The Seahawks released DeShawn Shead Monday, making the cornerback an unrestricted free agent just before the start of the new league year.
The move is not a reflection on the Seahawks' opinion of Shead, a player head coach Pete Carroll once described as being "one of our guys dyed in the wool of being a Seahawk."
Instead, the Seahawks are making the move because they and Shead both went into this offseason expecting him to be a free agent after he played last season on a one-year deal. Because Shead was on the physically unable to perform list for most of the season, however, the league ruled that his contract tolled, meaning the Seahawks could have kept him under the terms of the deal he signed last offseason coming off of a serious knee injury.
Asked at the NFL scouting combine about the possibility of Shead playing safety in 2018, Carroll talked about Shead like a player who was in their plans going forward, so Monday's move shouldn't be viewed as a sign the Seahawks have moved on from the versatile defensive back.
"We will talk to him about that," Carroll said in Indianapolis earlier this month. "He's such a versatile player, he has played both for us. We'll see what happens. We know he can play corner and we like the way he plays at corner, but everything is open. I have not talked directly to him about that, but we have mentioned it to him."
Shead, who signed with the Seahawks in 2012 as an undrafted free agent out of Portland State, developed from a practice squad player into a key special teams player and eventually into a full-time starter at right cornerback in 2016. Unfortunately for Shead, that 2016 season ended with a serious knee injury in Seattle's playoff loss to Atlanta, an injury that caused him to miss most of last season before returning for the last two games of the year.
Take a look back at some of the best photos from defensive back DeShawn Shead's six NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.