With the secondary depleted by injury after injury, Seattle Seahawks fans have been waiting to hear news about DeShawn Shead and his potential return to the team following offseason knee surgery, and today fans finally got some good news: DeShawn Shead is back to practicing.
Carroll says DeShawn Shead will return to practice today. Big first step to getting back on field.— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) December 6, 2017
Shead’s value in returning is twofold due to the rash of injuries that have hit the Seattle secondary and the experience Shead has playing multiple positions for the team. When initially signed as an undrafted free agent out of Portland State in 2012, Shead was put at safety for his first couple of years with the team. In particular, after being promoted to the active roster late in the 2013 campaign, Shead was Kam Chancellor’s backup at strong safety.
It was only after the wave of injuries to Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane, and the loss of Byron Maxwell in free agency that the team moved Shead back to cornerback, where he has spent the last couple of seasons. Shead started 21 games at cornerback between 2015 and 2016, and with his versatility and the fair amount of experience in the system, his presence could be a huge asset down the stretch.
Shead is not yet eligible to play, as the team still has three weeks to decide whether to move him to the 53 man active roster or whether to slide him over to injured reserve, but his return to practice will be interesting. In particular, with the season of Kam Chancellor allegedly over due to a neck injury, and with Shead returning from the physically unable to perform list, Shead’s potential return could allow the team to fill out the roster without spending anything extra against the salary cap.
Because Chancellor will earn his full salary regardless of whether he is on the 53 or on IR, and because Shead’s entire salary while on the PUP counts against the salary cap, activating Shead and moving Chancellor to IR costs the team absolutely nothing. That is an important factor to keep in mind, as the end of the year approaches with the team tighter up against the salary cap than any other team in the NFL.
In any case, keep your ears open for news on Shead returning to game action in the final month of the regular season and being available for the playoffs. Shead himself doesn’t think it will take much time.
CB DeShawn Shead says he doesn't think he needs all 3 weeks #Seahawks get to decide if he can play now that he's back practicing. "I wish I could play this Sunday."— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) December 6, 2017
Considering Shead originally damaged his knee at the very end of the Seahawks playoff defeat to the Atlanta Falcons in January, his healthy restoration to the lineup would mark in some ways a resumption of unfinished business for the organization.