NFL Trade Rumors: Seahawks trade former 49ers CB Ahkello Witherspoon to the Steelers

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Niners Nation 03 September, 2021 - 11:59am 31 views

It has been a rollercoaster of a career for former 49ers' third-round pick Ahkello Witherspoon. Unfortuantely for him, the highs have been few and far between as of late.

Witherspoon ended the 2020 season on a high note with San Francisco. But, unfortunately, his play was not enough to convince the Niners to bring him back over the likes of Emmanuel Moseley. Instead, the 49ers drafted two cornerbacks on Day 3 instead of re-signing Witherspoon — who ended up signing a one-year, $4 million contract with the Seahawks.

Ahkello was confident in his abilities during OTAs:

“When I was healthy, I was the best corner in the league. I’m not going to settle for anything else. When I got injured, I had two bad injuries that no one really knows about or cares bout and it’s not my place to make people care, but you go out there and you fight and you push through.

If you’re not at the best of your ability in this league and you’re not healthy, it’s difficult to stay at that level that it takes to be an All-Pro, that it takes to be a Pro Bowler. I’m just extremely excited to be healthy and clear-minded in a new environment, and I’m excited to put that on tape. I mean, it doesn’t matter. I’m here now and I’m healthy.”

It would appear that Seattle disagrees:

Ahkello Witherspoon was graded as the NFL's 5th-best CB last season by @PFF, the 4th-best in coverage https://t.co/YSQ4cCfFdZ

Witherspoon broke up a couple of passes during the preseason but was on the wrong end of a couple of big plays. I remember Jerry Jeudy getting the best of Witherspoon on one route.

Witherspoon wasn’t playing poorly. He wasn’t playing with the style that the Seahawks want. They ask their cornerbacks to be physical and use their hands. Despite his inspector gadget arms, that’s never been Ahkello’s game.

Some Seattle fans that I follow on Twitter talked about the possibility of trading Witherspoon earlier this week. Witherspoon was benched for former 49ers nickel cornerback D.J. Reed, who has played very well for the Seahawks. Who could have predicted that?

The Steelers need help at cornerback, as they’re asking a slot corner to play on the outside. However, Witherspoon will have another chance to play in the NFL as he’s likely to start on the other side of Joe Haden. Plus, Haden is in the final year of his contract.

I’m curious to see many opportunities Ahkello will get in this league based on his physical gifts. Will the third time be a charm?

Read full article at Niners Nation

Seahawks Trade CB Ahkello Witherspoon To Pittsburgh For 2023 5th-Round Pick

Seahawks.com 03 September, 2021 - 12:32pm

Join us for a game at Lumen Field as we add a W to the win column.

Witherspoon spent his first four seasons with the 49ers, starting 33 of 47 games played, then signed with the Seahawks in March. He spent training camp competing for the starting job at left cornerback with Damarious Randall, then later rookie Tre Brown also was in the mix there before spraining his knee.

Recently, with Tre Flowers taking ahold of the job at right corner, the Seahawks moved D.J. Reed to compete at left corner as well. The Seahawks have also made recent additions to that position group, trading for former University of Washington standout and second-round pick Sidney Jones, and claiming Nigel Warrior off waivers earlier in the week. The Seahawks also traded for cornerback John Reid last month, and while he didn't make the 53-man roster, he was re-signed to the practice squad.

Steelers trade for veteran cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 03 September, 2021 - 12:06pm

As the Steelers shape their secondary for the 2021 season, nine days before they kick off Week 1 against the Bills, they’re adding another cornerback.

Ahkello Witherspoon, a 6-foot-3, high third-round pick in 2017 who spent four seasons with the 49ers, is coming to Pittsburgh in a trade from Seattle, the team announced Friday. The Steelers are sending back a fifth-round pick in 2023, two drafts from now, to acquire Witherspoon (pending a physical). To make room, they’ve released backup defensive lineman and special teams contributor Henry Mondeaux, who figures to find his way back to the practice squad.

Witherspoon is a long and lean player at 195 pounds, and he’s had success in the NFL. He has started 33 of 47 games but only four last season for the 49ers, who didn’t re-sign him in free agency this year. Witherspoon, 26, signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Seahawks in March.

Now Seattle is turning right around and sending him to the Steelers, who have two unproven options behind Joe Haden and Cam Sutton at outside cornerback. James Pierre has drawn rave reviews from coaches at times this summer, but he was an undrafted free agent last season who played sparingly on defense as a rookie. Justin Layne enters his third season as a 2019 third-round pick but has been leap-frogged on the depth chart by Pierre.

“I don’t think anybody’s comfortable with four cornerbacks,” Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Wednesday, before the team also added slot cornerback Arthur Maulet. “We’ve got guys who can play different positions. Cam can play different positions. He can play the nickel. [Pierre] has shown that he can play in preseason. We think we’re OK right now. If somebody becomes available out there in Never Never Land, we’ll see what happens.”

With Witherspoon, the Steelers have a potential starter on the outside, or at least a more experienced candidate to play there and bump Sutton inside to slot cornerback in their nickel defense. Witherspoon, who played in college at Colorado, has four career interceptions and 24 pass breakups. He had one pick and four passes defensed last season, when Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 80.4 — higher than any Steelers defensive backs in 2020.

Witherspoon, who also has special teams experience, played nearly every snap for San Francisco over the final three weeks last year. Over the course of the season, he allowed just an 82.4 passer rating, 9.3 yards per completion and 5.5 yards per target, according to Pro Football Reference’s advanced stats. He carries a $2.75 million salary cap number in 2021, but the Seahawks added a void year that will count for $1.25 million in 2022. The Steelers, who have nearly $11.5 million in cap space, per overthecap.com, could also restructure Witherspoon’s deal.

The Steelers will need to make a corresponding roster move, either releasing a player or moving one to injured reserve, to make room for Witherspoon. He only has one week of practice to get up to speed before the season opener, but it will be interesting to see if he supplants Pierre right away as the No. 3 cornerback. Witherspoon, a late-bloomer from Sacramento, played only one year of high school football and first went to junior college. But he ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash and had a 40.5-inch vertical leap four years later at the NFL combine.

In Seattle, Witherspoon was signed to be a starting cornerback but appeared to lose hold of that job throughout training camp. That made him expendable in a trade, but for now, it’s unknown what the Steelers are giving up for him. With Haden becoming a free agent after this season, Witherspoon could make himself part of the Steelers’ future on defense should he perform well in his new home.

First Published September 3, 2021, 5:06pm

Steelers trade for veteran cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon

Behind the Steel Curtain 03 September, 2021 - 12:06pm

As the Steelers shape their secondary for the 2021 season, nine days before they kick off Week 1 against the Bills, they’re adding another cornerback.

Ahkello Witherspoon, a 6-foot-3, high third-round pick in 2017 who spent four seasons with the 49ers, is coming to Pittsburgh in a trade from Seattle, the team announced Friday. The Steelers are sending back a fifth-round pick in 2023, two drafts from now, to acquire Witherspoon (pending a physical). To make room, they’ve released backup defensive lineman and special teams contributor Henry Mondeaux, who figures to find his way back to the practice squad.

Witherspoon is a long and lean player at 195 pounds, and he’s had success in the NFL. He has started 33 of 47 games but only four last season for the 49ers, who didn’t re-sign him in free agency this year. Witherspoon, 26, signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Seahawks in March.

Now Seattle is turning right around and sending him to the Steelers, who have two unproven options behind Joe Haden and Cam Sutton at outside cornerback. James Pierre has drawn rave reviews from coaches at times this summer, but he was an undrafted free agent last season who played sparingly on defense as a rookie. Justin Layne enters his third season as a 2019 third-round pick but has been leap-frogged on the depth chart by Pierre.

“I don’t think anybody’s comfortable with four cornerbacks,” Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Wednesday, before the team also added slot cornerback Arthur Maulet. “We’ve got guys who can play different positions. Cam can play different positions. He can play the nickel. [Pierre] has shown that he can play in preseason. We think we’re OK right now. If somebody becomes available out there in Never Never Land, we’ll see what happens.”

With Witherspoon, the Steelers have a potential starter on the outside, or at least a more experienced candidate to play there and bump Sutton inside to slot cornerback in their nickel defense. Witherspoon, who played in college at Colorado, has four career interceptions and 24 pass breakups. He had one pick and four passes defensed last season, when Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 80.4 — higher than any Steelers defensive backs in 2020.

Witherspoon, who also has special teams experience, played nearly every snap for San Francisco over the final three weeks last year. Over the course of the season, he allowed just an 82.4 passer rating, 9.3 yards per completion and 5.5 yards per target, according to Pro Football Reference’s advanced stats. He carries a $2.75 million salary cap number in 2021, but the Seahawks added a void year that will count for $1.25 million in 2022. The Steelers, who have nearly $11.5 million in cap space, per overthecap.com, could also restructure Witherspoon’s deal.

The Steelers will need to make a corresponding roster move, either releasing a player or moving one to injured reserve, to make room for Witherspoon. He only has one week of practice to get up to speed before the season opener, but it will be interesting to see if he supplants Pierre right away as the No. 3 cornerback. Witherspoon, a late-bloomer from Sacramento, played only one year of high school football and first went to junior college. But he ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash and had a 40.5-inch vertical leap four years later at the NFL combine.

In Seattle, Witherspoon was signed to be a starting cornerback but appeared to lose hold of that job throughout training camp. That made him expendable in a trade, but for now, it’s unknown what the Steelers are giving up for him. With Haden becoming a free agent after this season, Witherspoon could make himself part of the Steelers’ future on defense should he perform well in his new home.

First Published September 3, 2021, 5:06pm

Seahawks trading Ahkello Witherspoon to Steelers

Field Gulls 03 September, 2021 - 11:39am

Ian Rapoport reported on Friday that Witherspoon is heading to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was later confirmed by the Steelers that they’ll be sending Seattle a 2023 fifth-rounder.

Sources: The #Seahawks are trading CB Ahkello Witherspoon to the #Steelers. A little secondary help before the opener.

Witherspoon’s one-year, $4 million contract had a $2.5 million signing bonus so they will only save $1.5 million in cap space and have $1.25 million dead money charged against this season and in 2022’s void year.

You suspected something would happen given Seattle’s previous trade for Sidney Jones, coupled with the fact that Pete Carroll just about said the starting pair for Week 1 will be D.J. Reed on the left side and Tre Flowers on the opposite side. Witherspoon also curiously played well into the 2nd half of the preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers.

This is almost like the cornerback version of the B.J. Finney signing from last season. Finney was meant to compete for a starting job with Ethan Pocic and he neither won the job nor ever saw an offensive snap. By midseason he was traded to the Cincinnati Bengals for Carlos Dunlap, which I’d say worked out pretty well.

Unless Seattle gets a player back, they’ll have a vacant roster spot and you know the Seahawks are not done just yet.

By the way, the Seahawks face the Steelers on Sunday Night Football in October.

Report: Steelers Acquire CB Ahkello Witherspoon Via Trade With Seahawks - Steelers Depot

Steelers Depot 03 September, 2021 - 11:35am

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a new cornerback on the way as they have reportedly made a trade with the Seattle  Seahawks to acquire Ahkello Witherspoon, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. According to the team, a 2023 fifth-round pick was sent to the Seahawks in exchange for Witherspoon.

Witherspoon was originally selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Colorado. He was taken 28 spots before the Steelers selected cornerback Cameron Sutton. In his first four NFL seasons he played in 47 games with 33 starts. In total he has registered four interceptions, 24 passes defensed and 117 total tackles. He also has one forced fumble.

Put together all four of Ahkello Witherspoon's career INTs. Good length and ball skills. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/cTtmmjuZpp

— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) September 3, 2021

Witherspoon has mainly played on the outside during his NFL career.

Witherspoon is set to earn $1.5 million in 2021. He has a voidable year in 2022 on his deal as well. He signed that $4 million contract with the Seahawks this past offseason.

By acquiring Witherspoon, a compensatory free agent signed by the Seahawks, the Steelers will reportedly cancel out a fifth-round 2022 compensatory pick they were on course to get for the departure of guard Matt Feiler, in addition to whatever they give up to Seattle in direct compensation, according to Nick Korte of Over the Cap.

To make room for Witherspoon, the Steelers released defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux.

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. https://t.co/z82gF9QU6R

— Nick Korte (@nickkorte) September 3, 2021

The Seahawks are trading Ahkello Witherspoon to the Steelers, per @RapSheet

Witherspoon: 80.2 PFF Grade in 2020 (334 snaps played) pic.twitter.com/zZPComCXaX

— PFF (@PFF) September 3, 2021

Good/Bad in his game from our report. Height + length + speed. Pegged him as a raw corner who needed to become a more consistent tackler. https://t.co/dPcZ12rnrB pic.twitter.com/bG2ybiOIW9

— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) September 3, 2021

From @MathBomb on Witherspoon #Steelers pic.twitter.com/5kHxbrXSTS

— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) September 3, 2021

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Boise State football: And they still kept it close

ESPN 03 September, 2021 - 10:19am

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BOISE, Idaho — Friday, September 3, 2021

Boise State was outgained 573 yards to 283. The Broncos managed just 20 on the ground while the UCF was gashing them for 255. From late in the first half until midway through the fourth, Boise State went nearly 30 minutes without a first down. Yet the Broncos somehow lost by just five points Thursday night in Orlando.

That shows resilience, to be sure. But the 36-31 score belies the Knights’ dominance.

The turning point came late in the first half when Boise State, leading by 17 points, couldn’t get out of a 3rd-and-11. What followed were back-to-back completions by Dillon Gabriel covering 62 yards, leading to a touchdown right before the half. The third quarter opened the same way—an 84-yard Knights TD drive sent a message amidst five straight three-and-outs by the Broncos offense. Boise State had no answer but stayed in it.

It was two turnovers that kept Boise State in the game in the Bounce House, and it was a turnover that took the Broncos out of it. Gabriel had the Knights offense going like a knife through butter on their first possession before Tyric LeBeauf stepped in front of a pass at the goal line and took it 100 yards for a touchdown. When all appeared to be lost in the fourth quarter, LeBeauf did it again, setting up Khalil Shakir’s go-ahead TD. But Hank Bachmeier threw a brain cramp of a pick with two minutes left to extinguish Boise State’s comeback hopes.

Bachmeier got into a rhythm in the first half Thursday night. The tempo was working, and Boise State was moving the ball, mainly through the air. Bachmeier looked to be in command. But then UCF figured things out, and the Broncos withered, with minus-7 yards in the third quarter. They appeared to go into a shell. The exclamation point came on the final play of the third period, when on 3rd-and-10 Boise State elected to run the ball — and Andrew Van Buren was swarmed under for a loss of three yards. Bachmeier did come alive in the fourth quarter, even getting the Broncos the lead back with a second touchdown pass to Khalil Shakir. But then, on a night when he made generally good decisions, he made one of the worst of his career, throwing his lone interception of the night when he could have run for a first down.

When I saw B.J. Rains’ tweet about Boise State’s George Holani being out for Thursday night’s game, well, I thought what you probably did. And the Broncos’ worst fears were realized, as they rushed for just 20 yards on 26 attempts. It was Van Buren and Cyrus Habibi-Likio splitting carries, with nothing doing. Outside of a 22-yard run by Van Buren to set up Boise State’s second touchdown, it was reminiscent of last year. There was not “dependable depth” at running back, at least in this game. What would life with Holani have been like?

It wasn’t the lightning delay at the beginning of the game that sapped the Boise State defense. It was the fact that the Broncos D couldn’t get off the field, and during that three-and-out parade by the offense, they never had a chance to catch their breath. UCF ran off 85 plays to Boise State’s 65, and ultimately it wore the Broncos down. They actually did a decent job against Gabriel, but their emphasis on stopping the run fell flat. Isaiah Bowser was constantly bursting through to the second level on his way to 170 yards on 32 carries. Only three Knights carried the ball all night, and all three (including Gabriel) averaged exactly 5.3 yards per carry. That helped UCF go 10-for-17 on third-down conversions. That’s a bad stat for the Broncos.

Six of the eight former Broncos released by NFL teams in the final roster cuts will be able to stick around as practice squad players as the season approaches. The list includes Brett Rypien in Denver, Curtis Weaver in Cleveland, John Hightower in Philadelphia, Darian Thompson in Dallas, David Moa with the New York Jets and Donte Deayon with the L.A. Rams. It appears that A.J. Richardson and Marcus Henry were not picked up in Arizona. Richardson had spent two full seasons on the Cardinals’ practice squad since wrapping up his Boise State career.

Coming off a 42-14 season-opening victory at MSU-Northern, College of Idaho makes its first Simplot Stadium appearance Saturday against Rocky Mountain College. The Coyotes’ quarterbacks are still getting their bearings, but Nick Calzaretta is buying them some time. Calzaretta rushed for 206 yards and two touchdowns last week, moving into third place on C of I’s career rushing list. He now has 2,731 career rushing yards and 30 touchdowns. In the Kibbie Dome, Simon Fraser should provide Idaho an opportunity to mix and match different combinations. One guy you won’t see the Vandals experiment with on offense this year is star linebacker Tre Walker. Coach Paul Petrino says Walker is far too valuable on defense. (He rushed six times for 26 yards during the spring season.)

Six years to the day after falling flat in its first appearance on a big national stage, Boise State avenges its 2005 rout at Georgia with a dominating 35-21 victory over the Bulldogs at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. After starting the game (and his senior season) 1-of-3 for four yards, Kellen Moore finished 28-of-34—an 82.3 percent clip, the seventh-best mark in Bronco history. Moore threw the 100th touchdown pass of his career to freshman Matt Miller and followed with TD strikes to Kyle Efaw and Tyler Shoemaker.

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