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Monday, August 1, 2011
With Tatupu gone, what about Trufant?

By Mike Sando

Jeremy from Houston thinks the Seattle Seahawks will decide during the exhibition season that their young cornerbacks are roughly as good as veteran Marcus Trufant. He thinks the Seahawks will try to trade Trufant for draft picks to a team outside the division.

Mike Sando: Trufant had to feel a little vulnerable after seeing the team part with Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu. Trufant is now the longest-tenured Seahawk. I'm surprised the team hasn't approached him about reducing his $5.9 million salary for the coming season. I also think that salary would discourage interest from potential trade partners.

Coach Pete Carroll gets excited when he talks about going with younger players. General managers are usually the ones pushing to go young. Carroll and Seahawks GM John Schneider appear unified in their desire to do so. I think the lockout gave them an opportunity to make a clean mental break from the past. This was the second-youngest team in the NFL heading into free agency. If Trufant struggles during camp and the exhibition season, the Seahawks will not carry that $5.9 million salary, in my view. Their dealings with Tatupu suggest as much.

Trufant, 30, can still play reasonably well when he's healthy, in my view. He just has a hard time staying healthy, particularly when forced into run support too frequently. He suffered two concussions last season. And not everyone is convinced he can play at a high enough level to justify that $5.9 salary.

"I am not a fan at all of Trufant," Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said. "I don't think he has played well at all in the last 2-3 years. Even at his best, he was inconsistent. His name value is a lot better than his on-the-field value."

Not that there are many viable alternatives on the market. Carlos Rogers remains unsigned. He's been mentioned as a possibility for the San Francisco 49ers.

The Seahawks did re-sign Kelly Jennings, according to Peter King. Trufant and Jennings are the only Seattle cornerbacks with meaningful NFL experience. Jennings projects ideally as a backup and does not fit the Carroll/Schneider size prototype for the position.

"Their corners overall have been undersized in recent years," Williamson said. "Experts say Pete Carroll likes big corners that are physical and can run. So does everybody. Carroll could get them at USC."

Williamson rates quarterback and cornerback as the Seahawks' two weakest positions. He thinks Seattle could use a first-round choice for cornerback or possibly make a hard play for a top one in free agency next year.

The chart shows the cornerbacks Seattle listed on the rosters team officials made available Sunday. I added Jennings.