Seahawks trade Ahkello Witherspoon to Pittsburgh

September 3rd, 2021 | Written by Rob Staton

Just a couple of quick thoughts on this…

Firstly, whatever the compensation, this is a good move. It was becoming increasingly clear that the Seahawks were not impressed with Witherspoon. He failed to create an impression and had lost out in the competition to start.

Moving on and getting something, anything, in return is fine.

(Edit — it’s been revealed the compensation is a 2023 fifth round pick)

However, it does again highlight a glaring issue on the roster.

Seattle goes into the off-season searching for answers at corner. They’ll hope Tre Flowers really is better this time. They want Sidney Jones to push for a starting gig.

Yet at least at this initial stage, it’s difficult to be optimistic about the position.

And just as a year ago Seattle started the season with an inadequate pass rush — you have to hope that cornerback isn’t going to be the 2021 version.

It’s also worth noting that while the Seahawks save $1.5m by making this trade, they absorb $1.25m in dead money this year and next year.

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133 Responses to “Seahawks trade Ahkello Witherspoon to Pittsburgh”

  1. Jackson says:

    At least they seem to realize that CB is an issue rather than pretending everything is just fine. I’m cautiously optimistic.

  2. HOUSE says:

    Interesting move for sure… Getting something for someone that didn’t work out is a good thing. Looks like Sidney Jones was an upgrade over Witherspoon and it looks like we have a roster spot open…

    Atkins time?

    • Sean says:

      I think it is too early to assume Jones is an upgrade. After all, Witherspoon was supposed t be an upgrade over Flowers. Time will tell.

      • HOUSE says:

        I get what you’re saying. I was referring to the FO looking at Jones > Witherspoon in that moment and that’s why they made the trade

  3. Nathan M says:

    I’ll say it’s different (better?) than the pass rush situation onlyni that they’re already active to improve before week 1 rather than waiting until the trade deadline. Still, why weren’t they more active weeks ago? I guess they really thought Witherspoon would work out…

  4. Paul Cook says:

    What does our 2-deep depth chart look like now for our secondary positions? It’s hard to tell how the coaching views such a thing. I mean, the opener is a week away. Do our starters look like this now…


    • cha says:

      Yes but maybe with Blair as nickel over Amadi.

      I’d say Tre Brown is first up at outside backup. Maybe Sidney Jones after that.

      • Paul Cook says:

        That’s pretty much mine as well. It’s like it’s going to be pre-season for the CB position into the regular season this year. Diggs, Adams, and Reed seem fairly set…but the nickel and one outside CB still a “competition” thing.

  5. Lewis says:

    CB and C reason the biggest concerns.

    If Dakoda Shepley can play half as well as he interviews, he’s going to get a shot sooner rather than later. Rooting for the kid.

  6. pdwway says:

    well..better to cut bait early I guess. But jesus, i’ve really been hoping to avoid another installment of the Flowers experiment. Just don’t think he has the quickness to play CB at this level, don’t know how you teach/improve that. His cushions = easy completions.

  7. MikeB says:

    So what is our solution here? Start the season with two corners that would be backups on most other teams? Not to mention the drop off from there should one get injured?

    Or do we get Desmond Trufant or trade for Gilmore?

    • cha says:

      Gilmore is on PUP.

    • BruceN says:

      Reed played well last year and had a respectable PFF score of 73 (higher than Griffin’s 64). I’m hopeful about Jones. He also had a better PFF score than Griffin (68) and was one of the better CBs on a bad Jaguars team. Jags fans weren’t happy about that trade.

      Trufant is old and slow and beat up. And as Cha said Gilmore is on PUP.

  8. drrew76 says:

    Signing Witherspoon in the first place cost the Seahawks a 4th round comp pick from the Shaq Griffin to Jax deal.

    So good on them for getting something now (even if it’s just a 6th or 7th) when they realized he wasn’t going to work out.

    • cha says:

      The OTC comp picks guy tweeted this out and I’m confused

      Nick Korte
      By acquiring via trade Ahkello Witherspoon, a compensatory free agent signed by the Seahawks, the Steelers will cancel out a 5th round 2022 compensatory pick for the departure of Matt Feiler–in addition to whatever they give up to Seattle in direct compensation.

      Nick Korte
      I’m surprised to see the Steelers make this trade. Unlike the Raiders, who have a long history of not caring about compensatory picks, the Steelers are one of the leading teams that has long cared about them.

      They must think that acquiring Ahkello Witherspoon is still worth it.

      If Witherspoon cancels out Pittsburgh’s comp picks, shouldn’t the reverse also apply? That Seattle gets back their comp pick they burned on Witherspoon?

      Doesn’t make sense to me.

      • cha says:

        He says no.

        Nick Korte
        As for Seattle, they don’t get comp pick relief for trading Ahkello Witherspoon—he will still count against them as a compensatory free agent signed.

        That’s unfortunate for them, because without him doing so they could have had a 4th round comp pick for Shaquill Griffin leaving.

        • j says:

          David Moore was cut before week 1 so we lose his comp pick. Taking away the one for Witherspoon.

          • Justaguy says:

            Important point and is a reflection of all this FO is getting wrong. The inadequacy of player development and in turn desperately trading away picks is not going to build dreams, ending the good run we had as 12s. This year will be the undoing. My prediction without too much bias:
            Week 1 (1-0)
            Solid win against a team drought with bad luck
            Week 2 (1-1)
            Tennessee exposes the new OC and the defense cannot contain a real RB
            Week 3 (2-1)
            Russ has Kirk’s number, his address and his social security number
            Week 4 (2-2)
            First stinger of the year and proves we are in trouble
            Week 5 (3-2)
            Could go either way. But we only win because somehow the pandemic goes on hold enough for 12s to loose their minds for one night.
            Week 6 bye (3-2)
            Savor every minute of being 3-2 and beating the Rams but huge questions about this team haunt our dreams
            Week 7 (3-3)
            Haunted dreams become 2006
            Week 8 (3-4)
            Defense doesn’t have an answer as Sean out schools Pete. Deep dive begins, Russ begins grumbling
            Week 9 (4-4)
            We STILL sit behind SF and LA in the standings

      • pepoandart says:

        I think (and it may have changed), the comp pick formula applies only to players on the roster week 1. I think we lost a comp pick for signing J’marcus Webb or some other OL a number years ago and keeping him through week 1 only to release them shortly after. So in theory you are correct cha, that Witherspoon should not count against the comp picks.

  9. 67plush the Clown says:

    It’s actually reported that the Steelers took on the signing bonus, so Seattle will save more than $1.5 mil here. That’s a win, even if the draft pick is a 6/7th

    • Rob Staton says:


      Seattle only saves $1.5m and has to eat the bonus spread over this year and next.

      • Plush the Clown says:

        Not according to Greg Bell

        Gregg Bell
        · 24m
        This is a coup for John Schneider.

        Seattle’s GM gets the Steelers to take Ahkello Witherspoon’s $4M guaranteed for this year. That was heading to the #Seahawks’ bench because of D.J. Reed, Tre Flowers, Sidney Jones, et al

        Looks like he recanted though

        • Rob Staton says:

          Well if you look a bit closer at Gregg Bell’s timeline, you’ll notice he admits he was wrong about this.

          So just to be clear for you — Seattle only saves $1.5m and has to eat $2.5m of bonus money over two years. That is a fact.

    • cha says:

      You can’t trade signing bonus money. It stays with the team that wrote the check.

  10. Denver Hawker says:

    At first glance, this frustrated me to sign the guy in the first place only then to dump him and eat cap. However, moving on him quickly instead of trying make a fit is commendable.

    Still wondering if a bigger trade at CB is coming.

    Denver is trying to trade Callahan. He primarily plays slot though. Fuller could be available as well, but neither come cheap.

  11. Lewis says:

    Looks like we get back a 5th in 2023

  12. HOUSE says:

    Looks like a ’23 5th rd pick for Witherspoon

  13. STTBM says:

    Maybe Seattle realizes they are in trouble at CB, and are getting ready to trade all our remaining picks for the next two years for Stephen Gilmore. That would be a signature Carrol move for sure…


    • Rob Staton says:

      Well Gilmore’s already out for the first six games of the 2021 season

      • STTBM says:

        That’s a good point Rob. Personally, since they don’t have a high success rate teaching the kivk-slide technique to established veterans, I’m not excited about trading for one anyway…but our list of talent at CB grows thin…

        I see people calling for Sherm, but his first priority needs to be getting his mental health issues on track, and there’s no way he’s had time for that to happen. As much as I’d like to see him back as a Hawk, I want him to get right in his life far more.

        It seems like Carrol intends do do something at the position, and soon. Who do you think he’s might be targeting?

  14. L80 says:

    Now, can we jettison one of the backup QB’s and sign Atkins immediately?…..There’s one open spot right now and getting rid of the dude they just signed for backup would create another……

  15. Mick says:

    Well that’s life, sometimes you find out how a player is after you have him in your camp. I can live with them letting him go, and a 2023 5th is not that bad. But we need a starting CB, I don’t trust Tre Flowers and DJ Reed is just back from injury. Hope John works his magic and does a better job this time.

    • cha says:

      My optimistic side says they really like what they got with Tre Brown and weren’t afraid to cut bait on Ahkello.

      They haven’t put him on IR so hoping he just got some needed rest and is ready to go next week.

      • Rob Staton says:

        I think the fact they’ve switched Reed means it’s nailed on to be Reed + Flowers in week one

        • bmseattle says:

          So, even though Reed excelled playing the right side last year, we now move him to accommodate Flowers?

          Hopefully there isn’t a decline in Reed’s production, playing on the left side.

          Just as with moving Lewis from RG to LG, I worry about switching a player from a position he played well at last year.
          Flowers can be mediocre on either side.

          • Rob Staton says:

            So, even though Reed excelled playing the right side last year, we now move him to accommodate Flowers?

            Yes, it appears so…

            Just as with moving Lewis from RG to LG, I worry about switching a player from a position he played well at last year.

            The Lewis one in particular frustrates me. Just let the second year player, who has always been a pure right guard, get on with the job. Gabe Jackson has played left and right guard and is an experienced veteran, brought in as a short-term measure. Lewis has the potential to be Seattle’s right guard for a decade. I don’t understand why he is being moved just so Gabe Jackson can play right guard.

            Flowers can be mediocre on either side.

            True enough

            • BruceN says:

              I suspect Flowers is a place holder for Brown or Jones. Either one have a higher upside.

              • bmseattle says:

                I do believe that Jones plays mostly on the right side, so you could be right that they are anticipating him stepping in at that spot soon.

                • BruceN says:

                  Jake Heaps has the same thought (latest post on 710ESPN). No idea why Jags basically gave Jones, a 71 PFF grade CB, away. Jags fans weren’t too happy about the trade.

                  • cha says:

                    He made a good point in that article. Flowers didn’t win the job with a standout camp and preseason, he won it because Pete knows what he’s getting from him.

                  • BruceN says:

                    Odd, Cha, I don’t see a reply button for your post.

                    Yeah, I thought he made good points about the competition and Flowers being the devil you know. I’m hoping by week 2 (or 3 the latest) we see Jones across Reed. And some of Brown.

                    Any word on the other Geno?

                    Niners not wanting to be outdone by our CB churn are kicking the tires on Josh Norman. I think he’s done.

  16. Ashish says:

    I was hoping to get Center help too. I guess RAMS will give us reminder that you messed up again. Never understood why PC/JS are so cheap on this important position. Even healthy Pocic is meh, are we consider Fuller and new guy who play on guard primarily is good enough?

  17. spencer says:

    Two thoughts to throw out ther for Rob and the community- Tell me why you think it could/couldn’t work

    If Blair can play inside with his longer measurements (at least for your average slot corner) why not play him outside? If you want your best on the field, I think that Reed, Diggs, Adams, Amadi, and Blair is the best that we have.

    Also, and this one is a wild one, how viable would it be, in time, to move Tre Brown to free safety when Diggs is no longer on the roster? If I remember right, some people saw ETIII as more of a slot corner than free safety. Earl had absolutely elite skills and of course Tre isn’t Earl, but from what I’ve gathered, a lot of his strengths are in the same department at Earl’s.

    I know, two crazy thoughts, but I’m intrigued by them. Thoughts?

    • Rob Staton says:

      Moving Blair to corner would be desperate IMO. He’s a head-hunting safety. That was what he showed in college and it’s what he is. Trying to force him into a cornerback role here wouldn’t suit what he does well and the chances are it wouldn’t work.

      • Hawkdawg says:

        Of course, he’s not really a nickel corner, either…

        • Paul Cook says:

          Yeah, they got too cute with Blair, IMO. At least playing closer to the center of action on the field at N will utilize his strengths more.

      • spencer says:

        Fair point. A good coach understands their players strengths and positions them to let them loose. (I know there are plenty who wouldn’t put Pete in that category these days)

        Do you think that Blair can play FS? I don’t have the eye for traits like others do. Does he have the recognition skills and breaking speed for the type of play that a single-high defense needs? I know he’s a hitter, I just haven’t seen him play enough to know about the other stuff

    • Mick says:

      I would love to see Pete keep the players on their usual positions. We’re doing too much of TE turned pass rusher and basketball player turned TE. Blair could turn into a killer safety, it would be a pity to move him at corner. I haven’t seen enough of Tre Brown to say if he could be a safety, but again, we have some depth at S, we could start Ryan Neal there, and if they are sold on Tre Brown at CB, why not leave him there.

    • Robbie says:

      Listen, this is what’s about to happen. They are going to revolutionize the game, blitz all corners and safeties and drop all d-line into coverage. It’ll be unstoppable.

  18. Troy says:

    Hey Rob, was thinking it might be interesting for you to do a retrospective on the 2020 hawks draft class. I know its only been one year, and typically you need 2-3 to really know a draft class, but this post made me realize that the 2020 draft has the potential to be in league with the ones from 2010-2012.

    It has been 11 FUCKING YEARS since the Hawks drafted a good starting olineman (okung), and lewis 100% looks the part. I’m so thankful we got Lewis, he feels like a true building block.

    Brooks has looked good, and with Bobby mentoring him and his natural athletic ability/instinct he should have pro bowl potential.

    Taylor is obviously a giant wild card, but if he gets sacks this year and is a true presence off the edge, surely this would have to be hailed as one of their greatest drafts in PC/JS history along with 2010-2012. Curious on your thoughts.

    The rest of the guys I realistically see as depth, but still all things considered that draft is looking damn good, it will have to play out this year and next but I’m hopeful.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Hey Rob, was thinking it might be interesting for you to do a retrospective on the 2020 hawks draft class. I know its only been one year, and typically you need 2-3 to really know a draft class, but this post made me realize that the 2020 draft has the potential to be in league with the ones from 2010-2012.

      I think we seriously need to slow that roll. Jordyn Brooks is massively unproven at this stage. Darrell Taylor remains a complete unknown. Ditto Parkinson. I am unconvinced Deejay Dallas will ever amount to a big contributor. Swain was a nice value pick. Let’s see what Robinson does in year two. Lewis was a home run but they’re moving his position to LG this year to accommodate Gabe Jackson.

      There’s the potential for numerous contributors but there’s also potential for Lewis to be the only player of significance.

      Between 2010-12 they drafted Sherman, Kam, Wilson, Wagner, KJ, Earl, Okung, Tate and numerous guys who stayed in the league for a long time.

      So let’s not get carried away.

      • Troy says:

        ya I think its fair that we wait another full year to get a better picture on all the players.

      • Hawkcrazy says:

        Rob I think there is a greater chance for Brooks to be a greater player of significance than Lewis but believe that it is fair to say they both will be significant even at this stage of their development. Although other players drafted have lots of upside they haven’t shown it yet whereas I think both Brooks and Lewis have been contributors on the field.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Brooks hasn’t show anything yet. He played a bit as a rookie and this is his first season as a starter in 2021.

          It’s not fair to say he’s going to be significant. We get to find out in the coming weeks what he’s about.

          Lewis already has a full season of starting under his belt.

  19. Burner says:

    What’s Richard Sherman up to these days?

  20. dahveed says:

    I agree 100% Quick note ~ Niners Beat writer (sports Illustrated) GRANT COHN stated most concerning move By Niners is Losing Dakota and was wondering Why the Niners did not stash him on active and move vet to practice Which is exactly what the Hawks have done to a number of players so Kudos to them Plus Witherspoon was the price of doing Business…turn and burn

  21. BobbyK says:

    The Good: They actually got a future draft pick for a player that wasn’t very good. I like future draft picks.

    The Bad: Said player already had 4 years of NFL tape showing how bad he was and they still signed him for too much money.

  22. Julian Langdon says:

    Any news on Phil Haynes?
    The Seahawks still have an open spot on the Practice Squad. Lacking quality depth at the Guard position, seems a very strange decision to cut him, after he seemed to prove his fitness during a decent training camp?

  23. Happy Hawk says:

    Good move regarding Witherspoon. Now use the extra cap space and extend Brown and fill the open roster spot with Atkins and get ready for the opener. Might also consider moving Luton to the open PS slot and bring another asset either OL maybe Austin Reiter or David DeCastro? or another DB.

  24. cha says:


    Jeremy Fowler
    · 2h
    Multiple teams called Seattle on Ahkello Witherspoon once it became clear he was fizzling out of the starting rotation. Gets a fresh start in Pittsburgh.

    At least three teams are still looking for cornerback depth via trade.

  25. cha says:

    Adam Jude
    Hearing the Seahawks are still active in the CB market …

  26. Blitzy the Clown says:

    Thank the godz the college football season has finally started!

    I caught the second half of OSU-Minnesota and that OSU roster has, as always, some real head turning prospects, particularly DE Zach Harrison who had a sweet strip sack that led to a defensive TD.

    Also watched most of the Boise St-UCF game, which overall was a lot more exciting to watch. Couple of interesting players for UCF – senior RB Isaiah Bowser (6’1″ 225lbs) had a nice game, and junior QB Dillon Gabriel (6′ 200lbs) who looked effective against a decent BSU defense, despite making a few boneheaded plays.

    For the Broncos, junior S JL Skinner (6’4″ 218lbs) looks like a thumper in the mold of Kam Chancellor (not saying he’s Kam so hold your ire fire). Also senior NCB Kekaula Kaniho (5’11” 188lbs) though he was rightly ejected for a targeting call.

    Good on the Seahawks for moving Witherspoon now. Also good on them for waiving Damarious Randall, who Carroll kept saying he was really high on, but who in reality clearly and empirically, sucked to everyone else.

    • Spectator says:

      Watched the Minn-OSU game, both squads RBs looked special. Sadly, Minn RB got hurt, hoping its not significant but looked like an Achilles tear. I think he was only one draft eligible. OSU def didnt look great outside that one strip sack recovery for a TD. OSU, WR looked crazy good though. Could see the talent gap. Minn offense of line looked big and dominant. Nothing else special though. From the sounds of it, OSU team is extremely young. Washington’s own JTT got some snaps and didnt look horrible for a true freshman.

      • Blitzy the Clown says:

        Yes good call on the OSU WRs. Clearly a cut above. Probably the best WR group in the country.

        And I think the OSU defense was a little surprised by the physicality of the Minn OL. Minnesota is a good team. They just had the misfortune of opening against the Buckeye juggernaut.

      • BobbyK says:

        Thankfully for Ohio State, the refs liked them more.

        • Big Mike says:

          Gotta get them to the playoffs dontcha know.
          Wonder how bad Oregon gets screwed next week when they’re beating them (because OSU has an inconsistent freshman QB)?

  27. Forrest says:

    Thank goodness we start with the Colts! Titans WRs will be the true test in week 2.

  28. JJ says:


    What CFB games you got your eyes on this weekend?

    • Rob Staton says:

      In the UK we are getting North Carolina vs Virginia Tech, Alabama vs Miami, Western Michigan vs Michigan, Oklahoma vs Tulane, Texas Tech vs Houston, Georgia vs Clemson and BYU vs Arizona. So I will pick from that collection.

  29. Sea Mode says:

    Seahawks Southwest…

    Jeremy Fowler

    Raiders signing wide receiver David Moore to the practice squad, per source. Moore signed a two-year deal with Carolina in the offseason but was released this week.

  30. Sea Mode says:

    wait, wut did their DC say…? 😂

    Brooke Pryor

    Ahkello Witherspoon is indeed heading from Seattle to Pittsburgh in a trade, source confirms to ESPN.
    @RapSheet on it first.

    DC Keith Butler said Wednesday if someone becomes available in “never never land, we’ll see what happens.”

    Seattle = Never, Never Land, apparently

  31. Paul Cook says:

    Woo-hoo! A lot of good games this true opening weekend. Eff an A. Of course the marquee game being Montana @ WASHINGTON. This game will begin what will be our undefeated season and a trip to the BCS final four.

    Alabama vs. Miami
    Clemson vs. Georgia
    LSU vs. UCLA
    Penn State vs. Wisconsin
    Notre Dame vs. Florida

    A lot of interesting stuff…

  32. Sea Mode says:

    Brady Henderson

    Phil Haynes is indeed back on the Seahawks’ practice squad, per the NFL’s transaction wire. They had an open spot.

    • TomLPDX says:

      Good, now move Luton to the PS and get a real CB on our team.

    • Elmer says:

      OL injuries will be coming. Haynes will be back on the active roster IF he can be healthy.

      • WM says:

        A local source shared that Luton had offers from JAX and SEA and his agent told SEA that he would sign here if they put him on 53. Not sure if that’s true but trust the source, and makes sense why he’s not on PS.

  33. Ashish says:

    Josh Downs #11 WR from NC looks good (NC vs VT)

  34. swedenhawk says:

    Rumor has it that Geno Atkins is deciding between Seattle and Minnesota.

  35. Lewis says:

    Apparently, the Mark Vital thing is Russel’s doing. He texted Vital after their last game and said the Seahawks could use him as a TE. They worked out together in San Diego in the offseason.

  36. cha says:

    Please stop it Seahawks. I’m begging you.

  37. Pepperpig says:

    Haha! He’s going to bust a bollock, and that will be that.

  38. Ashish says:

    Penn State vs Wisconsin – good game in progress

  39. cha says:

    Brady Henderson
    The Seahawks plan to sign G Jordan Simmons to their practice squad.

  40. Blitzy the Clown says:

    Good lord did anyone else watch Jr MSU Spartan RB Kenneth Walker II (5’10” 210lbs) against Northwestern last night?

    23 carries for 264 yards and 4 TDs including a 75-yard TD run on the first play of the game. He’s fast, strong and smart.

  41. Big Mike says:

    Kayvon Thibedeux (likely spelled that wrong, don’t care cuz you all know who I mean) will be a top 5 pick next draft. Looked like a man among boys before limping off.

  42. Paul Cook says:

    Alabama under Lou Saban…they always take of business. I know of their top flight recruiting and anything else you might want to mention elite about their program. But still, when they supposedly “let down” against lesser teams, the game is still never in doubt. They win convincingly.

  43. JoeB says:

    Watched my 1st UW game in Husky Stadium last night. Sad. Goes to show big, athletic offensive lines can slowly best up defensive lines. Montana just kept running until a demoralized defense caved. I worry that is what’s going to happen with the Seahawks’ secondary. Run 4-deep receiving corps in hurry-up offense, and the Seahawks are toast.