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Extra incentive for the Seahawks to trade back?

By Brady Henderson

Here’s one thing we know about the Seahawks’ otherwise unpredictable approach to the draft: there’s a good chance they trade back at some point.

General manager John Schneider has never hid the fact that he likes to move down the draft order to acquire extra picks, and this year he and coach Pete Carroll may have even more incentive to do so.

The Seahawks don’t own a third- nor a seventh-round selection, having traded them to Minnesota in the Percy Harvin deal last year and Oakland last month for Terrelle Pryor, respectively. They have an extra fifth-round pick – which they acquired from Oakland last year in the Matt Flynn trade – but no compensatory selections. That leaves Seattle with only six picks in all, which is almost four fewer than the average the Seahawks have taken over the past four drafts.

The Seahawks enter the draft with only six picks, having traded their third- and seventh-round selections.

Round 1: 32 overall
Round 2: 64 overall
• Round 3: No pick (Percy Harvin trade)
Round 4: 132 overall
Round 5: 146 overall (Matt Flynn trade)
Round 5: 172 overall
Round 6: 208 overall
• Round 7: No pick (Terrelle Pryor trade)

Schneider was asked last week if that makes him more inclined to trade back this year.

“I just like it in general,” he told reporters. “Is that OK to say? I’m not giving anything away, am I?”

Hardly. The Seahawks have traded back at least once in each draft since 2010, moving up only one time in that stretch. And they’ve done it early, trading either down in the second round or out of it entirely all four years and moving back in the first round in 2012.

Which brings us to another factor that could present Seattle a chance to trade down, which is the appeal of the fifth-year option that comes with first-round picks.

Imagine this scenario: a quarterback – say, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater – slides down the first round and is still available when it comes time for Seattle to make the 32nd overall pick. Might a quarterback-needy team that likes Bridgewater be enticed to move into the first round, ensuring it gets its man and the fifth-year option on his rookie contract?

Those can be major economic assets for teams, especially with quarterbacks drafted between picks 11 and 32. The only quarterback drafted in that range in 2011 (Minnesota’s Christian Ponder) would have been scheduled to make just under $9.7 million in 2015 had his option been exercised. That would be a bargain for someone who has established himself as a franchise quarterback after his third season, giving the team an extra year of control at a reasonable rate before his rookie contract expires and the hefty bill comes due.

710 ESPN Seattle’s Liz Mathews contributed to this report.