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ESPN article suggests Seahawks should sign veteran CB in free agency

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By: Mookie Alexander

Kareem Elgazzar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Chidobe Awuzie is a former second-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys.

We’re just about a week out from the start of NFL free agency for the 2024 offseason, and ESPN has an article out with one outside FA signing every team should make.

Aaron Schatz’s column sees Seattle Seahawks free agents Noah Fant and Leonard Williams going to the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively. Who do the Seahawks sign? Surprisingly, a cornerback.

From beyond the paywall, here’s the blurb on Bengals CB Chidobe Awuzie:

I weighed suggesting another pass-rusher for the Seahawks here, or perhaps an interior offensive lineman. But let’s go with a starting cornerback who can play opposite Riq Woolen while Devon Witherspoon locks down the slot (or blitzes the quarterback). Awuzie had a good coverage DVOA last season and was one of the best corners in the league for the first half of 2022 before tearing an ACL. He’s strong in both man and zone coverage.

I’m normally open-minded with these types of articles, and I am not even against the idea of adding cornerback depth given the possibility that Seattle will not retain Mike Jackson Sr. or Artie Burns, but I don’t see the fit. Is he going to perform significantly better than Tre Brown? I have my doubts.

The most compelling reason not to sign him is his injury history.

As a rookie, he missed most of camp with hamstring and ankle issues, so he was buried on the depth chart. A little under half of his first season was lost to hamstring injuries. In 2020, he had a stint on IR due to, you guess it, a hamstring injury. Schatz already mentioned the ACL tear in 2022, which cost him the back-end of the season. While he played in 15 games in 2023, Awuzie suffered a herniated disc that kept him out of one game and resulted in him getting pulled from the Bengals’ win over the Seattle Seahawks.

In a must-win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, George Pickens had his way with Awuzie, who admitted he had a brutal performance.

Awuzie was a critical part of Cincinnati’s eventual Super Bowl appearance in 2021, and was playing well in 2022 before the ACL tear, but he did not return to that form in 2023.

Based off PFF grading (for whatever that’s worth), Brown was a 64.1 in coverage last season, while Awuzie was 62.3. Brown similarly had a serious injury not too long ago but he’s also two years younger and cheaper. Awuzie is a fair bit taller at 6’0, which may factor into what Seattle does opposite Woolen, but I don’t see a compelling case to sign him to anything that isn’t a one-year “prove-it” deal. I’d sooner just draft another cornerback in Day 2 or 3.

Originally posted on Field Gulls