The Seahawks have re-signed Neiko Thorpe, a backup cornerback and special-teams standout for Seattle last season who will have a chance to compete for a starting job in 2017. The Seahawks announced Thorpe’s signing on Tuesday without specifying the length or value, though it’s presumably a short-term deal.
It followed the one-year deal the team announced for running back Eddie Lacy, which made the sixth day of free agency a big one for Seattle.
Thorpe, 27, joined the Seahawks early last season after he was released by Oakland and appeared in 15 games with the Seahawks. His 258 special-teams snaps were sixth-most on the team. Of his 97 defensive snaps, most came in Weeks 11 and 12 while starter DeShawn Shead was out with a hamstring injury.
He becomes the first of Seattle’s 14 unrestricted free agents to re-sign, and he may end up being an important one given the Seahawks’ situation at cornerback. With Shead likely unavailable for the start of 2017 as he recovers from reconstructive knee surgery, Thorpe is one of Seattle’s in-house options to start opposite Richard Sherman. Perrish Cox and DeAndre Elliott are two others. Seattle can also find a potential starter in the draft, which is considered especially deep at cornerback.
Also on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported that the Seahawks will get a free-agent visit this week from former Buccaneers starting safety Bradley McDougald as they try to add depth at that position.
McDougald, 26, has started 36 games over his four seasons, including all 16 last year with Tampa Bay. He made the game-sealing interception in the Buccaneers’ win over Seattle in November. He’s listed at 6 feet 1 and 209 pounds.
Seattle’s backup safeties last season – Kelcie McCray, Steven Terrell and Jeron Johnson – are all unrestricted free agents while another, rookie Tyvis Powell, was claimed by Cleveland after being waived.
The Seahawks could find a cheaper backup in the draft, which is also considered particularly strong at safety, and that would be the more financially sensible option given the money Seattle has already spent on Lacy and offensive lineman Luke Joeckel. But the Seahawks may prefer a veteran with starting experience in that spot after having to turn to Terrell last season when Earl Thomas broke his leg in December.
Seattle was previously linked to former Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox, who signed with Tampa Bay.