Multiple reports Sunday say Maxwell has agreed to a six-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles worth as much as $63 million, with $25 million guaranteed.
Byron Maxwell might have been the least-tenured starting member of the Legion of Boom, with just 17 starts in four years with the Seahawks.
But he appears on the verge of becoming one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL, with multiple reports stating Sunday he has agreed to a six-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles worth as much as $63 million, with $25 million guaranteed.
The per-year average would have ranked Maxwell fifth among NFL cornerbacks in 2014 behind New England’s Darrelle Revis ($16 million), Arizona’s Patrick Peterson ($14.01 million), Seattle teammate Richard Sherman ($14 million) and Cleveland’s Joe Haden ($13.5 million). The $25 million guaranteed also is the fifth-most ever for a cornerback (Sherman got $40 million guaranteed on his four-year extension last May).
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The Seahawks knew Maxwell, regarded as maybe the top unrestricted free-agent cornerback available this year, would get major interest. And while it’s thought the Seahawks made a significant offer to Maxwell, Seattle couldn’t come close to the package put forth by the Eagles and stay in line with its overall salary cap plan for the next year, which includes extending the deals of quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.
Maxwell is the marquee name among the 16 Seattle players who could officially become unrestricted free agents Tuesday. The only other on the list who was a full-time starter last season is guard James Carpenter.
The Seahawks are poised to take a lesser hit in free agency than a year ago, when receiver Golden Tate, cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner, offensive tackle Breno Giacomini and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald all departed (along with releasing players such as defensive linemen Red Bryant and Chris Clemons and receiver Sidney Rice in salary cap moves).
Maxwell’s contract will punctuate a somewhat meteoric rise for the player who entered the 2013 season as an unknown reserve. He had just six tackles in 18 appearances off the bench in 2011 and 2012 after entering the NFL as a sixth-round choice out of Clemson.
His first career start didn’t come until the 12th game of the 2013 season when he stepped in after Browner and Thurmond were suspended or hurt. He started the final five games of the regular season and all three playoff games as Seattle won the Super Bowl.
With Thurmond and Browner gone, he became a full-time starter in 2014, starting 12 games (missing three with a calf injury) and two more in the playoffs.
He played one of his best games against his new team, the Eagles, when he was moved into the slot to cover Jordan Matthews in a 24-14 victory in Philadelphia.
Maxwell was ranked 45th among cornerbacks this season by ProFootballFocus, and fourth among Seahawks, behind Sherman (third), Marcus Burley (33rd) and Tharold Simon (43rd).
Simon is a possible replacement for Maxwell in 2015, but just had shoulder surgery to repair an injury suffered at Arizona on Dec. 21. Another Seattle cornerback, Jeremy Lane, likely will miss the beginning of the season with an ACL injury. Burley will be back but is thought of more as an inside or slot cornerback.
Seattle already has begun looking for possible Maxwell replacements, last week bringing in Cary Williams — who had been cut by the Eagles, presenting the obviously intriguing possibility of Seattle and Philadelphia doing something of a swap of cornerbacks. Seattle also reportedly is interested in Green Bay’s Tramon Williams if he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Cary Williams was reportedly visiting the Jets on Sunday and expected to visit the Titans on Monday.
McCoy re-signs with Seahawks
NFL.com reported the Seahawks re-signed sixth-year tight end Anthony McCoy, who was set to be an unrestricted free agent Tuesday, to a one-year contract.
McCoy has missed the past two seasons with Achilles injuries, in 2013 going down in May and last season being injured early in training camp. He made 14 starts in the 2011 and 2012 seasons combined with 31 catches for 437 yards.
He’ll compete for time at a tight end spot that is undergoing change with starter Zach Miller released Friday after failing a physical and due a $1.5 million roster bonus this week.
Seattle is rumored to be interested in unrestricted free agent Jordan Cameron of Cleveland, who, as did McCoy, played for Pete Carroll at USC.
|Byron Maxwell file|
|The Seahawks drafted Maxwell with the 173rd choice (sixth round) of the 2011 draft, out of Clemson.|
|Note: Started 12 games last season for Seattle|