Seahawks Insider

Seahawks release tight end Darren Fells

Post by Eric Williams on May 8, 2013 at 2:32 pm with 47 Comments »
May 8, 2013 2:32 pm

The Seattle Seahawks have cut tight end Darren Fells, according to the league’s personnel transactions notice released this afternoon.

A former professional basketball player, the 6-foot-7, 260-pound Fells signed a futures contract with the Seahawks in March.

Fells, 26, is the younger brother of New England tight end Daniel Fells, to a contract. Fells spent last season playing professional basketball for Libertad Sunchales in Argentina. He also played professional hoops in Mexico, France, Finland and Belgium.

The Seahawks selected Rice tight end Luke Willson in the fifth round of this year’s draft, so perhaps the team felt they did not need another developmental tight end on the roster. Seattle now as five tight ends on the 90-man roster – Zach Miller, Anthony McCoy, Sean McGrath, Cooper Helfet and Willson.

General Seahawks
Leave a comment Comments → 47
  1. jawpeace says:

    I thought I saw a lot of potential with McGrath last year. The third TE spot is going to be a battle.

  2. montanamike2 says:

    I had hoped we found another gem in Fells…oh well.

  3. bbnate420 says:

    Guess he’s not going to be our Gates. Would be cool if Willson could be the 3rd tight end and pressure the seams.

  4. BobbyK says:

    Either way it was a great signing — high upside = low risk. Oh well…

  5. raymaines says:

    That didn’t take long did it

    Love ya, man. Don’t let the door hit you in the butt.

  6. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Luke Willson made this happen. The Lukester will be one of the biggest surprises in camp this year Imo.

  7. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I’m just guessing here, but I think we could have 10 + Pro Bowlers next season.

  8. Sekolah says:

    I’m not sure how “Willson made this happen”, particularly when he hasn’t even taken a practice rep with the Seahawks yet, but I guess Fells is gone for a good reason. It could be something Russell was seeing if/when Fells was working out with tea – like maybe he can’t run routes? We’ve already got one TE like that (McCoy), so don’t really need another.

    Too bad. I was really looking forward to seeing Fells at least compete in camp, and as nate alludes to; the possibility of securing the next Antonio Gates. I guess the transition from hoops to the grass just didn’t take hold soon enough for Fells to make a lasting impression.

  9. I think they refered to LUKE Wilson not RW. Are they over the # for bodies anyway and need to cut as rookies will be signed?

    Could very well be that he just isn’t doing the things they had hoped when they signed him. We all know that if you don’t bring what The Twins want they let you go

  10. Sekolah says:

    “I think they refered to LUKE Wilson not RW.”

    I think you’re confused. Willson and Wilson are going to get confused a lot around here, I think, especially if Willson turns out to be any good.

  11. Dukeshire says:

    Georgia is right IMO. Willson made the Fells project dispensable.

  12. bbnate420 says:

    Wow, some love between Duke and Georgia. Got to like it, even if I’m not sure if I agree with them. I’m sure Fells progress, or lack thereof, was a significant factor in this. I doubt they release Fells this early just because they drafted Willson if Fells was really showing something in the OTAs. He’s got size and huge hands. You can’t teach that.

  13. Dukeshire says:

    Love? Let’s not get carried away…

    My feeling is that neither Fells not Willson were brought into the fold to take a roster spot in ’13 but rather beyond next season. Both are projects, and not many NFL rosters have the ability to tolerate 2 developmental TEs. Of the two, Fells has nearly zero football experience while Willson actually played at the collegiate level. And to be fair to Fells, he participated in all of what 3 OTA days? Hard to progress or show much there. In any case…

  14. bbnate420 says:

    Duke, Fells was at the “camp” in LA set up by RW too. Who knows if he reported to coaches on his thoughts on players from that time? I think drafting Willson certainly could’ve played a very significant role in the releasing of Fells, but I would guess that they’d keep him around longer if he was showing real promise. No matter. Fells in gone. Willson is here.

    Also, didn’t OTAs start April 15th? I’m not sure what exactly is allowed in each phase. Maybe they didn’t like his progress iin the film room? Anyways, they took a chance. No harm, no foul.

  15. Sekolah says:

    Well, we know Russell Wilson has been working out with the receivers on the team this offseason. It’s probably fair to assume that Wilson also put a fair amount of time into working with Fells. He had to have known Fells’ story, and was likely eager to work with him and get a feel for the dude. For Fells to have the string pulled that quickly on him, I have to think that R.W.’s assessment of Fells during these private workouts had to have some bearing on the departure of Fells.

    The idea that they drafted Willson, which then lead to some sort of revelation regarding Fells’ future with the team doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Willson has been already tabbed as a player that struggles to stay healthy (lots of these guys in this draft now past), so that they based their decision to ditch Fells based on Willson’s potential seems like… a bit of a reach. That sort of opinion would stand up a lot straighter if Willson had actually been evaluated during a mini-camp, which he clearly hasn’t yet.

  16. Dukeshire says:

    There is a finite number of players a team can have on their roster. How many projects as TE does one team need? I can’t be the only person who felt Fells was all but gone the moment Willson’s name was called. I’m not that smart.

  17. Sekolah says:


    This is a team that is still looking for an identity at TE, for the most part. Zach Miller will continue to be the starter, and be the versatile TE that he is, but the move to bring Fells in at all tells me that there is something this team still lacks yet desires at TE.

    It is quite possible that there were other people like yourself, who came to the conclusion that Fells was gone the second they drafted Willson. I certainly didn’t see anyone bring it up on draft day though.

    Myself, I figured that Fells’ future was definitely in question, but I still anticipated that he’d get a chance to compete and battle. You make it seem as if this team is swimming in project TE’s, but it’s not, honestly. Fells was a legit project. When 99.9% of your athletic career relates to bouncing a round ball and putting it through a round hole, I’d have to call you a legitimate “project”.

    These other guys like McGrath, Willson, and Cooper are nothing more than guys fighting for roster spots. They all have years of experience playing the TE position, and just organized football itself. There was a spot there for Fells to compete, but the coaches obviously felt that the Fells’ transition to the NFL was a bit bigger of a reach than first expected.

    If they don’t bring in another TE between now and when T.C. starts, then I guess you’d have to be called right, that it was all about Willson. Something tells me another TE will show up on this roster between now and then, however. 5 TE’s on a camp roster seems just a tad shy of a body for a team that will carry three or possibly even four TE’s come regular season.

  18. bbnate420 says:

    I really don’t think it was all or nothing. The release of Fells wasm contingent on a few factors IMO.

  19. Dukeshire says:

    “Swimming”? No, I said two. And I noted it twice. And I’m not trying to be right, it’s simply my opinion. Jesus christ, Sekolah, you act as if I’m behaving like yankster, or something. Get real.

  20. jbltzfk says:

    I thought someone said the maximum number of bodies for pre-season was 90, and they may have hit that. . . .

  21. montanamike2 says:

    Maybe if Willson doesn’t work out, they’ll pick someone up when the cuts are made by all the teams.

  22. Fells getting released doesnt mean he wasnt performing well, just that they didnt feel he was a better prospect as of now than the guy they went ahead and drafted. Fells got caught in a numbers game, and unless he was a fantastic freak, had little chance of coming in cold and even earning a PS spot. Doesnt mean he’s useless or Wilson didnt like him.

    And it doesnt mean they wont bring Fells back at some point, though with the talent on this team, its doubtful.

    Both McGrath and Helfet have shown talent and promise in camp and preseason. It would be cool to see them get a real shot. Myself, Im betting McGrath makes the team as the third TE with Morrah gone to the Whiners.

    I think Luke Wilson gets cut and if no other team snatches him, he has a shot at the PS. We’ll see.

    While I think, like Eric, that only 4 players make the 53 man roster this year out of our draft, I think a couple more (2-4) will make the rosters of other teams. You better believe if our rookies show well in PS, Jax and the Raiders will pounce on anyone we try to sneak to the PS.

    My bet to make this team is Micheals, Hill, Da Monstah, and Tharold Whatshisname the CB. PS dudes will be the DT Cable wants to be the new Sweezy and the the rest, if none get snatched by other teams.

  23. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    STTBM, i think we may see a little more churn on some of the project guys if the rookie OL players step up. my thinking is maybe the debth we have is not really that impressive and there is more opportunity there than at any other position on the team. i mean is moffitt really that secure? or the back up C/OG? i think they are willing to go into the season with them but really are hoping for a late round gem again.

  24. bbnate420 says:

    STTBM, I agree that Fells and others could be back. If PC/JS have proven one thing, it’s that they will always do what they think to be best for the roster.

  25. Anthony64 says:

    Should have released Cooper Helfet instead of Fells.

  26. Sekolah says:

    I’m not even sure what they see in Helfet, but I suppose if the dude could grow into an NFL body he might make for a good all-around TE. He has to be one of the skinniest TE’s I’ve seen, and I am not sure his frame will allow for more weight to be put on – quite possibly one of the reasons he was not drafted.

    Helfet knows the playbook though, and this coaching staff knows what they get from him. Fells is probably just too raw, too much of a project.

  27. chuck_easton says:


    You are correct. A team can only have 90 signed players on the roster at this time of the pre-season. Right now the drafted players do not count towards that 90 because, although their rights belong to the Seahawks, they have not signed their rookie contracts.

    As the drafted players sign the team will be required to release other players (undrafted rookies, FA signings, futures contracts) to ensure that they are at the 90 player limit.

    Fells being released just means the team needs to keep one of those 90 spots for a player they feel has a legitimate chance to go all the way to traning camp and the first cut downs. The team must have felt that he had no shot at sticking around so might as well clear the spot now.

    Teams can stockpile players. This isn’t college where you can have unlimited amount of kids on the team.

  28. JZombie says:

    Whoever ends up sticking around, I just want an upgrade to McCoy. Seattle could do better for his position.

  29. chuck_easton says:

    Right now Seattle has 90 players on the roster counting the draftees. So there is no further need to cut anybody as the drafted rookies sign. Rookies will likely start signing soon as there is little negotiations needed under the rookie slotting as defined by the CBA.

    Further evidence that Fells was likely released because he graded out at 91 of a maximum 90 allowed.

    Read into that what you will.

  30. Sekolah says:


    I highly doubt McCoy is getting replaced by anyone on this roster. Despite his inconsistencies as a receiver, he is a monster of a blocker. Seattle might have the two best blocking TE’s in all of the NFL – true story.


    Now that makes more sense to me – being the 91st on a roster that can only keep 90. Thanks.

  31. hawkfaninoklahoma–Yeah, I agree about the O-lineman. There’s a chance one or two of these guys wins a spot. I think Moffit is on the hot seat, and is close to getting his walking papers. Its plain Cable isnt thrilled with his performance/conditioning/what have you. If he can get healthy and stay that way, I expect him to beat out Sweezy. But Sweezy is Cable’s pet, his badge of honor so to speak. Moffits going to have to clearly outplay Sweezy to win the starting RG position. And if Moffit sucks or gets injured, he could be cut.

    I think Lem JeanPierre is safe as houses. I still think he should have been given the chance to play RG and Moffit LG two years ago, but they like him enough as a backup C that they keep him there. He’s a good player.

    Now, the hot seat is for Moffit, Giac, and McQ, not to mention the rest of the backups.

    Our new O-lineman are competing for benchwarmer status.

  32. The team has has a number of developmental prospects like Fells on the roster over the winter. The undrafted free agents push them off the roster purely due to numbers. Remember Patrick Chukwurah? (hint, he played for us in the playoffs last year.) He’s gone too. Our roster is too deep for developmental guys with little experience. And that’s a good thing.

    Luke Willson, on the other hand, has real potential. If not for injury, he might have been considered just as good a TE prospect as his team mate at Rice, Vance MacDonald. He was a team leader at Rice and he could develop into more of a receiving target than Miller or McCoy.

    I’m hoping for him to compete strong for the #3 TE job and bump McGrath and Helfet off the roster.

  33. Ewalters7354 says:

    So some fans want an upgrade at the number 2 TE.I ask why? Is Anthony McCoy really that bad? Does he not fit the scheme? Or do we want All Pros at every position? I bet if they find an upgrade over Mccoy some will say they need to upgrade Zach also.And it goes on to every other position on the team lol

  34. Stevos–Chukwurah was an OLD stop-gap signing who did little. He was a developmental player.

    Wilson could be a steal, if he performs up to his potential. The fact that his numbers dropped each year was a major reason he fell so far in the draft, but if the guy can put up 30+ catches a year in a college offense in 11 games as a sophomore and a Junior, then he has potential up the yin-yang. Still, it will be hard for him to make the team over Mcgrath because McG has the experience and is either out of PS eligibility, or nearly so; he’s coming into this year as if its his last chance at an NFL career.

    Preseason is going to be a battle for roster spots.

  35. Correction; he was NOT a developmental player. He’s over 30, so there’s nothing to develop.

  36. I’m not sure what “Sweezy is Cable’s pet” means, unless it means “raw rookie who learned a new position in one summer and proceeded to kick John Moffitt’s rear end to the bench”.

    If Sweezy learns/improves as much this summer as he did during last summer, he’ll be starting 16 games.

  37. Ewalters7354 says:

    Agree Stevos

  38. Chukwurah had very little football experience, and they tried to quickly turn him into a pass rushing DE. I’d call that a “developmental player”. Not trying to quibble about it though.

    I must be missing what some people see in Sean McGrath. I’ve seen nothing from him that suggests he can compete with Luke Willson. In all the camp practices I watched last year, I thought Cooper Helfet out-played McGrath, and he’s just a guy. Luke Willson has sub-4.5 speed and he’s 6’6″ and he’s played TE and slot for Rice. He’s special.

  39. Sweezy better improve a TON! He had absolutely no business being onfield last year, and it showed, esp in the pathetic sack he gave up to kill a scoring drive at the end of the first half vs Atlanta in the playoffs. I dont blame him so much as Cable for that. What could you expect from a guy who never played O-line?!

    Im just sick to death of having crappy to mediocre G play. Its been since 2006 that we had even decent G play. And no, last year we didnt have decent G play, at least not consistently. We had Wilson and Lynch making chicken poop into chicken salad.

    The only reason Sweezy was starting was Moffit was hurt/out of shape and just hasnt been very good, and because Cable hasnt managed to find anyone better–which is sad. Sweezy is Cable’s way of buying more time since he fouled up so bad insisting on Carp and Moffit with first and third round picks.

    I hope Moffit beats Sweezy out, but Ill be happy if Sweezy just shows the ability to block one guy on a blitz up the middle…

  40. Stevos–Perhaps youre right re Chukwurah; I thought he’d been in the league a few years and just wasnt all that good, and was aged. I see your point.

    I havent seen tape on Wilson–at least not enough to form a solid opinion, so I have no idea what to expect. It would be awesome if he turns out to be a real diamond in the rough.

    I liked both McGrath and Helfet. I thought they deserved a shot onfield.

  41. Stevos says:

    STTBM – lol. good debate on Sweezy. We’ll see how it plays out. No one knows yet.

  42. SandpointHawk says:

    Hate to be a twit, but please note:

    WiLson = Quarterback

    WiLLison = Tight end

    To be clear the tight end draftee has two L’s in his last name.

    Thank you
    That is all…

  43. chuck_easton says:

    Oh great! We have our early entrant into the annual position fight! I’m told Moffit/Sweezy is the new Wilson/Flynn. It’s all the rage. Let the debates begin.

    But we must remember that it is not fair to gang up on each other.

    At the sound of the starting gun ladies and gentlemen, start your arguing.

  44. blueshq says:

    lol, Sandpoint. I’ve wanted to do that so bad, but didn’t want to be the twit. Like I said draft day at least we won’t have to use first initials on jerseys.

  45. Sekolah says:

    “Sweezy better improve a TON! He had absolutely no business being onfield last year, and it showed, esp in the pathetic sack he gave up to kill a scoring drive at the end of the first half vs Atlanta in the playoffs. I dont blame him so much as Cable for that. What could you expect from a guy who never played O-line?!”

    Yes, and yet Sweezy continues to challenge Moffitt for time @ RG. Sometimes I am not sure exactly what to think about that. The fact that this seventh round draft pick, whom not only just won a roster spot, but did this by virtue of forgetting everything he had learned in college from a standpoint of technique, and then assimilating to OG.

    How is it that Moffitt has not established himself as one of the incumbents on that OL by now? He disappoints me. At this point I am pulling for Sweezy all the way because despite the fact that he’s very raw, this kid has something. He has to be the most impressive athlete I have seen at the Guard position based on just sheer mobility and power.

    His downfield blocking in the run game is something to behold, and ultimately it is his edge against Moffy. Watch that game at the Clink against S.F.. Sweezy made some very impressive blocks in that game. Trust me, if he fixes the inconsistencies in his game he is going to be keeping that RG spot for a long time.

  46. Dukeshire says:

    Injuries haven’t been kind to Moffitt. I think we’ll know Moffitt’s future here by mid-August, at the latest.

  47. Stevos says:

    Moffitt has been held back a lot by injuries in his second year. As a rookie, he was out of shape (as all rookies were in 2011 due to the lockout lack of OTA program). In his second year, injuries kept him from playing and then from getting into shape.

    But this cannot disregard what Sweezy did. He outcompeted healthy guys who had been practicing and playing at guard for years. Ane he learned to do it in a few months of practices.

    He has quicker feet and greater agility and a more explosive first step than John Moffitt could ever hope to have. Last year he was still learning basic pass blocking techniques. What happens this year when he walks into camp thinking and reacting like an experienced guard?

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0