At first glance, spending on a free agent cornerback seems odd for the Seahawks, who have two of the league’s best in starters Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. Sherman has quickly put himself in the conversation of who is the best corner in the league, and was a first team All Pro in 2012, and Browner made the Pro Bowl a year earlier in his first NFL season.
But according to Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Seahawks will host free agent Antoine Winfield on a visit next week. Winfield, 35, was a three-time Pro Bowler in Minnesota, but the Vikings released him for salary cap reasons this offseason.
Former #Vikings CB Antoine Winfield is expected to visit the Seahawks early next week, according to a source.
— Sean Jensen (@seankjensen) April 7, 2013
And if the Seahawks are serious about adding Winfield, they’d be doing so not because they need another starter, but because he would give them a very, very good third corner to use in nickel packages. That’s a role Winfield has played more in later in his career, and is likely what he will do in 2013 wherever he ends up (according to reports, Washington is interested, and the Vikings would like to bring Winfield back at a lower price). And as strong as Seattle’s starting secondary might be, the nickel corner role is a question mark. Marcus Trufant played there last year, but he is an unrestricted free agent, and there’s a good chance he won’t be back. There are other options on Seattle’s current roster who could fill that role, but none as proven as Winfield.
The decision the Seahawks will have to make is if spending a pretty good chunk of change on a third corner is worth their while, especially when most of that young secondary will be looking for new contracts in the next two years. The Seahawks still have high hopes for Walter Thurmond, but his injury history makes it hard to assume he’ll be available for an entire season. Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell could also compete for the nickel role, and the Seahawks have shown a knack for finding defensive talent in the later rounds of the draft, so that’s another option, but if Winfield can be had at the right price, it’s something the Seahawks will apparently at least consider.