Former Saskatchewan Roughriders offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley has been hit with an exclusive rights free agent tender by the Seattle Seahawks, according to ESPN’s Brady Henderson.
The move keeps the Canadian in Seattle for another season. Exclusive rights free agent status applies to all players with less than three seasons of accrued NFL experience, allowing their existing team to prevent them from negotiating with any other organizations so long as they are tendered with a qualifying offer of one year at the league minimum salary.
Shepley originally joined the Seahawks after being released in training camp by the San Francisco 49ers. He suited up in eight games, but did not see any offensive snaps.
In 2020, Shepley made his NFL debut with the 49ers against the Washington Football Team in Week 14 after being called up from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. He finished the season dressing in the final three games for San Fran.
The Windsor, ON native was a first-round pick of the Riders in the 2018 CFL Draft. He signed with the team in March 2019 and started 14 games at right guard that season, winning the team’s Most Outstanding Rookie award.
He opted out of his three-down contract in August 2020 to pursue the NFL, signing a one-year deal with the defending NFC champions. He beat out two other offensive linemen who were selected in past NFL Drafts in Jamon Brown (third rounder, 2015) and Ted Larsen (sixth rounder, 2010) for that contract.
The 27-year-old played four seasons at the University of British Columbia (2014-2017), starting 31 of 32 regular season games. While at UBC, Shepley lined up at left tackle and right guard, earning Canada West all-star honours in 2017. He played in the 2017 U Sports East-West Bowl and was part of the Thunderbirds 2015 Vanier Cup championship team.
At the 2018 CFL Combine, Shepley repped 225 pounds 27 times on the bench press, ran a 5.15 hand-time 40-yard dash, 4.72 shuttle, 8.01 three-cone, recorded a 31-inch vertical and eight-foot, 9.5-inch broad jump. His raw athletic numbers drew attention from NFL scouts.
Shepley inked a deal with the New York Jets after going unselected in the 2018 NFL Draft. The UBC product was cut following training camp that year and spent the rest of the season awaiting another NFL opportunity.
Seattle is high on the former CFL standout and reportedly feel he could be a candidate to compete with Ethan Pocic for the starting centre spot, though who either will be snapping the ball to at quarterback remains undetermined.