Smith-Njiga, alongside Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, formed one of the scariest wide receiver trios in the NFL, but the Seahawks may have to start the season without the standout rookie, which is tough blow considering Dee Eskridge is already out and Dareke Young is still dealing with a hip/groin injury.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter first broke the news on Tuesday, August 22, that Smith-Njigba was undergoing surgery in Philadelphia after breaking a bone in his wrist during Seattle’s preseason matchup agains the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday, August 19. The receiver hurt his hand after making a 48-yard catch and getting tackled at the one-yard line.
Surgery will determine how much time Smith-Njigba will miss, but with just 19 days before the season-opener, it’s a tight turnaround for the 21-year-old. The injury comes as a surprise since there was no previous indication that he was hurt. After proving to be such an explosive receiver right out the gate, he’s recorded six receptions for 83 yards during the first two preseason matchups, it’s a frustrating setback. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told reporters he’ll be out three to four weeks for “a slight fracture” and that JSN’s seeing a hand specialist before going under the knife.
Just before news of the surgery broke USA Today’s Time Weaver suggested Smith-Njigba “be in bubble wrap for Preseason Week 3 against the Packers… While it’s a small sample size, we’ve seen enough of Jaxon-Smith Njigba during the preseason and heard enough from training camp to know that he’s going to be perfectly fine at this level – and might even be a true third superstar at wide receiver.”
On Tuesday afternoon, the Seahawks announced they signed wide receiver Malik Flowers, who went undrafted out the University of Montana. In order to facilitate the move, they released defensive end and former Patriots’ special teams ace, DaMarcus Mitchell, who they had signed just one day prior.
However, Flowers can also deliver on special teams. He tied the NCAA Division I record with seven career kick return touchdowns. Flowers, who recorded 31 receptions for 460 yards and two touchdowns last season, and gained 615 yards on 20 returns, initially signed with the New Orleans Saints this offseason.
Saints Wire’s John Sigler and Crissy Froyd called his release “a surprise” in June, as there was “a lot of fanfare” for his arrival. But the team ultimately went in a different direction and signed two veterans instead.
Jake Bobo May Get the Chance to Step Up Should Jaxon Smith-Njigba Miss Time
Fortunately for the Seahawks, former undrafted rookie Jake Bobo has emerged as a strong contender to make the 53-man roster. Should Smith-Njgiba be our for an extended period of time, he may get his chance.
While Bobo faced an uphill battle to make the team with Metcalf, Lockett, and Smith-Njigba as the projected starters, and Young as a reserve, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll named the UCLA alum as a player who “really stood out” during mandatory minicamp, and he’s continued to make the most of his snaps.
After leading the team with three catches for 55 yards and a touchdown during the Seahawks preseason opener agains the Minnesota Vikings. He made another two catches for 43 yards agains the Cowboys.
Seahawks backup quarterback Drew Lock told reporters earlier this month. “‘More Bobo’ is the thing we like to say in the locker room. Get Bobo the ball. He does everything right, man. He works really, really hard. I know when you throw a rookie out there, you get zero MEs (mental errors) in practices. I’m not saying he’s going to do zero the whole time, but he does the right thing. He’s in the right spots, knows his job, his assignment. That’s all you can ask for. His physical ability will take care of everything else.”
The Seahawks Other 1st-Round Pick, Devon Witherspoon, Is Also Injured
August has not been kind to the Seahawk’s 2023 first-rounders. While Seattle’s No. 20 overall pick undergoes surgery, the team’s No. 5 overall pick, cornerback Devon Witherspoon, has already been out several weeks due to a hamstring injury.
Carroll recently told reporters of Witherspoon’s progress, “I’m going to be surprised if Spoon isn’t running a lot this week or next week. We’re looking at three weeks, the game week, the opener. We come back for the bye week, then this final preseason game. He’ll be doing all the walk-throughs I think this week. That’s kind of the staging him to come back the next week. That’s what I hope happens. We’re close to that.”