The Seattle Seahawks added reinforcements to their secondary over the weekend, signing safety Maurice Alexander, formerly of the LA Rams. Alexander, 27, made an announcement on Twitter on Friday night:
A fourth round pick in 2014, Alexander played at Utah State, including as a teammate of Bobby Wagner’s in 2011. He had a strong showing at the combine, measuring in at 6’1, 220 lbs, 32” arms, and running a 4.54 40-yard dash, 10’3 broad jump, and 38” vertical. He went 110th overall as a selection of Jeff Fisher’s, appearing in nine games as a rookie.
Alexander made five starts at strong safety in place of T.J. McDonald in 2015, recording 34 tackles and two sacks. He moved over to the starting free safety position in 2016, replacing Rodney McLeod, who went to the Philadelphia Eagles. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips moved Alexander back to strong safety last season, but he was a healthy scratch in Week 5 and then released one day later.
Seahawks fans may remember that the Rams were playing Seattle on the day that rookie John Johnson replaced Alexander, and then played well enough for LA to feel comfortable making the move permanently. Alexander was clearly not a fit for Phillips, and had not shown enough in his first three seasons for the team to feel like he’d be a huge loss, clearly.
Therefore, Seattle can’t feel like Alexander is going to be significantly valuable insurance should they need a starter at either the safety positions; whether that means a trade of Earl Thomas, or a need for a starting strong safety. The Seahawks currently look to start Thomas and Bradley McDougald, assuming Kam Chancellor doesn’t show significant progress in the coming months. Depth includes Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill, both of whom were drafted in the mid-rounds last year. Alexander has also always been a bit of a pass rusher from the safety position, and they likely value his versatility and could have multiple plans in mind for him. He’s not a big name signing — after all, he was a free agent all of last season — but that’s not surprising given Seattle’s penchant for hanging back during this period of free agency and looking for small value adds over major splashes.