The Seahawks have signed cornerback Byron Maxwell, bringing back a player who was a starter on the 2014 team that advanced to Super Bowl XLIX. Maxwell, 29, gives Seattle added depth at corner after Richard Sherman went down with a season-ending Achilles injury in Thursday's victory at Arizona. Sherman was placed on injured reserve to make room on the 53-man roster.
The Seahawks also made a move at running back, promoting Mike Davis off the practice squad while placing C.J. Prosise on injured reserve.
Maxwell was a sixth-round pick out of Clemson in 2011, and after initially making his mark on special teams, became an important part of the defense in 2013 and 2014, starting 22 regular-season and postseason games, including both Super Bowls.
Maxwell's play in 2013 and 2014 made him a top free agent heading into the 2015 season, and he chose to sign with Philadelphia. After one season with the Eagles, he was traded to Miami, where he started 13 games in 2016 and two this season before being sidelined by a hamstring injury. Maxwell was released by Miami last month. Maxwell returns to Seattle with a résumé that includes 10 career interceptions, 52 passes defensed, 10 forced fumbles and 207 tackles.
With Sherman out, the Seahawks still like their options at cornerback, and Maxwell only adds to that depth.
"We're going to be OK," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday prior to his team's signing of Maxwell. "You can't replace the stature of a guy like Richard, but we'll coaching these guys up—it happens to be something we do pretty well."
In Jeremy Lane and Shaquill Griffin, the Seahawks have two players they consider starters even without Sherman. Lane opened the year as the starter opposite Sherman with Griffin serving as the third corner in nickel situations, then Griffin eventually took over that starting role. Justin Coleman has also played well as the nickel corner, and special teams ace Neiko Thorpe is another option at corner.
"We're very fortunate to have Jeremy who has played and started—he was a starter for us going into the season—jump back in on the playing field," Carroll said. "Few teams would have that. I think our depth is speaking to us a little bit… We are very fortunate, so we'll see how it goes."
Another option later in the season could be DeShawn Shead, a starter last season who is on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from the knee injury sustained in Seattle's playoff loss at Atlanta. Shead isn't ready to return to practice yet, but if he does progress, he could provide a boost late in the season.
"He's at a bit of plateau right now that he's trying to get through," Carroll said. "That just remains to be seen. He's doing everything he possibly can. He's in great shape, if you watch him work out, he can run forever, he can do everything, but he's just not quite back fully yet where he has all the movement that he needs and the extension that he needs. So until that's safe, he's still working at it. He's doing everything he can."
Yet no matter how good the Seahawks feel about their depth at cornerback, there's no avoiding the fact that losing Sherman hurts, both because of his talent on the field and because of what he has come to mean to the franchise during his time here.
"It's devastating just because of the relationships and the time and the commitment and all the extraordinary stuff we've done together," Carroll said. "It's devastating for him right now, however, he handled it in amazing fashion. A fantastic illustration of his team connection and his resolve about being there to help the guys compete through the game. He's limping around out there, it's amazing."
Sherman deciding to stay on the sideline and limp around with a ruptured Achilles only underscored the toughness that allowed him to play in every game of his career up to this point.
"Over the last couple of years, he has overcome a number of things that he just didn't accept the injury, just, 'No, I'm OK,'" Carroll said. "So he has an extraordinary tolerance and a will about him that allows him to work through things. He has demonstrated that a number of times and a surprised us a number of times, so I guess when you look at this, that's just more of the same, that's this nature that he has. He just will not give into it. He has an extraordinary makeup."
Prosise, a third-round pick in last year's draft, missed four of the previous five games with an ankle injury before returning to action for Seattle's game at Arizona, but he injured his other ankle and was unable to finish the game.
Davis, a fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft, spent his first two seasons in San Francisco, rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown on 54 carries in 14 games. The Seahawks claimed him off waivers in May, and Davis has spent this season on the practice squad.
The Seahawks made a couple of practice squad moves as well, placing cornerback Akeem King on practice squad/injured reserve and signing cornerback Trovon Reed and safety Alex Carter. Reed began his career as an undrafted free agent with the St. Louis Rams, and spent part of his rookie season on Seattle's practice squad. He has also spent time in Miami and San Diego. Carter, a third-round pick out of Stanford in 2015, appeared in one game with Detroit in 2016. He briefly was on New England's practice squad last month. The Seahawks also added linebacker Paul Dawson to the practice squad, replacing Joseph Jones, who was signed to Denver's 53-man roster last week. Dawson was a third-round pick in 2015 out of TCU and appeared in 13 games over the past two seasons with Cincinnati, recording 13 tackles and one pass defensed.
Team photographer Rod Mar shares exclusive behind-the-scenes images from the Seahawks' 22-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals during Week 10 Thursday Night Football at University of Phoenix Stadium.