A series looking at the players on the Seattle Seahawks who are set to become free agents in March, as well as potential trade and cap casualty candidates.
Player: DeShawn Shead
2017 Cap Hit: ~$1 million (OverTheCap.com)
2017 Stats: 2 games, 0 tackles
I wrote about Luke Willson as a free agent earlier on Thursday so it seemed fitting to just fit him and Shead in on the same day; the two were both signed to one-year contracts on March 17, 2017, so why not keep them together? I do, however, think Shead is much more likely to return.
It was a little more than a year ago that Shead tore his ACL against the Atlanta Falcons in the postseason. It put a huge damper on his upcoming free agency and allowed the Seahawks to bring him back on a cheap one-year deal just to give him a chance to play for Seattle in 2017 if he was able to return. Shead did make it back for the final two games, but only on special teams and without a notable impact.
Oh well, that was not Shead’s fault and it was to be expected. It does, however, make him near-guaranteed to come back to the Seahawks on the same one-year deal.
There were some questions as to whether or not Shead would be a free agent or if his deal would “toll,” meaning that he’d be under obligation to return to the Seahawks on the same one-year, $1.2 million deal because he wasn’t active for six games. However, Shead himself posted on Instagram that he was excited to be a free agent this year:
Given that, what can we expect to get this year?
2018 Contract Outlook
On the down side for Shead is that he didn’t really play in 2017, so he didn’t do anything to showcase himself. On the bright side, he’ll be over 13 months removed from a torn ACL when he hits free agency this time, so teams can feel more assured that he’ll be ready to go for the start of the 2018 season.
I don’t see how any team could give Shead a multi-year deal with him having missed a whole season. He also turns 30 in June, so this may be his last shot to make a team, grab a starting job, and prove himself for another 1-3 years of playing time after this. Teams that could pursue him include his former coaches who are now with the Falcons, Cowboys, and Chargers. He’s not going cost much, so it may be up to Shead to choose which team is going to be the best fit for him.
The Seahawks are definitely in the mix for him.
Likelihood to be re-signed: >80%
I think there is definitely the chance that Shead will look for a better chance to start than what he may get in Seattle, but a lot of that depends on the status of Richard Sherman for 2018. If Sherman returns, and the Seahawks are able to bring back Justin Coleman, then Shead would act as more of a “super-sub” for the secondary. In that role, he could be quite valuable, especially given all the injuries to that unit in the last two years. They could use depth and Shead at $1 million might have the experience and ability necessary for a player in that role for Pete Carroll.
I just don’t see him spending that much time on the market looking for a new home when I think the Seahawks are going to be giving him just as good of an offer and he’s been with them for his entire career. They signed him as a UDFA, kept him around, gave him a chance to start, and re-signed him when he tore his ACL. They could use him, either as a player competing to start or to be a versatile backup, and to be an example for Shaquill Griffin, Delano Hill, Tedric Thompson, and any other young secondary players. If they are going to lose a veteran like Kam Chancellor or Earl Thomas from that role, then even more important to retain a player like Shead who is going to cost next-to-nothing.
They could potentially look for a “super-sub” in the draft or free agency who could be 7-8 years younger than Shead and cost a little bit less, but they’ll have plenty of young secondary players already. What they need is a little bit more of is experience to usher the next round of guys into the system.