The Seahawk entering his ninth season is on the hot seat for 2011; a player who I’ve recently highlighted as a prime option for a contract re-structure, but also a player that could be in danger of losing his job, and maybe even roster spot, with a poor training camp.
The reason Trufant is under the microscope is because the former pro-bowler ascended through the ranks of NFL corners into the upper echelon from 2003-2007. He received the franchise tag after the 2007 season and a six year, $50.2 million dollar deal just months later.
Trufant had two of his best seasons in 03-04 to start his career; 179 tackles, 32 passes defended, seven interceptions and a sack.
His production dipped the next two seasons but he added a third stellar season to his resume in 2007, resulting in the contract extension.
Since, he’s intercepted four passes and recorded career lows in tackles in 2008 and a shortened 2009 due to a back injury; 13 passes defended in 2008, but only 14 since.
Trufant’s contract is not in line with his recent performance, missing seven games in 2009 and enduring a dinged up 2010, still playing 16 games. He showed physicality in support at the line of scrimmage at times in 2010; signs of his prior form arose early in the season, week 1 in particular, with a pick six and three pass breakups.
As the season wore on he began to lose his health, and he often looked overmatched in single coverage; hosting the Giants in Week 9 a noticeably rough game:
At 11:50 in the second quarter, Fox commentator Joe buck noted, they were going at Trufant “play after play,” and they went after him the next play; at the 4:11 in the second quarter, “every time you look up, they are going at Marcus Trufant. Whether it’s with nicks, Steve Smith or Manningham they’re going at 23.”
Trufant gave up two third and long plays, drew a penalty flag, and was beat on a variety of early down throws; he had one pass breakup on a deep ball defending Steve Smith.
The Seahawks program has stockpiled a stable of inexperienced, tall, fast and physical defensive backs that could benefit from the leadership of a healthy Trufant. Furthermore, the Seahawks need Trufant to come to camp healthy and explosive enough to maintain the starting role; having to cut ties with their former franchise corner, in addition to the possibility of losing two safeties with nearly a quarter century combined football experience, would be very costly.
Trufant was expected to be an asset for the defense for years to come when he re-signed in 2008, not an asset on the decline; a solid 2011 would help stabilize his career and the Seahawks secondary, but Trufant has a tough task in proving he can once again be the number one corner for Seattle.