Though the Seattle Seahawks have produced the envy of the league with their Legion of Boom, free agency may be poised to pluck one of their feathers. Cornerback Byron Maxwell is on his way to free agency. Even though GM John Schneider has stated Maxwell is a priority; with $117.2 million committed to Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, it's likely he will be elsewhere in 2015.
Of course, while the Cowboys first plan of action will be to upgrade their pass rush, or lack thereof, Maxwell could be an interesting prospect for the front office. He played mostly special teams and back-up roles in college. Other than two standout performances against Wake Forest and Virginia, his college career was successful but didn't jump out. He was known as the hardest hitting defensive back in the ACC, and that's about it.
He was drafted by Seattle in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Clemson. His rookie season was much like college, he saw limited action in special teams and occasionally would play in sub-packages. In his second year, Maxwell played in nine games and amassed 14 tackles, four pass defections, and one forced and recovered fumble.
Maxwell really didn't receive his chance to shine until the year-long suspension of Brandon Browner for substance abuse was made official. Maxwell became the starter in 2013 and played well with four interceptions and nine pass deflections. In the Seahawks Super Bowl win, Maxwell had four solo tackles and forced the game clinching fumble in the third quarter. Maxwell was able to be very effective against opposing quarterbacks with an average 57.8 passer rating against him.
This past season was Maxwell's first time as the full-time starter and he was solid. He had only three interceptions, but recorded 39 solo tackles and had 12 passes deflected. In the NFC Championship Game, Maxwell intercepted Aaron Rodgers which lead to their comeback victory to make their second straight Super Bowl. Maxwell had five solo tackles in a losing effort to New England in Super Bowl XLIX.
2014 was a good year for Maxwell overall as he only gave up a 100+ passer rating three times. He also kept the opposing quarterbacks out of the end zone with only one touchdown thrown all season on him. Quarterbacks had an average passer rating of 78.5 against Maxwell.
He's going to be a bigger name in free agency because of the team that he plays for. I don't know with his limited production, if he'll command a huge contract, but it is likely. He's big and rangy, but his best asset is his tackling and hitting ability. If the Cowboys were his landing spot, it would certainly be interesting to have him and J.J. Wilcox laying the wood back there. Dallas would likely have to part ways with Brandon Carr to bring in Maxwell, but I would think he's an upgrade over number 39.
The Cowboys won't likely pursue this opportunity too much, but it is worth noting that the coaching staff has been enamored with Seattle's defensive scheme for some time. Both Rod Marinelli and the recently departing Monte Kiffin have wanted to copy off their formula. The Seahawks have had luck with late-round additions, why shouldn't the Cowboys try and piggy-back off that idea? Maxwell would be a great fit, but his cost may be too high.