With free agency approaching next week, the Seahawks made a move Friday to keep a potentially key piece of their secondary in the fold — cornerback Akeem King — knowing a couple of other defensive backs may soon be gone.
King was a restricted free agent. But instead of giving King a tender, Tom Peliserro of the NFL Network reported the Seahawks signed him to a one-year, $1.4 million deal that includes a $400,000 signing bonus. Peliserro also reported that with incentives, King could make as much as $2.05 million in 2019. That’s basically equal to the lowest tender amount King could have gotten, which is $2.025 million.
The 6-1, 215-pound King has played both cornerback and safety in an NFL career dating to 2015. He played in every game last season for Seattle with one start — in week two against the Bears in place of Tre Flowers at right cornerback. He also played most of the regular season finale against Arizona at left cornerback when starter Shaquill Griffin went out with an ankle injury.
King also played some slot cornerback, particularly in a late-season win against the Chiefs when he got 13 snaps, many coming when matched up against Kansas City tight end Travis Kelcie in a game Seattle won 38-31. King got 79 of his 134 snaps for the season in the final two regular season games.
That King can play a multitude of spots throughout the secondary undoubtedly made him a priority for the Seahawks to retain. Last year’s starting nickel, Justin Coleman, is an unrestricted free agent and may not be back. While King may not necessarily be a direct full-time replacement for Coleman, he gives Seattle some depth and options as they fill out the back end — Griffin and Flowers are under contract for two and three more years, respectively. Neiko Thorpe, who has been a backup cornerback and core special teams player the last three years, is also an unrestricted free agent and also may not be back.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll spoke glowingly of King’s play following the win over Kansas City.
“Yeah, he’s doing a nice job,” Carroll said then. “The matchups came out where he was on the tight end. Akeem is a big kid, he’s a big corner — he’s 215 (pounds) or something like that. You can see him able to hang in there with bigger guys and he doesn’t get knocked around as much as the guy that weighs 190. He’s really fast and he’s just — everything that we’ve given him a chance to do, he’s done well. He’s really, he’s a bright spot for us.”
King spent the 2017 season with Seattle’s practice squad before making the 53-man roster last season. He also played 134 special teams snaps in 2018, via ProFootballReference.com.
King, who will turn 27 on Aug. 29, played at San Jose State and played five games for the Falcons in 2015, who had taken him in the seventh-round of the draft that year.