Seahawks could make a play for Pro Bowl CB Darius Slay, but is he what they need?
The Seahawks used a midseason trade with the Detroit Lions to acquire safety Quandre Diggs, who was arguably their top defensive back in 2019. Could they go back to that well this offseason?
The possibility is certainly there with three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, who is entering his final year under contract with the Lions.
While Detroit and Slay are reportedly negotiating on a potential long-term extension, he has also been the subject of trade rumors going back to last summer, and a potential trade of Slay is certainly still in play. It’s a similar case to one Seattle had with Earl Thomas prior to the 2018 season, as the Seahawks had the option of either negotiating an extension, trading him or letting him play out his deal. They took the last option, and Thomas left for Baltimore in free agency the next offseason after suffering a season-ending broken leg.
The 29-year-old Slay played alongside the 27-year-old Diggs for nearly five seasons in Detroit, and that’s something that Seattle could use to its advantage if it decides to pursue Slay. Also to Seattle’s advantage is the state of the Lions, who finished last in the NFC North with a 3-12-1 record and have won just nine games since Matt Patricia took over as head coach in 2018.
The Seahawks also have experience convincing a Pro Bowl-caliber player on the trading block to push for a trade to Seattle, as they did with Jadeveon Clowney prior to the 2019 season.
“I think that (Slay) is a guy that you could probably really make feel welcome here because (of) Quandre Diggs,” 710 ESPN Seattle’s Paul Gallant said on Wednesday’s edition of Danny and Gallant. “And here’s the other thing – if I’m Darius Slay, why would I want to play for the Detroit Lions? Because Matt Patricia is the dummy who decided to trade away Quandre Diggs for basically nothing, for reasons that I honestly cannot understand. How would you feel good about playing for a coach like that who thinks he can win that way?”
Diggs was acquired by the Seahawks for two draft picks – a fifth-round selection this year and a seventh-rounder in 2021 – and he said he was “blindsided” by the deal. Slay would command more in a trade than Diggs did, and he makes considerably more, but on a more short-term basis. Diggs signed a three-year, $18.6 million extension in September 2018 and is set to make $5 million in 2020 and $5.35 million in 2021, according to spotrac.com. Slay will make a base salary of $10 million in 2020 with a salary cap hit of over $13 million, per spotrac.
But would the 6-foot, 190-pound Slay make sense in the Seahawks’ scheme?
“I’m not sure his skillset is the best fit for Seattle’s defense (with) the amount of time that they play Cover 3,” Danny O’Neil said. “Slay excels in man-to-man coverage. He’s really good in that. I’m interested in (the Seahawks) looking at corners. I don’t know if I’m specifically interested in the price Slay (could command) but that’s something to keep an eye on.”
You can hear the full conversation beginning at the 14:05 mark in this podcast of Wednesday’s Danny and Gallant.
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