Free-agent cornerback Walter Thurmond visits Jaguars, 49ers
Cornerback Walter Thurmond, who jumped into a starting role with the Seahawks early in the season, is testing the free agent market.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Free-agent cornerback Walter Thurmond visited Jacksonville on Thursday and said he was scheduled to visit the 49ers next.
In a tweet, Thurmond said he had a “great visit” with the Jaguars and Gus Bradley, the former Seahawks defensive coordinator and current Jaguars head coach. Thurmond then added the kicker, “Now off to San Fran.”
The 49ers are in the market for a cornerback, and Thurmond showed he was a capable starter in his fourth year last season. But Thurmond’s decision to visit San Francisco predictably didn’t sit well with Seahawks fans, and Thurmond sent another tweet that didn’t sound like a guy expecting to re-sign with Seattle.
“It’s never personal its business, just how the Hawks let red and everyone else walk,” Thurmond wrote. “Obviously there is a reason I haven’t signed back yet.”
Thurmond, 26, was a key contributor for the Seahawks last season. He was impressive enough in training camp that Seattle released veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield before the season. Thurmond then jumped into a starting role early in the year when Brandon Browner was injured.
But Thurmond was suspended four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He lost his starting job to Byron Maxwell in the process, although Thurmond was Seattle’s nickel corner in the playoffs.
In addition to his positive test, which sources said was for marijuana, Thurmond also has a history of injury problems. He played in only eight total games in 2011 and 2012.
Browner, another free-agent corner, has reportedly received interest from the Saints and visited with the Patriots and Redskins. Browner will be suspended the first four games of 2014. He initially received a one-year suspension in December for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy but was recently reinstated.
The Seahawks return Maxwell, Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane, a second-year pro who played nickel when Thurmond was suspended. DeShawn Shead, another second-year player, split time between safety and corner, and fifth-round draft pick Tharold Simon has the size the Seahawks like but didn’t play last year because of injuries.
Clemons signs with Jaguars
As expected, former Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons signed a four-year deal with the Jaguars.
The Seahawks released Clemons on Wednesday to save $7.5 in salary-cap space. He had at least 11 sacks in each of his first three seasons with the Seahawks, but he had only 4.5 sacks last season after returning from an ACL injury suffered in the 2012 playoffs.
He was still effective at times last year, particularly early in the season. In fact, 3.5 of his 4.5 sacks last year came in his first five games, when he looked like the player who was Seattle’s best pass-rusher the previous season. But he was inconsistent and became expendable when the Seahawks re-signed defensive lineman Michael Bennett earlier in the week.
Clemons’ signing with Jacksonville is just another thread in the connection between the Seahawks and Jaguars. The Jags already signed Red Bryant after Seattle released him this offseason and picked up Winston Guy, Jon Lotuleilei, Stephen Williams and Will Blackmon last season.
The Seahawks re-signed backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to a one-year deal for $1.25 million.
Jackson is respected in the locker room and was impressive in his limited reps during the season. He is also deeply familiar with the offense run by coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell (He played for Bevell in Minnesota).
He started for the Seahawks in 2011 and returned to Seattle last year after one season in Buffalo.
• Free-agent tight end Jermichael Finley and the Seahawks have mutual interest, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. But first Finley must pass his physical before any deal is reached. He suffered a spinal injury in October last season while with the Packers and will be 27 next season.
• There were conflicting reports Thursday night over whether Brandon Browner had signed a deal with the Patriots. The NFL Network had initially reported a deal was done before other outlets and Browner’s agent said a deal was not yet completed.