The 27-year-old Okeafor played all four of his season in the NFL with the 49ers. His two-year, $4 million deal includes a $2 million signing bonus.
With oft-injured Lamar King never providing the pressure up front that he was expected to, the Hawks needed a pass rusher from the end position. While they still may look for help there in the draft, Okeafor fills the void for the time being.
"We are trying to make free agency allow the draft to come to us so we don't stretch for players," coach Mike Holmgren said. "We haven't had to stretch for players since our first draft here, where we stretched for a couple of position needs. I hope not to do that."
Holmgren and the Hawks were also foresighted in trading for tackle Michael Thompson, a former fourth-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons.
Thompson has had neck and knee injuries in Atlanta, but the Seahawks' medical staff gave him clearance and Seattle sent to Atlanta a conditional low-round draft pick.
Thompson may not need to be particularly durable to suit the Seahawks' needs, as he's mostly expected to serve as insurance against the absence of Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones.
Jones was once again "franchised" and, as he did last year, might be expected to hold out through training camp and early in the season if a long-term contract cannot be agreed upon.
The Hawks also matched an offer sheet by New England for restricted free agent defensive tackle Cedric Woodard.
The 6-2, 320-pound three-year veteran has played sparingly for the Seahawks, but has shown some promise at a position in which the Hawks are currently short on quality depth.
--Coach Mike Holmgren was generally pleased with the condition and performance of his players at the team's voluntary passing camp.
But not entirely pleased.
"I was disappointed in a couple players because it was pretty obvious that they hadn't done anything, nothing, so they suffered for it," Holmgren said. "They were heavy, but they're young guys so they can get their weight down."
On the whole, the four-day meeting was beneficial, he said.
"All in all, I thought we threw the ball well; I thought we caught the ball well," he aid. "I thought the defensive guys were really tuned in our passing stuff. They are listening."
Holmgren said that new defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes makes sure of that.
--Defensive leader: Linebacker Anthony Simmons tends to be a quiet type.
But having signed a big contract and agreed to return to the Seahawks, Simmons is now asserting himself.
"He's not a very vocal guy, as a rule, but it became pretty apparent early that he is going to get those guys going," Holmgren said. "Hopefully, he understands how we feel about him with the contract he has. We need him and it's very important he leads and gets those guys to follow."
Rhodes has involved Simmons more by making him call the defensive alignments.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think offensively we're hopefully ready to take the next step. I like how we finished and now we have to build on what we did last year. Defensively, it's hard to say because they're learning a new coaching staff, a new system, and if you think about we've had four defensive coordinators in five years and that's asking a lot of these kids." - Coach Mike Holmgren on the status of the team after its first minicamp.
The Seahawks aren't done shopping.
Next on the list is a place kicker to replace Rian Lindell, who accepted a better offer from Buffalo.
The Hawks have met with free-agent kickers Neil Rackers, Michael Husted, John Markham and Wade Richey already, with more possibly set to audition.
Rackers is a restricted free agent with Cincinnati and would cost the Seahawks a sixth-round draft pick if they sign him.
Further acquisitions may not be restricted to kickers, either.
"We're still actively looking at free agents," coach Mike Holmgren said. "That will be an ongoing process all the way to training camp."
NEEDS/DRAFT PRIORITIES: DT, DE, DBs.
OK, the whole defense needs to be bolstered through the draft.
Up front is the key, though, and the Hawks will likely sort through all the DT candidates as prospects for their selection, 11th in the first round.
John Randle was banged up and is aging and will need to be replaced.
The need at the end position is mostly for a pass rusher. The best pressure has come from linebacker Chad Brown, who is coming off foot surgery. If a pass-rushing end can be found, then the Hawks, under new coordinator Ray Rhodes, will be much more flexible.
The need in the secondary is mostly at safety, where free safety Marcus Robertson has been released, and strong safety Reggie Tongue has performed only adequately. They're still looking, even after the signing of Damien Robinson.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: OT Walter Jones (tendered at $5.734M).
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: QB Jeff George (brought in for insurance late last season and will likely no longer be necessary); DE Rich Owens (gave the Hawks some quality play late in the year); OL Floyd Wedderburn (still valuable depth although he hasn't proven capable of holding various starting jobs); CB Willie Williams (his timely play has made it hard for the Seahawks to get rid of him).
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: DE John Hilliard (tendered at $605,000 with 6th-round pick as compensation); WR Darrell Jackson (tendered at $1.318M with 1st-round pick as compensation).
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: LB Marcus Bell (RFA; $605,000/1 yr); DE Antonio Cochran (Potential UFA; $10M/4 yrs, $3M SB; 2003 cap: $1.75M); LS J.P. Darche (RFA; $2.27M/4 yrs, $200,000 SB; 2003 cap: $500,000); WR Bobby Engram (UFA; $5.6M/4 yrs, $1.3M SB; 2003 cap: $1.025M); LB Isaiah Kacyvenski (RFA; $605,000/1 yr); LB Anthony Simmons (UFA; $23.75M/5 yrs, $7.5M SB; 2003 cap: $2.5M); FB Mack Strong (UFA; $2.58M/3 yrs, $300,000 SB); OT Chris Terry (Potential UFA; $18.1M/5 yrs, $5M SB); WR James Williams (RFA; $605,000/1 yr); DT Cedric Woodard (RFA/matched Patriots offer sheet; terms unknown); OT Jerry Wunsch (UFA; $1.8M/2 yrs, $400,000 SB).
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: DE Chike Okeafor (UFA 49ers; $4M/2 yrs, $2M SB); S Damien Robinson (FA Jets; $4M/4 yrs, $500,000 SB; 2003 cap: $655,000); OT Michael Thompson (trade Falcons); P Rodney Williams (FA; terms unknown).
PLAYERS LOST: P Jeff Feagles (UFA; $4.32M/5 yrs, $500,000 SB); PK Rian Lindell (RFA Bills; did not match offer/$4.2M/4 yrs, $1.25M SB); FS Marcus Robertson (cut).
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.