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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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March 31, 2008 8:33 PM

Schedule dates and times

Posted by Jose Romero

Well, not just yet. Looks like the NFL regular season schedule won't be released until the middle of April -- tax time, according to Adam Schefter of the NFL Network.

The preseason schedule should be coming out this week or early next. Expect a couple of AFC West teams and probably a Green Bay, a Minnesota, an Indianapolis -- one of those at least, I would think.

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March 31, 2008 2:46 PM

New draft order

Posted by Jose Romero

The Seahawks still have their first- and second-round picks, but have dropped down a few spots in rounds 4-7 because the NFL issued its compensatory draft choices to other teams today.

Fifteen teams received compensatory picks in the third through seventh rounds. Here's how the league defines such picks:

"Under terms of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in a year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four. The 32 compensatory choices announced today will supplement the 220 choices in the seven rounds of the 2008 NFL Draft (April 26-27). This year, the compensatory picks will be positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula."

The Seahawks have received 13 compensatory draft picks since 1994, when they were first awarded.

Here's where Seattle will now pick in April's draft:
First round: 25th overall pick
Second round: 55th
Third round: 86th
Fourth round: 121st
Fifth round: Pick traded to Jacksonville
Sixth round: 189th (from Tennessee in Bryce Fisher trade; 190th pick to Cleveland in QB Charlie Frye trade)
Seventh round: 233rd (from Jacksonville; 230th pick to Philadelphia for FB Josh Parry)

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March 31, 2008 1:58 PM

Book it

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Well, last time I posted a note saying that it seemed the tide of news was receding, we got swamped. No pronouncements about what will or won't happen this week, but I did want to remind everyone that the discussion of Pete Williams "The Draft" will begin in mid-April. That was a book that includes a look at Tim Ruskell, then with the Atlanta Falcons and now the Seahawks president.

Let's plan on the discussion thread for the book beginning on April 16, which is a Wednesday. That gives it some news pegs as the lead-up to the draft as well.

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March 31, 2008 10:44 AM

Opening Day

Posted by Jose Romero

...of football, of course. The NFL released its schedule of games for Week One. Here it is, in a statement from the league:

In a tradition that began in 2004, the Super Bowl champion annually hosts the NFL Thursday night season kickoff the following year. This September 4 at 7:00 PM ET on NBC, the Super Bowl XLII champion New York Giants will host their NFC East-rival Washington Redskins and their new head coach Jim Zorn. Kickoff will be 90 minutes earlier than the start time of the traditional season opener due to the Republican National Convention, which NBC News will cover following the conclusion of the game.

The Sunday night primetime game (8:15 PM ET) on NBC will feature a rematch of Super Bowl XLI as the Indianapolis Colts host the Chicago Bears. The game marks the first regular-season game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

On Monday night, September 8, ESPN will host a Monday Night Football doubleheader featuring two critical division matchups. The first game (7:00 PM ET) will send the Minnesota Vikings to Green Bay to visit the NFC North titlist Packers. The MNF nightcap (10:15 PM ET) will be an AFC West battle as the Oakland Raiders host the Denver Broncos.

The announcement of these national primetime TV games was made Monday by NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL at the NFL Annual Meeting in Palm Beach, Florida.

The rest of the 2008 regular-season schedule will be completed and announced in April.

The 2008 Kickoff Weekend national primetime television games:

KICKOFF WEEKEND

September 4
Thursday
Washington at New York Giants
NBC
7:00 PM ET

September 7
Sunday
Chicago at Indianapolis
NBC
8:15 PM ET

September 8
Monday
Minnesota at Green Bay
ESPN
7:00 PM ET

Denver at Oakland
ESPN
10:15 PM ET

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March 27, 2008 5:08 PM

Olindo Mare's signing is official

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The Seahawks announced signing kicker Olindo Mare. The team's announcement doesn't specify, but it's a two-year deal.

Here's the text of the announcement:

The Seattle Seahawks have signed 12-year veteran kicker Olindo Mare, the team announced this evening.

Originally signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent in 1996 where he spent the season on the practice squad, he spent 10 years with the Miami Dolphins before spending the 2007 season with the New Orleans Saints.

He left Miami as the Dolphins all-time leader in field goals (245), scoring (1,048) and field goal accuracy (.809, 245 of 303). He has posted six 100-point seasons in his career, including a career-high 144 points in his Pro Bowl season in 1999 when he set a then-NFL record with 39 field goals made.

Mare has played in 168 career games and connected on 255 of 320 field goals (.797) with a long of 54.

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March 27, 2008 3:52 PM

Seahawks to sign K Olindo Mare

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Kicker Olindo Mare is expected to sign with the Seahawks. The Web site Profootballtalk.com first reported the two sides reached an agreement on a two-year, $3.5 million deal.

Mare is 34 and coming off a season in which he was hampered by an injury and made 57 percent of his field-goal attempts for New Orleans. The Saints released him in February. For his career, he has made just under 80 percent of his attempts.

Seattle will announce the signing on Thursday.

Mare played 10 years with Miami before the Dolphins traded him to New Orleans for a sixth-round draft choice in April 2007.

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March 27, 2008 10:17 AM

Broncos make offer to Mare, kicker still looking at Seattle

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Kicker Olindo Mare left Denver with a contract offer in hand, the Rocky Mountain News reported, but the kicker is still expected in Kirkland for a free-agent visit. Here's a link to the story from Denver. The paper also reported the New Orleans Saints are in the mix for Mare's services.

President Tim Ruskell said Wednesday the team will take a look at veteran kickers and also is looking at college kickers. He indicated the ideal situation for the team would be a training-camp contest between a rookie and a veteran to replace Josh Brown as the kicker.

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March 26, 2008 4:20 PM

Mike Karney speaks in Kent on Wednesday, March 26

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Mike Karney, a fullback with the New Orleans Saints, is scheduled to speak at the Springwood Recreation Hall in Kent at 7 p.m. on Wednesday as part of the Lighthouse program. Karney, a graduate of Kentwood High School who went on to play at Arizona State, will talk about the importance of goal-setting and staying in school.

The Lighthouse program is managed by Kent Youth and Family Services and a Kent police officer is involved, serving as a mentor to children in the program.

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March 26, 2008 2:50 PM

Mike Holmgren: Re-signing Trufant "the right thing to do"

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Coach Mike Holmgren openly says during the season that he doesn't do much meddling in terms of the defensive gameplan during the season.

That doesn't mean he doesn't have opinions about that side of the ball. Especially when it comes to a player like Marcus Trufant, whom the Seahawks chose in the first round when Holmgren was still in charge of personnel.

And when the team announced Trufant's signing on Wednesday, Holmgren attended the press conference and talked about his belief that a long-term agreement to keep Trufant in Seattle was the right thing for both the franchise and the player. Listen to the mp3 of what Holmgren had to say with this file: Mike Holmgren, March 26.mp3.

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March 26, 2008 9:16 AM

Marcus Trufant agrees to terms on a contract

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Cornerback Marcus Trufant reached an agreement with the Seahawks on a long-term contract, agent Doug Hendrickson said.

It's a six-year contract that totals $50.2 million. There are $20 million in guaranteed bonuses in the deal, which will pay him $28 million over the first three years of the contract.

It's expected the Seahawks will have a press conference to announce the signing as soon as this afternoon. [9:50 a.m. update: Press conference starts at 1 p.m.

Update at 9:34 a.m.: The shape of the contract is becoming a little clearer. Trufant gets a $10 million signing bonus, a $7 million roster next season and $3 million roster bonus in March of 2010. Those are guaranteed. His salary in 2010 will be more than $5 million, but it's hard to imagine the team paying a roster bonus of $3 million in March and then letting a player go before the season starts. Effectively, Trufant is pretty much certain to see that $28 million payout over the first three years.

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March 25, 2008 12:53 PM

'Hawks to talk with K Olindo Mare

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Seattle is expecting a visit from kicker Olindo Mare, who is visiting Denver before coming to town to talk with the Seahawks. Expect to add a veteran kicker at some point this offseason, and they'll more than likely have a rookie on the training-camp roster, too, and have a competition.

Mare played for the Saints last season, played with an injury and made only 10 of his 17 field-goal attempts, the worst percentage of his career. His career field-goal percentage is just under 80 percent.

Denver is also looking for a kicker. The Broncos did not re-sign Jason Elam this year. Elam since signed a deal with Atlanta.

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March 25, 2008 11:04 AM

A lull in the offseason action

Posted by Danny O'Neil

This week, the blog is going to be updated as news warrants, but now that we're in the third (maybe even fourth) tier of free agency and the draft still a month away, the only updates will be if there is a new development.

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March 21, 2008 4:15 PM

Clarification on Brian Urlacher's contract

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The mention of Lofa Tatupu's new contract being comparable to Brian Urlacher's deal relates to the timing of the new deals. Each signed a new deal with two years remaining on the rookie contract, the final two years of those deals essentially torn up and replaced.

That comparison doesn't necessarily extend to the amounts and structure of the contracts.

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March 21, 2008 2:22 PM

Ruskell, Holmgren sound off on Lofa Tatupu

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Lofa Tatupu sat right where he's been since the first game of his first season.

Right in the middle.

For three seasons, he has been the centerpiece of Seattle's defense. On Friday, he sat between president Tim Ruskell and coach Mike Holmgren as Seattle announced a contract extension with the linebacker who's made the Pro Bowl each of his first three seasons in Seattle.

"Essentially make him a Seahawk for life," Ruskell said of the contract, which runs through 2015.

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March 21, 2008 1:11 PM

Lofa Tatupu's extension

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The press conference just concluded to announce Lofa Tatupu's contract extension. The final two years of his rookie deal were torn up. He's now under contract through 2015. The new contract is believed to total about $42 million with Tatupu guaranteed to receive $18 million of that total.

At first glance, it's believed to be one of the three biggest contracts ever for a middle linebacker. [Ed. note: An earlier reference to it being comparable to Brian Urlacher's contract was removed. The similarity came in the timing of the new contract.]

Four players restructured their contracts to facilitate the signing since the Seahawks are tight up against the salary cap. Craig Terrill, Patrick Kerney, Deon Grant and Jordan Babineaux restructured their deals. I'll post audio clips from the interview in a little bit.

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March 21, 2008 12:21 PM

Lofa Tatupu signs contract extension

Posted by Danny O'Neil

That's what the Seahawks are announcing. It's a multi-year deal. Tatupu has played three seasons with the Seahawks and has been named to the Pro Bowl all three seasons.

Tatupu's agent, Fletcher Smith, has not returned phone messages from The Seattle Times. ESPN.com reports the six-year extension is worth a total of $40 million with more than $16 million Tatupu is virtually guaranteed to earn.

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March 21, 2008 11:58 AM

Press conference does not relate to Marcus Trufant

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Still can't say what Friday's press conference is about.

A little more clarification about what it is not. Not Marcus Trufant, the cornerback the Seahawks have designated their franchise player.

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March 21, 2008 11:16 AM

Press conference does not relate to Shaun Alexander

Posted by Danny O'Neil

No hint of what the press conference is about. At least not yet.

I do know one thing it's not about, though. Friday's press conference at 12:30 p.m. does not relate to Shaun Alexander, who continues to recover from offseason surgery to repair his wrist.

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March 21, 2008 9:55 AM

Seahawks press conference, 12:30 p.m. on Friday

Posted by Danny O'Neil

No word on what the announcement will be, but president Tim Ruskell and coach Mike Holmgren are scheduled to be speak.

This is not something that was originally scheduled. The immediate reaction is that it would be something regarding Shaun Alexander's future. However, that is just an assumption at this point and there's no indication that it has anything to do with him.

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March 17, 2008 5:29 PM

Report: Ellis Wyms to Minnesota

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Defensive lineman Ellis Wyms, whom the Seahawks signed in September has agreed to a one-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings, according to this update from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Wyms came to the Seahawks after he was let go by Tampa Bay. The Seahawks and Vikings were the two teams he chose between at the end.

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March 17, 2008 10:26 AM

D.J. Hackett to Carolina

Posted by Danny O'Neil

D.J. Hackett has agreed to terms with the Panthers, his agent Kevin Robinson confirmed.

Hackett will get a two-year deal worth a total of $3.5 million. The Seahawks maintained interest in Hackett until the end, but in the end he opted to choose Carolina over other free-agent suitors Tampa Bay and Washington.

Hackett is 26 and slated as a starter last season. He suffered a high ankle sprain on his first catch of the season in the opener against Tampa Bay and missed the next six games. He caught 27 passes in the four games after he returned before reinjuring the ankle.

Free-agent losses   Free-agent additions
Pos. Name Signed with   Pos. Name Signed from
WR D.J. Hackett Carolina   RB Julius Jones Dallas
DT Chuck Darby Detroit   RB T.J. Duckett Detroit
LB Niko Koutouvides Denver   TE Jeb Putzier Houston
LB Kevin Bentley Houston   G Mike Wahle* Carolina
K Josh Brown St. Louis        
DL Ellis Wyms Minnesota        
*Wahle signed after he was released by Carolina prior to the start of NFL's free-agent signing period.

 

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March 15, 2008 7:41 PM

D Jack gets whacked from 49ers roster

Posted by Danny O'Neil

There was a great deal of consternation in April 2007 when the Seahawks not only traded Darrell Jackson, but let him go to a team within the division by dealing him to the 49ers. Well, 11 months later, the 49ers let Jackson go, releasing him the day after signing free agent wide receiver Bryant Johnson.

Here's a link to the story from the San Francisco Chronicle.

This is a little bit of a surprise. The 49ers had the least productive offense in the league last season, but that was hardly Jackson's fault. At the same time, San Francisco targeted its offense for improvement and new coordinator Mike Martz must have decided Jackson wasn't going to be a fit.

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March 14, 2008 8:58 AM

D.J. Hackett in Tampa today

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Wide receiver D.J. Hackett is making a free-agent visit in Tampa, Fla., with Carolina next on his itinerary. Here's the link to the story published in Friday's Tampa Tribune.

Update, 9:17 a.m.: ESPN.com is reporting Bryant Johnson, a free agent from Arizona, has agreed to a one-year contract with the 49ers. That further thins the crop of remaining free agents at Hackett's position.

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March 13, 2008 2:23 PM

D.J. Hackett -- offer in hand from Washington

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The Washington Times reports that Washington has made a pass at landing Seahawks receiver D.J. Hackett. Now the question is whether he grabs onto that offer. Here's a link to the story right here.

Hackett's free-agent itinerary also includes stops in Carolina and Tampa Bay. Seattle also remains a consideration for Hackett.

As for the Panthers' interest, here's a link to the story published Thursday in the Charlotte Observer.

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March 11, 2008 6:06 PM

Shaun Alexander in Kirkland, on the Seahawks roster

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Everybody is awaiting word on Shaun Alexander's future. I don't have definitive answers on that. At least not yet.

I can provide two very clear facts about the present, though.

1. Alexander was at the Seahawks headquarters on Tuesday. He met with coach Mike Holmgren. Maurice Morris was also at the team headquarters in the afternoon.

2. Alexander has not been released. Not only that, he's still recovering from surger to repair the cracked bone in his wrist. He's got to be healthy before he would be released, either that or negotiate an injury settlement.

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March 11, 2008 4:42 PM

Kasey Dunn, new Seahawks running backs coach

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Kasey Dunn, a former assistant head coach at Washington State, is coming back to the state to serve as the Seahawks running backs coach. Dunn most recently was employed at Maryland and before that worked at Baylor.

He has spent the past 15 years coaching collegiately. He's had minority coaching fellowships with the Seahawks (2003) and the Broncos (1997). He was well regarded at Washington State.

Dunn replaces Stump Mitchell, who went to Washington to serve as offensive coordinator under Jim Zorn. Mitchell's departure leaves only one assistant coach on the Seahawks staff who has been with Mike Holmgren since his arrival in seattle in 1999 and that's tight ends coach Jim Lind.

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March 11, 2008 1:49 PM

The decline of the times

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Shaun Alexander's agent, Jim Steiner, isn't taking calls on Tuesday. The person who answered the phone at his office said there was nothing new to report.

So the holding pattern that began when the Seahawks agreed to terms with free-agent running back Julius Jones continues and it appears that Seattle's offseason plan of improving the running game will result in the ouster of the franchise’s leading rusher.

He is 30, coming off his lowest rushing total since he was a rookie backing up Ricky Watters. What are the chances he bounces back? Not too good, according to history. Oh, there are some examples now. Jerome Bettis bounced back from a steep decline in 2002 to be a productive short-yardage back the next three seasons. Corey Dillon did the same in 2006 after his production took a nose dive the year before.

But the Web site FootballOutsiders.com found that since 1978 there have been 10 different running backs who at age 28 or older saw their rushing average decline by at least 1 yard per carry from the previous season. For most, that was the writing on the wall that the end was near. Here's a link to the story on FootballOutsiders.com.

Continue reading this post ...


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March 10, 2008 8:33 PM

Alexander's agent: We will talk with Seahawks

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Jim Steiner, Shaun Alexander's agents, spoke with the Associated Press on Monday night.

"We're going to have some discussions with the Seahawks in the next few days," Steiner said to the AP. "It will be about the running back situation there."

There was no comment on whether the Seahawks asked Alexander to restructure his contract and no further information.

It's no surprise that Alexander and his representatives would be talking to the team about the next step, but this is the next domino in the chain of events that began in earnest when the team agreed to terms with Julius Jones on Friday.

Stay tuned.

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March 10, 2008 4:23 PM

D.J. Hackett to visit Washington on Wednesday

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Wide receiver D.J. Hackett remains on the free-agent market, but perhaps not for too much longer. He has a visit scheduled with Washington on Wednesday where he'll see a couple familiar faces. Former Seahawks quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn is Washington's head coach and Stump Mitchell, Seattle's running backs coach last season, is the offensive coordinator.

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March 10, 2008 10:01 AM

Alexander the great or Alexander the gone?

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Steve Kelley's column in Monday's paper tries to put Shaun Alexander's Seahawks career in perspective given the new additions to the backfield and the distinct possibility there might not be room for him next season. A link to that column can be found right here.

All last season the need to upgrade their running game was as obvious as a toothache. At Alexander's expense, they've addressed that need this winter.

Eventually, the official announcement will be made. A news release, which will read like a Dear John letter, will be written. Alexander's name will crawl across the bottom of the screen on all of the ESPN networks.

Poof! He will be gone.

Julius Jones was a rare free-agent signing because news of his agreement was almost more significant because of the indication of who the Seahawks might be losing. That's Alexander. Now, there's been no indication that there's a decision in that regard. There's no timeline for when that decision would even be made. There are no roster bonuses in Alexander's contract, no date when a check would come due and prompt a decision. Any salary-cap relief the Seahawks could receive from releasing him wouldn't take effect until June 2.

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March 8, 2008 10:41 AM

Julius Jones chooses the fast track

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Julius Jones probably could have gotten more money if he chose somewhere other than Seattle to play. I've heard Detroit may have been interested in ponying up a little more.

But Jones chose to play in Seattle, reaching agreement on a contract that isn't the kind of top-tier free-agent deal that Michael Turner got to go to Atlanta. ESPN's John Clayton reported it's a four-year deal that will average about $3 million.

So what was attractive about Seattle? Well, we'll hear from him soon enough I'm sure, but in the meantime consider these quotes from January 2007, the week before the Cowboys played the Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs.

"I like playing on that field," Jones said. "It's a great atmosphere to play in. It's rowdy up there. The crowd is going to be into it."

He rushed for 198 yards in Seattle during a Monday night game in 2004, and he said he felt the field itself was a fast track.

"It's a great field," Jones said in January 2007. "They have really good field turf. Best field turf out there, I think. It's just a fast track."

Jones gained 112 yards on 22 carries in that playoff game, which the Seahawks won 21-20.

Now, it's silly to think the Seahawks went after this player simply because of a couple good games he played at Qwest Field. But it's something to consider. Jones has eight games in which he has rushed for more than 100 yards in his four years. Two of those were in Seattle. Here's the break down of his averages in the two games at Qwest Field (he missed the Cowboys 2005 regular-season game in Seattle). The stats include Dallas' two playoff games.

  At Qwest Field All other games
Games 2 53
Rush yds. per game 155 62.2
Rush yds. per carry 6.2 3.8

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March 7, 2008 5:17 PM

Report: Julius Jones signs with Seattle

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Julius Jones could agree to a contract with Seattle as early as Friday, according to NFL Network's Adam Schefter. This was reported on NFL Network's Total Access show.

The addition of Jones could be a lead-up to the departure of Shaun Alexander.

Update: Schefter is reporting the agreement has been reached. Jones' agent has not returned a message. Here's a link to Schefter's story on the league's official Web site right here.

Update, 6:17 p.m.: The question now becomes what will happen to Alexander. His contract calls for him to make $4.475 million in salary next season. He counts $6.775 million against the salary cap because of the pro-rated portion of his signing bonus (an $11.5 million signing bonus is divided over the first 5 years of his deal). If the Seahawks waived him immediately, they would not be responsible for his salary, but he would count $6.9 million against this year's salary cap. If he was designated a post-June 1 release, he would count $2.3 million against the cap this year, $4.6 million next season.

Update, 6:57 p.m. This is pointed out in our online story, but it bears mentioning here, too. I have confirmed that the addition of Jones does not necessitate the release of Alexander. A better way of saying that is the Seahawks have room for both under the salary-cap configuration.

That's one of the most pressing questions to come from this signing is how it relates to Shaun. Now, we're just going to have to wait and see. All along, the indications are the team would set about improving its running game from last season. They have certainly made moves in that direction. Now that they've added two backs in Duckett and Jones, we'll have to wait and see where that leaves the team with Alexander.

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March 7, 2008 11:19 AM

Darby's deal done with Detroit

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Defensive tackle Chuck Darby has agreed to a three-year deal with Detroit where he will play for Rod Marinelli, who was Darby's defensive line coach in Tampa Bay. Here's a link to the story on Mlive! from the Detroit perspective.

Darby was one of the first free agents Seattle signed after Tim Ruskell became president. He stands 6 feet tall. Maybe. It didn't take long for him to stand out, though.

The guy was the perfect trandem with Marcus Tubbs during that Super Bowl season of 2005. Someone who showed Tubbs the kind of toughness and determination it takes to play defensive tackle, which is the closest thing to a boiler room on the football field. A defensive tackle has two 300-pound men leaning on him every single play, and his job is to hold his ground at the very least.

Darby was a big part of the rebuilding of Seattle's defense. A player who was extremely popular with his teammates and who inaugurated the Seahawks' practice of small, white towels with a player's number on them. Nothing fancy. Something a junior-high team would do, but the rest of the defense loved it.

Now he's going to Detroit where the Lions want him to provide an example of the same kind of toughness he manifested in Seattle.

Darby will be missed in that locker room. He is in his 30s, coming off of an injured knee ligament that required surgery and there was a feeling he wore down the past couple of seasons. The Seahawks need to get bigger at defensive tackle. At least that's what coach Mike Holmgren indicated his belief was after the season. "Another big honker" were the exact words I believe.

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March 7, 2008 10:24 AM

Darby to Lions? Not so fast. At least not yet.

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The Web site spartannation.com reported Chuck Darby is signing with Detroit. That is not true. At least not yet.

Darby, a defensive tackle, visited the Detroit Lions earlier this week, and the team is very interested in him. But no word of an agreement yet. Stay tuned, though.

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March 6, 2008 9:30 AM

Running back Julius Jones visiting Seahawks

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Running back Julius Jones is in Seattle today for a free-agent visit. Jones played the past four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Jones visited the Tennessee Titans earlier this week.

Jones played in all 16 games for Dallas the past two seasons, but increasingly shared carries with Marion Barber.

Jones is 26, a second-round draft pick in 2004 whom the Cowboys thought so much of they drafted him instead of Steven Jackson. [Danny O. update: As pointed out by a reader, this doesn't mean Julius Jones was drafted ahead of Steven Jackson. Rather, the Cowboys could have picked Steven Jackson in the first round, but instead traded down and eventually picked Julius Jones in the second round.]

The Seahawks on Wednesday officially signed T.J. Duckett to be a complementary part of the back. Jones is the top free-agent running back left on the market after Michael Turner signed with Atlanta. [DannyO update: Shane from Olympia makes a valid point that Warrick Dunn just might be the top back on the market now. Dunn is older so probably won't command as large a contract as Jones is looking for in terms of years, but Shane's right, an argument can be made that Dunn is the top back].

  • Linebacker Nick Greisen left Seattle Wednesday night after his free-agent visit. No contract with the Seahawks. At least not yet.


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    March 5, 2008 11:01 AM

    An invitation: Football book club

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Oprah? Hardly. No cars to give away here. No magazine. But I would like to start a football book club. Dangerous, I know, especially considering that football has not been the most fertile ground for sports literature. I'm still fairly confident there's some worthy material out there and we've got a good place to start with a book that features some insights into the Atlanta Falcons in a year when Tim Ruskell worked in their front office.

    The plan will be to have an online discussion of the book that will go on for several days a little more than a week before the league's annual draft.

    The book will be "The Draft" by Pete Williams. Be careful. There's another book out there with an identical title by Wil Mara. We're reading the one by Pete Williams, the subtitle is "A year inside the NFL's search for talent." I've read the first chapter, and found it to be fairly engaging.

    Continue reading this post ...


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    March 4, 2008 4:19 PM

    Tight end Jeb Putzier to Seahawks

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    The Seahawks signed Jeb Putzier to a one-year deal, a free-agent tight end who most recently played for the Houston Texans.

    Putzier is 29 and played six seasons in the NFL. His two most productive years as a receiver were with Denver in 2004 and 2005. He caught more than 35 passes each of those two seasons.

    Putzier went to high school in Idaho and attended Boise State. He brings depth to a position that was the biggest question mark on the offense. The Seahawks have Will Heller under contract, but his strength is as a blocker. Marcus Pollard, the starter last season, is an unrestricted free agent.

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    March 4, 2008 4:01 PM

    T.J. Duckett says it's a five-year deal

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Got to love it when a free agent gets on the phone to Hondo to tell him he's going to be a Seahawk.

    That's apparently what T.J. Duckett did, telling Hondo S. Carpenter Sr. of www.spartannation.com that he agreed to a five-year deal in Seattle. The link to the site is right here.

    So what does that mean? It means the Seahawks got a big-bodied short-yardage specialist that they initially courted last season. It does not mean that Shaun Alexander is on the way out. That's the first question everyone has. I don't anticipate this being a player to replace Alexander, but rather someone to add to the equation to help with the short-yardage struggles of the offense the past two seasons.

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    March 4, 2008 2:47 PM

    Coach Mike Holmgren about that Favre guy

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Free agency was upstaged on Tuesday by reports that Brett Favre will retire after 17 record-setting seasons as Packers quarterback. The Associated Press account is right here.

    The Seahawks also released a statement from coach Mike Holmgren on Favre.

    "Brett's career accomplishments will be measured among the greats of the game for the balance of time," Holmgren said. "He truly was as gifted a player as I have ever seen, and as proud and amazed as I am of what Brett has accomplished on the playing field, the thing that impresses me the most is what kind of a man and leader he has become off the field since I have known him.

    "I have taken great joy in watching him develop as a person and father - perhaps even more so - than as a coach watching his quarterback."

    An e-mailer (asgmetal) pointed out that Dan Marino's last victory: playoff victory over the Seahawks in Holmgren's first season as head coach. Favre's last victory -- if he is indeed done playing -- would also be a playoff victory over the Seahawks.

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    March 4, 2008 12:18 PM

    Mike DeBord on board

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Mike DeBord, a former Michigan Wolverines assistant coach, will be joining the Seahawks coaching staff, according to the Detroit Free-Press. Here's a link to the story right here.

    DeBord was part of Lloyd Carr's coaching staff at Michigan and was not retained when Rich Rodriguez took over.

    I first saw this news report linked up on www.seahawkaddicts.com.

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    March 4, 2008 10:58 AM

    Chuck Darby, Ellis Wyms on the road

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Defensive tackle Chuck Darby is visiting the Lions today. He has a couple of other free-agent visits lined up this week, but that's only if he gets out of Detroit. Sounds like the Lions might not want him leaving the building without a contract.

    Ellis Wyms will take a look at Minnesota and then Tennessee though not necessarily in that order.

    The line of communication remains open between the Seahawks and both players so a return to the Seahawks has not been ruled out in either case.

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    March 4, 2008 7:56 AM

    Kris Wilson, tight end target?

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Green Bay is interested in Kris Wilson, a backup tight end from Kansas City. Why is that on a blog about Seahawks news? Well, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report includes this line:

    In addition to the Packers, Wilson has drawn interest from the Seattle Seahawks. The Chiefs haven't shown much interest in re-signing him.

    The Chiefs have Tony Gonzalez entrenched as the starter.

    Here's the link to the whole story. Also, an appropriate nod of acknowledgment to www.seahawkaddicts.com, which found that mention.

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    March 3, 2008 3:46 PM

    Brown: "Once I hit the market, I knew I was going to have to go somewhere."

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Two years ago you could measure the difference between the Seahawks and Rams by a foot.

    Josh Brown's foot to be precise. He kicked a last-minute field goal in each of Seattle's two victories over St. Louis in 2006.

    Free agency pitted those two teams against each other. At least it seemed that way. But Brown said Monday afternoon that his departure from Seattle was sealed when the two sides failed to reach an agreement before free agency began.

    "We told Seattle would never have the opportunity to match once free agency began," Brown said Monday in a telephone interview. "You have a certain allotment of time. If you want me badly enough, you’ll get it done. And we’ll stand by that."

    Brown was more clear in explaining the differences between what Seattle offered and what the Rams did. St. Louis offered a $4 million signing bonus. The Seahawks offered a total of $3.8 million in bonuses, but that wasn't one lump sum, but rather it was spaced out.

    He called coach Mike Holmgren to explain what it would take to get him to sign. The team came back with a proposal to Brown and it seemed like the sides were approaching a deal. The bonuses remained split up, though.

    So he went to the free-agent market.

    "I left because it wasn’t coming out the way I thought it should have and I got the ultimate decision," Brown said.

    And once he got to the open market, the Seahawks didn't hear from him again.

    "Once I hit the market, I knew I was going to have to go somewhere," Brown said.

    The two sides tried to agree on a long-term contract last year. They never reached one, Brown instead signing the one-year tender as Seattle's franchise player. He made more than $2 million last season.

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    March 3, 2008 3:04 PM

    T.J. Duckett visiting Seahawks

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Running back T.J. Duckett is in Seattle for a free-agent visit. The Seahawks expressed interest in signing Duckett last year, but he ended up signing in Detroit. Duckett's size and success in goal-line situations three seasons ago when he scored eight touchdowns for Atlanta in 2005 point to the fact the Seahawks may see him as a solution to short-yardage struggles of the past two seasons.

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    March 3, 2008 11:08 AM

    Josh Brown on KJR-AM (950)

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Kicker Josh Brown just finished an extended interview with KJR-AM (950), talking with Dave Mahler. He said he would have stayed in Seattle had the Seahawks offered the same five-year, $14.2 million contract he eventually signed with St. Louis.

    Here's the first half of Mahler's interview, which I transcribed. I'm going to insert some commentary, too, and that will be noted in italics and preceded by "Danny O's commentary."

    Brown: I knew what was coming, but I felt like I was being put into a place where I had to make a decision and then quite honestly, St. Louis made it real easy for me. It took them 5 minutes and they were willing to give me the world, and they did that, and it's in a dome and I'm 5 hours for my family. They made it pretty hard to beat.

    Danny O's commentary: Yes, indeed. Qwest Field is one of the tougher places to kick from the dense air to the swirling winds. Brown not only gets the benefit of a climate-controlled facility for each of his eight home games in St. Louis next season, but he's getting more money to do it than any other kicker while getting to move to the same time zone where he grew up. That's good work if you can get it, no doubt.

    Continue reading this post ...


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    March 3, 2008 10:17 AM

    Seahawks closing in on T.J. Duckett?

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    A nod to a Seahawks' fan site here -- www.seahawkaddicts.com -- who found a pretty interesting tidbit buried in a report on the Detroit Lions, which states T.J. Duckett is expected to sign with Seattle.

    The report is on MLive! from Lions Insider Tom Kowalski. Here's a link to the report right here.

    The Seahawks showed interest in Duckett last offseason, bringing him for a visit as a free agent. He later decided to sign with Detroit. Duckett is 26, a former first-round pick, but he has gone through three teams over the past three season. He scored eight touchdowns in 2005 with Atlanta and averaged a whopping 8.6 yards per carry. He averaged better than 5 yards per carry last season in Detroit and got more work toward the end of the year, gaining more than 200 of his 335 yards rushing in the final four games.

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    March 3, 2008 10:06 AM

    Niko Koutouvides to Denver

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Linebacker Niko Koutouvides is heading to Denver, according to the NFL's official Web site. Adam Schefter of the NFL Network reports Koutouvides agreed to a multi-year contract with the Broncos.

    [Update, 10:12 a.m.]: Koutouvides' agent just confirmed he agreed to terms with Denver. No terms, but it is a multi-year deal.

    Koutouvides' departure follows Kevin Bentley, another backup linebacker and special-teams standout who agreed to terms with Houston on Sunday.

    Their departures have as much to do with opportunity as anything. With Leroy Hill, Lofa Tatupu and Julian Peterson, the Seahawks have one of the best linebacker trios in the league. Bentley and Koutouvides are backups in Seattle, but considered starting-caliber elsewhere in the league.

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    March 2, 2008 5:50 PM

    Kevin Bentley agrees to terms with Houston

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Linebacker Kevin Bentley is going to the Texans, agreeing to terms with Houston. League sources said it's a three-year agreement worth a total of $4 million.

    Bentley played for Seattle the past three seasons, serving as a linebacker valued for his versatility. He was also a special-teams standout, but perhaps his biggest landmark moment came in the NFC Championship Game in January 2006 when he was on the field for a good 10, 15 plays charged with giving Steve Smith some grief at the line of scrimmage.

    The move is a good one for Bentley, who was looking for an opportunity to be a starting linebacker. Ray Rhodes presence on the Texans coaching staff probably helped him, too.

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    March 2, 2008 5:35 PM

    A.Crumpler to Tennessee

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    The Tennessee Titans have agreed to terms with Alge Crumpler, free-agent tight end, according to the league's official Web site. NFL network's Adam Schefter reported the news. The link to the story is right here.

    ESPN's John Clayton reports it's a two-year agreement with the Titans. He also indicated the Seahawks and Titans were the final two teams Crumpler considered. The link to that story is right here.

    Crumpler arrived in Seattle on Thursday for a two-day visit. He was familiar with many people in the organization. He played for Jim Mora for three years when Mora coached the Falcons. He was a long-time teammate of defensive end Patrick Kerney.

    President Tim Ruskell indicated last week the team was impressed with the quality and depth of tight ends who will be available in the draft, but the team would also be looking at a few veterans. The Seahawks still have Will Heller on the roster. Marcus Pollard and Ben Joppru are free agents, and with Mike Wahle added to the offensive line, tight end is probably the largest question mark on the roster.

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