Seattle played the highest percentage of base defense last year by a large margin. Coach Carroll has stated he wishes to get back to the nickel formation. The Seahawks should target a premier slot corner and sign Darqueze Dennard.
With the unfortunate news of Quinton Dunbar’s alleged armed robbery. He will likely be cut from the roster. Fortunately, none of his contract is guaranteed. The Seahawks will recoup all $3.4 million and can use that to target another corner. With the majority of free agents already signed, Seattle should target the best bargain cornerback left on the board and sign slot corner Darqueze Dennard.
Darqueze Dennard played a shortened season last year due to injury, playing in just 9 games. However, when he was on the field, he was phenomenal. He allowed a completion percentage of just 48.6%. In 235 snaps played from the slot he was only targeted 26 times. He allowed a lowly 68.4 QB rating on those targets which ranked first amongst slot corners. He also has 5 passes defended on 35 total targets.
Over the last 3 seasons, he has ranked in the top 30 amongst all cornerbacks, according to PFF. Dennard is not a big-play kind of player. He has only 3 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions, 5 tackles for a loss in his 6-year career. It simply is not his style. He makes his money by completely shutting the opposing player down. He is one of the premier coverage guys in the league.
His contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2019:
- Terms: 1 year, $4.5 million
- Avg Salary: $4.5 million
- Guaranteed: $2.5 million
With Quinton Dunbar likely to be released, Seattle would recoup his entire contract value ($3.41 million). If they signed Dennard, It would likely cost a very similar amount to what Dunbar was going to get. With Dennard coming off an injury he will likely need to sign slightly under what he signed for last year. The Seahawks have the allure of a winning culture and perennially playing for a championship.
- Terms: $2 year, $6.8 million
- Avg Salary: $3.4 million
- Guaranteed: $3 million
- Cap hits by year:
- 2020: $2.3 million
- 2021: $4.5 million
This contract would actually save Seattle roughly $1.1 million in cap space in 2020 while having a small balloon on his cap hit in 2021. This contract is roughly what Seattle was offering Justin Coleman before he exploded in 2018 and later signed with the Lions on a deal worth $9 million per year.
While this signing won’t have a high upside, it will bring a high floor player into the fold to help the secondary, without breaking the bank. Dennard is 28 and should have a couple of good years left. This would be significantly less expensive than going for a player such as Logan Ryan. Although Ryan’s big-play ability is undoubtedly appealing to Seattle. Dennard will likely cost half of what Ryan is likely to get.