Seahawks general manager John Schneider said tight end Jimmy Graham will definitely be part of the team in 2017 and that cornerback DeShawn Shead won't be ready for the start of the season.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider held his annual meeting with the media at the NFL Combine Wednesday talking on a variety of topics.
Here are some of the more notable news items concerning Seattle players.
- Schneider confirmed what has been suspected — that cornerback DeShawn Shead won’t be ready for the start of the 2017 season after suffering an ACL injury in the divisional playoff loss at Atlanta. “For the start of the season? I wouldn’t think so,” Schneider said, adding it could be deep into the season before Shead would be through what is usually a 9-10-month recovery process. Schneider, though, said Shead is “crushing his rehab right now.” Shead is a restricted free agent and Seattle will have to make a decision about what level to tender him to retain him. Schneider said the injury “pushes up” the cornerback position in terms of Seattle’s off-season focus but that it’s also “a matter of how free agency goes” and noted that the team has some other young players who have “stepped up and did a pretty good job. We had guys that we re-signed and we are excited about, too.”
- Schneider said he wouldn’t go into details about injuries but said safety Kam Chancellor is doing well following a recent surgery, which removed bone spurs in both ankles, something that has been a chronic issue for a few years. Chancellor’s expected to be ready for the season.
- Schneider also said WR Tyler Lockett and safety Earl Thomas are doing well in recovery from their season-ending broken leg injuries. “Those guys are going great,” Schneider said, adding that Thomas is due in Seattle for a checkup “in the next month” while Lockett has been rehabbing in Seattle.
- Schneider said tight end Jimmy Graham, who has one year remaining on his contract, will definitely be with the Seahawks in 2017. “There’s no reason to think he’s not going to be part of our team next year,” Schneider said.
- Asked if the team would like to extend the contract of Chancellor, who like Graham has one year remaining, Schneider said “We have several guys that we will get to. We want to be able to take care of our team and he’s obviously a huge part of that.”
- Defensive end Cliff Avril also had surgery recently to fix a sports hernia issue and also should be ready for the season.
- Schneider said the decision to sign free agent kicker Blair Walsh doesn’t necessarily mean that Steven Hauschka won’t be back. Hauschka will be an unrestricted free agent on March 9 and Schneider said signing Walsh was due in part to cover the team at kicker with uncertainty about Hauschka’s future. “It doesn’t mean (Hauschka won’t be back),” Schneider said of the signing of Walsh. “It’s just really quite honestly it’s an aspect of unrestricted free agency. You have all your boxes to check and I know it seems kind of cold and we take it personally because we have such a personal relationship with these guys. Steven has been phenomenal for us. He’s done a lot of great things for the Seahawks. We had an opportunity to kind of check a box in free agency with Blair and we will be looking or someone else to come in and compete as well. It could be Steven, I’m not sure. With Blair … he was still out there a number of teams wanted to sign him. We brought him in, worked him out, and got a deal done.”
- Schneider said the team discussed the fact that Walsh was released by the Vikings after a few untimely misses, including a 27-yarder in the final seconds that would have given Minnesota a win over Seattle in a wild card playoff game following the 2015 season. “I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t,’’ he said. “But he’s a very confident guy on his visits. And he has had, he was a Pro Bowler (in 2013) and he’s gone on a streak where he hit like 17 of 17. He’s got a lot of talent and there are certain boxes that we had to check before we moved forward with it.’’
- While cornerback Richard Sherman is coming off a season in which he had some uncharacteristic sideline blowups as well as declining to talk to local reporters late in the season, Schneider said there is no reason to question his future with the team. “He’s an elite player,’’ Schneider said. “I think everybody has bad days, you know. Congratulations if you don’t. But he’s, we love him. He’s an elite player.’’
- While the Seahawks cannot talk about specific free agents from other teams yet, it’s thought the team would be interested in talking to offensive tackle Russell Okung about a return. Schneider said only that nothing that happened last year in the way that Okung left as a free agent for Denver — he decided to serve as his own agent — would preclude coming back to Seattle, where he played from 2010-16. It’s thought Okung is again serving as his own agent.
- Schneider also said the obvious — the team was pleased to be told that it would suffer no penalty in terms of a draft pick for the situation involving the reporting of a late-season knee injury to Sherman. “We didn’t feel like we did anything wrong,” Schneider said, adding he felt the NFL was convinced by a presentation the Seahawks put together that detailed Sherman’s injury and that he did not miss practices of snaps because of it. Sherman suffered the injury in the Monday night win over Buffalo on Nov. 7 but did not miss any practices or snaps due to the injury in any future games. Sherman took a few practices off listed as NIR — non-injury related — for rest days. But those started after the Oct. 23 overtime tie at Arizona something else the Seahawks were able to tell the NFL.
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