Johnathan Joseph could fill Seahawks’ need at cornerback

John Clayton thinks the Seahawks’ financial flexibility could allow them to fill their need for a starting cornerback with Johnathan Joseph, who’s spent the first five years of his career with the Bengals.

At 27, Joseph would fit with the Seahawks’ plans to get younger. At 5-11 and 190 pounds, he has the size that Pete Carroll seems to prefer in a cornerback.

Clayton thinks the Seahawks could get Joseph for around $8 million a season, which makes him a much cheaper alternative to Nnamdi Asomugha.

“He would leave Cincinnati for a dollar more than the Bengals are offering,” Clayton said earlier this week on the Kevin Calabro Show.

Clayton called Joseph a “real good shutdown-type corner.”

He has 14 career interceptions and has returned three for touchdowns. In 12 games last season, Joseph had three interceptions, 53 tackles and 11 passes defensed. He missed four games with an ankle injury.

While stats can belie a cornerback’s effectiveness, the Bengals’ reported decision to put the highest restricted tender on Joseph is an indication of how much they value him.

Joseph, a first-round pick by the Bengals in 2006, would be an restricted free agent under the terms of the old collective bargaining agreement, though players with five years of experience like Joseph could become unrestricted free agents when a new deal is reached.

The Seahawks took cornerbacks in the fifth and sixth rounds of April’s draft. But, by most accounts, Seattle isn’t expected to retain starter Kelly Jennings, who was taken seven picks after Joseph in 2006.