The Seahawks are bringing back a familiar face to bolster their pass rush, signing defensive end Cassius Marsh on Thursday. They also added former second-round pick Nate Orchard, who split last season between Buffalo and Kansas City after spending his first three years in Cleveland.
Marsh, 26, began his NFL career in Seattle as a fourth-round pick out of UCLA in 2014, and played three seasons with the Seahawks before being traded to New England prior to the start of the 2017 season for fifth and seventh-round draft picks.
Re-signing with the team that gave him his NFL start is exciting for Marsh, but it’s only the second biggest thing to happen to him in the past week, because his fiancé gave birth to the couple’s first child, Cassius Jr., one week ago.
“It’s a special place for sure,” Marsh said. “I personally developed some bonds that will last me the rest of my life. There’s a lot of guys I played with here who I stayed in contact with and I really love as brothers, so it means a lot to come back to where I started. I love this fanbase and the coaches. There’s a lot of positives things about coming back here—my girl, her parents are from here, it’s where she’s from. We just had a child, so having that support is huge for us. There’s just a lot of positivity around coming back here. I’m pretty pumped.”
Marsh played nine games for the Patriots in 2017 before being waived and picked up by the San Francisco 49ers. In 2018 Marsh appeared in all 16 games with San Francisco, recording career highs in tackles with 27 and sacks with 5.5. He was released by the 49ers last month. In addition to potentially helping Seattle’s pass rush, Marsh could also be a big contributor on special teams, having excelled in that phase of the game during his first stint with the Seahawks.
“I’m going to come in and compete and do the best I can at every position that I play,” he said.
Orchard, 26, was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection during his senior year at Utah, recording 18.5 sacks. The Browns took Orchard in the second round of the 2015 draft, and as a rookie he started 11 of 15 games played, recording 3.0 sacks, 36 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble. Orchard was released by the Browns prior to the start of last season, then signed with Buffalo, where he appeared in three games before later signing with Kansas City. Orchard has recorded 5.0 sacks, five passes defensed, one interception, two forced fumbles and 69 tackles in 38 career games.
Because Marsh was released by the 49ers in March, and because the Chiefs released Orchard last season, neither will count towards the compensatory pick formula. Seahawks general manager John Schneider said earlier this week on 710 ESPN Seattle that the Seahawks are being more conservative in free agency to hang onto potential 2020 compensatory picks.
“I think just being able to kind of be a little bit more selective in terms of how we’re approaching free agency," Schneider said. "Last year, we had some significant losses with Kam’s (Chancellor) injury and Cliff’s (Avril) injury and losing Luke (Willson) and Jimmy Graham leaving and Paul Richardson leaving. So I think we were a little bit more aggressive with the unrestricted guys. This year, we’re trying to be a little bit more selective with the cap casualty guys that don’t count toward your compensatory picks. Right now we’re looking at 11 picks in 2020, but we have four right now and I just spent the weekend looking at our board like, ‘that’s not cool.’”
Take a journey through 'Magic: The Gathering' Grand Prix Las Vegas with Seahawks defensive end Cassius Marsh, an avid 'Magic' player who attended the event as a special guest.