With the stunningly bad news that Jeremy Lane could miss the start of the season with a torn ACL, it is clear the Seahawks will sign at least one veteran cornerback in addition to drafting one or two.
Considering they have just three other cornerbacks — Richard Sherman, Tharold Simon and Marcus Burley — they have to add some bodies.
First of all, let’s put to rest any thought that the Seahawks are going to offer Byron Maxwell a king’s ransom to return. He is expected to get at least $7 million a year from some team, and it won’t be the Seahawks. Their comfort zone would be $5 million a year, and their outer limit would be $6 million.
The Hawks also won’t want to paint themselves into the position of needing to draft a cornerback high, so they will certainly add someone in free agency.
Don’t expect it to be Walter Thurmond, who has missed 42 of 64 possible games the past four seasons, due to injuries and suspension. He’s also in the league’s drug program after being suspended for the last month of the 2013 season for a positive test (allegedly for marijuana).
So who is out there?
Joining Maxwell in the top tier of free-agent corners are Kareem Jackson (Houston), Antonio Cromartie (Arizona) and Brandon Flowers (San Diego). The latter two played on one-year deals in 2014, and Cromartie is expected to go back to New York and play for the Jets again.
Flowers is ranked among the top four free-agent corners by Pro Football Focus and Scout.com, but the seven-year veteran does not fit Seattle’s profile at just 5 feet 9 — unless they thought he could play the slot and he wanted to do so for about $2 million a year.
The Hawks could look into bringing back Perrish Cox, who has played most of his five seasons with San Francisco but was with the Hawks briefly at the end of 2013. The 6-footer had his best season in 2014, intercepting five passes and recovering two fumbles. He is one of three 49ers corners who are free agents, and he could draw interest.
Patrick Robinson (New Orleans), Davon House (Green Bay) and Jimmy Wilson (Miami) are among other second-tier options.
Robinson, the Saints’ first-round pick in 2010, seemed to be ascending in 2011 and 2012. But injuries and inconsistency have doomed him the past two years, and he had lost his starting job by the end of last season. But he could be the perfect coach-him-up player for Pete Carroll’s staff.
House, the Packers’ fourth-round pick in 2011, thinks he is ready to be a starter in the NFL. But the 6-foot, 195-pounder seems to be an under-the-radar guy the Hawks could get at a fair price if they liked him. They did get to see him up close in the playoffs, when he helped blanket the Seahawks’ receivers for most of the game.
Wilson is a versatile, aggressive player who could fit the bill as a nickel corner and backup safety for the Hawks.
If the Hawks don’t sign one of those guys, it will be because they found someone else they like. But you can bet they will wait until the bargains are available and sign a veteran.