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Seahawks 30 under 30: DeShawn Shead still here, in line for big payday of his own

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks-Minicamp Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks have a very good roster, but what's especially nice and hopeful about their team is that the vast majority of current Seahawks are young and signed through 2017, at least. This series leading up to the regular season opener on September 11 will take a closer look at 30 such players, all of whom won't be turning 30 this year.

Player: DeShawn Shead, CB/S

Age: 28

How acquired: UDFA out of Portland State in 2012

Free agent: 2018

Beyond comprehension, DeShawn Shead is still only a restricted free agent after this season, all but assuring that the Seahawks will be able to hang onto him for cheap if he blows up this year as a starter, which right now looks entirely possible. All through camp, Shead has gotten plenty of reps with the 1s as a starting outside cornerback and made notable plays throughout. But he’s up against stiff competition.

Tharold Simon has already been profiled on the 30-under-30 series and Richard Sherman has made note of Simon’s ceiling being higher than even his own. The team also got back Jeremy Lane and paid him a sizable sum in the offseason to assure he’d be on the field a lot this season. So even in nickel, there are going to be plenty of times this year when a cornerback you might like a lot, and who might be worthy of starting elsewhere, will still be on the sidelines.

It seems less and less likely that that player will be Shead.

After three seasons of being forgotten at worst and backup duty at best, Shead went from reserve safety to starting cornerback after the benching and subsequent release of Cary Williams in 2015. Shead performed better than anyone expected but not quite good enough to assure himself of a starting gig this year. The competition is stiff, but Carroll’s corners have almost all gone on to big paydays in their careers:

  • Sherman has the fourth-highest APY among CBs in the NFL right now.
  • Byron Maxwell is ninth.
  • Lane is about 30th despite a lack of experience (six career starts).
  • Brandon Browner made $8 million over the last two seasons outside of Seattle.
  • Walter Thurmond made over $3 million with the Eagles last year.
  • Ron Parker signed a 5-year, $25 million deal with the Chiefs.

Somehow (I think. Heaven help me if I’m wrong about this once again) Shead is still not a free agent after this season. He makes all of $760,000 this year. If he can grab a hold of a starting job and perform up to the level of his current and former teammates though, and Shead will get a huge raise in 2017, restricted or not.

Hear him talk after the Steelers game last season: