The Seahawks now have a free agent in the “keep,” instead of loss, column.
Homegrown cornerback Jeremy Lane is staying in Seattle with a new contract the team announced Wednesday night. It is a four-year deal, according to the league-owned NFL Network.
The deal to keep Lane was expected. And it came after the first four hours of the league’s official free-agency period Wednesday included the confirmed departures of starters Bruce Irvin, J.R. Sweezy and Brandon Mebane from Seattle to riches elsewhere.
It’s return means the entire secondary from the end of last season is under contract -- or, in the case of Marcus Burley and DeShawn Shead, have been tendered as an exclusive-right free agent. If Burley and Shead do not their tenders as expected, they can’t play for anyone in 2016. So they will sign.
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And, yes, continuity matters. Especially for Seattle’s DBs.
The Seahawks learned the hard way last season that replacing a departed free-agent cornerback (Byron Maxwell) by signing another free agent (Cary Williams) risks a bad fit with the specific requirements of their vaunted defensive secondary. In that regard the 25-year-old Lane is the anti-Williams. Seattle’s sixth-round draft choice from 2012 knows the team’s step-kick technique better than Williams ever could grasp before Seattle cut its starter in September and October in the middle of last season.
Lane’s ability to start at corner and slide inside to nickel as the fifth DB on passing downs is valuable more to Seattle than any other team. The Seahawks also benefited financially by the lone positive to Lane breaking his arm and tearing knee ligaments in Super Bowl 49 in February 2015 and missing the first half of last season recovering: the market for him was lower than it would have been had he played an entire season.
For now, Lane’s return means he is the likely starting right cornerback opposite Pro Bowl veteran Richard Sherman. And the Seahawks won’t have to hold their breath and cover their eyes trying to teach someone else their ways inside the “Legion of Boom.”