Seahawks: Cary Williams to Take Over at RCB
In a virtual swap of cornerbacks, the Seattle Seahawks have signed for Philadelphia Eagle Cary Williams to complete the free agent “trade” for Byron Maxwell who is signing in Philadelphia. Williams played right cornerback on 1001 of his 1197 snaps for the Eagles last year and he’ll likely step into the same role in Seattle’s defense, replacing Maxwell.
It was an up-and-down two-year career for Williams with the Eagles, grading at +0.9 in coverage last year after a -3.8 effort in 2013. Last season, he was targeted 99 times, surrendering 56 catches for 757 yards, and five touchdowns to go with two interceptions and six passes defensed. He did cut his missed tackles in half from 14 in 2013 to seven last season, much more in line with his career numbers.
Ultimately, Williams was released because his average play was not justified by his huge contract.
The move presents an interesting study as we’ll have a way to compare the affect of playing in Seattle’s defense versus other defenses around the league. How much will having Richard Sherman on the other side of the field combined with rangy free safety Earl Thomas patrolling the middle help Williams’ production? Will the Seattle pass rush make things easier on Williams?
By comparison, Maxwell had a breakout 2013 season followed by an average effort in 2014. As the two players trade places, it will be fascinating to see just how much each team’s scheme and surrounding talent will affect individual performance. If anything, Williams will be challenged often as Maxwell was targeted, once every 5.8 snaps in coverage — 20th-highest frequency among cornerbacks — while Williams was targeted only once every 6.7 coverage snaps, 18th-lowest in the league. In order to justify the new deal, Williams will have to be up to the challenge of being a frequent target on a weekly basis as Sherman locks down the other side of the field.