RENTON -- The Seattle Seahawks have acquired safety Quandre Diggs from the Detroit Lions for a swap of future draft picks, a source confirmed to 950 KJR.
The trade was first reported by Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
The Seahawks get Diggs and a 2021 seventh-round pick from the Lions in exchange for Seattle's fifth-round pick next year.
Diggs brings a veteran presence to a safety position that may have reached a breaking point against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Head coach Pete Carroll was vocal with his displeasure of an early 50-yard pas to Miles Boykin getting over the head of free safety Tedric Thompson. It's the second time this season Thompson had allowed such a play to get behind him. He mistimed a leap and was unable to defend a pass that went over his head to John Ross for a 55-yard touchdown in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals as well.
"Well we made a big mistake early, gave them a freebie down the field. That’s just distasteful. I hate that we gave them that because there’s no way that should ever happen," Carroll said on Monday.
Whether the trade to acquire Diggs is a direct response to the mistakes from Thompson or a hedge for injuries at the position isn't completely clear at this stage. Bradley McDougald missed the Baltimore game due to back spasms and Lano Hill is expected to miss at least another week due to an elbow injury sustained against the Cleveland Browns. Diggs played Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings for Detroit after missing a game due to a hamstring strain as well.
While McDougald's status remains uncertain, Carroll had already indicated that they want to see more out of second-round pick Marquise Blair and that he had earned more chances to play after his performance against the Ravens on Sunday.
"I thought Marquise did a really good job," Carroll said. "I thought he was active, physical, covered well, made a couple things happen that were real positive and avoided a couple other things that were mistakes that he made. The guys covered for him pretty well and that helped us. I liked his play.
"He’s going to play some more. I’m going to say it that way for right now. I’m fired up about him."
Now Seattle is adding another versatile defensive back to the mix to give them even more options in the interim.
Diggs is 5-foot-9, 197 pounds and has played both safety and cornerback for the Lions. He was a sixth-round pick of the Lions out of the University of Texas in 2015. Diggs has played in 65 games for Detroit with 40 starts in his years with the team. He has a total of 235 tackles with six interceptions, three forced fumbles, 24 passes defended and a sack.
Diggs was a Pro Bowl alternate for the Lions last season. Diggs appeared started all 16 games for Detroit, recording 78 tackles with three interceptions and eight passes defended.
Diggs' versatility could allow Seattle to play more nickel and dime defenses than they have through the first half of the season. The Seahawks have played a large amount of base defense through the first seven games of the season with Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks all on the field together at linebacker. Seattle could opt to play more "big nickel" packages with Diggs, McDougald and Blair on the field together moving forward.
Diggs signed a three-year contract extension with the Lions in Sept. 2018. He will be under contract with Seattle through the 2021 season.
The Seahawks will need to make a corresponding roster move to get Diggs onto their roster. Hill could be placed on injured reserve as Carroll said the elbow injury would take a while to nail down.
"He’s got a thing in his elbow that’s going to take a couple weeks here before we know what we can do with it," Carroll said on Friday.
While it's not immediately clear that the acquisition of Diggs is a direct rebuke of Thompson's play, the move feels similar to when Cary Williams lost his starting job at cornerback for Seattle in 2015. Williams struggled to absorb Seattle's cornerback technique and had a propensity to give up big plays. A pair of big gains in a late season meeting against the San Francisco 49ers led to his benching and eventual release.
The comments from Carroll at the time were strikingly similar and reinforce Carroll's philosophy of defensive play.
“You have to stop big plays from happening. You’re not worth a darn on defense if you’re giving up a bunch of explosive plays,” Carroll said at the time. “What are you doing? The whole thing is to slow the thing down and give yourself a chance to stop people. The big plays are so significant in terms of scoring opportunities in terms of drives itself. That’s a major factor.”
Photo Credit: CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 11: Quandre Diggs #28 of the Detroit Lions breaks up the pass intended for Taylor Gabriel #18 of the Chicago Bears in the first quarter at Soldier Field on November 11, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)