While the Detroit Lions wait on what will happen next in the Richard Sherman saga, it appears they are wasting no time in looking for other cornerbacks on the market, and they aren’t even done looking out of Seattle.
According to ESPN, the Lions have a meeting planed with Seahawks corner DeShawn Shead.
Technically, Shead hasn’t even been released yet, but Shead’s agent says the team will do so on Monday. Seattle actually wants Shead around next year. So why are they releasing him? It’s actually quite complicated. Here’s Shead’s agent, via ESPN’s Brady Henderson:
“John Schneider called me saying they were going to release DeShawn on Monday because, per the league rule, it’s the NFL’s position that DeShawn’s contract is to toll,” Foster said. “But it’s our position, the NFL Players Association’s position and the Seattle Seahawks’ position that it does not toll. John had already informed DeShawn that his contract was expiring after this year, and the Seattle Seahawks are just living up to their word.”
To clarify, Shead was going to be a free agent in 2018, but because he spent the majority of 2017 on the PUP list, league rules actually allow the Seahawks to roll over his contract for another year (or as the agent puts it “toll”). The Seahawks already promised Shead he could be an unrestricted free agent this offseason—presumably to give him a chance to earn more money—and even though they don’t have to, they’re releasing him on Monday to keep their word.
Shead has been in Seattle since he entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012. Though he has mostly been a depth guy, he was the starter for 15 games for the Seahawks in 2016. That year, he picked up 81 tackles, 14 passes defended, one interception, and a PFF grade of 77.1. As you may have guessed from that tackle total, Shead excels at defending the run. He had the highest run stop percentage among all NFL cornerbacks in 2016.
It’s now clear that the Lions are looking for some help at cornerback. That’s probably bad news for DJ Hayden and Nevin Lawson, two Lions cornerbacks who are set to become free agents next week.
As for the latest on Sherman, it’s looking more and more likely the Lions won’t get that meeting with him.