Seahawks Insider

Marcus Trufant situation

Post by News Tribune Staff on Sep. 28, 2007 at 7:05 am with 61 Comments »
September 28, 2007 7:05 am

Here is a link to a story I wrote this morning about Marcus Trufant and his impending free agency, particularly as it relates to San Francisco corner Nate Clements, who last offseason signed an eight-year $80 million contract.

The Seahawks and Trufant seemingly are stuck at a stalemate in negotiations and probably will go into the offseason to determine his value. He is not as good as Clements, but that contract skewed everything. Now, is Trufant worth the $5.5 million a year that Nate Vasher signed for, or closer to the $9 million a year — his average if you realistically exclude the final three years of his deal — that Clements signed? Tim Ruskell admits it’s a tricky balancing act — and my guess is that a lot of that answer will be determined during this season.

In any case, as you all know, we can’t include all quotes from an interview in a story for the paper. That’s the beauty of the blog; here is the complete interview I did with Marcus.

What did you think of Clements’ contract? That is always good when you see one of your fellow corners bring the market up like that. But as a defensive back, you still have to go about your business on the field.

Do you remember your thoughts when you heard he signed it? I just thought he drove it up for everybody else. Drove it up for the corners, and money like that is out there but you still have to handle your business on the field.

How do you compare to him? We are two different type of people. Every player is unique in their own way. He does things very well and personally I think I do things very well. Two different types of corners. He has been to a Pro Bowl, he has a couple picks, but I feel I do very well too.

What are the differences? I really haven’t broken it down like that. I can’t really pinpoint anything. But different type of corners. He is good. I am good.

What kind of message did it send when the coaches put you in one-on-one coverage against Chad Johnson to start the game? That is kind of how it works. To be a top corner I think you have to go against the best. Or have to be able to perform well against the best. If they want the challenge on me, I am up for the challenge every week to go out there and do my best.

How did you think you did? I felt like I did OK, but in sitations like that it is not just one on one. I felt like I did OK and I am trying to get better every week.

What happened on the touchdown pass to Houshmanzadeh where it looked like you got picked? That was just one of those plays where I kind of got locked in. I was supposed to have the deep and we got caught together. I put that one on me.

Are you worth the same amount of money at Clements? I feel like I deserve what I am worth. Clements was a spectacular deal and one of those things where it was right player at the right time. I am just trying to get what I am worth and what the market is worth right now.

What did you think when the team signed Jordan Babineaux to an extension but has not been able to work one out with you? You always hope for things like that, for everything to go perfect and for you to get re-signed with your team. Basically when it comes down to it it is about business. And it is about business at the end of the day.

How do you see your free agency playing out? You really never really know how things are going to play out. You have seen guys leave, you see guys stay. You see guys sign early. You hope for the best but you never really know.

Do you want to come back to Seattle? Will you give them a home-town discount to stay close to home? I am just going to say that you have to let the business side play itself out. If it works out it works out but it is about business at the end of the day.

Leave a comment Comments → 61
  1. Wow.

    Good questions, Frank.

    If the Hawks sign him at the end of the year, you have to think they blew it. Everything you hear and read points to him having all of the talent, and this being his best year in camp, and so far out in the field as well. I don’t like this “buy high, sell low” approach. I think it
    s the only thing I’m critical of Ruskell at. For Free Agents, you kind of have to do it, but for your own guys, you should know what they have before their final year, and should sign the good ones to an extension before they hit the market. That’s what the repeat contenders do.

  2. buddhabrad says:

    Franchise him….

    Next topic?

  3. How about we use the Transition Tag on him.
    (worked so well the last time we did that!)

  4. And here’s alba, fueling the fire, fanning the flames!

  5. escapedkent says:

    Do we really need to start filling his mind with Nate Clement’s money 3 weeks into the season? I’m kind of disappointed to see this kind of interview/story. Lets let Marcus worry about Djack this week.

  6. This could work out to be a real mess.There’s no way he is worth Clements money.But he the closest thing to a shut down corner we have and thats not to close.This could work out to be like Laugh In.

  7. What would Trufant’s franchise value be?

  8. madpunter88 says:

    I think he seems like a perfect candidate for a franchise tag. The Seahawks have drafted two young CBs they see as the potential future at that position. He probably isn’t worth long-term money like Clements. The Seahawks wouldn’t be willing to pay the money he could get on the open market from another team — but they could use his services for another year for a reasonable price.

  9. Surf Hawk says:

    If Trufant continues to do well this year Ruskell is going to get skewered no matter what he does. If he signs him to big money people will complain that now Tru will slack off and is overpaid. If he lets him go to big money somewhere else people will complain Ruskell should of sacked up and paid big money.

    I like Tru and hope he stays, but if he’s asking for Nate Clements money, he can forget it. This might work out well for this season, Tru is going to work his arse off for a big contract which will mean we’ll get good production out of him. Next season is next season.

  10. Surf Hawk says:

    Franks story said Franchising a corner next year will be around $9M. It was $7.79M last year but the Clements contract will jack it up for next year.

  11. nearborn says:

    Ever notice how every single player on the Seahawks manages to regurgitate the same answers over and over like it’s the company line? They are so good at politik, it’s funny sometimes.

    ow many questions did he actually answer?
    “you still have to go about your business on the field.”
    “Every player is unique in their own way.”
    “I really haven’t broken it down like that.”
    “If they want the challenge on me, I am up for the challenge every week to go out there and do my best.”
    “I feel like I deserve what I am worth.”
    “You hope for the best but you never really know.”

    Those aren’t answers to his questions at all. They sound like Shaun Alexander answers to any interview in the history of SA interviews.

    Except the question about the pick. At least HE took credit for the mistake.

  12. PapaHawk says:

    The Hawks have “team guys” on their squad. Team guys give simple, modest answers. Basically, when a player doesn’t sign early, its because he believes he is better than the current market for him. Which also means he’s underachieved to this point, to some extent. Babineaux is probably not going to have the opportunity this season to raise the market for him, so signing early was great. However, Trufant does have that opportunity. If he has a Pro Bowl season, he’ll be worth more. If he plays like he did the past years, it’ll stay about the same. Marcus believes he’ll have his best year. I can’t blame him for thinking that way. The hawks are probably not offering him Pro Bowl corner money…and you can’t blame them for that either. In fact, I might be a little worried if Tru signed a deal early…I’m sure that Tru would rather stay in Seattle than break into a new organization…but what if a team with CB issues offers him the moon? Say…the Rams, or the Bengals, or a few other teams I can think of.

    Who’s left who’ll give colorful answers anymore on the hawks?

  13. According to, the ’97 franchise tag for cornerbacks is $7,790,000.

  14. buddhabrad says:

    All professional teams have media people who prep the player prior to the interview. They are told what to say… 12th Man, play as a team, work hard, etc. I don’t even pay attention to the interviews any longer. It’s just Disney-fied pigskin PR.

    Tru’s agent is arguing that the market is $9 mill. The Hawks are arguing that it’s MUCH less than than, maybe $6-7 mill. The franchise cost (an average of the top 5 CB contracts) is $7.8 mill.

    The Hawks have zero risk in waiting this out. Sign him now and pay $9 mill OR wait and pay him at most $7.8 mill. And if he keeps playing at the high level he is, then he’s likely worth the $7.8 mill. If has a career-ending injury tomorrow OR reverts to mid-pack level play, then he’s not going to get the big check.

  15. IDHawkman says:


    ’97 franchise tag???? Did you mean 07?


    Signing him at the end of this year is not a mistake. It makes him stay hungry and performing this year. Less likely to sit out for an ache or pain during practice or games. Tru is trying to get his value up to $80M and Ruskell wouldn’t mind paying him that much “IF” he proves he’s worth it. So far, he’s not proven that on this team. He is due a big boost in pay since this is his first free agency contract he’ll be going into but no way does he deserve $10M a year.

    Also, the way I read the interview was that Trufant wants to test the market no matter what to see what the “market has at that time and place” for him. Sounds familiar to something we were hearing a couple of years ago. Because of that situation a couple of years ago, I don’t think Ruskell will allow him to test the market if his play warrants him staying (franchise tag him) or let him go outright if his play doesn’t warrant a huge contract.

  16. Dukeshire says:

    The Hawks have to wait until the end of the season to sign him. My question is when did he become an eliete corner? He played well the second half of last season and has played well early in this one, but not much beyond that. He is developing into a nice player but lets see how he playes out this year. Besides that, Ruskell rarely negotiates during the season. My feeling is that they’ll work out a contract after the season, and all will be well. If Josh Brown didn’t get his before the season ended last year, fat chance Tru will.

  17. We all saw what a contract year did for Alexander’s numbers, which played a big part in getting us to the SB. Hopefully the same motivation will happen with Tru with the same result.

  18. IDHawkman says:

    Wow Buddah, for once I think I agree with you. LOL

    The sad thing is that the transition tag and how the vickies and Hutch poisoned that tag has created a scenario that can really hurt the player more than the owners. Here’s how:

    Say you have a great player at a position (since we’re talking about CB we’ll keep it there) at CB. He’s coming up for free agency and the owners know that there are very few good CB’s in the draft and Free Agency that year. Instead of paying auction prices, franchise him. The player is upset because now they have to continue to play at the higher level of play to keep their worth high. They go through the year hoping not to get a career ending injury while trying to perform at their highest level (e.g. trying to run up the number of tackles, passes defensed, etc that they normally wouldn’t go after. These situations can increase their probability of injury).

    Okay so the next year comes around and same situation, franchise them again. Now the player can hold out if need be or they can try to write into their previous franchise tender not to be franchised again but the owners don’t have to grant that to the player. So this goes on until there is a draft or FA with many CBs available and that’s when you sign them long term to a lower contract.

    Sorry for ranting.

  19. elgranderojo says:

    Tru would be worth 9 mil a year if he was an elite corner… which he is not. He is very good, but not even close to Champ or Clements. I think Vasher money is very much in line for the job he has done. I’m sorry but keeping Chad Johnson out of the endzone does not an elite corner make when he gets torchd for 7 catches and a 138 yards. For as much notoriety as Chad Johnson gets for his endzone celebrations, he doesn’t score that many TDs… he has only hit 10 TDs once in his career.

  20. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    there is noway we pay Tru 6-9million a year he is’nt worth it. he’s maybe 50-60% of what Clements is and i still think 5 mill is too much.
    maybe i’m wrong andhe will prove himself this season but i dont see it Lucas i think he will take the money and run showing in his play that year and to follow that we made the right choice in letting him walk.

    remember”it’s about buisness at the end of the day”

  21. I think the question should be do you want to risk taking this through Free Agency? You never know what position will become the hot position for the year and you may see the salaries jump. Did anyone expect Steve Hutchinson to get Tackle money? Remember Ken Lucas? I don’t think you ever want to risk the market. If you identify one of your guys as a guy you want to keep you need to lock them up before free agency. I look at the Eagles as a model. Their guys that they identify as building blocks, they extend them for good deals because they don’t have to worry about the market and competition from other teams.

  22. I feel, and have always felt that Trufant is a very, very underappreciated cornerback. I honestly do not think a lot of fans realize just how valuable he is, particularly with defensive system we run. Extending his contract should be top priority next year. We’ve already let one very good CB get out of town (Lucas), let’s hope we don’t see a repeat of that. That being said, I do not think Trufant is worth Clements money. I do not think even Nate Clements is worth ‘Nate Clements money’.

  23. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    that being said if he wants and can get clement’s money do you match it? Tru says its buisness he’ll go where the money goes.,

  24. bustinheads says:

    I think Tru is worth about 6-8 mil and don’t forget we need to sign J Brown too…or we haven’t got a decent FG Kicker — didn’t the Seahawks offer him top 5 money? They should just offer him top 4 money and sign him and get him out of the way first.

  25. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    i seem to remember lucas leaving town and the hawks lighting hin up in the nfc championship game. at 6-8 mill you’re saying he is as valluble to the team as big walt, sorry i just dont see it 25mill for 5 years.

  26. JimWilke says:

    I remember Marquandt, Lucas, Hamlin and Boulware and folks here saying that we couldn’t survive without them. I remember getting one first down from the NFC title game with the likes of Pete Hunter and Oliver Celestin in the secondary.

    I’d like to see Trufant stay. I am confident we can replace him if we need to.

  27. Doesn’t franchising someone mean you are paying him top dollar amount for a player at that position for a year? If that’s so then no, don’t franchise him, he isn’t a top corner.

  28. seatowntp says:

    JW good point!

  29. truehawk says:

    Tru has done nothing in his career to earn top money or even a franchise tag. He needs to prove it this year with a ProBowl appearance or atleast 5 picks to his credit. I mean, I would love for him to be back next year, but is he really worht trop corner money? We could pay the same type of money to Asante Samuel and get a guy who has actaully accomplished things on the field!!
    Let it play out………..Most importantly, is winning games, not contract talk during the season.

  30. PapaHawk says:

    The players you cannot afford to lose are the elite players at their position in the league. The Seahawks have had a few of those guys, and only one got away (thou who shall not be called by name on this weblog). Lucas would have remained in Seattle if he were offered normal money, but the Panthers went Wistrom on him and he had no choice but to go to Carolina. This is the risk of allowing a player to go to the end of the season. However, I think that Tru is sort of like Wistrom in that he has had a nice career, been part of a very good team, but not been the elite player that others on his team were. Someone may pay him big $$…but if they don’t, he’ll be a Seahawk after this season. He wants to give the league a chance to go there, wouldn’t you?

    Every year there are teams that “go Wistrom” on free agents. Most of the time, they get a nice, above average player for huge money. Rarely does an elite player leave in this situation. For every Julian Peterson signing, there are several Wistrom, Kerney, Derrick Dockery, Ken Lucas, and other of those “very good player” who gets paid elite player money.

    To back that up, the Hawks MAY have a starting caliber corner waiting in the wings to replace Trufant if he gets the huge money. Just like they had a backup ready to start when they let Shawn Springs to go free agency.

  31. If any of you think that Tru is worth squat, you did not see the first half of the preseason Vikings game in which Tru was abused repeatedly by a soon-to-be-on-the-pine “athletic” QB. He played soft and did not defend at least a half dozen passes – it sure did add to his tackle total. Worse yet he misplayed two very poorly underthrown fades in the NW corner which were his for the taking – two opportunities for sure interceptions. In fact, the receivers in those two instances played better pass D than Tru. Say what you will, but, he is another example of Holmgren’s pride and ego not letting him admit that one of his guys is not all he was supposed to be – a shut down first round draft corner. Take a look at Clements play in the Steelers/Niners game. He singlehandedly kept the game interesting through the first 3 quarters. He played both Ward and Holmes very tough and came from across the field to shut down a reverse for a loss, but for Clements, nothing but green for 60 yards to the endzone.

  32. Trufant is a decent CB, but by no means a shutdown CB. At his best, he was nowhere near Springs’ best.

  33. NewJerseyHawk says:

    Trufant will not be signed at anything over what Hutch would’ve commanded. We will be drafting a CB early next year and Wilson stays in the slot with Babs….

    I would rather them make sure Lofa and Leroy Hill are considered as priorities

  34. That last post should have read “NE” corner not “NW”

  35. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    NewJerseyHawk; i agree 100%lofa and hill will be far more important to the team long term. I believe that a middle linebacker who is a 3 time probowler and a fast outside linebacker who makes all the difference in the ability of our D to stop anyone are far more important. has anyone noticed when hill plays our D can stop the run.

  36. BlueTalon says:

    Frank, the next time you post an interview like that, could you please put either your questions or the responses in italics? It would be much easier to read that wat.

  37. BlueTalon says:

    way (oops)

  38. Super Hawk says:

    If we sign him great, if we don’t then bring in Samuels!

  39. hawkfaninoklahoma says:

    think of this D with Samuels

  40. elgranderojo says:

    I’d like the Asomugha guy or whatever his name is from the Raiders. Is he a free agent next year too?

  41. I think we should ask Heinz Ward what he thinks (not to mention Antwan Randle El). Maybe Frank can interview Ward next weekend? ;) (Couldn’t help the snark.)

    p.s.: Sorry for the double posting. Just figuring out how to make images work.

  42. That wasn’t Trufant’s man. It was the immortal Ettric Pruitt’s responsibility. Trufant realized that Pruitt bit on the fake End Around to Randle-El and left his position to try to get to Ward. If anything, Trufant is a smart corner and great tackler.

  43. Yeah, cheap shot with the SB picture. Trufant played a fine game that day. That wasn’t his man. It was a crappy defensive call though, Boulware was blitzing, leaving Pruitt by himself to cover the play. Dumb dumb dumb.

    I think Trufant is a fine player. He might not be a pro-bowl corner, but he’s quite solid and I think a player we should keep.

  44. pay the man!!!

  45. chuck_easton says:

    Pay the man, but don’t OVERPAY the man. It sounds like Trufant has a bit of an overinflated view of his worth.

    This is one time I say let the guy hit free agency and then he’ll better understand what his true value is.

    Make him an honest and fair offer and then tell him it will be on the table when he realizes that nobody else is going to offer much more. My bet is he’ll re-sign with Seattle once he realizes the offers aren’t what he expects.

    Keep in mind that he’ll be competing with Samuels and a couple of other FA Corners next year.

  46. Yolohawk says:

    Ward is out this week and possibly next.

    I loved seeing Tru check oucho-cinco with the head butt (do you have that shot jedster?).

    Tru can run with anyone, to check them at the line rattles the timing with the QB and he has shown more vert. Seems he is gaining confidence.
    If he keeps it up then he’s worth it.

  47. Translation: Buh-bye Tru. The Seahawks revolving door at CB continues.

    Would have been much cheaper to just pay Ken Lucas and\or not cut Andre Dyson, both of whom are better than Tru anyway.

  48. JimWilke says:

    I think there were some clubhouse issues with Lucas and he left about the same time for the reason as Chike Okeafor.

  49. mibuttiznum says:

    do you pay a corner 7 mil for 1 pick all season?

  50. nighthawk2 says:

    It’s hard to know how good or bad Trufant is (or any of the other corners) with that soft coverage and 10 yard cushions that the D co-ordinator and secondary coach keeps having them play every game, every year. The coaches still won’t have them get up and press the receivers, it’s always let them get off the line clean and play 10 yards back. So maybe it doesn’t matter whether Samuel or anyone else plays corner, it’s going to be the same soft coverage from the coaches.

  51. Seatownplayer says:

    I really don’t see the big deal in panicing this early; Trufant is a good corner but hasn’t seriously proven himself as being an elite corner. This should be his time to shine if he wants anything close to a Nate Clements money. Also, if they let him go in free agency then they could either go with the 2 corners they drafted or sign a pro bowl corner in Asante Samuel.

  52. jcoleman says:

    It’s very simple, if Trufant makes the Pro Bowl this year than give him almost as much as Clements, if he doesn’t than give him just above Vasher money, unless he has a terrible season, than you let the market figure this one out.

  53. elperrograndedos says:

    American Heritage Dictionary

    Marcus Trufant; see burnt toast

  54. I dont think we can assume that we would pay for (or he would come here) Asante Samuels. I think that Trufant is better then many realize and bringing in free agents does not always work. Pay the man.

  55. chuck_easton says:

    Who said anything about going after Samuels? What I was saying that if you are shopping for a big name FA Corner and you can spend a bunch of money on Samuels or Trufant, which guy gets the big money?

    Trufant will only be a player in FA after about 3 or 4 OTHER big name Corners have been signed.

    So I still say pay him, but don’t OVERPAY him, OtbBaby.

  56. pharrisr says:

    Pay him a bit less than he expects but maybe guarantee a bit more. Also, I think Hill has been playing the best of our LBS. Man can he hit! Lofa and Julian have been absent it seems so far. What do you all think?

  57. Trufant is as solid an corner as you will find, but he doesn’t come down with the ball enough to warrant the big bucks. Hopefully he gives us a hometown discount come free agency.

  58. RoloBeast says:

    What about Falcons CB Deangelo Hall?
    He’s in his contract year also.

  59. Yolohawk says:

    Are you really down on Tru? Wake the f—- up. He’s in, Franchise him!

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