A report tonight out of Wisconsin says John Schneider's roots in Green Bay could lead to a new starting cornerback for the Seahawks.
Packers writer Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes Seattle's general manager, a former Packers executive, will seek Tramon Williams to replace unrestricted free agent Byron Maxwell as the Seahawks' starter opposite All-Pro Richard Sherman should Williams reject Green Bay's contract offer to return there.
McGinn is a veteran with connections inside the Packers' organization, so I would give this story more credence than many of the national reports we've seen about the Seahawks in the last year.
Such as, oh, the team already having a new deal with still-no-new-deal Marshawn Lynch as of LAST MONTH. Or the one of them being tired of Lynch's "act" and bound to have already released him by now.
McGinn notes Schneider helped bring Williams, who turns 32 this month, to Green Bay in 2006 via the Packers' practice squad. Williams became a starter in Green Bay in 2009 -- the year before Schneider left the Packers to become Seattle's GM -- and has missed just one game in the last five seasons. McGinn reports Williams has rejected what "sources" told the Journal Sentinel was the Packers' two-year contract offer of $8 million. He averaged $8.25 million in base salary through this past season, though it's unlikely he will command nearly that much at his age as a free agent.
Williams is best and most recently known in the Pacific Northwest for being the Packer in the picture above. Williams was riding on the shoulders of Jermaine Kearse trying in vain to dislodge the ball as Kearse carried him into the end zone for the overtime touchdown that won the NFC championship for the Seahawks on Jan. 18. Before you decry the Seahawks for targeting a guy burned by Kearse for the score that clinched Seattle's Super Bowl appearance, remember: Williams was stranded in one-on-on coverage with no inside safety help for 40 yards after quarterback Russell Wilson caught Green Bay in an inexplicable "cover zero" (no safeties in the middle of the field knowing a TD ends the Packers' season). Wilson audibled to the decisive pass and Seattle completed its miraculous comeback from being down 16-0 late in the third quarter to reach the Super Bowl for the second consecutive time.
The Seahawks have money and need to spend at cornerback. Maxwell is likely leaving in a hot market for him that will open when league free agency begins Tuesday. Schneider has all but conceded Maxwell will get offered more from other teams than Seattle will be able and willing to pay to retain him, given the Seahawks' other priorities: a new deal for Lynch (should he finally get around to telling the team he wants to play in 2015), new contracts for Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner plus needs for a defensive tackle, offensive linemen and big wide receiver(s).
Last month at the Super Bowl, Maxwell told me he loves the Seahawks and playing in Seattle "but I have to take care of my family." That almo$t alway$ mean$ goodbye.
Tharold Simon is the heir apparent to Maxwell currently on Seattle's roster. He just finished an up-and-down first NFL season, following a 2013 lost to foot injuries. The Seahawks like Simon's length and aggressiveness, but he was prone to personal fouls and lapses this past season. New England and Tom Brady picked on him in last month's Super Bowl for two touchdowns, after the broken arm sustained by Jeremy Lane forced Maxwell to nickel back and Simon into the game. Plus, Simon just had shoulder surgery that will require months of rehabilitation.