Will cornerback Jeremy Lane remain with the Seattle Seahawks, or head elsewhere in free agency?
While the Seattle Seahawks have managed to keep the core of their defense intact, they have lost a number of role players over the past few offseasons. That could continue in 2016, as cornerback Jeremy Lane is set to hit free agency.
Notable Stat: 2 career interceptions
All-Pro teams: 0
Pro Bowls: 0
Lane’s situation is a little difficult to compare to others across the NFL. While Lane didn’t get much of a chance to start and was primarily a rotation piece or nickel corner in Seattle, he succeeded in that role and has the upside to be a starter for a number of teams.
The question is will some team be willing to gamble on that upside and give Lane an expensive multi-year deal. Byron Maxwell followed a somewhat similar path (although he got the chance to start for half a season) and turned that into a massive contract last offseason with the Philadelphia Eagles, which looks like a poor decision for the team in hindsight.
Lane isn’t going to get close to Maxwell numbers yet, and injuries are huge reason why. Many will remember Lane’s horrific torn ACL and broken arm following an interception in Super Bowl XLIX, and Lane has only played in 13 games over the past two years. As Lane is very young, some team might be willing to give a moderate multi-year deal, but he will more likely receive a one-year contract to show both that he’s a starting caliber corner and that he’s recovered from injury.
Estimate: 3 year/$15 million/$8 million guaranteed
Will he stay?
While the Seahawks have a few contract situations to deal with this offseason, they could choose to prioritize a short deal for Lane over others. The Seahawks need Lane next season due to lack of depth in the secondary, and clearly like the skill set he brings to the team.
What Lane’s role would be in a potential return to Seattle depends on what the team does over the rest of the offseason. There’s a chance Lane could rise up to be the CB No. 2 opposite Richard Sherman, as their corner depth chart has been depleted by departures over the past couple of years and the Cary Williams signing failed miserably.
If some team is willing to do an expensive multi-year deal for Lane, the Seahawks will likely not be able to match. However, a short deal makes perfect sense for both sides. The team needs the depth at cornerback, and a full 16 games as the No. 2 or 3 corner on Seattle’s depth chart could mean a big pay day for Lane.
If he leaves…
Given the price of top corners in free agency, a couple of teams may be willing to give Lane a multi-year deal and gamble on his upside. Quite a few Seahawks have joined former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the team has a clear need at cornerback. Jacksonville has all kinds of cap space, so they could outspend other teams if Lane indeed gets a multi-year deal.
Another possibility with a need at cornerback is the New Orleans Saints. The cap situation is a mess in New Orleans, so the Saints may have to target players like Lane rather than the big-name cornerbacks in free agency.