Seahawks

Why the potential of Seattle Seahawks secondary is both a blessing and a curse

Seahawks

Let’s put this as clearly as possible: The Seahawks secondary has Legion of Boom-level upside. That take is strictly based on potential, not where the group is currently. But there’s no denying that ceiling.

Jamal Adams is already a reigning All-Pro and is still just 24 years old.

Quandre Diggs was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2019 despite playing just 10 games. It took him just five contests with the Seahawks to rack up three interceptions.

Shaquill Griffin is coming off of his first Pro Bowl campaign and could develop into one of the league's elite players at that position.

The combination of Quinton Dunbar and Tre Flowers is capable of being on par with Byron Maxwell and Brandon Browner.

Marquise Blair, based off the praise he’s been receiving from teammates and coaches, could end up being one of the NFL’s most versatile and productive nickel corners.

Games, of course, aren’t won on paper, but that sure is an impressive list of names. It’s also a cheap list of names as the Seahawks will get to enjoy their standout secondary on a major discount in 2020. The six players mentioned above will cost Seattle a mere $16.7 million combined.

But it’s only a one-year discount. The Seahawks secondary will get as expensive as it is talented next year.

Let’s start with Jamal Adams, who is in the fourth year of his rookie deal, and there’s zero chance he plays the 2021 season under his fifth-year option. He holds all the cards in the upcoming negotiations with Seattle’s front office after the Seahawks paid a mint to get him via trade with the Jets.

 

There’s precedence for such deals. Houston traded two first-round picks for left tackle Laremy Tunsil and the Rams acquired Jalen Ramsey for a pair of first-rounders. In all three instances, Adams included, a new contract wasn’t worked out before finalizing the trade.

Tunsil ended up cashing in and making $22 million a year. That’s $4 million more annually than the next closest contract for an offensive lineman (Lane Johnson - $18 million). Ramsey just signed a new contract this week worth $20 million annually, $2.5 million more per year than Tre’Davious White signed for recently.

Currently the highest safety contract is Budda Baker at $14.75 per year. If we use the same $2-4 million escalator logic in Adams’ case, then the Seahawks are going to have to ante up $17-20 annually in order to get Adams to sign the dotted line.

Shaquill Griffin, assuming he makes another Pro Bowl this season, should be in the $14-16 million range along with names like Byron Jones, Xavien Howard and James Bradberry. However, if he ends up being an All-Pro, he could wind up being the highest paid corner outside of Ramsey.

Don’t forget about Dunbar, either. He’s also in a contract year, and if ends up having a Pro Bowl season (and continues to be free of any legal trouble), he’ll also be expensive to re-sign. It’s safe to conservatively put Dunbar in the $10-12 million range if he is productive and stays healthy. That’s the going rate for an above average corner.

This is likely part of the reason why Seattle didn’t go for broke with their cap space this season. The Seahawks will need to roll over as much as possible to pay everyone next offseason. They’ll get some relief with K.J. Wright’s contract expiring and Duane Brown almost assuredly being released as a cap casualty a la Justin Britt. But the point remains.

So while the Seahawks obviously hope that they do indeed prove to have the league’s best secondary, it’ll get more expensive with every interception, every pick-six and every individual accolade that is sure to come at the end of the season.