(Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said Shead would become a free agent in March. That part has been edited.)
Seattle Seahawks cornerback DeShawn Shead has finished his three weeks of practice since returning from the physically unable to perform list without setback, so Saturday Shead announced he is cleared to play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
Got the Green Light to play Sunday! It’s that time again! ☝ ☝ ☝ #notonshead #teamshead #gohawks pic.twitter.com/A7UQS4dh9q— DeShawn Shead (@dshead24) December 23, 2017
According to Bob Condotta, the team has activated him to the 53-man roster, filling an opening made when Seattle waived Kache Palacio earlier this week.
That gives the Seahawks a total of seven cornerbacks, including Shaquill Griffin, Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane, Justin Coleman, Neiko Thorpe and Mike Tyson (who was added to the big league club earlier in December), but obviously not including Richard Sherman who is on injured reserve. Shead started opposite Sherman most of 2016, but it’s not clear if he will jump back into a starting role or ease into more snaps during these final two weeks of the regular season while playing mostly special teams. Shead has not played since tearing his ACL in Seattle’s playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons 11 months ago.
Despite that injury, the Seahawks signed the free agent Shead to a one-year deal worth $1.2 million in the offseason, counting him among their long term assets since developing Shead from an undrafted free agent in 2012.
I saw some questions online asking if retaining Shead on the PUP could roll his contract and club control over another year, but it appears (nod to John P. Gilbert for the CBA consultation) that was never an option. Section 2 of Article 20 in the collective bargaining agreement states a player’s contract will not be tolled for the period on PUP, “except in the last year of his contract.” UPDATE: Apparently, “toll” in this language means repeated, like a bell tolls, and not charged, like a traffic toll, so Shead would be under obligation to another one-year deal whether he got to join the 53-man roster or not, because he gets credited for fewer than six games and it was the final year of his pact—so either way this move does not alter his status, but it’s even better news for Seattle.
Considering all that, we can be unequivocally happy for Shead for making it all the way back, and hope he plays well enough to contribute and improve the Seahawks secondary in these remaining weeks.