Report: Seahawks signing receiver/kick returner Laviska Shenault

Apr 2, 2024, 12:41 PM | Updated: 12:54 pm

seattle seahawks Laviska Shenault...

Laviska Shenault Jr. of the Carolina Panthers runs in a 2023 game in Detroit. (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

(Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

With the NFL implementing new rules this year, kickoffs are going to be a key focus for teams in 2024. The Seattle Seahawks have addressed that in free agency, with NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reporting they’ve signed receiver/kick returner Laviska Shenault.

Brock’s Seattle Seahawks Draft Profile: A fullback option for the offense

Shenault, 25, was a second-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Colorado. After two seasons with Jacksonville, Shenault was traded to Carolina, where he spent the last two years.

For his career, Shenault has 158 catches for 1,551 yards and six touchdowns. He also has 252 rushing yards over the last four seasons, but Shenault has just 372 receiving yards over the last two seasons.

Shenault hasn’t returned punts but has nine career kick returns for 249 yards, good for 27.7 yards per return.

With the new kickoff, kickers and returners are the only players who can move before the ball is kicked off. For the team kicking off, the other 10 players will line up on the return team’s side of the field at the 40-yard line. For the return team, at least nine members of the return team will be between their 35- and 30-yard lines in what’s being called the “setup zone.”

The idea is the ball will be fielded between the 20-yard line and the goal line. If it goes in the end zone, a touchback will now place the ball at the 30-yard line rather than the 25, which has been the case the last few years.

The goal is for there to be more returns, but less injuries than there used to be on special teams. This rule comes from the former XFL, which utilized this style of kickoff in its games.

Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard mentioned the new return rules as well as Shenault on Tuesday morning, ahead of any reports that the Seahawks had signed him.

“There are going to be a few buddies who are going to get jobs as kickoff returners because it’s going to be more prevalent,” he said during Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. ” … (Shenault was) a dynamic dude out of college, kind of underperformed as a receiver. He’s out there.”

Well, he’s not anymore, as he’s apparently heading to Seattle, which needed a new kickoff returner with DeeJay Dallas leaving for Arizona in free agency.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

• ESPN’s Yates: How early Michael Penix may go in the NFL Draft
• Why Bumpus has high hopes for an unexpected Seahawks’ position group
• Huard explains what next phase of Seahawks’ offseason looks like
• Seahawks Mock Draft Roundup: Could Penix be reunited with Grubb?
• Who needs to be a breakout player for Seattle Seahawks in 2024

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