Deshawn Shead non-tendered, becomes a free agent
By Keith Myers
The Seattle Seahawks have elected not to tender cornerback Deshawn Shead a restricted free agent contract, but that doesn’t mean he’s leaving.
The Seattle Seahawks have decided not to tender a contract to restricted free agent Deshawn Shead. The team’s starting CB will become a unrestricted free agent when the league year begins on March 9th.
For fans, this news will come as a bit of a surprise. Shead is coming off a great year, and the Seahawks could have kept him on the roster for only $2 million or $3 million, depending on the tender they chose to use.
Unfortunately, Shead’s ACL injury could not have come at a worse time for him. He is not expected to be ready for the start of camp, and will likely start the season on the PUP list. The Seahawks simply didn’t want to pay him that much to only play half the season.
Of course, none of this limits the Seahawks from bringing Shead back to the roster at a later date. The Seahawks have time to slow-play this situation without fear that another team will snatch up the CB.
NFL teams don’t sign guys from outside their organization who cannot first pass a physical. Because of his ACL injury, Shead won’t be able to pass a physical until August or September at the earliest. That is the timetable for this situation to work itself out.
The Seahawks have the luxury of going through free agency and the draft and assembling their roster before they have to figure out what to do with Shead. They’ll almost certainly bring him back for next season, but it’ll be on a contract that’ll be structured differently than the RFA tender would have been.
A good fit for Shead would be a veteran-minimum contract with per-game active roster bonuses. If he’s healthy and plays, he gets paid more. If not, then the team only pays one-sixteenth of the vet minimum for that week. That would give both the player and team some flexibility in this situation.
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The other thing the Seahawks could do would be to tack on a team-option for 3+ years after the 2017 season. Basically, if ahead comes back, and puts together a strong second-half of the season, than the team and player already have an extension in-place.
Overall, this is a complex situation from a roster standpoint. Shead is a good player, but the timing of his injury puts him in a bind.