A day after the San Francisco 49ers said cornerback/returner D.J. Reed might not be ready until December, the Seahawks claimed him off waivers.
The move was unexpected given Reed just had surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle and the implication seemed to be that the 49ers thought he might miss the season.
Reed’s health compelled the 49ers to waive him with a non-football injury designation hoping they could slip him through waivers and put him on injured reserve to open up a spot on their active roster.
The Seahawks foiled those plans. Reed remains on the active/non-football injury list, meaning he counts against their 80-man roster.
But he would not count against the 53-man roster when the regular season begins and would be eligible to return later in the season if he proves healthy after missing at least the first six weeks.
Reed, a fifth-round pick out of Kansas State in 2018, has been a reserve cornerback and nickel for the 49ers.
But his playing time decreased last year, from 360 snaps to 125, and it wasn’t a given he would make the roster this season if healthy.
Reed injured his pectoral muscle during an offseason workout.
San Francisco general manager John Lynch said this week that Reed would be available no sooner than early November and that it “may go into December.’’
The 5-foot-9, 188-pounder also returned 11 kickoffs for 332 yards as a rookie in 2018 but did not have any returns a year ago.
Reed was credited with one assisted tackle on special teams in the 49ers’ Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs.
While some might wonder if the Seahawks were just sticking it to the 49ers a little by picking up a player who can’t play for a while, Reed has some intriguing attributes. He can return kicks and play the nickel — a spot that is wide open for them entering the 2020 season — and also could be used at free safety.
Reed also adds some long-term depth to the secondary, with the Seahawks still unclear on Quinton Dunbar’s status for this season.
Dunbar remains on the commissioner’s exempt list due to his alleged involvement in a robbery in May in Mirarmar, Florida. Dunbar has appealed, and the Seahawks remain hopeful he can play this season, but at the moment there is no resolution.
The addition of Reed leaves one open spot on the Seahawks’ roster.
Seattle’s roster is at 78 players officially but is more accurately at 79 because the team is expected to re-sign defensive lineman Branden Jackson this week, a move that was reported Monday but has yet to be processed.
Reed’s addition was the only transaction listed for the Seahawks on Wednesday as they again had no players placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.
Seattle has not had any players impacted by COVID other than a decision by veteran offensive lineman Chance Warmack to opt out.