Should the Seahawks try to make a run at Minkah Fitzpatrick, the defensive back who wants out of Miami?
First, we’ll repeat what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last Monday when asked about the team making a run at Antonio Brown.
When asked about the reports that the Seahawks had shown interest in at least trying to get involved in the Brown sweepstakes — which ended about as quickly as they began — Carroll said yes.
“We’re involved in everything,’’ Carroll said. “We’ve been telling you that for a long time. We seriously mean we’re trying to know what’s going on with every opportunity to get better, and if we miss one of those we messed up.’’
So, take heart that the Seahawks are unlikely to “mess up’’ and “miss one’’ and will at least take a look-see whether they can make a deal for Fitzpatrick, a first-round pick of the Dolphins a year ago out of Alabama, who has asked to be traded. Miami said they are willing to try to fulfill his request, within reason.
But this one isn’t as clean and easy as Brown — who was a free agent and could just be signed by whatever team he wanted to sign with.
And it’s not really on par with Jadeveon Clowney’s situation. Clowney was an unsigned franchise tagged player who, because he hadn’t signed, basically had veto power, which severely limited the teams that were realistic options. It also meant the Texans had some urgency to get a deal done and get something for a player who was holding out.
Fitzpatrick is in the second season of a four-year rookie contract that pays him just $1 million, $1.9 million and $2.7 million over the next three seasons. The contract also includes a fifth-year option.
That low price tag will make Fitzpatrick a heavily valued commodity by a lot of teams — the Cowboys and Eagles were among two reported as being interested — and make this more of a battle of who makes the best offer.
There’s also the question of where Fitzpatrick plays.
Reports said that one of the reasons Fitzpatrick wants out is that the Dolphins have been using him everywhere in the secondary, and even some at linebacker, having tried him at six different positions. Fitzpatrick wants to play just one or two spots.
Some around the NFL have said his best position may be as a slot corner.
A first-round pick, which it is said Miami wants, might be a lot to give for a nickel corner. Miami can hang on to Fitzpatrick for as long as it wants as the Dolphins aren’t playing for anything this year.
The Seahawks might consider Fitzpatrick as a safety, which raises its own questions — at which spot, and alongside who?
We got a peek at an answer on Twitter on Friday when Jim Nagy, a former Seahawks scout who is now the executive director of the Senior Bowl, said his view is that the Seahawks would view Fitzpatrick as a free safety and that he could play alongside rookie Marquise Blair, a second-round pick in 2019, at strong safety.
That likely wouldn’t happen this year with Bradley McDougald in the fold and being paid $2.9 million to start at one safety spot. Tedric Thompson and Lano Hill are also on the roster along with rookies Blair and Ugo Amadi.
But, the Seahawks could easily move on from McDougald after this season when he has a cap hit of $5.4 million with a dead cap number of just $1.3 million. And they could add Fitzpatrick for this year and throw him into the mix and see what happens.
While most Seahawks fans seem ready to move on from Thompson after his struggles in the opener against the Bengals, the Seahawks may have more patience. They particularly do with Hill, a third-round pick in 2017 who the team was impressed with in two starts in 2018.
Hill appears set to get the start Sunday at Pittsburgh alongside McDougald with Thompson nursing a hamstring injury.
If Hill plays well, the Seahawks may go with Hill/McDougald at strong and free safety going forward, giving Blair some time to get more acclimated to the system, and more time practicing after he missed substantial portions of the offseason program and training camp.
But Fitzpatrick is an intriguing talent. His versatility was considered one of his greatest traits coming out of Alabama. But it appears to be the undoing of his time in Miami.
The Seahawks invested a lot in Blair, and has a pretty sure thing in McDougald signed through 2020 — and even what it has invested in Hill in terms of a third-round pick is enough that the Seahawks are going to want to take some time to see what they have.
Which leads to the thought that the Seahawks will undoubtedly make a call or two — and with an extra second-round pick next year, they have some ammo to throw Miami’s way.
How much the Seahawks may be willing to give may well depend on what it sees out of its safeties over the next week or two — assuming Fitzpatrick remains available that long.