Seahawks Insider Blog

Seahawks' trade for Browns cornerback is off after failed physical

The Seahawks are still short on cornerbacks.

The NFL announced Thursday C.J. Smith had "reverted" back to the Cleveland Browns days after the Browns announced they had traded Smith to Seattle for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2020.

The league nullified the swap because Smith failed his physical, a league source confirmed to The News Tribune. Traded players take physical examinations upon getting traded to a new team.

This also happened in October when the Seahawks tried to trade defensive back Jeremy Lane to Houston for left tackle Duane Brown. Lane failed his physical with the Texans and came back to Seattle for the rest of last season, though the Seahawks got to keep Brown after they re-worked the deal to give Houston more draft choices. The Seahawks released Lane this month.

Smith has played in 13 games the last two NFL seasons after Philadelphia signed him in May 2016 as an undrafted free agent from North Dakota State. He played in 10 games that year for the Eagles, on special teams and at cornerback. He was on Cleveland’s practice squad from last September into December then played in three games for the Browns — the final three games of their season.

So he was healthy enough to final last year, but not to play for the Seahawks in 2018.

Smith is 5 feet 11, 189 pounds, not the prototypical size for Seahawks cornerbacks. But he has 32-inch arms. That’s the magic size coach Pete Carroll just about requires in his cornerbacks. Smith’s arms are 32 1/8 inches, in fact.

Now he and those long arms are reaching back to Cleveland.

The Seahawks still need cornerbacks. They waived three-time All-Pro left cornerback Richard Sherman and 2016 starting right cornerback DeShawn Shead this month. Sherman signed with San Francisco, Shead with Detroit. With Lane also gone, that's a net of minus-three cornerbacks this offseason.

Seattle has 2017 rookie standout Shaquill Griffin returning to start on the right side. The job at left corner is open right now, pending the Seahawks' efforts in re-signing Byron Maxwell. The team let the 30-year-old Maxwell's contract end, making him an unrestricted free agent this month.