Tharold Simon? Stanley Jean-Baptiste? Questions about Seattle's cornerback depth, and the value of compensatory draft picks, highlight our latest Seahawks mailbag.
Questions about the cornerback position and compensatory draft picks in our latest Seahawks’ mailbag.
Question: TruthisTold2U asked: Odds a Stanley Jean-Baptiste or Tharold Simon can breakout and be that missing CB Seattle needs opposite Richard Sherman?
Answer: I’d put the odds much lower on Simon (or meaning, there’s a better chance he can be that player) than Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste, recall, was signed to Seattle’s practice squad late in the season after being released by two other teams earlier in the season — New Orleans, which drafted him in the second round in 2014, and Detroit.
Both of those teams weren’t looking to easily discard cornerbacks who could have helped, so that should probably temper expectations of what to expect from him now in Seattle. The Seahawks undoubtedly are intrigued by his height — he stands 6-3 — which was maybe the biggest reason the Saints drafted him where they did in 2014.
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And obviously some players can thrive in one place after failing in another. But until he shows otherwise he has to be considered something of a longshot.
Simon, a fifth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2013, showed some promise in five starts in 2014 but has struggled to stay healthy throughout his Seattle career including playing just one game last season due to a toe injury.
As such, 2016 — the final season on his rookie contract — will be a big one for him to show he can get and stay healthy and contribute regularly.
But until he can do that, expectations also have to be somewhat tempered for Simon.
I’d expect Seattle will re-sign exclusive rights free agent DeShawn Shead and recall the Seahawks also still have Tye Smith and Mohammed Seisay under contract
It would also be no surprise if Seattle used one of its draft picks on a cornerback – the Seahawks have drafted a cornerback every year of the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era — and also bring in another free agent or two.
And don’t totally rule out Jeremy Lane. Lane said what almost every UFA says — he’d love to stay in Seattle but will do what’s best for his family. How Lane will be viewed on the open marker is hard to assess, given how little he has played the last few years due to injury. True, Lane has had more experience as a slot corner. But he has made it clear he also sees himself playing on the outside, and he did that plenty this year with the Seahawks. Given how free agency turns out, though, Lane could still be a big factor in that equation, as well.
Q: #@DBHawks19 asked: What do you expect our compensatory picks to be? Who has been cut from other teams that we may not go after because we value comp picks?
A: The first part of that question should be pretty easy to answer. The second part, not so much. As for comp picks, first a refresher in what they are (and yes, this is copy-and-pasted from past explanations). Teams can get up four additional draft picks as compensation for losing unrestricted free agents who sign with other teams (specifically, for losing players whose contracts run out, not those who are released).
The comp picks are divided up based on what is a somewhat secretive formula of how many UFAs it loses versus how many it signs and are officially announced at the NFL League Meetings in March.
There always remains a little intrigue until the comp picks are announced.
But Overthecap.com, which has a good track record in projecting these things, has predicted that Seattle will get a third-round pick for the loss of cornerback Byron Maxwell (who signed with the Eagles), a fifth-rounder for James Carpenter (Jets) and a sixth for Malcolm Smith (Raiders). Teams will be allowed to trade comp picks beginning in 2017, but not this year.
You are right to assert that the Seahawks value comp picks enough that it could dissuade them from signing a free agent (as noted, just as teams get compensation for losing UFAs so, too, can they lose them for signing other UFAs. Seattle is getting a net gain this year since it signed just one UFA who could result in a comp pick for the team that lost him, DT Ahtyba Rubin).
But without being a mind reader it’s pretty impossible to guess a specific player that the Seahawks wouldn’t want solely for that reason. I’m also not sure it would ever be quite THAT clear cut. The right player at the right price would be worth it anyway. But if price becomes an issue, or maybe there are other comparable players who wouldn’t factor into the comp pick equation, then I think it definitely weighs heavily.
But no doubt, comp picks can play into how the Seahawks do things in free agency. In fact, the signing of cornerback Cary Williams last year was likely influenced at least somewhat by comp picks.
Since Williams had been released by the Eagles his signing did not factor in to the comp pick formula.
Certainly, Williams was attractive to Seattle for other reasons, notably the success he had had as a starter with Baltimore’s Super Bowl-winning team in 2012.
But the fact that Seattle didn’t have to worry about his signing possibly costing the Seahawks a comp pick undoubtedly made him Williams seem like even that much ore of a valuable commodity at the time (and also somewhat lessened the blow when the Seahawks decided to release him).