Heaps: Why Seahawks won’t have any outside additions in the secondary
Mar 3, 2022, 8:50 AM
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
When looking at the positions the Seahawks need to address this offseason, the top three that typically come up are offensive line, defensive end and cornerback.
But former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps doesn’t think the Seahawks need to bring in any new faces at cornerback, or in the secondary in general this offseason.
“I don’t think there’s gonna be any outside additions in the secondary at all,” Heaps said on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy on Wednesday.
Currently, the Seahawks will be returning starting strong safety Jamal Adams, but the rest of the starting four defensive backs are, at least currently, a little unclear.
Pro Bowl free safety Quandre Diggs is a free agent, as is D.J. Reed, who has served as the team’s No. 1 corner since midway through 2020. Additionally, Sidney Jones, a former UW standout, is a pending free agent after starting 11 games for the Seahawks in 2021. Plus, rookie Tre Brown, who started over Jones opposite Reed, played in just five games last year and is coming off major knee surgery.
Despite those three key members of the secondary set to hit free agency and another coming off knee surgery, Heaps doesn’t see the Seahawks spending valuable resources on new faces in the secondary this offseason, nor does he think they need to.
“The priority from a secondary perspective is to bring the band back together,” he said.
Heaps provided some quick insight into why the Seahawks will want to re-sign Diggs, Reed and Jones, as well as why Brown is an exciting player entering his second NFL season.
FS Quandre Diggs
Diggs is extremely valuable on the field and is a top playmaker at safety, but he’s also valuable as a teammate, Heaps said.
“One of the strongest leaders in the building. He is a guy that connects everybody,” Heaps said. “He’s just got that personality from all corners of the locker room. He’s a connector and brings people together.”
Heaps also called Diggs “the best defender on the team” in 2021, and said he’s the one player on Seattle’s defense that has “consistent turnover ability.”
“He’s a great all-around player with no genuine weakness to his game,” Heaps said. “Quandre Diggs has to be back.”
CB D.J. Reed
Reed came to the Seahawks ahead of the 2020 season after spending his first two NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
After initially starting his Seattle tenure as a nickel corner, Reed moved to the outside due in large part to injuries and he thrived and stuck, quickly becoming the Seahawks’ go-to cornerback.
That play continued in 2021, but it took a little bit for Reed to shine as he started the year on the opposite side of the field than he’s accustomed to before eventually switching back.
“As soon as he switched back to his normal spot as the right cornerback after the the Minnesota Vikings game, he was amongst the best-graded corners in the entire league,” Heaps said. “… D.J. Reed was among some of the best corners in the league in terms of his overall grade. They’ve got to get him back. He is a priority.”
CB Sidney Jones
The Seahawks acquired Jones from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a sixth-round pick shortly before the start of the 2021 season, and he ended up contributing a good deal, starting 11 games at outside cornerback and appearing in 16 of 17 contests.
Heaps said there were some mistakes made early on by Jones, including some mishaps in coverage, but the former second-round pick played very well towards the end of the season.
“If you’re the Seattle Seahawks, you feel really good about what you saw from Sidney Jones as he settled down over the last six games,” he said. ” … In the last six games, he settled down. He only allowed a 58.3 completion percent rate as we’ve talked about before (with) no touchdowns given up in coverage. And his 71.2 passer rating when targeting him was fourth-best amongst corners in that time span of the last six games according to Pro Football Focus.”
CB Tre Brown
Brown was the Seahawks’ fourth-round pick in 2021 and started the year on injured reserve with a knee sprain. He joined the roster midway through the season and quickly became a key part of Seattle’s defense.
Unfortunately, Brown’s season ended after five games (three starts) as he tore his meniscus in coverage in Week 11.
While it was a small sample size, Heaps is very excited to see Brown back for his second NFL season.
“He showed a ton of promise in the starts that he had,” Heaps said. “(He played) 232 snaps and he only gave up seven receptions on 16 targets. So that’s that’s a 43% completion rate (with) only 44 yards given up, zero touchdowns and a 51 opposing passer rating according to Pro Football Focus. Tre Brown gives you a lot to be optimistic about and everyone in that building is very optimistic about Tre Brown.”
Listen to the second hour of Wednesday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.