Last month we reported the Seattle Seahawks would retain Deshawn Shead’s contract into 2018 even once Shead returned from the physically unable to perform list for the Seahawks’ final two games. According to a post Shead made on Instagram Friday, Shead believes he will be a free agent instead.
“It’s surreal,” Shead wrote on the gram. “But I’m excited to see what the future holds and where I will end up!” The words indicate Shead is not necessarily expecting to be back in Seattle, and at least suggest he is expecting to test the market.
I assume Shead knows his own contract status better than I do, but our best interpretation of the NFL collective bargaining agreement supposed that Shead’s two appearances in December would not count against the club’s control of the one-year contract Shead signed in spring 2017. That was always a little confusing at the time considering it ostensibly indentured Shead’s services to the organization in 2017 with little benefit to the player for performing on the field in the games he did play. It’s quite possible we were wrong all along. Or maybe Shead and the NFL Player’s Association filed an appeal and got granted free agent status after the season.
Shead only played 45 snaps total in 2017, according to Pro Football Reference, all on special teams without any game reps on defense.
Although Shead training himself back to health less than a year after tearing his ACL in the playoffs after 2016 was an inspirational story and represents a solid move by the Seahawks to sign him while injured and then give him that chance, it makes for disastrous return on Shead’s 2017 deal with no future value. The limited run without displaying any post-surgery aptitude at defensive back might well depress Shead’s market in March, meaning Seattle may be able to sign him again relatively cheap. But there is still a cost to having to compete against 31 other teams for a player who was quite productive when healthy—and Shead’s post (“It’s a blessing to be able to hit this grind healthy!”) indicates he is fully confident in that prognosis.
Perhaps Shead would have reached this free agency anyway, and bringing him off PUP had no effect in the end. We’ll have our CBA experts take a closer look to try to confirm Shead’s status going into the offseason. But if Shead is correct, that’s one more of many openings the Seahawks now face filling on what’s become an increasingly lean roster without much draft and cap space available in the new year.