Earl Thomas' holdout led to speculation Seattle might look to sign a veteran free agent at safety.
The Seahawks, as would be expected, said all the right things during minicamp about their confidence in their safety corps, even without the presence of Earl Thomas, who is holding out with no current breakthrough in sight.
But what’s always more meaningful than words is actions, which makes it worth watching if the Seahawks will dip into what is a surprisingly large pool of free agent safeties that remain.
If the Seahawks are rushing to add a veteran to the mix, though, they so far haven’t shown it.
That was illustrated again Monday when it was announced that free agent Ron Parker has signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons.
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Of all the available free agent veteran safeties remaining, Parker seemed maybe the most logical fit if the Seahawks were looking to add depth since he was with the Seahawks off and on from 2011-13, playing in four regular season games before being released prior to the 2013 season (Kam Chancellor in the spring of 2013 called Parker, who originally was a cornerback with the Seahawks, the fastest player on the roster).
Parker then landed in Kansas City where he became a fulltime starter the last four seasons before being released in March in a cost-cutting move that saved nearly $5 million against the salary cap.
He turns 31 in August and is likely signing an inexpensive deal with few guarantees, all of which made him the kind of player that might have made sense for the Seahawks to sign if they felt they wanted to buff up the secondary some.
And, in fact, his familiarity with the system and likely low-cost might have made Parker make more sense than Eric Reid, who is also one of a handful of big-name safety free agents who remain available (a group that also includes Tre Boston, Kenny Vaccaro and Mike Mitchell).
Who knows? Maybe the Seahawks are still assessing things and potentially making a move down the road depending on what happens with Thomas, and if nothing gets done contractually, the kind of vibe they get from him and whether they think he is serious about taking his holdout deep into training camp and potentially the regular season, as Chancellor did in 2015 (the Seahawks, recall, were caught off guard by Chancellor’s holdout, which they didn’t learn of until the week training camp began, and didn’t sign anyone of note to help fill in, relying instead on rookie Dion Bailey to start the first two games before Chancellor returned).
But maybe the Seahawks also are actually okay with what they have at safety, Thomas or no Thomas (and also likely no Chancellor, word on which they may officially get before training camp starts on July 26.)
Without Thomas in minicamp, Seattle’s usual starting safety duo consisted of Bradley McDougald at free safety and Delano Hill at strong.
The Seahawks think McDougald can play well at either free or strong (one reason that theoretically any of the available free agents could be regarded as potential fits regardless of the position they play), so the task — in the absence of Thomas — appears to be finding who is the next-best safety and pairing him with McDougald.
The Seahawks also toyed some with an alignment featuring Tedric Thompson — like Hill, a 2017 draftee who played sparingly as a rookie — at free safety and McDougald at strong.
And an early-to-overlook candidate in the mix is Maurice Alexander, who started 23 games for the Rams in 2015-17, at both strong and free safety but listed by the Seahawks as a strong safety. Alexander signed with the Seahawks in March but did not take part in drills during OTAs and minicamp while still rehabbing from shoulder surgery.
“Mo Alexander is an interesting kid for us to see,’’ Carroll said when minicamp ended. “We haven’t seen anything from him yet on the field so that’ll be one of the guys (to see).’’
The Seahawks also used Mike Tyson — a 2017 draftee who played safety and cornerback in college and has been used at both spots by Seattle — at safety during minicamp and also have Alex Carter — a third-round pick by the Lions in 2015 out of Stanford — on the roster as well as undrafted free agent T.J. Mutcherson, a teammate of Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin at Central Florida.
So there are plenty of pieces. And for now, maybe Seattle thinks there are enough to fill out the puzzle.