Walter Thurmond is expected to begin a four-game suspension this week for violation of the NFL's Substance Abuse Policy, reports ESPN and Ian Rapoport. He dropped an appeal this week. That means Thurmond would be eligible to return Week 17, when the Seahawks play the Rams in the season finale.
The timing of Thurmond's suspension is not ideal, as Seattle faces off against Drew Brees and the Saints this next Monday and are already missing starter Brandon Browner for the foreseeable future with a groin injury.
That said, depth at corner has always been a strength for Pete Carroll's Seahawks, and Richard Sherman will be joined now by Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane on the outside and in the slot. I have a lot of confidence in both Maxwell and Lane - they both have gotten a good amount of game-snaps over the year and during Browner's suspension last year, and to bolster the depth at that spot, it's likely Seattle will activate Tharold Simon or practice squad CB/S Deshawn Shead. Shead had been given a raise a few months back and has been being paid like an active roster player, so that's a good indication of how much the team likes him. It also may be an indication that they knew this Thurmond suspension was coming for some time.
Thurmond, 26, has played in 11 games this year after playing in only 8 the two years prior due to a collection of serious injuries, and becomes a free agent after this season. He is/was expected to see a lot of interest on the open market, but dependability is certainly going to be a factor in how much teams are willing to spend. It will be interesting to see if this hurts his value, so if you're looking for a silver lining as a Seahawk fan, it might be that this slightly strengthens the odds he's get a new deal here. Or maybe I'm totally reaching.
Regardless, this is a bummer, but Seattle's 'next man up' mentality has always been pretty strong in situations like this and in the past we haven't seen a ton of dropoff. Hopefully Maxwell and Lane can fill in with quality play. Look for Maxwell to play the outside and Lane to come in on nickel situations in the slot.