Neiko Thorpe's contract shows the Seahawks made him something of a priority in free agency.
The details of the contract for Seahawks cornerback Neiko Thorpe are in and they show at least some level of commitment to a player whose potential value to the team in 2017 may be easy to overlook.
Thorpe, whose signing was announced Tuesday, received a two-year deal that could be worth $3.5 million if all incentives are reached. The deal includes a $600,000 signing bonus — which almost equals the $675,000 he made last season — as well as salaries of $800,000 in 2017 and $1.6 million in 2018. The deal also includes $15,625 per-game roster bonus as well as a Pro Bowl incentive.
Due to DeShawn Shead’s injury, if the season started today, Thorpe could well find himself with a starting spot in Seattle’s nickel defense, a role he had last year in games when Shead was out (with Jeremy Lane shifting from the nickel to the other outside corner when Seattle is in nickel).
It’s unclear when Shead, who suffered ACL and MCL injuries in the divisional playoff loss to Atlanta, will be able to return. Seattle did not tender Shead as a restricted free agent and he is also now taking a trip to Buffalo to explore options as an unrestricted free agent.
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Seattle appears to have gone fairly aggressively to keep Thorpe in the fold after he impressed on special teams and in limited cornerback duty last season after being signed after the first game against Miami.
Experience in the Seattle system has proven important at cornerback, with the Seahawks not having great luck at bringing in outside free agents (notably, Cary Williams). But the first-hand look Seattle got with Thorpe last season obviously helped the team feel comfortable with Thorpe.
Expect Seattle to also explore cornerback options in the draft.
But with Shead’s injury creating uncertainty, it’s obvious Seattle also made Thorpe a priority to assure it would retain as much experience as it could.
For Thorpe, the contract marks a chance to make a real home in Seattle after bouncing around the league his first few years, being cut by Kansas City, Oakland and Indianapolis and also spending the 2013 season in the CFL.