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Seahawks bringing back DeShawn Shead, Luke Willson with agreements on new contracts

Turns out, this locker-room scene inside Seahawks headquarters in Renton Jan. 15 was not a Seattle goodbye for DeShawn Shead (on crutches). The Seahawks reached agreements on Friday with their 2016 starting cornerback plus Luke Willson, their No. 2 tight end, on new contracts.
Turns out, this locker-room scene inside Seahawks headquarters in Renton Jan. 15 was not a Seattle goodbye for DeShawn Shead (on crutches). The Seahawks reached agreements on Friday with their 2016 starting cornerback plus Luke Willson, their No. 2 tight end, on new contracts. AP

The Seahawks have brought back two of their fan favorites.

The News Tribune confirmed from a league source with knowledge of the deals Friday morning Seattle has agreed to re-sign 2016 starting cornerback DeShawn Shead and No. 2 tight end Luke Willson for next season. Both were unrestricted free agents.

Each contract is believed to be for one year.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Willson could earn up to $3 million. That would include bonuses and incentive clauses.

Shead’s deal is believed to be worth $1 million guaranteed, with up to $1.5 million available to him through incentives and bonuses.

The deals are the latest in a series of one-year contracts for Seattle this month. Along with financial flexibility, the one-season deals for Shead, Willson, running back Eddie Lacy and left tackle Luke Joeckel give the Seahawks players motivated to earn bigger deals this coming season. Coach Pete “Always Compete” Carroll loves and cultivates players with chips on their shoulders.

Willson, the 27-year-old native of Ontario, Canada, has 74 catches through his first four NFL seasons, all with Seattle. He becomes the second Seahawks tight end signed beyond 2017. The other is 2016 draft choice Nick Vannett.

Star tight end Jimmy Graham is entering the final season of his four-year, $40 million deal.

Willson had been shopping to find his value on the NFL free-agent market that opened eight days ago. The first and second waves of signings passed without him finding a deal he liked.

His agreement to return comes just after free-agent tight end Jared Cook came and left Seattle on a free-agent visit without a deal. Once Cook cleared, the Seahawks decided to bring back Willson.

Shead’s deal came two days after he got some leverage: he took a free-agent visit to Buffalo. He entered the offseason as a restricted free agent under Seahawks control while recuperating from surgery in late January to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn meniscus in his knee. But Seattle turned him loose by deciding not to tender him an offer, not even for the lowest tender value of $1,797,000 for this year that it gave starting right tackle and fellow restricted free agent Garry Gilliam.

General manager John Schneider said this month at the NFL combine the team didn’t expect Shead to return from the knee injury he suffered Jan. 14 in the divisional-playoff loss at Atlanta until deep into the 2017 season. That lowered his value on the open market.

So it apparently went by the team’s plan. The Seahawks got Shead for less than that $1,797,000 tender value it passed up for him eight days ago. But the $1 million guarantee, $200,000-plus over his veteran minimum, is a reward for being a team guy throughout his years of going from an undrafted special-teams contributor to starter. And it’s faith he can get back from his knee surgery this year.

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