The Seahawks formally announced the release of cornerback Cary Williams on Monday, capping a dramatic fall from grace after the club signed him to a three-year 18 million dollar deal in the off-season.
The Seahawks received no financial advantage to releasing Williams at this point in the season, so the move raised eyebrows.
Head coach Pete Carroll provided some insight as to why the team made the move.
"Really, the return of Jeremy Lane, he's had a couple of games now with us. The emergence of DeShawn Shead, his play has really been good. There's always consideration for special teams and other things that go along with it. Cary's a good football player, and did some good stuff for us. Our guys kind of came back to us and gave us an opportunity to go to them."
Williams was initially signed as a replacement for Byron Maxwell, who was awarded a massive deal in free agency by the Philadelphia Eagles. He possesses the length and fluidity needed to be successful in Seattle's scheme but struggled acclimating to the jam and kick-slide technique Carroll and defensive coordinator Kris Richard preach. Further, Williams didn't play with the same physicality and competitiveness that Seattle prides itself on.
"It was a short amount of time to try to catch up with all of the real specifics of our technique, but [Williams] did a nice job. He progressed with it. We feel more comfortable with the guys that have been with us, so we made the move."
According to sources within the building, the plan all along had been to promote players from within the organization. Another toe injury for the incumbent favorite to challenge Williams for the starting role, third-year pro Tharold Simon, however, limited the competition throughout training camp.
Meanwhile the Seahawks shifted Shead to strong safety to help make up for the extended holdout by Kam Chancellor, limiting his opportunity to compete with Williams at cornerback.
Shead has since started the past two weeks at cornerback with Williams made inactive despite being healthy.
At that point, the writing was on the wall and rather than keep Williams on the roster as a reminder of an expensive free agency miss, the Seahawks simply elected to go with the younger, hungrier and certainly more physical Shead and Lane at cornerback.