Re-Signing Underrated Quandre Diggs Stays Essential to Seattle Seahawks’ Future

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As the Seahawks prepare for their three-day mandatory minicamp next week, all eyes are on the status of all-pro-safety Jamal Adams, who is in need of a new contract in the final year of his rookie deal.

While most Seattle veterans opted for “volunteer” OTAs last week, and the team had nearly 80 players on the field on Thursday, Adams, as expected, stayed away from the facility. It remains unclear whether he will be attending next week’s celebrations or whether a training camp may be canceled without an agreement on a record-breaking extension being reached.

Little has so far come to light about contractual talks between the Seahawks and Adams, who sees himself as a defensive weapon and expects appropriate compensation. After breaking the single-season Sacks record for defensive backs in 2020, reports have surfaced suggesting he won’t settle for simply the highest-paid safety in the league at over $ 16 million a year and he’s looking for elite pass rusher money.

The only thing that stays safe? Adams gets paid and discussions can get pretty complicated. After Seattle traded two first-round picks to get him off the New York Jets last July, Seattle must raise the money to keep one of the most unique defensive talents in the NFL.

But with General Manager John Schneider and the Seahawks’ future plans in mind, Adams isn’t the only security talent on the team who deserves a new contract. Given his skills as a ball seller, his leadership on the pitch, and his perfect schematic fit in a key location, Quandre Diggs’ suspension should be viewed as an equally important long-term transaction.

Before the 2019 season began, Diggs was far from a household name, despite being a multi-year starter for the Lions and having had the best year of his career. The former six-round pick from Texas showed up in Detroit’s secondary school with minimal fanfare, recording 78 tackles, three interceptions, and eight passes defended in his career. At the end of the season he was named Pro Bowl Alternate for the first time.

However, under then coach Matt Patricia, the Lions were in the midst of a heavily questioned defensive overhaul and even considering Diggs’ previous successes, the team apparently had different safety plans for the future. In an unexpected move that didn’t go down well in the locker room, Detroit gave it to Seattle before the trading deadline in exchange for a selection for the fifth round in 2020.

Before Diggs arrived, the Seahawks hadn’t found an adequate replacement for longtime starter Earl Thomas, who signed with the Ravens as a free agent. Tedric Thompson won the starting job off-camp but was plagued by blown covers in six starts before sustaining a shoulder injury at the end of the season. The coaching staff also had trust issues with Marquise Blair, who struggled to understand the matchbook early in his rookie season and made several mission-related mistakes.

With no other viable alternatives and Blair not considered ready to take off, handing out a selection on day three turned out to be a bargain for a player of Diggs’ caliber. After recovering from a hamstring injury, he struck through instantly, instantly transforming Seattle’s defense into clear safety with outstanding play as the last line of defense.

In his first five starts, Diggs individually picked three passes, including returning a pick from Rams quarterback Jared Goff for a touchdown, while also adding a forced fumble and fumble recovery. The Seahawks made a whopping 16 turnovers during those games, and when compared to the first 10 games before he came to town, opposing quarterbacks tossed 20 fewer yards per game, averaging nearly a yard less per try, and threw only seven touchdowns.

Unfortunately, he suffered an ankle sprain in week 15 against the Panthers that cost him the last two regular season games. To further illustrate his importance in defending coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks missed his presence as a playmaker very much as they failed to make a single turnover in consecutive home losses to the Cardinals and 49ers, missed an NFC West title and dropped to a wildcard -Spot.

Recovering from a strong season but heavily marred by injuries, Diggs started all 16 regular season games in free safety alongside his new vice president at Adams and remained a crucial cog in Seattle’s defensive success during a bizarre 2020 season.

While the Seahawks allowed historic distance for the first eight games and were among the worst defenses in the NFL at the time, veteran safety was not the primary culprit for these fights. The opponents did not take big profits on postal routes or seam routes with him, which occupied the midfield, but won vertically on the outside or with underlying intersection routes and slopes that did not fall within his jurisdiction. Injuries to Adams and cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar only exacerbated these problems early in the season.

But as Seattle’s pass rush improved after another mid-season swap for defensive end Carlos Dunlap and the secondary school around him got healthier, Diggs found his groove for 2019 in the second half of the season three interceptions and seven passes he defended in his last seven games, helping his team finish the track 5-2 to claim an NFC West crown.

Diggs made new career highs in interceptions (5) and passes in defense (10) while adding 64 tackles, earning the first Pro Bowl nod of his career. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed 12 completions on 20 goals and turned four of those eight imperfections into picks. The player himself remains skeptical of these numbers, however, and the fact that he was ridiculously not ranked as one of their 32 best securities is another sign that he is not being valued nearly enough for his talents and performance.

A big hitter for his 5-foot-9, 179-pound frame, Diggs has truly been in elite company for the past two seasons as one of only five Safeties with at least 100 combined tackles and eight interceptions. He did this feat in just 26 regular season games to make those stats even more off the table. The other four collateral on the list, including Broncos star Justin Simmons and the Steelers’ standout Minkah Fitzpatrick, played at least 31 regular season games in the same amount of time.

For those merits alone, Diggs and his agents should strive for a multi-year renewal of at least $ 10 million a year, which would make him one of the eleven highest paid positions in his position. That would be a significant increase for the Seahawks from his sensible cap hit of $ 6.144 million in 2021, especially with Adams poised to break records on his own contract and potentially towards an area of ​​$ 20 million Dollars a year to advance.

However, with fans expected to return to the stadiums this fall and with the COVID-19 health crisis continuing to improve with rising vaccination rates, the NFL expects the salary cap to increase significantly from next year. A new television contract starting in 2023 will bring additional revenue growth in future seasons and give the teams more financial flexibility.

It’s also worth noting that Seattle doesn’t have many internal options to replace Diggs if he is likely to meet the vacant agency and leave next March. Ugo Amadi might be considered, but he has played mostly nickel cornerback in the NFL while Blair tore his cruciate ligament last year and has not yet proven himself to be an NFL starter. Trying to address the position again in the draft would also be risky.

With that in mind and remembering how things went defensively two years ago without him, Seattle simply cannot afford to play the curmudgeon role of Diggs and free security. He is one of the most overlooked talents in his position in football today and is only 28 years old. He should have several years of excellent football ahead of him, in a program that suits his strengths well. As an additional plus, it is popular in the changing room and offers excellent guidance on and off the field.

Schneider may not be keen on tying up to $ 30 million on a pair of collateral, especially since Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner still have massive contracts on the books through 2023. But the Seahawks know the cost of a downgrade in either position all too well, so it’s worth signing such high spending for 2021 and beyond.