The Seattle Seahawks have a new option in their secondary that needed one.
The team announced Wednesday evening its signing of free-agent safety Bradley McDougald from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
NFL Network reported the deal is for one year and $2 million.
“Officially a member of the @Seahawks !! Not only am I honored but excited for this opportunity in my career! #LOB #12,” McDougald posted on his Twitter account.
The Seahawks also announced competition for new kicker Blair Walsh. They signed 2016 undrafted rookie John Lunsford. The 23-year-old from Liberty University kicked in three preseason games last summer for the San Francisco 49ers.
The 26-year-old McDougald has started 31 of a possible 32 games the last two seasons for the Buccaneers. That includes November’s home win for Tampa Bay when he intercepted Seattle’s Russell Wilson on a late, desperation heave.
What is attractive to the Seahawks and their needs is McDougald is versatile and known to be a good tackler. He has played strong safety and, more recently, deeper as a free safety.
He has the size that could tempt the Seahawks to at least consider him some at cornerback. He was a free safety last season. He’s 6-feet tall and 215 pounds, size coach Pete Carroll likes in his Seattle defensive backs, in general.
Seattle has three-time All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas on a long road back from a broken tibia in November, though the team expects him back for the 2017 opener in September.
Strong safety Kam Chancellor is entering the final year of his contract and is scheduled to have a charge of $8,125,008 against Seattle’s 2017 salary cap. General manager John Schneider said when asked by The News Tribune at this month’s NFL combine about Chancellor’s contract situation that the Seahawks will continue to seek to take care of their core players, and that Chancellor is one of those core guys.
The four-time Pro Bowl strong safety turns 29 next month. He has not made it through an entire season without missing games because of injury since 2013.
Kelcie McCray started seven games at strong safety for Chancellor in 2015 and ’16. The Seahawks then let his contract expire after January’s playoff loss at Atlanta, and he remains unsigned.
He and Steven Terrell, who started five games last season when Thomas was out, are unsigned free agents.
The starting right-cornerback job is open opposite Richard Sherman. Last season’s starter there, DeShawn Shead, is recovering from knee reconstruction. Schneider has said the Seahawks don’t expect the recently re-signed Shead back until deep into the season, if then.
McDougald’s is the latest in a series of one-year deals for the Seahawks in this month’s free-agent market, including for offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, running back Eddie Lacy, guard Oday Aboushi, Walsh, Shead and No. 2 tight end Luke Willson. Veteran Perrish Cox also signed for one year and a non-guaranteed $855,000 in January as a possible competitor for the cornerback job opened by Shead’s injury.
Those one-year deals provide Seattle maximum salary-cap flexibility beyond 2017. They provide the possibility of up to four compensatory draft choices for Seattle in future years, if many or any of those recently signed leave the team in free agency 12 months from now.
And all these one-year deals provide those players the Seahawks have signed this month motivation to prove themselves and earn a richer, multi-year contract after next season.
Carroll loves nothing more than cultivating players carrying chips on their shoulders.