In a move that further fills out their cornerback depth, the Seahawks are bringing back a name from the past.
But no, it’s not Richard Sherman.
Instead, Seattle has agreed to a one-year contract with Pierre Desir, as announced Wednesday morning by Desir’s agency, EnterSports Management.
Desir was on Seattle’s practice squad the final two months of the 2016 season and then with the team throughout the 2017 offseason, training camp and the preseason before being waived at the cutdown to 53 players. He was then claimed by the Colts.
But while Desir never played in a game with the Seahawks, he has played in 73 games in his seven-year NFL career with 44 starts.
He split last season with the Jets and Ravens, starting eight games for New York before being cut and then signed by Baltimore and playing in three more games.
The 30-year-old was a fourth-round pick of the Browns in 2014.
The 6-1, 192-pounder had his best season with the Colts in 2018 when he started 12 games and played a career-high 903 snaps, earning a career-high 77.7 overall grade (on a scale of 1-100) from Pro Football Focus and a coverage grade of 73.1 that ranked 28th out of 131 cornerbacks, allowing a passer rating of 88.1.
That helped him earn a three-year contract worth up to $25 million from the Colts before the 2019 season with $9 million guaranteed.
But after some struggles in 2019 he was cut in March of 2020 and then signed by the Jets.
Desir had an overall grade from PFF last year of just 48.1 and a coverage grade of 42.5 with the Jets and Ravens.
Desir becomes the seventh cornerback under contract for Seattle, which earlier during free agency signed Ahkello Witherspoon to a one-year deal worth up to $4 million to help replace Shaquill Griffin.
Also under contract are D.J. Reed, Tre Flowers, Damarious Randall, former UW standout Jordan Miller and Gavin Heslop.
Reed started eight games last season and was the starter at right cornerback for the final five games of the year after Quinton Dunbar’s knee injury.
Dunbar later signed a one-year deal with the Lions, creating the assumption Seattle would go with Witherspoon and Reed as its starters on the outside with competition/depth from Flowers (a former two-year starter at right cornerback), as well as Randall and Miller.
When the team re-signed Randall earlier this month, the Seahawks announced he would now be a cornerback after playing safety in a reserve role last season.
Randall spent the first three years of his career starting at cornerback with Green Bay, playing two seasons at left cornerback and one at right.
Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi are likely contenders at nickel cornerback.
The additions of Desir and Randall to the cornerback mix in the last few weeks make it that much more unlikely the Seahawks would pursue a reunion with Sherman, who remains unsigned after spending the last three seasons with the 49ers.
An NFL Network report in March stated that the Seahawks and Sherman would each be open to a reunion. Sherman recently said he did not expect to sign until after the draft April 29-May 1, when the needs of teams become that much clearer (and also after the time when signings of free agents will count as part of the formula for 2021 compensatory picks).