Seahawks 2010 Roster Analysis: DBs
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
NorthwestFootball.net
Posted Feb 11, 2010


Seattle Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant will be among the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL in 2010.

#21 – Kelly Jennings
Age: 27
Signed through: 2010
2010 salary: $800,000
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $1.721M

Jennings appeared in all 16 games in 2009, starting 7 games while finishing the season with 28 tackles (25 solo) and breaking up five passes. Jennings was held without an interception for the third straight season, but did show off his versatility by handling long-snapping duties after Kevin Houser suffered a collapsed lung against Tampa Bay.

#23 – Marcus Trufant
Age: 29
Signed through: 2013
2010 salary: $5.7M
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $11.6M

Trufant began the 2009 season on the PUP list, missing the first six weeks of the regular season after injuring his back in a pre-training camp workout. Trufant never appeared fully healthy last season, and was successfully targeted by opposing quarterbacks throughout the second-half of the season, where Trufant gave up a bevy of big plays and was flagged for multiple pass interference penalties. In 10 games, Trufant made 49 tackles and intercepted two passes.

#24 – Deon Grant
Age: 30
Signed through: 2012
2010 salary: $4M
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $5.92M

Grant ran his Ironman streak up to 144 games by starting all 16 games for the ninth consecutive season, despite having a left wrist that required surgery after the season. Grant finished the season with 75 tackles, and finished tied for the team lead with 3 interceptions.

#25 – Jamar Adams
Age: 24
Signed through: 2010
2010 salary: $470,000
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $470,000

Signed to the practice squad at the beginning of the season, Adams was signed to the 53-man roster in Week 9. Adams appeared in six games, making four tackles on special teams.

#26 – Josh Wilson
Age: 24
Signed through: 2010
2010 salary: $550,000
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $770,000

Wilson was nicked up throughout 2009, missing two games with a high ankle sprain, and one game each with a concussion and a hip pointer. He started the 12 games he was healthy for, posting 44 tackles, a quarterback sack, and defending a team-high 13 passes. He returned both of his interceptions 60+ yards for touchdowns.

#27 – Jordan Babineaux
Age: 27
Signed through: 2013
2010 salary: $1.45M
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $2.09M

Babineaux moved from backup cornerback to starting safety in 2009, finishing the season with career-highs in tackles (104), sacks (1 ½), passed defensed (6), and intercepting a pair of passes.

#31 – Ken Lucas
Age: 31
Signed through: Unrestricted Free Agent

Signed to a one-year deal to combat the bigger receivers in the NFC West, Lucas started the season at right cornerback, but personal tragedy (the loss of his father) and a concussion against Dallas reduced Lucas to a role player for the second-half of the season. Despite playing all 16 games, in some form or fashion, Lucas had career-lows in tackles (34), passes defensed (2) and had just one interception.

#34 – Roy Lewis
Age: 24
Signed through: 2010
2010 salary: $395,000
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $395,000

The former University of Washington cornerback was signed to the Seahawks’ practice squad after being waived by the Pittsburgh Steelers at the end of training camp. Lewis was signed to the Seahawks’ 53-man roster in Week 9, and he’d appear in 8 games, making three tackles on special teams.

#36 – Lawyer Milloy
Age: 36
Signed through: Unrestricted Free Agent

Signed off the street at the beginning of September, the 35-year old was active for all 16 games, making 34 total tackles (29 on defense, 5 on special teams), while seeing the bulk of his playing time as a safety in dime packages in the second half of the season.

#41 – DeAngelo Willingham
Age: 23
Signed through: 2011
2010 salary: $320,000
2010 cap number (approx., if applicable): $320,000

Willingham was signed to the Seahawks’ practice squad in Week 9, where he spent the last half of the 2009 season. He signed two-year “Reserve/Futures” contract in January. The 6-0, 200-pound corner from Tennessee was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after going undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft. He made 8 tackles during three pre-season games for the Buccaneers before being waived and claimed by the Dallas Cowboys. He made one tackle for the Cowboys in the pre-season finale before being waived. Willingham spent the first three weeks of the regular season on the New England Patriots practice squad.

2010 Outlook

Trufant earned that 6-year, $50.2 million dollar contract, which included $20 million in guarantees, by having outstanding seasons in 2006 and 2007. In the two years since, however, his play has really dipped. Now he’s got a back injury that was clearly hampering throughout the ’09 season, and he’ll turn 30 by the end of next season.

30 is not the kiss of death age for cornerbacks the way it is for running backs, but Trufant is headed into the part of his contract where his base salaries are among the highest at his position. Only six cornerbacks are scheduled to make more in terms of base salary than Trufant is in 2010, and while they’re older or the same age as Trufant, all but one made the Pro Bowl last season.

Player

Team

Age

2010 Salary

Champ Bailey

Denver

31

$9,500,000

Terence Newman

Dallas

31

$9,000,000

Asante Samuel

Philadelphia

29

$8,895,000

Charles Woodson

Green Bay

33

$6,500,000

Antoine Winfield*

Minnesota

32

$6,500,000

Nate Clements

San Francisco

30

$6,000,000

Marcus Trufant

Seattle

29

$5,700,000

*-Withdrew from Pro Bowl with injury

Trufant is also due a $3 million dollar roster bonus in March, so his overall compensation for 2010 is actually $8.8M when you include the annual $100,000 workout bonus he’s to receive. If Trufant doesn’t have a bounce-back season in 2010, it’s hard to imagine this front office keeping Trufant and the nearly $22 million dollars he’s owed in the final three years of his contract.

Wilson continues to be, pound-for-pound, the toughest defensive back on the ‘Hawks roster. He’s shown a knack for blitzing from the slot, is a willing participant in run support, and is a legitimate play-maker with the ball in his hands. He may be small in stature, but he could develop into an Antoine Winfield-type of corner since he plays a lot bigger than his 5-9, 190-pound frame.

Jennings, on the other hand, has been a disappointment. He played better in 2009 than he did in 2008, but for the amount of playing time he’s received (0 games missed, 30 career starts), to have just one interception in four seasons is nothing short of remarkable when video evidence shows it’s not due to a lack of balls thrown his way. If Jerry Gray can’t mold him into a legitimate cornerback, Jennings may have already played his last game with the Seahawks.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider likes cornerbacks with size and length, two things the current Seahawks cornerbacks are in short supply of. At 6-0 and 200 pounds, Willingham is the best corner on the team, and he’s never dressed for a regular season NFL game.

As tempting as Florida cornerback Joe Haden is, the Seahawks have more pressing needs (offensive line), and as always, a good pass-rush will mask deficiencies in the secondary. Eventually, Schneider will address this issue, perhaps with the 40th pick. The argument could be made that safety, which was largely ignored in the draft during the Tim Ruskell regime, is a higher priority than cornerback.

Depending on how the first five picks shake out, Tennessee safety Eric Berry, the highest-rated safety in the ’10 Draft Class, may be available with the sixth pick. Several mock drafts have the Seahawks using the 14th pick on USC safety and Seattle native Taylor Mays. While Seattle certainly could use a safety, and Mays is a physical specimen, much of the “Mays to Seattle” chatter can be attributed to the false assumptions made by mock drafters that Pete Carroll will view Mays as being some sort of a red and gold binkie he can’t coach without, and that Schneider and Carroll will allow nativism to be a key factor as they build the Seahawks draft board.

That’s the kind of thinking that leads an NFL team to sign a 35-year old local product who attended the local big-time university and previously played for the first-year head coach, who then devises schemes to get the 35-year old more playing time in the second half of a season that had already begun to spiral down the drain, even though it means usurping playing time away from two of the team’s highest-paid players, one of whom was the 4th overall pick of that year’s NFL Draft and could have used that playing time to develop as a pass-rusher. 

Only difference is Mays is raw, while the other guy had a fork sticking out of his back.

Towards the end of last season, Babineaux was back playing closer to the line of scrimmage on passing downs. His move to safety wasn’t a total flop, and it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t better than the alternative, he just didn’t play well enough to make drafting a safety less of a priority.

Grant is entering the fourth year of a six-year free agent contract which, like Trufant’s deal, is when the money and the player’s age make teams question whether or not the return is worth the investment. Grant turns 31 next month, and his base salary doubles from $2M to $4M in 2010, which will make him one of the highly-paid safeties in the NFL. He hasn’t played at a Pro Bowl level, and there were times late last season, particularly on Ryan Grant’s 56-yard touchdown run in the Green Bay game, where he barely played at an NFL level.

That said, Grant was playing with a wrist injury that required surgery after the season, and he had an outstanding performance in the regular season finale against Tennessee, with a team-high 10 tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery in the 17-13 loss.

Seattle will be hard-pressed to find a replacement in free agency, and with no young guy on the roster ready to take his place—Ruskell took care of that—$4M for Grant in 2010 may be the team’s best option, considering he could be paired with a rookie next season, and Grant's experience would be beneficial for the back end of the secondary.


In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you’d like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.


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