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Report: Seahawks expected to sign cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks have made their first move of 2021 NFL free agency.

Ian Rapoport reports that the team is expected to bring in former San Francisco 49ers cornerback and 2017 third-round draft pick Ahkello Witherspoon. Josina Anderson says it’ll be a one-year deal but as of this writing we don’t know the monetary value of that contract.

Witherspoon was second-team All-Pac-12 in 2016 and his 6’3”, 195 lbs frame with 33-inch arms makes him the prototypical Seahawks outside cornerback. He’s amassed four interceptions and one pick-six, although getting one against Jameis Winston hardly makes him a unique player in that regard.

Now while Witherspoon graded very well in PFF’s pass coverage metric in 2020, I think his career as a whole in San Francisco was a disappointment. He was a healthy scratch for the first several weeks of his rookie season, and he was benched multiple times in 2019 for poor performance including the end of the Week 17 game with the Seahawks and the NFC Divisional Round game against the Minnesota Vikings.

I’d like to think this is a competition and depth signing rather than a direct replacement for Shaquill Griffin. He still has potential at just 25 years of age and we know Pete Carroll and John Schneider love them some reclamation projects, of which I’d consider this to be one of sorts. Witherspoon has also had some injury problems and wasn’t even the 49ers’ primary starter last year until late in the season.

But ultimately the Seahawks need corners and this is a starting point at what I assume to be a low cost. And he gets to be reunited with D.J. Reed, who was an absolute gem of a find by the Seahawks when they claimed him off waivers last year.