The Seahawks on Tuesday re-signed cornerback Neiko Thorpe, a key reserve and special teams standout in 2016.

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The Seahawks have re-signed cornerback and key special teams player Neiko Thorpe, the team announced Tuesday afternoon, a player whose value  grew after an injury to DeShawn Shead in the divisional playoff game against Atlanta.

Shead could be out until midseason or so with an ACL injury and Thorpe figures to be in the competition to replace him as a starter while Shead’s sidelined.

Thorpe played 15 games for Seattle last year after signing following the opener, finishing with 10 tackles on defense and leading the team in special teams tackles with nine. He had 258 special teams snaps, sixth-most on the team.

Thorpe played just 97 snaps on defense last season, but saw substantial action in games against Philadelphia and Tampa Bay when Shead battled a hamstring injury. Thorpe played regularly in the nickel package in those two games, making a combined nine tackles, generally playing the other outside corner with Jeremy Lane moving into the nickel. That’s an alignment the Seahawks could consider again to open the 2017 season, though Seattle appears likely to also add to the cornerback spot through the draft.

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The 6-2, 198-pound Thorpe, who has been in the league since 2012, figures to again contend for a job as an outside corner with Shead out.

Thorpe is the first of the 14 Seattle players who became unrestricted free agents to re-sign with the Seahawks.

Three others have already signed with other teams — PK Steven Hauschka (Buffalo), DE Damontre Moore (Dallas) and linebacker Brock Coyle (San Francisco).