RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks released veteran defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, backup quarterback Trevone Boykin and fullback Marcel Reese as part of their roster moves to reach the 53-man limit on Saturday.
Seattle announced the moves several hours after the NFL deadline of 1 p.m. PT for rosters to be set. The cuts included wide receiver Kasen Williams and cornerback Pierre Desir after both had been standouts in training camp.
The decision to release Boykin means Seattle will go into the season with just veteran Austin Davis as the backup QB to Russell Wilson. Boykin had served as Wilson’s backup a year ago, but was inconsistent during the preseason while Davis played well in the final two exhibition games.
Seattle also made a pair of trades, sending defensive end Cassius Marsh to New England in exchange for fifth- and seventh-round picks and acquiring offensive lineman Isaiah Battle from Kansas City in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick.
Seattle’s initial 53-man roster featured 10 offensive linemen — including undrafted rookie Jordan Roos — and eight defensive linemen. Rubin is not part of that defensive line group after being with the Seahawks for the past two seasons, starting all 32 games in the regular season.
The decision to cut Rubin was made easier by the acquisition of Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets on Friday and will save Seattle money against the salary cap in each of the next two seasons.
Cutting Williams was the bigger surprise after a stellar preseason in which he led the NFC with 208 yards receiving in four games. Williams’ spot appeared safe after Jermaine Kearse was sent to the Jets as part of the Richardson trade.
Seattle will go into the regular season with five wide receivers — Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson, Amara Darboah and Tanner McEvoy — and five running backs. The running back group includes seventh-round pick Chris Carson and J.D. McKissic, who can double as a wide receiver and kick returner.
The decision to cut Williams irritated some in the organization even before the decision was officially announced. As rumors spread on social media, cornerback Richard Sherman chimed in, saying “There is no explanation for this,” in response to fans questioning the move.
Making Seattle’s roster was former first-round pick Marcus Smith, who was cut by Philadelphia before the start of training camp, special teams standout D.J. Alexander and rookie safeties Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson.
Others cut included six former draft picks by Seattle: center Joey Hunt, running back Alex Collins, wide receiver David Moore, defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson, wide receiver Kenny Lawler and cornerback Mike Tyson.
The Seahawks also placed cornerback Deshawn Shead on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from a major knee injury suffered in last season’s playoffs. Defensive linemen Malik McDowell and Dion Jordan were placed on the non-football injury list.