Seahawks Cutting Preseason Standout WR Causes a Stir

Easop Winston Jr.

Getty Seahawks wide receiver Easop Winston Jr. was waived on Tuesday, August 29, 2023.

While the Seattle Seahawks have numerous difficult decisions to make in order to whittle down their roster to 53 players ahead of the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Tuesday, August 29, the bulk of analysts were completely surprised when NFL’s Network’s Tom Pelissero announced the team was waiving wide receiver Easop Winston Jr.

With the Seahawks 2023 first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba securing his spot behind veterans Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, Winston appeared to be a lock as WR4 after the 26-year-old shined during the preseason.

The former undrafted player out of Washington State was the team’s leading receiver during the Seahawks 19-15 loss to the Green Bay Packers, recording three catches for 74 yards. Throughout three preseason matchups, he tallied six catches for 103 yards and one touchdown.

SI’s Corbin K. Smith and The Athletic’s Mike Dugar had the 26-year-old preseason standout making the 53-man roster, along with The Tacoma News Tribune’s Gregg Bell. Bell posted after the news broke how the receiver told him, “I put my best foot forward,” outside the locker room in Green Bay on Saturday, which made the release even more heartbreaking.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said of Winston during the post-game press conference on Saturday, August 26, “He has great hands. He catches the heck out of the football all the time, so there is nothing new there, but he came through. You still have to do that in the game. I’m really glad that he got the opportunity to show that and put it on film.”

Winston, who signed a one-year, $870,000 contract with the Seahawks in May, spent the bulk of the 2022 NFL season on Seattle’s practice squad. Before first signing with the Hawks in October 2022, he had brief stints with the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, and the Cleveland Browns.

Will Easop Winston Jr. Return to Seattle?

X, formerly known as Twitter, immediately filled with strongly disappointed reactions following Winston’s cut. While the 12s lamented the decision, “Boo,” one fan posted, while another person wrote, “Should have made the team,” there’s a strong possibility Winston won’t be gone for long.

With the amount of injured receivers on the Seahawks roster, Winston’s release could be a temporary move. Sandusky Registrar’s Billy Heyen posted, “This *likely* means that Cody Thompson will make the initial 53-man roster for the Seahawks… if Thompson’s shoulder injury requires an absence, the only way he can be placed on short-term IR is to be on the initial 53.”

If the Seahawks placed Thompson on IR before making the team, he’d be ineligible to play for the entire season. The same goes for Dareke Young, who’s been dealing with a hip/groin injury that may require surgery. While Smith-Njigba will start the season on the active roster, it’s highly unlikely he’ll play Week 1. So, suiting up for the Seahawks may still be in Winston’s immediate future.

Did Jake Bobo Take Easop Winston’s Roster Spot?

Regardless if Winston returns to sign with practice squad or not, the Seahawks made the decision to take the waiver gamble on him instead of Jake Bobo, the former undrafted rookie out of UCLA.

Bobo quickly became a locker-room favorite in Seattle and a fan favorite following his excellent preseason showing. Bobo was the team’s leading receiver throughout three exhibition games, tallying seven passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

“It’s been really cool,” Bobo said of the love he’s received during an August 26 press conference. “Cool for me, my family, and friends to just see some of that, so I’m very grateful, I’m honored to have some of the 12’s jump on the Bobo bandwagon a little bit. That’s been really cool to see, and I’m honored that folks think I’m worthy of their praise.”

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