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Clayton: With secondary cleared up, Seahawks can make 1 more signing

Cornerback and special team standout Neiko Thorpe has returned to the Seahawks. (Getty)

Thanks to the Buffalo Bills’ spending of dollar bills in NFL free agency, the Seattle Seahawks cleared up a few things with their secondary over the weekend.

Cornerback Neiko Thorpe and safety Maurice Alexander visited the Bills last week, and the Bills were going to attempt to sign both. According to reports, Alexander agreed to a one-year, $1.375 million contract. Thorpe, meanwhile, agreed to return to the Seahawks on a one-year deal.

Even though the Seahawks tried to keep both, these two deals provided some answers for the roster. Maybe it wasn’t as strong as what happened at linebacker with the re-signings of K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks or on the offensive line with the re-signing of D.J. Fluker and addition of Mike Iupati, but it turned into a productive weekend for the secondary.

First we need to make certain of the number, but if Alexander did get $1.375 million on a one-year deal, the Seahawks can make one more signing in free agency and not lose a compensatory pick in 2020. Minimum salary deals don’t count in the compensatory pool. The loss of Alexander would give the Seahawks a seventh player to leave in unrestricted free agency. They have signed two, and that net loss of five would allow the Seahawks to get four compensatory picks in 2020 and still be able to sign one player without losing any of the picks.

At the moment, the Seahawks qualify for a No. 3, a No. 4, a No. 6 and a No. 7 compensatory pick. If they can sign an unrestricted free agent for $2.5 million a year or less, they can keep all four.

Here is what Seattle can do. If they can talk defensive end Aaron Lynch to take $2.5 million or less, they could add a pass-rusher. If they could sign Auburn native and former UW standout Danny Shelton for $2.5 million or less, they could get a run-stopping defensive tackle. One of those signings could be in play if they can talk to them in deals.

Getting Thorpe back is equally huge. He is a great special teams player and can play in pass coverage on defense if needed. By getting Thorpe to return, the Seahawks will return with 10 of their 13 most active special teams players who aren’t kickers or long-snappers. The three no longer on the roster are fullback Tre Madden, cornerback Justin Coleman and Alexander. Madden hasn’t landed a new deal and could still be retained, though.

The Seahawks think they have three options on the roster to replace Coleman: Akeem King, Kalan Reed and Jeremy Boykins. Thorpe is another possibility.

The Seahawks started free agency with 14 free agents. Frank Clark was franchised. Wright, Kendricks, Fluker and Thorpe have been retained. Dion Jordan and Sebastian Janikowski are the only two left unsigned, and it’s not out of the question the Seahawks could try to sign Jordan back at the minimum salary.

After a quiet week of free agency, things were cleared up on Saturday.

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