Like items off a grocery list, the Seahawks continue to check off needs on defense.
Hours after agreeing on a contract with veteran pass rusher Ziggy Ansah, Seattle agreed to sign veteran defensive back Jamar Taylor, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.
The Seahawks met with Taylor in early April weeks after Justin Coleman, their nickel back the last two seasons, signed as a free agent with Detroit.
Taylor seems destined to join a competition to be Seattle’s fifth defensive back against inside, slot receivers that also is likely to include re-signed, inexperienced Akeem King and rookie Ugo Amadi, the team’s fourth-round draft choice from Oregon. Amadi was the nickel back in rookie minicamp last weekend.
Seattle has played nickel with five defensive backs about two-thirds of the time the last few seasons.
Plus, Seahawks cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin and Tre Flowers have three seasons of NFL starting experienced combined. Taylor has started 41 games over his six seasons in the league.
Taylor, 28, has played for four teams the last four seasons.
Cleveland gave him a three-year contract extension in December 2016 to continue to be its starting cornerback outside. He started all 16 games for the Browns in 2017. That’s the only time he’s started for an entire season in his six-year NFL career.
The Browns traded him to Arizona before the 2018 season for a sixth-round draft choice. The Cardinals liked that he was a dependable tackler with Cleveland and with Miami from 2013 through ‘15. Taylor played in 10 games for Arizona last season and started three before the Cardinals released him in November. Denver signed him and he played four games for the Broncos at the end of last season.
Taylor is 5 feet 11 and 192 pounds. He was a standout at Boise State before the Dolphins selected him in the second round of the 2013 draft.
Unrestricted free agents signed after May 7 do not count against a team’s compensatory draft choices for next year. Ansah, signed after Seattle traded to pass rusher Frank Clark to Kansas City last month following stalled contract negotiations, and Taylor will not affect Seattle keeping the maximum four comp picks it expects to have in 2020 for a net loss of free agents signed by other teams.
The trade of Clark freed $17.1 million of salary-cap space for 2019 the Seahawks had been planning use on Clark with their franchise tag this year. That saved money is what they are using to sign Ansah and Taylor.
The Seahawks still have cap space and need to sign a run-stopping defensive tackle and perhaps another edge rusher in what general manager John Schneider has called this third phase of free agency after May 7. Training camp begins in late July.