Bulking up for the regular season, the Seahawks Friday traded a late-round draft pick to New England for veteran CB Justin Coleman, 24, who was with Seattle briefly on the practice squad in 2015 before joining the Patriots. The move, reported by ESPN, could be one of several as the Seahawks plot opportunities ahead of the NFL’s cut-down to 53 players by 1 p.m. Saturday.
The 5-11, 184-pound Coleman, who played at Tennessee, had 20 game appearances with the Pats, including three starts. He is in the final year of a contract that pays him $615,000 this season.
The trade follows a likely season-ending injury Thursday to reserve CB DeAndre Elliott in Seattle’s 17-13 win over the Raiders in Oakland. Elliott, who played in 13 games last season, broke his right ankle and had to be carted off the Coliseum field.
But the Coleman trade may foreshadow other moves. Teams are assessing talent worthy of getting now before the herd of 1,184 players become free agents at the same time. The development is new this season after a rules change eliminated the interim cut-down to 75 that had been the custom for years.
Reports over the past 48 hours said the Seahawks were considering trading WR Jermaine Kearse and CB Jeremy Lane, neither of whom played Thursday along with most of the starters. Both potential moves would be primarily salary cap-driven, as was a change to the contract of WR Doug Baldwin reported Friday.
ESPN reported that the team and player agreed to shift almost $7 million of Baldwin’s base salary of $7.75 million into a signing bonus. That allows the Seahawks to pro-rate the the bonus over the remaining years of the contract through 2020, meaning that the Seahawks could save $5.2 million against the cap this season.
Overthecap.com reported that the move means the Seahawks are about $13 million under the cap. Trading Lane or Kearse would further drop the number, which would give the team further flexibility to trade for a veteran in his prime with a higher salary. Cutting veterans means the the guaranteed portions of their salaries will count against the cap.
The Seahawks last week added another veteran cornerback, Tramaine Brock, a free agent waived by Samn Francisco in April. He has been in competition with Lane and rookie third-round pick Shaquill Griffin for the cornerback spot opposite Richard Sherman, aas will as the nickel position. None among them played Thursday, with Pierre Desir and Neiko Thorpe starting and Elliott in the slot.