The Seattle Seahawks have made their first addition in free agency and kept one of their own off the market as well.
First, the addition. According to multiple reports, the Seahawks are adding former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon as a replacement for the departing Shaquill Griffin. The agreement with Witherspoon is for one year.
Witherspoon was a third-round selection by the 49ers in 2017 out of Colorado. Witherspoon has appeared in 47 games with 33 starts during his four seasons with San Francisco. He's had an up-and-down tenure with the 49ers with stretches of really strong play alongside stretches of struggles. He started just four games last season and lost his starting job for a stretch to Emmanuel Mosely.
Witherspoon will join Tre Flowers, D.J. Reed and Ugo Amadi as returners at the cornerback spot. Shaquill Griffin has left for the Jacksonville Jaguars on a three-year deal and Quinton Dunbar is an unrestricted free agent. Marquise Blair is set to return from an ACL injury last year as well.
In addition to the Witherspoon move, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com reports that the Seahawks have reached a deal with defensive tackle Poona Ford on a two-year extension.
Ford was a restricted free agent and the Seahawks had until the official start of the new league year on Wednesday at 1 p.m. PT to determine whether they wanted to extend a tender or not. If they had not reached an agreement on a deal, a tender would have been a likely route for the team to take.
Ford has been a standout performer at nose tackle for the Seahawks during his three seasons with the team. A former undrafted free agent signing out of Texas, Ford was knocked for his lack of size coming out of college. At one point, he was the only interior defensive lineman in the NFL that was under six feet tall. However, Ford has more than made up for that and has been a stout defender inside for Seattle.
The two-year extension would mean that he and fellow defensive tackle Jarran Reed won't be free agents at the same time either as Reed's current deal runs through the 2021 season. A restricted free agent tender would have meant Seattle's top two defensive tackles wouldn't be under contract beyond next season.
Ford has appeared in 42 games for Seattle over the last three years with 31 starts. He had career-highs in tackles (40), sacks (2.5) and quarterback hits (9) for the Seahawks last season along with a forced fumble.
Photo Credit: SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Tyler Lockett #16 of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by by Ahkello Witherspoon #23 of the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)