Should the Seahawks make a run at star Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore?
Out of all of the Seahawks’ position groups, perhaps no unit is being watched as closely as the outside cornerback position.
Seattle lost four-year starter Shaquill Griffin in free agency and it’s unclear who the Seahawks will have starting come Week 1 in Indianapolis.
It seems like D.J. Reed will be one of the two starters as he played exceptionally well down the stretch for Seattle on the perimeter, but the other spot is less clear.
Seattle signed former 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon in free agency as well as Pierre Desir, who spent time with the Seahawks a few seasons ago. The Seahawks also drafted Tre Brown in the fourth round and return Tre Flowers, who was a full-time starter in 2018 and 2019 and started a few games for Seattle in 2020.
But is the team’s other starting cornerback not currently on the roster?
In a recent column looking at potential NFL trades, USA Today’s Nate Davis floated the idea of the Seahawks bolstering the cornerback group by trading for star Patriots cornerback Stephone Gilmore, who has 25 career interceptions and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. Gilmore, 31, has been a name frequently brought up when discussing offseason trades.
What makes a trade for Gilmore appealing aside from his immense talent is that despite being one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks, the two-time first-team All-Pro is entering the last year of his contract and he’s set to make roughly $7 million, which is far less than most of the league’s top cornerbacks make annually.
Considering that the Seahawks are the defending NFC West champions and are clearly in “win-now mode,” former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus thinks Seattle needs to make a run at the talented corner.
“Go get him. I say go get him,” Bumpus told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Friday. “At this point it’s a mad dash for a Super Bowl. If you’ve got a guy who’s a veteran, who’s proven, who’s a Defensive Player of the Year before and you can get him for cheap? You have to at least take a look at this guy.”
Bumpus said he recognizes that the Seahawks have a lot of players in the secondary already, but at the end of the day “it all comes down to talent.”
“In this game, if your personnel is better than the other team’s, your chances of winning go up,” he said. “I say you have to take a look at this dude. It means you’re going to have to sacrifice somebody, but that’s just the business. That’s the NFL for you.”
By trading for Gilmore, the Seahawks would suddenly boast one of the NFL’s best secondaries as he would be playing with Pro Bowl safeties Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs as well as an up-and-comer in Reed. The Seahawks made a splash in the secondary last offseason by trading for Adams, who was a first-team All-Pro in 2019.
“Could you imagine having him out there?” Bumpus said. “… Personnel-wise it looks good. They have to take a look at it.”
Paul Gallant said that despite head coach Pete Carroll’ track record of building up cornerbacks, that unit is still a “giant question mark.” He also said a trade for a player like Gilmore would fit what Seattle has done in recent years.
“It also would be on-brand for some of the things we’ve seen (general manager) John Schneider do over the last couple of years,” Gallant said. “He has not been afraid to send a draft pick over for a veteran player on the last year of a contract.”
The two players Gallant pointed to were defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Carlos Dunlap. The Seahawks sent a third-round pick and two players to Houston for Clowney ahead of 2019 and last year, Seattle traded a backup offensive lineman and a seventh-round pick to Cincinnati for Dunlap ahead of the 2020 trade deadline.
“This is the kind of player that could potentially have the impact that you that maybe Clowney could have,” Gallant said. “If it’s on the table I say definitely you go do it and I think you’d go as high as a second-round pick if you’re talking about next year’s draft. If you can make it happen, make it happen.”
Bumpus believes that the Seahawks’ quarterback situation could also play a role in Seattle making a push for Gilmore.
“It’s a two- or three-year window with Russell Wilson,” Bumpus said. “It might just be a one-year (window) if things don’t go the way he wants them to this year. You have to acquire talent, you have to get depth.”
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