Seahawks Signing Former Eagles TE Raises Eyebrows

Brady Russell

Getty Former Eagle tight end Brady Russell at Lincoln Financial Field on August 17, 2023.

While the Seattle Seahawks (1-1) are riding high following their epic overtime win against the Detroit Lions (1-1) in Week 2, the team is still working to improve their roster.

The Athletic’s Mike Dugar was first to report on Wednesday, September 20 that Seattle was adding another offensive weapon. “The #Seahawks are expected to add TE Brady Russell to their active roster,” Dugar posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Russell is an undrafted rookie from Colorado. He was on the Eagles’ practice squad.”

The move immediately raised some eyebrows for several reasons, one of them being that Russell was plucked from a franchise where his uncle, former UC linebacker, Matt Russell, serves as the team’s senior personnel director and advisor to general manager Howie Roseman.

The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder told that after his name wasn’t called during the 2023 NFL draft, he received an offer from the San Francisco 49ers before the Philadelphia Eagles called with “the kind of deal” with “enough money, you’re like ‘I can’t say no to this.'”

However, the rookie also wanted to make sure this wasn’t some type of nepotism offer, and called his uncle to find out. “He’s like, ‘Dude, it is so far from it,’” Russell said, noting how Roseman wanted Russell to fill a roster need. “It was super, super cool for it to just fall together like that.”

Despite having a “solid summer’ and “strong training camp,” USA Today’s Glenn Erby wrote, Russell failed to make the 53-man roster and was re-signed to Philadelphia’s practice squad.

While the Seahawks have already ruffled some feathers with their aggressive waiver wire moves, and it might’ve been awkward to poach Russell considering his familial connection, considering the Eagles have such solid depth at tight end, his uncle might’ve been thrilled to see his nephew get an immediate shot on an active roster.

The Seahawks Already Have 3 Tight Ends on the Active Roster

Will Dissly

GettySeahawks tight end Will Dissly #89 stiff arms Lions’ Alex Anzalone at Ford Field on September 17, 2023.

Adding Russell also turned some heads because the Seahawks already have three tight ends on the active roster: Will Dissly, Noah Fant, and Colby Parkinson. While the trio struggled in Week 1 against the Rams, as did the entire Seahawks offense, against the Lions, three tight ends were lights out.

SI’s Corbin Smith wrote, “With [Geno] Smith completing all nine of his targets to Dissly, Fant, and Parkinson for 132 yards and nearly 15 yards per reception and the trio helping limit Detroit to just one quarterback hit in pass protection, Seattle’s passing attack opened up in a big way, putting up over 300 yards thanks to the contributions of an invaluable tight end group on the way to a thrilling 37-31 overtime win on the road.”

Carroll said of the tight ends’ effort during the postgame presser on September 17, “They were huge today. Great job of [offensive coordinator] Shane [Waldron] calling the game, getting those guys open because they were running clean a lot, and really a fantastic part of the game plan.”

While adding Russell sparked concern that either Dissly, Fant or Parkinson suffered an injury, Carroll could be wanting to add another tight end if he’s planning to keep using all three on the field at once. Smith pointed out, “After only using 13 personnel with Dissly, Fant, and Parkinson on the field for one snap in their loss to the Rams, the three tight ends logged 13 snaps together against the Lions, approaching 20 percent of their 67 total snaps.”

UPDATE: Carroll told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that Dissly is dealing with a shoulder injury that’s bothering him, per The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta.

The Seahawks Released LB Tyreke Smith

While Russell’s college numbers are not all that impressive, he tallied a total of 78 receptions for 799 yards and three touchdowns during his five-year tenure with the Buffaloes, SB Nation’s John Gilbert wrote, “Russell was asked to run block on more than half the snaps he logged during his career, and is considered an above average blocker.”

If the Seahawks plan to use Russell as more of a pass-blocking tight end, Carroll might’ve added the rookie to help support left tackle Stone Forsythe and right tackle Jake Curhan, who usurped the starting roles with Abe Lucas and Charles Cross out injured.

In order to facilitate the move, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport posted the team the released linebacker Tyreke Smith, who “impressed during the preseason, now heads to waivers.”

Smith, the Seahawks’ fifth-round pick from the 2022 NFL draft, spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve, but made his NFL debut against the Lions, during which he participated in nine defensive snaps and recorded one assisted tackle, per Pro Football Focus.

While the Seahawks could re-sign the Ohio State alum to the practice squad should he clear waivers, fans are worried he’ll immediately be claimed by another team, and over the possible depth issue since Seattle’s defensive front is already dealing with several injuries. One man posted, “We shouldn’t be releasing him,” while another person commented, “This doesn’t make much sense… pass rush is our most glaring issue.”

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