Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Age ranks: Seahawks get younger again
By Mike Sando
The Seattle Seahawks got younger this week after releasing veterans Terrell Owens, Deuce Lutui and Alex Barron.
Trading veterans Barrett Ruud and Tarvaris Jackson also made the roster younger on average.
Owens was 38. The others were 29.
All became expendable because younger players emerged at their positions.
Braylon Edwards, 29, beat out Owens.
Rookie J.R. Sweezy pushed out Lutui.
Bobby Wagner, another rookie, beat out Ruud.
Russell Wilson's emergence as a rookie quarterback made Jackson expendable.
I'm not certain which younger player pushed out Barron. Paul Fanaika, 26, survived the cut to 75 players.
Seattle's average age had crept up this offseason as the team sought insurance at various positions. It's a good sign for teams when young prevails over old on the merits. That has happened resoundingly for Seattle this summer.
The chart shows where NFL teams rank, oldest to youngest, in average age for offensive and defensive players. I've excluded specialists because players at those positions are more apt to excel at advanced ages.
Arizona ranks among the NFL's oldest teams in part because the Cardinals have quite a few older backups in Vonnie Holliday (36), Clark Haggans (35), Russ Hochstein (34), Jeremy Bridges (32) and Nick Eason (32). Paris Lenon (34) is the oldest starter.
Teams running 3-4 defensive schemes tend to run older on defense. Veteran depth is a good thing when it reflects continuity for established, winning teams. Being bad and old usually foreshadows massive roster overhauls.
Last offseason, the 49ers made a good defense better by going with NaVorro Bowman at inside linebacker even though Takeo Spikes was an established player.
Note: I updated this chart Thursday to reflect additional moves, including Chris Cooley's release from the Washington Redskins. I also corrected the Baltimore Ravens' information.