Seahawks trade CB Ahkello Witherspoon to the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Seahawks brought in Ahkello Witherspoon to start at cornerback for the team in 2021, but instead, he’ll be playing for another playoff contender as Seattle has traded the fifth-year cornerback to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network was the first to report the deal, and the Seahawks officially announced the trade shortly thereafter, announcing the team will receive a 2023 fifth-round pick as compensation.
Witherspoon was a third-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 and was an on again, off again starter for them on the perimeter as he was benched multiple times for lackluster play. He played in 47 games in four years for the 49ers, making 33 starts and recording four interceptions while breaking up 24 passes. He signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Seahawks in free agency.
Seattle lost Shaquill Griffin, also a third-round pick in 2017, as well as Quinton Dunbar, in free agency this past offseason. Those two were the Seahawks’ Week 1 starting cornerbacks in 2020.
With those two out of Seattle, Witherspoon was the favorite to start opposite D.J. Reed at outside cornerback. Reed, who also started his career with the 49ers, emerged as a key player for the Seahawks at outside cornerback in 2020 despite not meeting the Seahawks’ typical size requirements for perimeter corners (6-feet tall with 32-inch arms). Witherspoon, meanwhile, fit that mold as he’s 6-foot-3 with 33-inch arms.
Fourth-year corner Tre Flowers was essentially named a starter at right corner by head coach Pete Carroll earlier this week and Reed was moved to the left side, where Witherspoon had been playing. So instead of a Reed-Witherspoon combo, it appears it will be Reed and Flowers who are the starting duo for the Seahawks to start the year.
Seattle also recently acquired former UW standout Sidney Jones, who was a second-round pick in 2017 and has four interceptions in 31 games since entering the league.