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‘Hawk Talk’ highlights: Cornerback questions

Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. (AP)

By Brady Henderson

The Seahawks already had arguably the NFL’s best cornerback duo in Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman before they added free agent Antoine Winfield, a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

Add a finally-healthy Walter Thurmond and promising recent draft picks Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say Seattle has an embarrassment of riches at the position.

Danny O’Neil addressed the questions regarding Seattle’s cornerback situation and others in the latest edition of “Hawk Talk”. The full transcript can be found here. Highlights are below.

Isaac asked which reserve cornerback could be the odd-man out. The dude later asked whether Maxwell or Lane has the better chance at making the team.

Danny O’Neil. Well, I think the team will keep six corners. Browner, Sherman and Winfield would be deemed locks, and I would consider Thurmond not at risk of being cut. Lane, also hard for me not to see him on the team. That leaves Maxwell, Simon and Will Blackmon playing for a spot. Maxwell has a real hard time staying healthy, but he has been doing hot yoga, which is supposed to get him loose and stop the recurring hamstring strains. I really like Lane, though. Thought he was a special-teams demon and promising nickel corner. Lots of scrap in him.

Sean asked about the likelihood of Seattle retaining Browner, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Danny O’Neil. My inclination is to say that with the number of other priorities – and Sherman and safety Earl Thomas both in what amount to contract years – that Seattle won’t be able to keep him. On the other hand, I look at the absolutely brutal free-agent market for cornerbacks this offseason and it might be a situation where Browner ends up cheaper than anyone expected.

Chawks asked if Simon’s foot injury or receiver Percy Harvin’s sore hip flexor are concerns.

Danny O’Neil. Wouldn’t worry for a second about Harvin’s hip flexor. Now Simon, that’s a question. Pete Carroll said he’s suffered from that soreness through last season, and tests showed the injury could become a stress fracture. That secondary is deep, and Simon is going to be playing catch-up in the race to earn playing time.

Happyharms asked whether there’s room on the roster for Doug Baldwin given the addition of fellow slot receiver Harvin. DiJoo later asked how Baldwin has looked this offseason.

Danny O’Neil. Yes, I definitely think there’s room for Baldwin. In fact, I would be surprised if he’s not on the roster. Who else is going to fill that role at slot? I mean, there are some young players like Justin Veltung and Bryan Walters have a shot at slot, but that’s a long way to go to beating out a guy who’s entering his third year in this offense. I remarked to Brock when we were watching practice the other day that Baldwin looked much better.

TaterTots asked for the likelihood that wide receiver Sidney Rice is released or asked to take a significant paycut after this season.

Danny O’Neil. That depends entirely on how he plays this season. Looking at Seattle’s payroll structure and the large raise that Harvin receives in terms of cap-cost next season, it seems unlikely that Rice would stay on his current deal. But what if Rice has 1,500 yards receiving and 12 touchdown catches, you still going to cut him?

John asked whether the Seahawks will keep Paul McQuistan at his $3 million salary if he doesn’t emerge as a starter at guard.

Danny O’Neil. Well, that’s a question, but here’s another one: Who’s your backup tackle? McQuistan is the most versatile in the lineup.

Robert asked about the depth on the offensive line.

Danny O’Neil. There’s a real question at backup tackle, something highlighted by the fact that rookie seventh-round pick Michael Bowie got first-team reps when Breno Giacomini was getting his knee looked at in New York. Frank Omiyale, last year’s backup tackle, has not been re-signed. McQuistan has the versatility to play there, but that’s not ideal. Bowie and Michael Person right now are the backups.

Isaac asked whether Robert Turbin or Chrisine Michael will be the No. 2 running back behind Marshawn Lynch.

Danny O’Neil. That question is not going to matter as much in previous years. You’re going to see both Turbin and Michael get carries. Bigger question: Is Turbin going to be the third-down back? I might expect that.