The Seattle Seahawks made the controversial decision to cut wide receiver Kasen Williams, who has since signed with the Cleveland Browns. Williams was one of the best preseason players on the Seahawks, dominating against all competitors.
Cutting Kasen Williams Was a Mistake by the Seattle Seahawks
Kasen Williams was the star of the first preseason game, catching four passes for 119 yards. Williams was thrown four jump balls, and came down with all four of them. His ability to beat defenders deep and high point the ball is extremely useful in today’s game. All teams want players that have this skill, especially a run-heavy team like Seattle. The Seahawks want to run the ball and control the clock, which makes the deep shots that they take more important. Russell Wilson and his receivers have to maximize the limited opportunities that they have to push the ball down the field.
Williams dominated against Los Angeles’ backups, which doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be able to do the same thing against starters. But this skill set has always been inside him. Williams was projected as a future first round pick by many experts during his first few collegiate seasons at the University of Washington. Unfortunately, the injury bug struck and cost Williams dearly. Williams broke his leg and injured his foot, and wasn’t able to regain form at Washington before entering the 2015 NFL Draft. He wasn’t drafted and has been waiting for an opportunity to show his skill set ever since. He was signed by the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent and has spent the majority of his career on the practice squad. But this preseason, Williams proved that he’s much more than a practice squad player.
During Seattle’s second preseason game, Williams caught a jump ball against Xavier Rhodes, one of the best corners in the NFL. Rhodes was signed to a huge contract this offseason because of his ability to shut down elite receivers. Williams went up for the jump ball and pulled it down with one hand. This showed that he can catch jump balls over anyone, not just backups. He caught another jump ball for a touchdown later in the game. Williams didn’t do much in the third preseason game, catching one pass for four yards. But by this point, he seemed like a lock to make the roster. But things aren’t always what they seem.
The Seahawks decided to keep receivers Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson, Amara Darboh, Tanner McEvoy, and J.D. McKissic over Williams. Trading away Jermaine Kearse made it seem more likely that Williams would be kept. Baldwin, Lockett, and Richardson were locks to make the team. Darboh was a 2017 third round pick. He was a near lock to make the roster, but was outperformed by Williams in the preseason. Darboh was dealing with injuries, which didn’t allow him to play up to his potential. McEvoy is a Pete Carroll player. The former college receiver, quarterback, running back, and safety is as versatile as anyone on the roster. He’s a large receiver and core special-teams player. McKissic impressed during the preseason as a running back and wide receiver. The versatile offensive weapon also impressed as a punt and kick returner. His preseason performance earned him a roster spot, but so did Williams’ performances.
As Richard Sherman pointed out on Twitter, Pete Carroll’s motto of compete was overlooked in the decision to cut Williams. It’s not often that fans get upset about a fringe roster player getting cut, but Williams isn’t your typical player. The former University of Washington product is from Sammamish, Washington. Just like former Husky receiver and Washingtonian in Kearse, Williams is a local product and was cherished by the fans. Kearse has done nothing but disappoint recently, which led to his trade. But Williams has impressed and is showing the talents that he had as a freshman and sophomore in college. The Seahawks knew a team would claim him, so there wasn’t any chance of him being retained to their practice squad. Williams might never develop into a starting wide receiver, but he deserved a chance to play in Seattle.