and the newly signed Lucas will be on the final roster. Jennings and Russell have the talent and prior on-field success to regard their 2008 season as just an off-year, though the addition of Lucas raises some questions about Jennings and Russell's roles with the team. If Babineaux remains at corner, where does that leave Jennings? If Babineaux is moved to safety, what happens to Russell? With the team unlikely to keep 4 specialists (see below) again in 2009, there may be an additional spot or two in the secondary for Hobbs, Adams, Wallace and Greene to compete for.
Ryan is the only punter on the roster, which is sure to change before training camp. It's doubtful that the Seahawks will carry two kickers again in 2009, but for now, it's a toss-up. Will the ‘Hawks go with Mare, who was (sadly) one of the team's MVPs in 2008, or will they go with Coutu? As long as Schmitt stays healthy, he's a good bet to handle the long-snapping duties. If not, Ruskell could perhaps turn to the "In Case of Emergency, Break Glass" case they've been keeping Jeff Robinson in the last few years.
Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com), writes for FalconInsider.com, and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.