Seattle Seahawks cornerback Cary Williams had started 81 straight games, regular and postseason combined, dating back to his time in Philadelphia and Baltimore before he was benched for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Shead held his own against an explosive Steelers passing attack. His 10 tackles were second on the team he recorded four passes defended during the game. In comparison, Williams has just four passes defended all season.
“He played a really good, tough game,” head coach Pete Carroll said of Shead. “He had a lot of challenges and he came through at the point of the ball coming in a number of times. They got him once, but all in all, he played really good. Did a very good job. We were all really proud of him.”
Williams was initially benched last week in the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers after blowing an assignment on a 36-yard completion to tight end Vance McDonald. That led to Shead getting a chance to start against Pittsburgh.
So where does that leave Williams, who signed a three-year, $18 million deal with Seattle this offseason?
“Right now he’s trying to fight for playing time, trying to get back in,” Carroll said. “Shead did a good job and we feel pretty good about DeShawn coming back again this week.”
Shead helped hold Martavis Bryant to just five catches for 69 yards on Sunday. The majority of Pittsburgh’s 480 passing yards came over the middle of the field against Seattle’s linebackers and safeties and slot cornerbacks.
If Shead continues as the starter, it would seem unlikely that Williams would be back in 2016 for the Seahawks. The team could save close to $4 million against the salary cap by releasing him this offseason.