As ESPN's Len Pasquarelli first reported, the Seahawks have signed former Tennessee Titans CB Andre Dyson to a five-year, $17.5 million contract.
The fourth-year cornerback became an unrestricted free agent this offseason and was considered the last A-quality UFA on the market. Reports say that the New York Jets tried to sign Dyson, and the Titans tried to give him the kind of offer that would predicate a return, but the Seahawks’ offer came out on top.
The five-year deal includes a $3 million signing bonus as well as roughly $6 million in guarantees.
The Seahawks had brought Dyson in weeks ago, but after signing former Denver Bronco CB Kelly Herndon, it appeared that the financial constraints of signing Dyson – a top-tier cornerback in a market that pays enormous money to such players - would make the deal impossible.
Dyson has appeared in 62 games, starting in 59. He has started in all 16 games over the past three seasons. His career stats include 225 tackles, 16 interceptions and 59 passes defensed. He has had at least three interceptions in each season and posted a career-high six picks in 2004 – the same amount as Seattle’s Ken Lucas had to lead the team in 2004.
Now, he will join with Marcus Trufant and recent acquisition Kelly Herndon to forge ahead with an impressive young group of cornerbacks that once looked decimated with Lucas’ departure to Carolina.
The Seahawks also signed former New Orleans Saints and Washington Huskies wide receiver Jerome Pathon today. Pathon signed a three-year deal with each year coming at a price in excess of $1 million.
Last season, Pathon grabbed 34 receptions for 581 yards and one touchdown behind Donte Stallworth and Joe Horn. His career stats include 259 receptions for 3,332 yards and 15 touchdowns in seven seasons with Indianapolis and New Orleans. His is the second Seahawks signing of a quality wideout in this free agency period – the team also signed former Tampa Bay WR Joe Jurevicius.
But while Jurevicius is more of a reliable possession receiver, Pathon is known as a pure speed-burner with game-breaking potential. Such words could also be used to describe Koren Robinson when the latter player can be bothered to show up to practices, meetings and games.
Is the writing on the wall for K-Rob? One would have to think that it’s a likely possibility.
The third move the team made today was to officially announce the signing of former Houston Texans linebacker Jamie Sharper to a five-year, $17.5 million deal with a $1.5 million signing bonus. Sharper agreed to terms with Seattle on April 12.
Coming in to help a shredded linebacker corps, Sharper led the NFL in tackles in 2003 with 166, and he proved no fluke with 139 stops in 2004. He was the key man in Houston’s defense, which will serve him well as he now commits to helping to turn Seattle’s defense – a unit that finished 26th in the NFL overall in 2004 – around.
Although he can cover when asked to drop into a zone, Sharper’s primary asset is his ability to read the run and attack the line. He is noted as an explosive tackler on impact, and he has the agility to slip blocks and evade traffic. Sharper is 30 years old, but the numbers say that he’s in the peak value phase of his career.
And after a notable six-year dearth of quality middle linebackers in the Mike Holmgren era, Jamie Sharper appears to be the answer to many prayers.
So how can the Seahawks, long known to be bumping up against a salary cap ceiling, afford all this insanity? One part of the answer came today in a predictable – albeit saddening – fashion.
The Seahawks have released OLB Chad Brown due to a salary impasse that could not be resolved. It was estimated by several sources (including Scout.com’s Lane Adkins) that Brown could have been released as early as Monday – the holdup had been the finalization of Sharper’s contract.
Brown had been an integral part of Seattle’s defense since 1997 (when he was acquired as a free agent), but age and durability concerns have lessened his overall value to the team at a time when they needed to finalize their roster and plans for the draft. Brown will turn 35 in July, and he has started only 13 games in the last two seasons.
In his press conference on Wednesday, Ruskell told the assembled media that the negotiations with Brown and his agent seemed to have reached a dead end. "Chad's been a great player for the Seahawks and done great things," he said. "We'd love to keep him, have him end his career as a Seahawk. He's been a hardworking guy, a warrior on the field. But as you know, there's more to it than that."
Brown was scheduled to make $4.2 million in 2005, and his release will free up $2.37 million in cap room right away. The Seahawks had been offering a renegotiation which would have paid him $1 million plus incentives. Brown was looking for at least $1.5 million up front.
Ruskell didn’t rule out the possibility of a Chad Brown return. "If it comes to pass that he's released, our door will still be open if he tests the waters and doesn't find anything out there. He knows that."
There is no doubt that Chad Brown’s exodus will sting the heart of every diehard Seahawks fan…but with the arrival of Dyson, Sharper and Pathon, the Seahawks set themselves further out on a new paradigm.
Building a team – the Tim Ruskell way.