Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks announce signings of cornerback Jamar Taylor, plus a converted fullback and a guard

The Seahawks continue to fill needs on defense. Hours after agreeing to sign veteran pass rusher Ziggy Ansah, Seattle reached a contract agreement with free-agent defensive back Jamar Taylor. Taylor, here with the Arizona Cardinals last spring, appears to be a potential replacement for Seahawks departed nickel defensive back Justin Coleman.
The Seahawks continue to fill needs on defense. Hours after agreeing to sign veteran pass rusher Ziggy Ansah, Seattle reached a contract agreement with free-agent defensive back Jamar Taylor. Taylor, here with the Arizona Cardinals last spring, appears to be a potential replacement for Seahawks departed nickel defensive back Justin Coleman.

This third wave of NFL free agency has so far netted the Seahawks three veterans.

The fourth, and biggest catch, is on its way in.

The team announced Thursday it signed defensive back Jamar Taylor to the contract that became known earlier in the day.

Seattle also announced the signings of fullback Nick Bellore, a converted former linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, and 330-pound guard Marcus Martin.

The Seahawks’ one-year deal worth up to $13 million for one-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Ziggy Ansah was not yet official as of Thursday afternoon.

The contract for Ansah to replace Frank Clark, Seattle’s top pass rusher the team traded to Kansas City last month to end a contract impasse, has a “base value” of $9 million. That’s what NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday.

That is likely a combination of guaranteed salary and signing bonus. Thus $9 million likely is Seattle’s salary-cap charge for Ansah this year.

Ansah, Taylor and all other Seahawks signings after May 7 do not count against the team’s expected haul of the maximum four compensatory draft choices next year, for a net loss of unrestricted free agents this offseason before that date. That’s what makes this week the start of what Seattle general manager John Schneider has called a third phase of free agency, which began in March.

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 these other later free agents.

The Seahawks met with Taylor in early April weeks after Justin Coleman, their nickel back the last two seasons, signed as an unrestricted 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.

Bellore turns 30 on Sunday. He entered the league as an undrafted linebacker with the New York Jets from 2011 through ‘14. San Francisco signed him before the 2015 season. A year later he started a career-high 10 games at inside linebacker for the 49ers. An elbow injury ended his 2016 season early.

Detroit signed him in the spring of 2017, then converted him to blocking fullback.

The Seahawks did not have a true fullback on their roster until signing Bellore Thursday. Seattle led the NFL in rushing offense in 2018.

Martin, 25, was a third-round draft pick by San Francisco in 2014. He started eight games for the 49ers as a rookie, at center. He started 14 games for them in 2015, playing center and right guard. The following season he played center and left tackle for San Francisco. Martin has not played in an NFL game since he started for the 49ers on Dec. 18, 2016, at Atlanta.

He was with Cleveland in 2017 and Dallas last season. He was on injured reserve with the Cowboys.

The Seahawks list him as a guard, and at 330 pounds he is the big type line coach Mike Solari prefers. Seattle has veterans D.J. Fluker and recently signed free agent Mike Iupati as starting guards. Each has a history of injuries. The Seahawks drafted guard Phil Haynes from Wake Forest two weeks ago.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.


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